For decades, parents in Finland have received a box filled with newborn essentials to mark a new addition to their family. Now a Canadian non-profit hopes to bring the tradition to Canada.

Baby Box Canada will begin shipping out boxes filled with free products for babies and parents in Ontario next week, and the program is hoping to launch nation-wide later this year.

Founders Romi and Edward Walker of Toronto said they found themselves a little overwhelmed with the sheer volume of baby products available on the market when they were preparing for the birth of their own son.

They said things got a bit easier when Romi Walker's mother sent the couple a box of what she considered baby essentials.

"We started thinking, ‘Why aren't these kinds of things available to everybody?’" Edward Walker told

The first edition of baby boxes includes: teethers and rattles, baby shampoo and body wash, nipple cream, stretch mark cream, lactation cookies and a receiving blanket, among other items.

The boxes are valued at CAD$150 and the entire cost, including shipping, is covered by the companies involved in the project.

Romi Walker said she's happy there are a number of items in the box geared towards breastfeeding mothers. 

"A lot of new parents think about what their babies are going to need, but there are also the parents themselves who have needs, and we want to consider them," she said.

When the Walkers first started reaching out to various brands about Baby Box Canada, they said the biggest hurdle was convincing these companies that there’s a demand among Canadian parents.

"We were trying to find a number with the brands that they would feel comfortable with,” Edward Walker said. “They said if you get 50 people a month that want the box, it may not be cost-effective.”

The couple anticipated at least 5,000 Canadian parents signing up for the boxes in the first year – but within the first week of opening up registrations, about 15,000 expecting parents had signed up.

So far, there are 51,000 Canadians registered to receive a baby box, and registrations are still open.

"We were most shocked, and amazed," Edward Walker said. "Without these parents signing up to request the box, it never would have never happened."

The couple is now working with various government agencies to include health material, such as information about breastfeeding and baby nutrition, in the boxes.

Romi Walker said she's excited about being able to participate, in some small way, in these babies' lives.

"We hope we can make lots of parents and babies happy," she said.

Full list of items included in Baby Box Canada:

  • Assorted Teethers and/or Rattles from Fisher-Price
  • Baby Bee Tear Free Shampoo & Body Wash from Burt’s Bees
  • Bamboo Baby Sensitive Wipes from Aleva Naturals
  • Body & Bum Spray from luv child
  • Booby Boons Lactation Cookies from Stork and Dove
  • Disposable Night Breast Pads from Philips Avent
  • Gentle Saline Wipes from Boogie Wipes
  • “Healing Mix” nutritional support for mom from Now for Mothers 
  • Receiving Blanket from Kushies
  • Snuggle ‘n Shake Pal from Bright Starts
  • Stain Remover Stick from BunchaFarmers
  • Stretch Mark Cream from Aleva Naturals
  • Sudocrem diaper cream from Sudocrem
  • Tender Care Hydrogel Pads from Medela
  • Tender Care Lanolin Cream from Medela
  • Today’s Parent Magazine