In all countries and cultures there are different beliefs, customs and rituals around babies, their birth and their upbringing.
Many are similar to each other, others can impress those who do not belong to that particular culture that practices a certain tradition, but they all have a common goal, to protect the baby.
Babies – Superstition and Symbolism
If the pregnant woman’s belly is pointed it is because she is going to have a child but if it is round it is because a girl is coming.
This belief occurs the other way around according to some countries. Pregnant women should not cross their feet or their legs when sitting down so as not to harm the child.
If the future mother wants to eat some food, she should eat it immediately to prevent the baby from being born with a spot on the skin in the shape of that food.
Planting parsley helps to get pregnant. The odd days with the moon in the last quarter favor the conception of a child. Even days with a full moon, that of a girl.
In Nicaragua, grandmothers test the mother to find out the sex of the baby. They take a knife and a spoon and put each one on a chair. They cover them with a cloth so they cannot be seen and ask the pregnant woman to sit in one of the chairs. If she sits on the one with the knife, she will be male. If she sits on the one with the spoon, she will be a girl.
The pendulum theory. Thread a needle with a thread and hold it down like a pendulum. If the needle moves in circles, it will be a boy. If it moves back and forth, forming a line, it will be a girl.
According to some beliefs, to have a girl it is necessary to avoid eating bananas. Girls are easier to give birth to than boys. The delivery of children always takes longer according to some beliefs.
Many cultures agree that passing lottery tickets through the belly of pregnant women is lucky. Announcing pregnancy or buying items for the baby before 3 months brings bad luck. Perhaps it is related to the sensitivity of the first trimester of pregnancy.
The time at which the baby is conceived is also decisive according to some myths to know if he will be a boy or a girl.
So if the parents conceived the baby during the nap, it will be a girl. If the mother has many spots on her face, according to some beliefs, it means that the baby will be a girl.
If the future mother eats meat during pregnancy, the baby will be stubborn. The mother has to carry out a healthy and careful diet during pregnancy, but there is no scientific reason that associates the consumption of meat with the size of the baby’s head.
The woman who is in the puerperium period (after childbirth) and breastfeeding should not bathe. Nothing is further from reality. The mother must have a careful hygiene for the sake of herself and the baby.
When you are pregnant you should eat twice as much. The pregnant woman must take care of her feeding and not gain too much weight because it could be harmful not only for her but also for her baby. If you conceive your baby with a full moon it will be a girl and with a waxing or waning moon it will be a boy.
The beliefs regarding the moon and gestation are various, there are even those who maintain that when there is a full moon, deliveries and births grow earlier.
In some places in Latin America, they warn that if they do not eat a lot of fruit, the baby will come out dirty.
To know the sex of the baby, a legend says that you have to drop a coin from the neck down into the dress of the future mother and observe how she falls to the ground. If she is heads she will be a boy and if she is tails she will be a girl.
A pregnant woman should not cut her hair because it brings bad luck and loses vitality, according to some superstitions. The pregnant woman should not stay on the threshold of a door for a long time because she puts the baby at risk. It could be explained by the currents that can make the future mother sick.
According to some beliefs, the consumption of cod during lactation helps to raise the milk and the best of it improves by eating sweet ham. In Mexico there is a belief that eating eggs can make the baby smell bad.
In Chinese popular culture it is recommended that pregnant women not eat crab because it could make the child naughty or have 11 fingers.
The pregnant woman cannot do sports. This is one of the superstitions related to pregnancy and it is false. Sport is recommended and favors the healthy development of pregnancy and childbirth.
The pregnant woman cannot dye her hair. It is not true although it is necessary to observe that the dye does not have a series of ingredients such as lead acetate, ammonia or any derivative of petroleum, something that you can also avoid even if you are not in condition.
Getting Baby Stuff Early – Good or Bad luck
And it is that our instinct for protection has developed culturally in different ways, over centuries of learning, shaping unique traditions established in different cultures around the world. Do you want to know them?
For the Japanese, co-sleeping is the most normal thing in the world. In fact, sons and daughters often sleep with their parents for much of their childhood, until the little one decides to have more privacy.
Moreover, from the age of 5, if there are grandparents in the home, it is considered a sign of respect that they sleep with them.
In fact, despite the fact that Europe is just beginning to talk about it, co-sleeping is a very widespread practice in the world.
For example, in most Latin American countries it is practiced on a regular basis. The reason is that sleeping with babies is considered a natural way of protecting themselves.
The gift that the government gives pregnant women in Finland is world famous: a cardboard box full of objects necessary for raising the baby in the first months. Creams, diapers, clothes and blankets, all of good quality, are included in the box.
But the most striking thing is that the cardboard box has a mattress at its bottom, since it serves as the baby’s first crib. These boxes have become a tradition in the Nordic country, which since the 30s of the 20th century, began to be distributed to all Nordic households to counteract infant mortality.
The reason for the box is that co-sleeping was common among Nordic families, and government recommendations at the time requested that the baby sleep separately from the parents, as it was considered safer for the same.
In some Mexican regions it is considered that there are people who are capable of ‘keeping an eye’ on babies simply with their gaze.
There is a belief that they are people who emanate a lot of heat, a lot of negative energy, so much so that babies can absorb it, which is why they end up having serious episodes of uncontrolled crying.
To protect them, they are usually put on an amber bracelet or a red ribbon when they go out on the street or are going to have contact with other people, but if this does not work, an egg smeared in a rue and / or basil ointment is passed to them. All over the body to remove the evil eye.
Perhaps the egg is only a Mexican aspect, but in all this ritual there is a common aspect in several cultures: in many countries, from America to Asia, red is considered a symbol of protection for babies, so it is normal have a red ribbon or similar put on them.
Although it is common for many parents to shave the head of their babies because they think that this will make their hair grow stronger, in India it is a tradition. Hindus living in the Asian country shave the heads of newborns to eliminate bad luck accumulated in past life karma.
In other countries there are also traditions and rituals around the shaving of the head of babies, such as in Malaysia, where a shaving ritual is done with kefir files to find out how the baby will behave in his life.
In Ireland there is a tradition of saving a piece of the wedding cake until the couple has a baby. Yes, even if years and years go by. At the christening of the long-awaited baby, a little cake is sprinkled on the baby’s forehead to bring him good luck.
There is a tradition in the town of Castillo, in Burgos, in which babies born in the last year are blessed. In this unique tradition, men dressed as devils jump on babies to free them from original sin and ensure that they will have a safe life.
Interestingly, there is a belief in Chiapas, Mexico, that women regulating can give babies ‘warmth’. Therefore, when a woman who is menstruating visits a baby, she must jump over it making the symbol of a cross.
A very curious tradition regarding the care of children is that of the African country. In the Songo tribe of northern Angola, parents raise their children until they are 5 or 6 years of age, at which point they are taken over by the mother’s uncles. The reason is that the position of the chiefs is inherited from the maternal lineage.
In some European countries, porting is recovering, but in reality this is an ancient custom in almost all regions of the world. For example, in the Andes, babies are carried on a blanket close to the body, swaddled from head to toe.
Although the subject of bandaging babies may seem a somewhat crude custom, in reality in Spain and other European countries it was very common until well into the last century.
Interestingly, in the case of the inhabitants of the Andes, some studies consider that this special bandage protects babies from the stress of extreme weather conditions such as cold or altitude.
In any case, what we are interested in highlighting is carrying, a natural tradition in most American countries, from south to north, and in many Asian and African countries.
I understand that buying clothes for the baby ahead of time – especially when it is very early – can be uncomfortable and sad for anything that happens, because saving everything can mean great pain.