After all the trials of pregnancy and labor, a couple is left with a brand new person they’re suddenly responsible for. Without any kind of manual or tutor, they’re responsible for making sure they don’t kill the tiny delicate creature they’ve been entrusted with. They also have to do their best to raise their baby to become a productive member of society. That’s a bit of a scary prospect, considering that they’re barely productive members of society themselves most times.
Pregnancy and New Baby Lore (FA 01 45)
One grandmother told her granddaughter that picking up her child when it cried would spoil it, and she should only pick it up when it wasn’t crying as a sort of reward. She also claimed that babies will naturally fall into a schedule without prompting. Some lore of that nature appears to encourage a sort of neglect of infants. Likewise, tickling is discouraged as a precursor to stuttering, and women should never attempt to correct thinness with over feeding.
The only advice that appears to encourage parents to interact with their children more is the constant repetition that reading to children is the most important way to ensure that they become educated.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or ‘crib death,’ has been terrifying occurrence for as long as lore has been around. Scientists still don’t know what causes it or how to prevent it. According to lore, New Zealand, has a lower rate of crib death due to their tradition of laying infants on sheep skins. This isn’t a safe practice, as many sheep skins contain arsenic. Honey has also been blamed for crib death, though it actually is the instigator of a completely unrelated killer of infants, called botulism. To avoid contracting botulism, infants should not be fed honey within the first year of their life.
Pregnancy and New Baby Lore (FA 01 684)
The full moon appears over and over in folklore. Human beings are fascinated by huge glowing orbs, hanging, unsupported in the sky, and can’t help but lend them supernatural properties. Some nurses claim that the hospital nurseries are fullest during a full moon. There is no statistical proof that the moon has any effect, but it’s a romantic notion.
A less romantic notion regards the inception of colic in a baby’s system. Some tellers of lore blame the colic on mothers who put their hands in cold water before nursing.
Baby Folklore (FA 01 1075)
Some women think that babies recognize the theme song of their mother’s favorite show if she watches it continually during her pregnancy. After birth, that theme song will calm the baby, or at least will relax the mom as she watches it without guilt.
According to some lore, a pregnant woman who sees a cripple during her pregnancy will give birth to a crippled baby. There is no indication of things that women might have done to prevent this outcome, so it’s probably more of a story used to shift blame when a baby comes out physically imperfect.
Baby Folk Beliefs (FA 01 2208)
Much folklore is dedicated to making parents less obnoxiously over attentive. Several pieces of lore come from older mothers, telling younger mothers that picking up a baby when it is crying makes it spoiled and dependent or that there is not actual purpose behind patting a baby’s back before burping. The baby will naturally release any gas it has. While not always true, the sentiment might relax some especially frantic mothers.
Other folklore is dedicated to passing on remedies to common ailments. Croup, a sort of deep chested cough, may be alleviated by the introduction of cold air. One woman suggested sticking an ill baby’s face in the open freezer and allowing it to breathe the cold air. Other ways of lessening the cough deal with medicine. A baby with ‘croup’ can be aided by putting a pan of boiling water with ‘mentholatum’ dissolved in it in the baby’s room. Mentholatum is not safe for children to ingest though, so mothers attempting to use it should be very careful.
A baby with an upset stomach should be fed an entire bottle of lukewarm water to settle its stomach and allow it to sleep. Earaches can be cured with onion juice dropped directly in the ear. If a baby has hiccups, the cure is a pacifier dipped in sugar. Unfortunately, sugar is not a good thing to feed babies, so though it’s a good remedy, it shouldn’t be used unless it’s a last resort. Too much sugar can cause tooth decay and sugar addiction.
Laying a colicky baby on its stomach on the running dryer will help it feel better, but the baby must be watched carefully in such a precarious position.