Pregnancy and childbirth are common experiences worldwide. But, there are some unique baby traditions around the world, and distinct pregnancy and parenting related practices in different cultures and societies in the world.
Different baby Traditions around the world
Different cultures and traditions celebrate a child’s arrival in different, unique ways. With the advancement in the education system, technology, and modernization people have converged more or less to the common, global childbirth practice in health centers.
It is estimated that around 130 million babies are born each year and not all babies are welcomed with common traditions, superstitions, and customs. Some babies are born on the floor of separate houses made for childbirth while others are born through C-sections on the floor of a well-equipped hospital.
Each and every area has special means of celebrating childbirth and pregnancy, that is unique birth traditions and distinct pregnancy custom. Today we will be discussing some unique baby traditions around the world, and pregnancy-related traditions prevailing around the globe.
Peculiar Baby Traditions in the Dominican Republic
There is a popular myth among people in the Caribbean country about predicting a baby’s gender. A knife, a spoon, and a fork are placed separately under 3 chairs and the mom-to-be is asked to choose a chair to sit on. If the expectant mother chooses the chair with a spoon, it’s a baby girl. if she chooses the chair with the knife, the baby will be a boy and if she sits on a chair with the fork then the gender of the baby is not determined.
Another unique birth tradition shows a connection between the baby’s gender and the thickness and color of the hair of the mother. The expectant mother with thick and shiny hair will have a baby boy while the opposite suggests a baby girl.
The unique baby tradition that prevails in Bali is that people bury the placenta. In the Hindu tradition, the placenta is considered to be alive and almost like a sibling of a new baby. So, the placenta is placed in a container and buried outside the home as part of a detailed ceremony.
Another surprising birth tradition found in Bali is that a newborn is not allowed to touch his/her feet to the ground for 105 days of life. This practice, however, is based on Hinduism which makes the baby’s spirit intact. The newly born baby is treated like a god because he/she is still considered to be a part of the spirit world.
There is also one unique baby tradition in Bangladesh. If the mother’s skin is bright and radiant during pregnancy then the mother is supposed to be carrying a girl, while if the mother’s face consists of dark circles under the eye, the mother is thought to be carrying a boy.
Prenatal care starts with a midwife in the Netherlands. Here home-birth is more common compared to other developed counties. The expectant mother gets all required services from pregnancy to post-partum and can choose the place of delivery.
In turkey, the mother is given a traditional beverage to drink so as to celebrate the new baby and to have a good flow of milk. The drink is called lohusa serbeti i.e. postpartum sherbet. The solution, which is made with sugar, water, cloves, cinnamon, and food color, is first served to the mother at the hospital. Similarly, there is no tradition of a baby shower in Turkey. The mother and newborn baby stay at home for 20 days and then they visit the homes of kin and well-wishers.
In this Latin American country, there is no tradition of a baby shower. In contrast to traditions in other countries, the mother gives a basket of presents to the visitors in the hospital. The presents consist of small items like candy and souvenirs, a note from the baby with thanks for visiting them. In addition to this unique birth tradition, a newborn baby is given a red dress that is supposed to keep evil spirits away and sign of good luck.
In this country, the ninth day of the baby’s birth has special meaning. The mother marks the calendar and celebrates the baby’s arrival with family and friends. Likewise, Well-wishers bring sweets, money, gift, and gold bangle bracelets for the newborn. Similarly, the mother takes her first bath on a ninth day. In addition, some mothers burn the placenta which is the symbol of attachment between mother and child.
This European nation has a new birth system since 1930. Based on the regulation, the Finland government provide a care package to the new mother, which is filled with clothes, bedding, diapers, first aid kit, and bibs. The system which was created for poor families became available to all families since 1949. As a consequence of this government approach, the country has one of the lowest infant mortality and child mortality rates on the globe.
In this African nation, there is a special tradition called omugwa, mostly in Yoruba community. It is the culture in which the baby’s first bath is given by grandmother and if she is not available, an auntie or close friend. This symbolizes the teamwork and community effort in raising a newborn baby.
Similarly, the grandmother helps the mother to get back to normal shape with routine work as a belly massage and so on. Babies also receive blessings on a ninth day for baby boy and on the seventh day for a baby girl.
As in the Netherlands, mothers in Germany see midwives as first persons for their delivery. In fact, midwives are presented in every birth by law. Likewise, the family must choose the official baby name from the list provided by the government office in Germany. If they need to choose another name, they have to give a clear justification.
There is one unique baby tradition in the USA. A KuddleUp, a white blanket with a blue and pink stripe, has been used there for around 60 years in almost all hospitals in the country. That is why all newborn babies’ photos look similar.
All employed mom-to-be get one and a half months of fully paid leave before delivery. After delivery, she gets 2 years of paid leave. In addition, if she wishes to get another one-year leave, she can have unpaid leave. So, the mother’s job must wait for her for 3 years. These are some of the surprising baby traditions around the world.
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- WHO Safe Childbirth Checklist https://www.who.int/patientsafety/implementation/checklists/childbirth/en/
- 10 Birth Rituals Around The World https://www.bellybelly.com.au/birth/birth-rituals-around-the-world/
- Birthing Traditions https://www.roots.sg/learn/resources/ich/birthing-traditions