Societies around the world celebrate pregnancy and birth with such varied and fascinating customs and traditions. From superstitions during pregnancy to customary baby gifts presented to new mums, these approaches surrounding the arrival of a new little one couldn’t be more contrasting. However regardless of whether one mother is giving birth in a hospital and another in a village mud hut, we all share a commonality that links us – that is the celebration of new life!
Finland has a tradition of sending expectant mothers a boxful of baby goods to give each baby an equal start in life. The baby hamper contains clothes, blankets, and other newborn necessities, and the box itself, which is lined with a mattress, can even be used as baby's first cot. Expectant mothers eagerly await their package in the mail and the difference in design of each year's contents forms a bond that bridges across the country for children of the same age.
In China the mother of the mother-to-be is typically responsible for the new baby’s entire layette. A month before birth the maternal grandmother sends a baby gift of clothing for the newborn, to hasten his or her delivery. Then three days after the baby arrives she visits with the remainder of her grandchild’s wardrobe and nursery essentials. Good on you Mum!
The personality and disposition of an unborn child in China is thought to be influenced by the state of the mother’s mind and body during pregnancy. For this reason Chinese women are strongly urged to control their thoughts and actions —meaning no gossiping and no temper tantrums whilst baby is incubating!
Switzerland and the United States have an unusual superstition. In both these countries people say you can tell whether you're having a girl or boy by looking in the mirror. ‘A boy is said to enhance his mother's beauty, while a girl weakens it.’ Hopefully it’s reversible!
In the Philippines children are rarely named at birth for fear that an elder or ancestor will take them prematurely into the next life. Children are given generic or unattractive nicknames until they are strong and healthy when they can be given proper names. They may receive up to ten names during a lifetime.
Balinese people dedicate the first few months after birth to healing ....and holding. Babies in Bali are not allowed to touch the floor for the first 105 days after birth but instead are held constantly by their mothers and other close family members. Sounds a bit tiring.
In Polynesia pregnant woman are nurtured and pampered by the entire community throughout the duration of their joyous gestational period. In addition to their every whim being tended to, a midwife visits regularly to administer much-deserved massages.
Swedish dads are increasingly likely to take half of the couple's allotted parental leave time to stay at home with a new baby. Many studies show that couples that share parenting and household duties have more resilient marriages and happier families. Good on you Dad!
Australia does not have any dedicated traditions surrounding baby gifts for pregnancy and birth but as a multicultural society we have a wealth of different nations to help us develop something special to celebrate new life. We could well learn something from the pampering in Polynesia!
This blog was created or shared for the enjoyment of visitors to Little Kisses baby gifts and baby hampers www.littlekisses.com.au