Friday, June 08, 2007

Parenting in Other Countries

There’s a fascinating article on the web site called "Mommy, Mama, Mutter: Motherhood Around the World," by Connie Matthiessen. It’s loaded with interesting trivia about pregnancy and parenting in various countries. Here are some of my favorite highlights:

China: Many Chinese believe that exposure to cell phones, microwaves and computers can cause miscarriage or birth defects, so many pregnant women wear “antiradiation vests” to protect their babies. Many expectant mothers also refrain from using their cell phones until the baby is born!

Sweden: Swedes believe that nursing moms should warm their breasts to prevent blocked ducts and increase milk flow, so they sell a product called a “breast warmer,” which can be stuffed into the bra to hold in the body’s heat.

Mexico: In Mexico and some Latin American countries, they believe that if you don’t indulge in a food that you’re craving, your baby will have a birthmark shaped like that food!

India: The proper way for women in rural India to let their elders know they are pregnant is by asking for tangy and sour foods, like raw mangoes and tamarinds.

Switzerland: Many Swiss believe it’s bad luck to announce your child’s name before the birth.

Canada: Working mothers get a year’s leave after having a baby, as well as 55 percent of their salary during maternity leave. Fathers are also allowed 37 weeks of parental leave.

Panama and El Salvador: Many Latin American countries have a "quarentina," during which a new mother is well taken care of by family members during the first 40 days after the baby is born. The mother or mother-in-law will do all the chores and cooking so the new mother can rest and take care of the baby.

Susan M. Heim is the author of Oh, Baby! 7 Ways a Baby Will Change Your Life the First Year.


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