You know what I love? Reaffirming that there are approximately eighty-five million different ways to raise a child, and that each of them is fantastic (assuming everyone’s happy and healthy, obviously). That’s why something like this piece about international baby rituals and practices is so awesome.
Parenthood: we’re all doing it one way or another. Dig in to learn a few fun facts about child-raising around the world:
Mayan women traditionally bathe their babies in frigid water believing that cold baths calm heat rash and promote restful sleep. Unperturbed by the infant objections, Mayan moms expect babies to scream in the bath; to them it’s as normal as an American infant going gaga for his bouncy chair. As experts in tropical baby care, maybe these moms are on to something.
Strollers never crowd Danish cafes because babies nap peacefully outside in their prams. Bundled up against the winter elements or shaded from the summer sun, they enjoy fresh air and sound sleep while their mothers sip a latté and revel in some grown-up conversation on the terrace of the neighborhood café. In fact, the Danish National Board of Health specifically recommends the practice, believing that babies sleep more soundly, eat with more gusto, and are more alert after an outdoor kip.
After delivering their babies, South Korean women eat endless bowls of miyeok guk, or seaweed soup. Seaweed for breakfast, seaweed for lunch, and seaweed for dinner. High in calcium and iodine, the dish is believed to be essential for restoring the postpartum body to full health, and it’s said to help stimulate milk production. It is often eaten on the anniversary of a child’s birth as a sweet (or salty?) reminder of his very first day.
Check out the rest of the list — which custom is most appealing to you? What other parenthood customs and rituals do you love?