Swedish babies nap outside in freezing temperatures babycenter blog gas bloating back pain

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When my first child was just one month old, I took her out in the dead of winter in our wooden sled. She fell asleep immediately, bundled up stiffly in her puffy snowsuit, and stayed asleep, even after I brought her back inside and put her on a pillow, for hours.

A brand new mom, I was tempted to leave her in the sled pulled up onto our porch, but didn’t dare. My husband, whose former girlfriend happens to be Swedish, I know, told me that Swede parents often put their babies outside to sleep on even the coldest of winter days.

It seems my husband wasn’t kidding. According to the BBC News Magazine, many “Nordic parents,” including those parents from northern Europe, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark, swear by the fortifying effects of brisk, even frigid, air on the general health and well being of babies.

“Nowadays most day-care centres in Sweden put children outside to rest. It’s common to see rows of prams lined up in the snow at nap-time, with youngsters fast asleep inside.At Forskolan Orren, a pre-school outside Stockholm, all children sleep outside until they reach the age of three.”

“I think it’s good for them to be in the fresh air as soon as possible,” says Lisa Mardon, a mother-of-three from Stockholm, who works for a food distribution company.”Especially in the winter when there’s lots of diseases going around… the kids seem healthier.”Her children have been sleeping outside since they were born.

My son was not 40 days old when my pediatritian told me, in the dead of winter,that I should take him out for 3 hours every day. I thought she was crazy, since I was breastfeeding every 2 hours and where would-I ever find 3 hours to take him for a 3 hour stride in his pram? She kept insisting and told me that, since he had icterus (jaundice) when he was born, he needed all the light and sun he could get. She also explained that babies have higher temperature than we do by a few degrees, so they suffer more from heat than from cold. After a few days, I got convinced so we started long promenades outside, twice a day, every day, unless it was raining. Usually I would walk for 3 minutes and he would fall asleep, all cocooned in his pram. It was one of the coldest january we had had for years.

My son is now 3 and I think this is one of the best advice my pediatritian ever gave me. My son tolerates cold very well, he rarely gets sick, when he gets sick he rarely gets fever, he has never had antibiotics until now, he loves to go outside, is strong and tall for his age, and all those walks have had their role in awakening his curiosity. And, resting in a park bench while he would nap in his pram, was the best part of those tiring first months for me. Plus I shed all pregnancy weight by walking around pushing a pram for 3 hours every day…

Wow, I think this is a great idea for my 5 month old. I am living in Guatemala, Central America where the ideas are so different. Here they think that cold is bad, and that when the sun goes down the “neblina” or dew is the worst thing for a baby, so basically babies don’t get to breath any fresh air whatsoever. I am american, married to a guatemalan raising our baby here, so my views are so different than everyone’s here. I open the windows and let the fresh air in, and I like to go for walks even when it is cold and my baby has had one cold in his whole life and it only lasted a few days. The sad thing is that here, so many babies get sick and stay sick and the people believe it is because of the cold air, but I think it is the lack of fresh air and sunshine! Even on the pacific coast, people bundle their babies up, and it is so hot, you should see the baby sweating and crying, but they say the dew is going to be bad for them and they will get sick. But there is no talking sense into them. It’s a lost cause. I just do what I feel is right for my baby, and he is very healthy! I would love to take me to Sweden where I could let him rest in the cold air and get a nice long nap in peace, I know I sleep better like that. Thanks for the post, it was very interesting and true!