A Finnish tradition for ensuring expectant parents have some of the necessities required for raising a healthy first child has made its way to Canada as part of a project headed by researchers at the University of Calgary.

The Welcome to Parenthood – Alberta project studies whether additional support results in better outcomes for both the child and its parents.

The Baby Kits, or Baby Boxes, have been provided to approximately 50 families in Alberta but the research team hope to have 1,500 families sign up for the project. Each box includes:

  • A sleep sack
  • A blanket
  • Breast pads
  • Diapers
  • Information booklets

The box itself functions as a bassinet suitable for a newborn child.

Participants have also selected a mentor to provide support and answer questions throughout the first six months of the child’s life.

Amy Johnson of Camrose, Alberta received her Baby Box and an educational session in her 39th week of pregnancy. She says the additional support was a wonderful comfort as she entered motherhood prior to the arrival of Gabe.

“It has been such a help for me,” said Johnson. “In providing access to my community (and) with providing a mentor to me. Letting me know who I should look to as a mother figure and making sure that person is in my life, and just the diapers and the box. It's all been fantastic having that in my house.”

The provincial government is covering the $500,000 cost of the project. Funding for Welcome to Parenthood was announced in 2014 by then Human Services Minister Manmeet Bhullar.

To register for the project, or for additional information, visit Welcome to Parenthood.

With files from CTV's Kevin Green