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