30 July 2015

Baby customs around the world

Unique baby traditions

Just as every woman’s pregnancy is unique, countries across the world have their own unique traditions when it comes to birth and babies. 

From saving the umbilical cord to sleeping in a box, we’ve uncovered some of the more interesting rituals and practices from across the globe. Take a look – and don’t forget to tell us what you think in the comment box below. 

Birth keepsake: It’s common practice in Japan for hospitals to save the umbilical cord in a specially designed wooden box and present it to the new mum when she leaves. It’s believed the umbilical cord has a direct relationship to the health of the baby.

Mothering the mother: In Hispanic culture there’s a tradition known as Cuarentena, a 40-day period after childbirth in which the new mum is taken care of by family members. During this time the family looks after the mother’s needs, helping out wherever needed, so she can focus on her wellbeing and bond with her baby.

Spiritual connection: In Bali, it’s tradition that babies don’t touch the floor for the first three months and are held continuously by their mothers or close family members. During this time it’s believed the baby is still connected with the spiritual world - and touching the ground breaks the connection. After three months a special ceremony - named Nyabutan - is held to celebrate the baby finally touching Mother Earth.

Bed in a box: Since the1930s, new mums in Finland have been presented with a “maternity box” by the state. Designed to act as the baby’s first bed it’s filled with clothes, snowsuits, bedding, towels, reusable nappies, books, toys and more. It’s designed to give all children an equal start, no matter what background they’re from. 

In the cold: Parents in Denmark and Sweden wrap up their babies and leave them to nap outside daily, despite the low temperatures. It’s believed the cold air helps prevent coughs and colds and encourages babies to sleep and eat better. Even daycare centres put little ones outside to nap, believing it’s more unhealthy to keep them in a room with lots of other children for the day.

Food for thought: Finally, in Brazil food cravings during pregnancy are taken rather seriously – there’s a saying that if the craving isn’t satisfied immediately, the baby will somehow resemble the food!