The Wonderful World Of Parenting

At Proud Happy Mama, all approaches to parenting are explored. We are excited to announce that we have recently acquired momsmartnothard.com. This is a great chance to talk about the different approaches to parenting around the world. 

If you have come from momsmartnothard.com, let this act as a warm welcome to the Proud Happy Mama family! 

There are numerous cultural differences and similarities that impact the process of getting pregnant, issues with fertility, and raising a child. It can be fascinating to take a closer look at some of the key differences and beliefs that differ across cultures. 

Pregnancy 

pregnancy

Firstly, some parenting beliefs start from pregnancy. This is due to the various traditions and cultural influences that come into play. 

From the different ways of taking care of yourself when you are pregnant, to the celebrations of fertility and new life, here are some of the ways that each culture approaches pregnancy

Australia

The approach to antenatal care during pregnancy is focused around the mother and their needs above anything else in Australia. This means that the mother is encouraged to be as comfortable as possible building up to the delivery. 

They will be able to speak with health care providers and decide on the right approach for the most comfortable delivery method. For example, mothers can choose whether they would like a team of female doctors, nurses, and midwives present, the amount of support needed, and preferred method. 

Turkey

When a woman announces their pregnancy in Turkey, the celebrations usually wait until after the baby has been born. They are, however, supposed to avoid looking at certain animals such as monkeys, camels, and bears while they are pregnant

Other beliefs that are said to harm the baby’s development include attending a funeral, and chewing gum. Most Turkish cultures avoid these during pregnancy. 

Japan

japan

Buddhist beliefs are a strong influence on Japanese culture. As a result, many pregnant women are encouraged to practice mindfulness through positive thinking, imagery, and listening to music. 

Positivity in general is recommended to Japanese women who are pregnant, as it is believed to help grow a strong, healthy baby. 

China

Another culture with interesting beliefs surrounding pregnancy is China. Glue is believed to cause complications in birthing, alongside many other adhesives. Similarly, hammering nails should be avoided if you are pregnant in China. 

This is believed to lead to deformities in the fetus. Because of this, pregnancy-safe products are highly encouraged. 

Jamaica

In Jamaica, pregnancy is seen as sacred. Because of this, it is believed that an open bible needs to be laid out in the room where the mother delivers the baby. While this isn’t always the case, biblical baby names tend to be preferred as well. Many are decided before the time of delivery. 

Korea

There is a strict order of people that a pregnant mother needs to inform when she becomes pregnant in Korea. Interestingly, the mother-in-law is the first to know. This happens before the husband is informed. 

Pregnant women are also given a small tag which entitles them to priority seating on public transport. Older family members tend to make predictions on the baby’s gender based on the shape of the bump. 

Bali

In Bali, eating octopus while pregnant is believed to lead to a complicated delivery. There are other foods which should be avoided in Bali due to bacteria that can grow on them. These include raw food or anything that has not been thoroughly washed. 

Guatemala

One of the biggest beliefs in Guatemala is that pregnant women are highly susceptible to illnesses, evil spirits, and other people’s ill will. Because of this, many stay at home for the entire nine months to protect themselves. 

This is particularly common in those of Mayan descent, and it allows you to spend more time as a family

Ireland

Similarly, Irish culture states that pregnant women should not enter graveyards. It is believed that their children will be weak, and starve if they did. Other beliefs include if a pregnant women twists their ankle or foot on a grave, their baby will be born with a club foot. 

Keeping yourself grounded is highly recommended as well as avoiding graveyards if possible during pregnancy. 

Italy

In Italian culture, it is believed that everybody must be informed of the pregnancy around the same time. Failure to do so can lead to a mute baby, or one that takes a long time to speak. 

Any gifts to the mother for the baby should also be avoided until they have been safely delivered. Purchasing anything before this is seen as a bad omen, and asking for something to go wrong.

Russia

A traditional belief in Russia is that a pregnancy and delivering the baby will be easier if both the parents reveal the names of previous lovers. Plenty of fresh air is also encouraged during the pregnancy to encourage health and happiness. 

Portugal

In Portugal, pregnant women are entitled to free health checks with their family doctor. Because of this, pregnant women should put their health and wellbeing first. This allows them higher chances of successfully delivering a healthy baby. 

United Kingdom

The baby’s heart rate is believed to predict the gender during pregnancy in the UK. A faster heart rate is said to indicate a girl, while a slower one indicates a boy. 

Mongolia 

In Mongolia, there are slightly higher risks of anemia in pregnant women. Because of this, their health should be prioritized in order to develop a healthy baby to full term. Some beliefs are that two pregnant women should not touch each other, because it can switch the babies’ genders. 

Kenya

Similar to other cultures, it is believed that a pregnant woman in Kenya should not endanger the pregnancy by seeing a dead body. The spirit can harm the process and make the baby unhealthy. Protecting yourself and your baby is essential during pregnancy. 

Germany

There is a list of accepted baby names provided by the German government when you fall pregnant. Parents need a specific reason if they want to deviate from this list, and will need to wait for approval before officially using their chosen name. 

India

It is believed that pregnant women are prone to overheating in India. Because of this, many will eat cooling foods and avoid anything that is too spicy. Milk products, fruits, and vegetables tend to be the foods of choice for pregnant women in India. 

Switzerland

In Switzerland, it is seen as bad luck to tell anybody the name of your baby before giving birth. If you can, try to keep the name a secret until they are born. Most Swiss cultures allow the mother flexibility in terms of their birth plan. This means that there is the choice of planning to deliver at home or in a hospital. 

Cuba

Touching a pregnant woman’s stomach is only permitted by those that the mother trusts in Cuba. This is seen as a protective measure for the baby, and it protects their personal space in general. 

The baby bump is highly personal and there is nothing wrong with stopping people that you don’t know from touching your stomach. Make sure you are creating positive memories with the baby bump and logging them in a journal. 

Birthing

The birthing process itself has many unique approaches depending on the culture that the parents are living in. Here are the different ways that some countries welcome a new life into the world. 

Turkey

A drink known as postpartum sherbet is given to new mothers to generate milk flow and to celebrate the new baby in Turkish cultures. This is made by combining water, red food coloring, cloves, sugar, and cinnamon. 

It is first given to the mother while they are in the hospital, and it is shared with friends during the twenty days after delivery. After this time has passed, the new mom and baby visit the homes of people who have given or sent gifts to them. 

There, they will be presented with a handkerchief that has an egg and candy inside. These are said to symbolize a good-natured, healthy baby. Some hosts will also rub flour on the baby’s hairline and brow to give them a long life. 

Latin America

In Latin America, new mothers go through a forty-day “quarantine” after giving birth. They typically abstain from spicy foods and physical activity. The postpartum belly, which is considered highly vulnerable, is wrapped. The neck and head of new mothers are also kept covered during this period. 

Other female family members and friends tend to help out around the house when needed. This includes cooking and cleaning, and it is a great practice to allow your mind and body the chance to recover from the delivery. Not only that, but you can use this to bond with your baby. 

Ecuador

In Ecuador, it is tradition for parents to speak to the baby while their mother is pregnant, and ask for an easy delivery. After giving birth and bringing the baby home, both parents avoid natural light for 42 days. In this case, the light acts as a symbol of the everyday world. 

By blocking out sunlight using a canopy hung over the bed, both parents are given the chance to heal from the delivery, and create a strong bond with their baby. 

After this process has been completed, the mother will bathe in herbs, milk, and rose petals. This is said to mark their re-entry into the modern world and every day. 

Germany

Interestingly, a baby’s name in Germany needs to be easy to identify their gender. Some of the rules given to new parents by the German government include that a baby cannot be named something that is a surname, or an object. 

In spite of these slightly unusual limits on baby names, new mothers receive special assistance during the first eight weeks of postpartum. This allows them to continue healing and encourage their baby to develop correctly. 

Japan

In many Japanese cultures, new mothers will stay with their parents for the first month after delivery. They will spend the majority of this time in bed, for at least twenty-one days. During this time, friends can visit to eat the celebratory meal of red rice with red beans. 

Crying babies are also encouraged in Japan, and it is believed that the louder the baby, the more likely they are to be healthy and grow faster. 

Bali

The placenta is commonly seen as a living being in Bali, that is similar to a twin sibling of the new baby. Because of this, there are elaborate ceremonies that take place in order to welcome the baby into the world and encourage them to be healthy. 

The placenta is cleaned, wrapped, sealed in a container, and buried. On the other hand, the baby is believed to be celestial. Their feet cannot touch the ground for the first 210 days. 

Netherlands

In the Netherlands, home births are highly popular. Thanks to a great public healthcare system, most new mothers or pregnant women will visit an OB-GYN if they are considered high risk. 

A stuffed stork is placed in the window in a home with a new baby, and visitors can enjoy the traditional snack of biscuits with licorice. 

Brazil

Brazil stands out against other countries and cultural traditions surrounding childbirth, because new mothers are expected to present visitors with a gift. 

The mother typically gives visitors a basket with souvenirs, candy, and a note from the baby to thank them for coming. Dressing the baby in red is believed to ward off bad spirits and attract good luck.

Guyana

On the ninth day after the baby’s arrival, new mothers begin celebrating in Guyana. Family members and friends will bring gifts including candy, money, and gold bangle bracelets for the baby. 

During this day, new mothers will traditionally take their first bath postpartum. In some celebrations, the placenta is burned to represent the separation between child and mother

Finland

The Finish state usually gives new mothers clothes, diapers, bedding, a first aid kit, and more. The box that is comes in can also be used as a crib. Making sure that every baby gets a fair start to their lives has been a priority of Finland since 1930. 

Nigeria

In Nigeria, the baby’s first bath is a highly sacred ritual. This is usually done by the baby’s grandmother, or an aunt or close friend if they are unavailable. It is an indication that the mother is not alone raising this child. 

A belly-flattening massage is typically done on the mother to help her body heal and get back into shape postpartum. This is also done by the baby’s grandmother. There is a bundle of blessings given to the baby on their ninth day if they are a boy, and on the seventh if they are a girl. 

Baby Names

Each country tends to have different baby names that are the most popular. This varies with media influences, generations, and more. However, some of the most common baby names for each country that have consistently occurred are mentioned in this section. 

Although we’ve already mentioned some of the requirements that certain countries place on baby names, there are some which are more common in each country. 

Australia

Although some of the names used in Australia are similar to those that are popular in the United Kingdom, there are a few which are more popular down under. Inspiration from the indigenous language has made names such as Bindi more widespread. 

Other common baby names for girls in Australia include Charlotte, Olivia, Ava, Isla, and Mia. Popular names for baby boys include Noah, Oliver, Jack, William, Henry, and Leo. 

Denmark

Danish culture has often used the names of deceased family members for newborn babies. While this is still traditional in some areas, the most popular baby names in Denmark are Sofia, Ida, Emma, and Alma for girls. Cool boy names in Denmark include Oscar, Lucas, Victor, Noah, and William. 

Ecuador

Thanks to Spanish influences for many centuries, Ecuador has seen a selection of unique baby names for boys and girls. However, some of the most popular names in Ecuador for baby girls are Isabella, Amelia, Sofia, Valentina, and Camila. Boys’ names that are commonly used include Mathias, Benjamin, Santiago, Thiago, and Alejandro. 

Mexico

Similarly, there are plenty of Spanish origins in Mexican baby names. Some of the traditional boy baby names are Leonardo, Matthias, Diego, Gael, and Sebastian. Popular names for baby girls are Isabella, Renata, Victoria, Regina, and Natalia. 

Latin America has some of the strongest influences over baby names. Each has a special place to family members and close friends, that will continue the name for generations in some cases. 

France 

France has been widely recognized for using romantic names inspired by classic literature. Some of the best ones are often seen in baby names for boys and girls. The most popular baby names for girls in France are Mila, Jade, Louise, Lena, and Anna. 

Common names for baby boys in France include Raphael, Lucas, Leo, Louis, and Adam. Some of these originally came from biblical figures. 

India

Some of the most popular names for babies in India have various meanings in traditional languages. Popular names for girls include Diya, Saanvi, Fatima, Prisha, and Ananya. Boy baby names that are popular in Indian culture include Ishaan, Mohammed, Aarav, Siddharth, and Reyansh. 

Turkey

Most popular baby names originally come from commonly used words within the Turkish language. However, Islamic and Arabic origins are also popular in many Turkish families. Some of the most popular boy names for babies in Turkey include Yusuf, Omer, Eymen, and Asaf. Popular girls names are Zeynep, Defne, Elif, and Ebrar. 

Iceland

The rough terrain of this country has inspired many traditional names that are highly unique. However, some of them are actually combinations of other names brought over by other countries and cultures. 

Some of the most popular baby names for girls include Emma, Emilia, Lilja, Sara, and Elisabet. Popular boys’ names in Iceland include Alexander, Jon, Kari, Mikael, and Aron. 

Finland

There are many mythological origins for Finnish baby names, and some can be found in Finnish poetry or literature. Popular baby names for girls include Eevi, Aino, Ella, Sofia, and Venla. Baby boy names that are common in Finland include Eeli, Oliver, Eino, Einas, and Leo. Leo tends to be the name of choice for many cultures when it comes to naming baby boys. 

Italy

Traditionally, Italy’s Roman Catholic roots were the inspiration for many baby names. Saints and prominent figures were highly popular for many years. Many regions of Italy are still looking to Angels and saints for inspiration today. 

However, some of the most popular baby names in Italy for girls nowadays are Sofia, Ginevra, Alice, Aurora, and Guilia. Popular names for boys include Leonardo, Francesco, Alessandro, Lorenzo, and Mattia. Sofia is a highly popular name across European cultures, and it isn’t difficult to understand why. 

New Zealand

Inspiration for names in New Zealand comes from the native language of indigenous people. Some of the English influences have led to a change in the popular names for kiwis. 

There has been an increase in baby girls with the names Harper, Isla, Olivia, Amelia, and Charlotte in New Zealand. Likewise, more baby boys are being named Hunter, George, Leo, Oliver, and Jack. 

Parenting

Now that we’ve explored some of the cultural differences surrounding pregnancy and welcoming a new baby into the world, it’s time to look at how parenting methods differ. 

Each country has a slightly different perspective when it comes to raising children into young adults. This is due to the cultural differences in expectations as well as developmental milestones. 

Finland

Children in elementary school in Finland are likely to get a fifteen-minute break every 45 minutes. Move and play are the focus in lessons, and these children are considered to have some of the best focus of similar aged children in other countries. 

Perhaps regular breaks help motivate children to focus in lessons a little better. They have something to look forward to, and are able to move their bodies without causing a disruption. 

Italy

In Italy, children are encouraged to eat and drink the same things as older family members at the dinner table. Tasting a little wine at the table with adult supervision can help older children feel more sophisticated and trusted. 

This can be a useful method of building bonds with your older children and preventing excessive drinking when they reach the legal age. The laws in Europe have different policies regarding underage drinking with a meal or at a table with adult supervision. 

France

Likewise, French culture encourages young adults to savor the taste of their meal and the accompanied wine. Children are taught to eat every bite slowly, and they gradually expand their palate with the introduction of unique flavor combinations over time. 

This is believed to teach patience from a young age, and consideration over others. Most young children will want to leave the table as soon as they have finished eating. 

However, French children are taught the importance of spending time together appreciating every bite. Most cannot leave until everybody has finished eating, which is why they will be more patient than children from other cultures. 

Sweden

Parents in Sweden do not practice spanking. This was banned in 1979, and Swedish parents today are the first generation who were raised without corporal punishment. 

As a result of this, some of the country’s principles taught at a young age are that everybody is equal. Children are shown how to express their views, and that they have a voice just as much as adults do. 

Parents value their child’s input, and include them in big decisions. By offering children more respect than usual, they are given the chance to explore their own opinions and appreciate that they have a valuable input.  

China

The main difference that Chinese parenting methods have is that children are potty-trained very early on in their lives. They can be expected to be fully capable of using the toilet independently by age two, and there is far less reliance on diapers than the rest of the world. 

Chinese parents also teach their children the importance of respect towards their elders from a very young age. 

Japan

Independence plays a huge role in parenting in Japanese cultures. As a result, children as young as six years old have been known to have basic responsibilities. 

These include sweeping the floor in their living area, and using public transport to get to the grocery store to run errands. They are taught to maintain harmony within the home and to practice self-discipline. 

However, most Japanese children are taught from birth that they are loved unconditionally. This is due to the co-sleeping and regularly having their needs met. This typically happens until around the age of four, when the child is expected to achieve basic sets of tasks. 

Nigeria

In Nigeria, parenting is also focused around obedience to authority in general. This is reinforced with affection, and plenty of explanation around a particular discipline method. In turn, this can result in highly respectful adults. 

Reciprocal dialogue and care in general are also used in Nigerian parenting methods. The motivation is to achieve a balance between a stern approach and meeting a particular child’s’ needs. 

Vietnam

Vietnam is another country that begins potty training their children at a very young age. It is often done in accompaniment with a whistle or another specific sound. 

Many Vietnamese children begin potty training at around nine months old, and they can be expected to use the toilet completely independently without the whistle sound by the age of two years old. 

Kenya

In Kenya, infants spend most of their time being carried or attached to a parent using a baby carrier. Despite the exposure that these babies get to the world, their cries are usually ignored. 

The principle behind this is that they need to learn how to regulate their own emotions. Similarly, children are not given eye contact when they are being carried. Eye contact is believed to send a message to the baby that they are in charge. 

Because this isn’t the message that we want to give them, many Kenyans avoid giving their baby direct eye contact for prolonged periods of time. 

Denmark

Another cultural difference when it comes to parenting can be seen in Denmark. It is common for Danish parents to leave their children in strollers outside the grocery store. 

This approach is believed to boost their immune system and create healthy children. Babies napping in the outdoors, even unattended, is not uncommon in most Scandinavian countries. Baby monitors are often used to check on them and get them if they are being fussy. 

In addition to this, Denmark is known for focusing on happy parenting. This means emphasizing the role of family time and togetherness. Nurturing empathy is a common focus for Danish parents, rather than focusing on the individual. 

Summary

There is a significant amount of variety when it comes to parenting methods. Each culture has an interesting approach to pregnancy, the delivery process, naming their baby, and raising them into fully functioning adults. 

We feel that this contributes to the significant variation that exists in populations around the world. The diversity of each area should be celebrated, and there are so many unique names with their own meaning to explore. 

Make sure you check out some of the links to see more about how you can approach parenting. Whether you are caring for teenagers who are pushing your buttons, or if you are looking for a more compassionate point of view, remember you are not alone. 

Bringing a child into the world and raising them is one of the best things you can do. Remember to teach them plenty of values and key skills so that they are strong enough to become independent adults in later life.