What Finnish dads are doing right—and how we can all learn from them

Finland is the only developed country where dads spend more time with school-aged kids than moms. That says something.

What Finnish dads are doing right—and how we can all learn from them

Out of all the developed countries in the world, there is only one where dads surpass moms in terms of average time spent with their school-aged kids: Finland. According to a recent report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Finnish dads spend eight more minutes with their older kiddos on the typical days than moms.

What that says about the societal structure in Finland that supports such an enviable co-parenting relationship is significant. That’s because this isn’t just about seeing dads play more equal roles, but also about how that empowers moms and benefits kids.

“This is not about the mother’s right or the father’s right—but the child’s right to spend time with both parents,” said Finland’s minister of family affairs and social services, Annika Saarikko, in an interview with The Guardian.


So, how did Finland come to be what the Global Gender Gap called the second most equal county in the world?

1. Families in Finland are supported

In Finland, it’s the norm for moms to continue working full-time, says Saarikko. And that return to work is supported from the start: Finnish women get four months of paid maternity leave, which she can begin even before baby’s arrival. Afterward, they aren’t left with the kind of post-delivery medical bills that are common in the United States.

In fact, they are given some beneficial freebies in the form of Finland’s famous baby box, which includes newborn essentials that are practical and promote safe baby practices. In order to receive the box, expectant mothers must seek prenatal care before the end of their fourth month of pregnancy—which experts tie to Finland’s low infant mortality rate.

2. Dads get impressive paternity leave benefits

Not only do Finnish fathers get nine weeks of paid paternity leave, but couples also get an additional five months of paid parental leave to split. And—with the country’s new “It’s Daddy Time” campaign—fathers are publicly encouraged to take full advantage of it. As Saarikko told The Guardian, this is with the interests of children in mind.

“We are quite sure if we look at the research that the connection between the baby and the father is really important,” she said. “The early years are vital and we believe in investing in that.”

Science backs that up, with parental leave tied to boosted brain development for babies.

3. There is easily accessible, high-quality childcare

When both parents go back to work, they can do so with the confidence their kids are well cared for through quality, universal daycare. Not only does that help parents, but it lays the foundation for superior education as the kids age—with Finnish students outperforming U.S. peers in math, reading and science assessments. (And that’s even with kids in Finland spending far fewer hours sitting at desks.)

4. They take the “life” part of work-life balance seriously

There are few workaholics to be found in Finland, where most people begin their workdays around 8 a.m. and punch out by 4 or 5 in the afternoon. And, at home, moms aren’t as prone to maternal gatekeeping.

“When I am at home, I’m really involved–that’s normal,” one dad told The Guardian. “Dads participate in their kids’ life and kids have a lot of hobbies, in my experience it’s often the dad who takes them.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean moms are on their way out in Finland. Even there, they spend an average 71 more minutes each day with kids preschool-aged and younger. And, outside the home, the work isn’t done with Saarikko saying her country is still far from total gender equality.

But it is a start that most of us elsewhere would feel lucky to have.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

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For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

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Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

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There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

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Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

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Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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What you need to know about President Trump's Supreme Court pick

The President has reportedly selected his third SCOTUS nominee.

President Donald Trump has chosen his third pick for the Supreme Court—and he picked a mom.

The New York Times reports President Trump is choosing Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee. An official statement is scheduled for Saturday.

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