Old wives tales and Baby Traditions and beliefs in Serbia
Reposted from my old blog Chronicles of Serbia at Blogspot with a few added comments.
All of these were told to me, by my native Serbian friends, feel free to correct anything that my be different in your region. I love to hear variations!
A red string is tied around the babies wrist to ward off sickness as well as at least one item of inside out clothing, usually underwear.
Babies are kept inside for a little while because too many people looking cause them to get sick. This idea is not only for babies, but infants seem to be the most vulnerable.
I have been the victim of this kind of thought as well. I got sick after a wedding and my mother in law and her friend wanted to make sure I wasn’t under the influence of the evil eye. They thought too many people were looking at me because I was an American. They were inclined to put a hot coal straight out of the fire in a cup of water and touch my forehead with the water. My husband put a stop to this when I started freaking out. We had a good time calling his mom a “witch doctor” for a few weeks after that.
Epidurals are thought to be dangerous, and not good for labor. I assure people I talk with that is not true. I have had two. One for a knee surgery and one for the delivery of my little girl. I could still tell when to push. Millions of babies are delivered this way. It is completely safe.
Things believed to help you have healthier babies:
Sitting on the ground, or walking barefoot could ruin your eggs so these things should be avoided. I am guilty of both of these things, I love to walk barefoot, inside and out. and my mother in law has a fit! She loves me and want the best for us, and I love her for it. It is a nuisance sometimes though. I don’t want to wear shoes or papuche (slippers) all the time. And at the ripe old age of 40, after years of not following these rules I was blessed with a healthy baby girl.
It is also believed that babies should not be sat up before they are 6 months old. They think it can ruin the hips, but here it is encouraged. Babies all over Yugoslavia are subject to wearing hip braces for a while to keep their hips from developing problems. When I tell my Serbian friends that we always sit our babies up, from birth, many of my friends were shocked.
I was startled by many of the beliefs, but enjoy learning about them. it is really fascinating. Not long ago I watched a movie call “Babies”. Watch the Trailer here. This is more of a documentary movie that follows 4 babies for one year world-wide. The babies are from Japan, Mongolia, San Francisco, USA, and Africa. It was interesting to see what is acceptable world-wide and refreshing to see how resilient babies are. Ironically, the scariest thing I saw was in San Francisco.
I would love to hear from you on this subject. It is fascinating to me! Well pretty much all customs and beliefs world-wide are. It is the Social Scientist in me.
Fascinating stuff! Doesn’t Madonna wander around with a red string tied around her wrist too? I am amazed by how even medical attitude changes throughout the world- vaccinations and when we were supposed to start solid foods all changed according to where my babies were born. I ended up telling everyone to bog off and followed my own instinct 🙂 What’s the take on home birth in Serbia? I gave birth at home twice, and the French and Amercians all thought I was off my box.
Not sure about Madonna, but I have seen it in the Indonesian, Thai, and Haitian cultures. I think it is quite common internationally. what is “right” for babies changes so much internationally. I have the same attitude. I just say, “We don’t think the same.” or if I am really feeling ornery, I tell them the earth is round. most often that is reserved for the husband. Not sure about home birth here. But I doubt it is common. I know in the U.S. it is most common on the west coast where people have open minds. I am all about no pain. If I were to do it again,(Please God, no!) I would go for the epidural..