Global Traditions for Welcoming Your Baby Home


Your new baby won’t remember the hoopla surrounding his birth, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate in style. Whether you’re planning a big party or simply a gathering of immediate family, the day will mean a lot to both you and your partner. Read on to learn how new moms and dads around the world celebrate their newest additions.

U.S.: Traditional baby showers are still common, but "Sip and Sees" are on the upswing. Modern new moms looking to liven up a ladies-only afternoon are embracing these post-birth, coed cocktail parties where the focus is where it should be -- on oohing and cooing over the new baby.

Latin America: To protect a new baby from the evil eye, or mal de ojo, many Latinos give their baby a red or pink bracelet to wear, sometimes with a black charm in the shape of a fist. The charm is thought to bring good luck. If you choose to copy this tradition, don’t let your newborn wear the charm without supervision, as it could be a choking hazard.

France: The French often give a new baby a middle name that honors a grandparent. What's so unique about that? The names don't have to be baby-gender specific, so there are little Lucas Maries and Sophie Georges walking around Paris. In Germany, however, the name game is different. The German government has a list of approved names that new moms have to choose from. If your heart is set on, say, Apple or Rain, you’ll have to file for an exception, giving a good reason.

Poland: Polish moms really luck out: Instead of flowers or balloons being sent to the hospital, they receive lots of food, including delicacies like Polish doughnuts and kabanosy (smoked sausage).

Russia: Russian maternity wards don’t allow visitors -- not even Dad. Instead, a midwife presents the baby to relatives just outside the hospital room. Everyone else waits to meet the new baby at the Christening or next big holiday gathering. Down in
, however, guests come in droves to meet the baby, and the new mom often provides each well-wisher a goody bag.

Japan: New baby gifts given before the birth often have something to do with dogs, which are thought to be harbingers of easy deliveries. And after the umbilical cord falls off, it's saved in a wooden box called a heso.

No matter how you choose to celebrate your new baby, do keep a camera handy. The photographs will provide fun memories for you and a neat way for your child to look back on the fun way you welcomed him to the world. 

by Christina Vercelletto