So far, I’ve started 2016 with a week of the flu, followed by a week of pneumonia, which I’m still currently nursing. This means I’ve been in the office exactly 1.75 days this year and inside my 500 square foot apartment for about 8.25…and counting. It’s freezing outside, and I barely have the energy to walk from one end of my apartment to the other, much less go outside, but I sure do miss the fresh air. I realized that what I really wanted was to be a Swedish baby, bundled up in a snowsuit/sleeping bag and left outside in the cold, fresh air to take a nap in a stroller.
The few times I have visited Sven’s family in the winter, I’ve noticed that my brother and sister in law would leave their babies outside in the backyard for their daily naps. I always thought it was weird. What’s up with Swedish people and leaving their kids in subzero temperatures? Would their noses or lips freeze? Would a reindeer or moose try to mess with them? Would they wake up cold and alone and start freaking out?
Of course not, according to Sven. This is totally normal, and it’s how he and his siblings took naps when they were babies. Apparently, this is also a widely-known concept on the parenting blogs because I thought it would be rather difficult to find an image for this post, but it wasn’t. At all. Just Google “Swedish Babies Sleep Outside” or replace “Swedish” with “Norwegian,” “Danish,” or “Scandinavian.” There are lots and lots and lots of articles about it, like this one from BBC News:
“Would you put your baby or toddler outside in the freezing cold for their lunchtime nap? Most Nordic parents wouldn’t give it a second thought. For them it’s part of their daily routine. Daytime temperatures this winter in Stockholm have regularly dropped to -5C (23F) but it’s still common to see children left outside by their parents for a sleep in the pram [stroller]. Wander through the snowy city and you’ll see buggies lined up outside coffee shops while parents sip on lattes inside. And if you are visiting friends and your child needs a nap, you may be offered the garden or balcony instead of a bedroom.”
The article goes on to say that it’s common practice at day care centers until the age of three, and they draw the line at -20C (-4F). The thinking is that the babies benefit from the fresh air, sleep better (perhaps due to the isolation and restriction of movement inside the sleeping bags) and less time indoors with other children who are basically walking germ bombs.
This actually all makes sense to me since this is probably the longest stretch of time I’ve spent indoors in a long time, the air starts to feel very stale, no matter how many windows I have open. It’s also been tough to sleep since the dry, stale air inevitably forces me to wake up in a coughing fit. (Though, that’s probably more the pneumonia.)
Let’s just say I’m thinking that maybe this should be a thing for adults, too…
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