for 75 years, Finland’s expectant mothers have been given a box by the state. it’s like a starter kit of clothes, sheets and toys that can even be used as a bed. and some say it helped Finland achieve one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates.

it’s a tradition that dates back to the 1930s and it’s designed to give all children in Finland, no matter what background they’re from, an equal start in life.

the maternity package - a gift from the government - is available to all expectant mothers.

it contains bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products for the baby, as well as nappies, bedding and a small mattress.

with the mattress in the bottom, the box becomes a baby’s first bed. many children, from all social backgrounds, have their first naps within the safety of the box’s four cardboard walls.

Medicine in those days required a certain daring. While still in Boston, [Dr Sara Josephine Baker] almost killed a drunk who was beating his pregnant wife as Baker was trying to deliver their baby. As a New York City health inspector, she administered smallpox injections to snoozing hoboes in Bowery flophouses, fielded calls from Tammany politicians requesting that she hire their cast-off mistresses as nurses (she declined), and chased down the notorious cook Typhoid Mary through the streets of Manhattan. Baker had to sit on Mary all the way to the hospital to keep her in the ambulance. […]

 By the time Baker retired from the New York City Health Department in 1923, she was famous across the nation for saving the lives of 90,000 inner-city children. The public health measures she implemented, many still in use today, have saved the lives of millions more worldwide. 

—- From The Doctor Who Made A Revolution

The appearance of a newborn infant is not exactly full of joy and happiness continually. Very first time parents, most primarily, have a predisposition to go through mixed emotions in respect to the whole thing. This is likely the explanation the reason why most people turn to experienced parents such as friends or relatives for some a good deal of needed parenting recommendations. For the unlucky ones, that don’t have any family or friends that can give them an recommendations, ordinarily hit the shelves of book shops in a dire effort to get hold of My Very…

Every year in NYC, 50 babies die from sleep-related injuries. Our Safe Sleep campaign raises awareness about creating a safe environment for you and your infant.

Find out more about some of our other services and resources for parents of young children in NYC:

The first three years of your baby’s life is a time of dramatic brain growth. Talk to your Baby is a texting service that will send you one text a week with tips with talking to your baby to help build their brain. Text TALK to 877877 for weekly talk tips right to your phone, or like the Our Littlest New Yorkers page on Facebook for daily tips and resources.

Child Care Connect can help you find a child care center or summer camp in your area, review a child care center’s inspection history, and compare the child care program you selected to others across the city. You can also sign up for alerts about your daycare center or neighborhood.

The Breastfeeding Resources in NYC guide [PDF] lists agencies by borough and details the services they offer all in one place.

Mobile Milk is a texting service that encourages and supports breastfeeding. During pregnancy, you will receive messages about preparing to breastfeed. After delivery, you’ll receive text messages providing guidance and support during the first weeks and months of breastfeeding. Text MILK to 877877 to sign up.

The Early Intervention Program supports families with children from birth to age 3 who have developmental delays or disabilities. Children have to be referred to the program, but infants and toddlers up to age three can be referred by anyone: you, doctors, social service workers, child care workers, community agencies, and others.


What to do if a baby is choking.

These 41 seconds could save a life!

Please watch!

When you have a child, babysitting becomes one more big challenge you must address. Even if you decide to spend the very first year or maybe more at home with your child, using day care on the odd occasion may be a necessity. Visit Atlanta baby nurse for the best in safe and clean child care.Here are some things to watch out for when picking out a day care for your child. By taking note of the following factors, you’ll probably be able to decide on excellent care for your child. Child care is much more than a place…

Our mission is to improve the lives of infants in the Milwaukee area, one baby box at a time. If you…

Help Milwaukee, a city in the U.S. with one of the highest infant mortality rates, through checking out the nonprofit Stork and Co. of WI.  They donate baby supplies and beds to infants in need in Milwaukee, where around 20% of infant deaths may be preventable.  Spread the word.

The Hunt for Childcare is: Over!

MM and I finally found a place to take wee baby MJ when it’s time for me to get back to work.  We had interviewed lots of people, went on tours of home daycares and “institutional” daycares alike.  People suggested their childcare providers.  People told us who to stay away from.  People told us that so-and-so takes their to kid to such-and-such place and so-and-so would NEVER take HER kid somewhere that wasn’t reputable.  Ok, well I don’t care about so-and-so.  In the end, it is up to MM and I as to where we take our child.  It has to be US that is comfortable with the place we take her, the person/people we leave her with.

At one point we met with a woman who runs a childcare out of her home.  Upon entering the home, we both immediately noticed how immaculate everything was.  I mean, that house was clean.  We toured the residence and were impressed with what we saw.  We sat with the woman and had a lengthy discussion about the daycare, about children, about her background, about safety, etc.  She is state certified.  She and her mother only care for five children at one time.  While she was very nice and knowledgable, she made me nervous.  Not in a bad way.  Not in a “I don’t trust this person” way.  You see, her energy level was through the roof.  Her crazy amount of energy made me tired.  I came to realize, though, that her abundance of energy is a good thing when it comes to caring for small children. 

Like everyone else we’d met with, she wouldn’t know until June or July if she would have a space available in October.  Yesterday MM called and she told him that she does have a space available in October and it’s ours if we want it.  We want it. 

It’s a huge relief to no longer have the childcare/daycare issue up in the air.  MM and I are both comfortable with where baby MJ will spend her days.  She will be close to home, and close to both sets of grandparents as well.  The price is right, and this woman provides diapers and formula.  We feel safe with her.  And that’s the most important thing, right?  MM and I are both confident that baby MJ will be well taken care of while we are both at work.  And that’s all that matters.


Dipping my toes into a little daycare research and it is not pleasant.  I am not going to enjoy the process of choosing where to leave my little one once I have to go back to work.  I’ve kept a pretty good head about me when thinking about the reality of going back to work after only 6 weeks… but now more than ever I am feeling the incredibly strong pangs of desire to be a stay at home mom.  Of course that is what I would prefer to do!  There is no denying that.  But it is NOT a reality for me… not now anyway.  So I have to face the music and I have to find a place I feel comfortable leaving my baby.  I wish I could afford a nanny… though the paperwork and tax stuff seems so daunting.  I’m not entirely turned off by group daycare, but I AM turned off by how slim the pickings appear to be in my area.  But hey, I’ve barely scratched the surface of this process… I know that.  Can’t make any rash decisions… yet.

It’s Tax Time!

As in most countries, workers who earn money in the U.S. must pay an income tax. The deadline to submit your tax return form is April 15th, 2015. Now is the time to start thinking about filling out your tax forms and paying the money due. Au pairs who arrived on or before August 4th, 2014 will need to pay income taxes this year. The forms and instructions can be found in Au Pair Room in the “Info Center” under “Common Questions”. Please take a few minutes to print a copy of the 1040NR EZ form. The instructions for filling it out and mailing it in with your payment can also be found in this section.

Nobody enjoys paying taxes but it’s good to keep in mind that our taxes fund our government, including the Department of State which makes the au pair program possible!

Child Care Woes

When we enrolled Harper in her current day care program, we were really happy.  Harper was happy.  We liked the woman caring for our child.  And the woman caring for our child seemed to have liked us.  But after this past week, it’s all gone to shit.  To be fair, it’s been going to shit, but I’ve finally had enough.

Our day care provider, let’s call her Amanda, has a problem with MM’s mom.  In Amanda’s defense, MM’s mom can sometimes come off as critical.  In MM’s mom’s defense, I know she is not being critical and I know she is not coming from a bad place.  Amanda has expressed her dislike of MM’s mom since the early days and last week…well, last week Amanda went batshit on MM…in front of the other kids.  Amanda was fussing at MM about how his mom has a “bad attitude” and the kids tell their parents they don’t like her.  (Sorry, but I don’t think a 9 month old is saying much to anyone.)  Amanda then expressed to MM that she has an issue with a request from me that she previously had no problem with.  This request was that the other children do not touch her.  I was mainly worried about them hitting or pinching her (not on purpose, but just being kids).  I also asked that none of the other parents be allowed to “handle” Harper.  My reason for this being:  I don’t know you, you don’t touch my kid.  Amanda assured me that these were not unreasonable requests, that she understood where I was coming from, etc.  Needless to say I am confused as to why she has now decided this is something of an issue.  MM suggested that we all sit down to talk things over.  Amanda said “absolutely not."  MM suggested that they go into another room to discuss her complaints about his mother, thinking that the children didn’t need to hear it.  Amanda said "I can do this in front of the kids."  I consider this unprofessional.

I do not question that Harper is receiving good care.  I do question Amanda’s…sanity, or level of maturity.  I’m now questioning if we should withdraw Harper and enroll her elsewhere.  Somewhere that we’ll be able to ask questions without the provider feeling as though we are attacking her, criticizing her, or judging her.  Somewhere that open and mature communication is not only expected, but where it the norm.  And of course, somewhere that Harper receives wonderful care from licensed, state certified caregivers.

I don’t think this is too much to ask.  But we are now faced with looking for another day care within our budget and with having to transition Harper from one place to another.  ARGH!

Safe Sleep Guidelines

Parents should:

Put baby to sleep on their back. Babies who sleep on their backs are safer.

Provide a separate but nearby sleeping environment, meaning: babies should share a room with their parents, but not a bed. The risk of SIDS is reduced when the infant sleeps in the same room as the mother.

Never put a baby to sleep on a couch or a chair. A crib, bassinet or cradle that conforms to the safety standards is recommended.

Make sure that the only item in the crib is a mattress, covered by a tight-fitting sheet. No bumper pads, blankets or toys.

Never lay a baby down on or next to a pillow. Pillows are extremely dangerous for infants as they can cause suffocation.

Do not ever use infant sleep positioners. The FDA says there have been 12 known deaths associated with these products.

Dress the baby in a one-piece sleeper to keep them warm in winter.

Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for the whole family. But the house should not be too warm.

Never smoke in a house where an infant or child lives.