When I came to Serbia so many years ago, I was in awe of the different traditions. Having wet hair and going out in any weather is inviting death as well as opening two windows at once that will bring the dreaded draft or promaja.
Enter the Bumbo Seat (Used worldwide…. but probably not in the Balkans) An infant seat that looks like it should be used in Bars from drunks who tend to fall off their stools. But then, babies are like little drunks. Think about it! They pee themselves, spill their drinks, vomit without warning, and there is no reasoning with them.
A month or so after my entrance to the Balkans I was taken by surprise. Visiting a friend who is a nurse in Serbia she fretted a bit when I sat her infant on my lap. She told me, Babies must not sit up or their hips can be damaged. I was so shocked. I had never heard this before. Not to mention, I had lots of experience in caring for infants from birth and none of them had ever had hip problems.
I questioned myself for a while wondering if I had lost my marbles and maybe this was a thing in the west and I was just unaware. But no, that wasn’t the case. And in fact, they have seats called Bumbo made specifically for babies to sit in. !!! For real! Here is proof!
The hip problem is such a worry that mothers put a clothe wrap around the diaper that serves as a little brace to keep the babies hips secure. That is worn til they are 6 months old.
NEW INFO!!! added 3/10/15 a day after the initial posting.
Here is the reason for the care of Serbian baby hips, and it is all in regional genetics. I had pondered this so many times.Finally answer that makes sense!
A kind reader was generous to share this info with me!
Former Yugoslavia had the second highest incidence of dysplasia of the hip in the world. It’s most probably genetic. Almost 10% of all babies in the 1970’s had hip dysplasia, mostly girls, so people are quite freaked out about it. It was not until the mandatory sonograms were introduced that this number was reduced.
Here is an online bit of research I found after having that helpful comment.
That was probably my first shock concerning what is thought to keep babies healthy here in Serbia. The next one came along not too long after.
I will write about that one soon!