Posted by: Sarah | February 23, 2012

Leave My Baby Sleeping Outside In The Snow – Are You Kidding?


I’m trying not to make too many of my blog posts baby focused but just recently it has opened my eyes to a whole new side of Norwegian culture that I hadn’t noticed before.

Whilst the support during pregnancy in Norway is pretty limited, you can’t fault the post-natal support.  At the start of January I was invited to join a “Barselgruppe” (Natal Group) at the local health station where they bring lots of new mothers together.  Some are first time mothers (like me) and some are more experienced.

All of the babies are about the same age as Lizzie (latest photo above right) and the whole idea is that it brings people together to share ideas, advice and knowledge.

After the first couple of “arranged” meetings it’s up to the group to organise themselves.  Some meet for coffee, some organise weekly walking tours (right) and others host lunch.  Our group started with 10 mothers and we’ve since adopted a few more – we’re now up to 15 and each week we take it in turns to host lunch.  I’m not sure I have enough plates for that many people when it comes to my turn – I digress.

Back to the topic in hand.  On turning up at the first “Barselstreff” (Natal Meeting), Lizzie and I stumbled through the door to find that there were no babies.  I suddenly thought that I had committed a cultural faux pas and brought baby along when perhaps I shouldn’t have, so I asked where the little ones were.  One of the ladies pointed towards the patio door and said “They’re all sleeping – outside!”.  It was minus 5 degrees and snowing.  I was shocked to the core – what were they thinking?

Apparently, this is pretty normal in Norway.  Wrap the baby up (in wool of course) and let them sleep outside in the cold.  I haven’t done it with Lizzie yet – not sure Eliot would appreciate me experimenting and taking Lizzie home with icicles dangling from her nostrils.

The group has been great though.  Without it I wouldn’t have…

  • discovered Norwegian A-Creme is a fantastic way to get rid of milk rash on a baby’s face
  • realised that my Maxi-Cosi car seat has a hood built into it – that was after I asked someone where they bought their hood…awkward!
  • known that Dr Brown bottles are brilliant for reducing colic trouble
  • found out where all the baby friendly coffee shops are in the area
  • known where to buy the best woollen clothing from and when the sales are on
  • realised that I can let my baby sleep outside – provided she’s clothed properly
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Responses

  1. Hilarious! Occasionally I see strollers parked outside cafes, etc. When I pass, I always look to see if there’s a baby tucked inside… usually there is. And I always always always think, This would NEVER fly in the U.S. Especially in the wintertime. But if it’s worked for the Norwegians this long, I suppose I’d better not question it. :-)

    • You’re right Audrey. I replied to Nelson’s comment…apparently a Norwegian couple were arrested in New York for leaving their baby outside. I don’t think it would fly back home in the UK either – we’re not as trusting over there

  2. Sarah your blog posts are fab, this one made Paul and I chuckle. I’m sure Lizzie will love reading them when she’s older! xx

    • Cheers Clare – glad you guys enjoy them!

  3. I never felt comfortable letting my wee lad sleep outside in the cold (or in the summer actually, I have this fear that a cat, or other wild animal, will snuggle up to him… ) I didn’t even let him sleep outside a cafe, I am obviously a very strange Norwegian, as most other mothers in my ‘barselgruppe’ didn’t even think twice about it!

    Oh – and you had me laughing out loud regarding the hood on the car seat! We had the same cars eat, and I would see other ones with a hood, but I just thought it was an extra, or a different version of the seat, so when we bought the next car seat, and was about to pack the Maxi-Cosi away – that is when I accidentally discovered that hood! (I’ll be taking it out again in September when number 2 is due, so hoping I get plenty of use out of that hood! :-) )

    • Hi Asta – I still feel a bit uncomfortable. Might try it next Wednesday at the barselgruppe. I have a funky little babycall system (designed by a Norwegian) that I can hang in the pram and check the temperature and if Lizzie is kicking off. I’m also very happy to hear that I’m not the only one who thought the hood was a optional extra – it was so funny.

  4. That also caught me unaware the first time I saw it (“OMG, someone forgot their baby out in -5ºC?!”) I guess it makes sense, though; they are basically inside a small slow-going heat stove which has to be warm enough anyway. And they are sleeping. It would be much more troublesome and uncomfortable to take them out and in again.

    What I don’t get is how some people do this in a busy street corner in Grünerløkka with hundreds of passers-by, traffic and trams, on a 5-foot-wide pavement…

    • You’re so right Nelson…I’ve seen prams left outside of cafes. Someone told me that a Norwegian couple got arrested in New York for doing the same over there. They’re so trusting in this country. I just need to remember not to be so ‘relaxed’ when back in the UK

  5. Your comment on Maxi-Cosi made me laugh – we had exactly the same experience – its like you’re not meant to know its there! We live pretty close to Jacobs, next time I go in I have to try to ask for Marmite – thanks for the tip :-)

    • I’ve heard from several folks who found the same thing with the Maxi-Cosi. So glad I’m not the only one.


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