Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

My chat with Baby Box Co

Friday, May 6th, 2016 | Health & Wellbeing


Last month, I wrote an article calling out companies that had started using the Finnish baby box tradition to sell their wares.

Specifically, my criticism was that the Finnish system lowers infant mortality by acting as a bribe to get people to neuvola, the centres that provide all the antenatal and postnatal care. That is where the evidence-based benefit is. On top of that, giving good quality stuff to poorer parents may also help.

However, the there is no evidence the cardboard boxes themselves do anything (obviously, because it is just a cardboard box) and so selling them from webpages that show infant mortality graphs feels like taking advantage of scared parents to me. In fact, the box matters so little that the Finnish government will just give you cash instead, if you wish. The box is worth more, so most people choose that, but the key to the Finnish success is the adoption of the medical care.

Anyway, recap over.

After the post went up, Jennifer Clary, CEO of US-based Baby Box Co offered to have a chat to fill me on what they are doing. I took her up on the offer.

She said she fully accepted the boxes were not magic, but that they were trying to use them as an engagement tool to get more of the good stuff done. So while they love selling direct to consumers, the real opportunities are selling to healthcare providers and governments so that the boxes can be used in a way that is more Finnish.

In addition to their actual box products, they’re developing what they call “Baby Box University”. The idea is that they can partner with authorities, who get people to complete online courses and come out of the end with a certificate and a free baby box.

This sounds super because it fills in the missing gap in replicating Finland’s success. Infant mortality is lowered by developing educated parents who engage with healthcare programmes, and it sounds like what Baby Box Co are doing supports that.

Fatherhood: The Truth

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 | Books

Fatherhood: The Truth is a 2004 book by Marcus Berkmann.

Compared to other books I have read, this one is not showing its age too much. It is a world away from the carefully laid out fact-type books. Berkmann writes in rambling prose loosely grouped into chapters. This means that it is difficult to pick out the actual advice and facts from the book, but does make it far more entertaining. In many places, it is laugh-out-loud funny.

True to its word, it is also an honest book. It does go into detail about all the piss, shit and sick you can look forward to in your first year as a parent (and beyond).

And the sleep. Dear god, the sleep. Of anything I have read, this book has given me the most pause for thought as to what we have actually got ourselves into. Still, probably best to keep chipping away at those hopes now so that nothing remains by Christmas.

After all that, it would have been nice for a more positive ending to the book. There was one, but I was feeling pretty depressed by that point. Still, at least it inspired me to start researching babysitters…


Jon & Kate Plus 8

Friday, July 24th, 2015 | Distractions

Fertility treatment can have a number of side effects. One of which is that it can work too well. This is what The Gosselins found out when they decided to add one more to their twin girls – and got an extra six!

Someone recommended it to me I watched the one hour special and a few of the 23-minute episodes out of morbid curiosity. They seem to cope very well. Their shopping is done at a wholesalers and they drive a full-size van but otherwise they live isn’t too crazy.

I imagine the family adapts. For example Kate sleeps in until 8am! Jon having already gone to work by this point. I didn’t think parents got to do that, let alone when you have eight kids. That is not to say it does not look like hard work – they pretty much have no other life, obviously.

They do totally cash in when they go to Shady Maple (a buffet restaurant). Under 4’s eat free!

Aside from the entertainment, the show might actually provide a useful purpose too. As Kate points out when they are invited onto a TV chat show, if they can cope with eight, it must give new and prospective parents hope that they can cope with one.