Leave your baby outside please | Welcome to Norway

Source: "The Social Guidebook to Norway"

During my first winter in Norway

I saw a baby left outside on a cold winter day

I stopped

I looked all around nervously

The parents were nowhere to be found

A small baby was left alone on the sidewalk

He was less than a year old

As I was approaching to see if it was still alive

Two women came out of the coffee shop next door

One looked at me suspiciously 

She did not smile nor said anything

She came closer

She looked at the baby

She then took the stroller with the baby inside

And walked away

Without saying anything

I did not know what to do

I assumed it was the mother

I stayed there looking at the woman walking away with the baby

Did she really leave her baby outside while having a coffee with her friend?

I called my own mother to tell her the story

She smiled and said that my grandmother did the same with her when she was a baby

It was common long ago in Canada to leave babies outside unattended

My grandmother said that it was good for them to breath fresh air

My mother said she would have liked to do the same with my brother and I

But it felt unsafe in Canada at the time I was born and the tradition stopped

Norway is a safe country

With a high level of trust

It is a place where babies can get used to the winter realities from the very start

Where they can get used to enjoying being alone

In the cold and in the dark

This is good as Norwegian winters are rather cold and dark

Half of the country is plunged into darkness for several months

With temperature below 0C for half the year

If you see a baby left outside in the cold

This is normal

The mother or father are probably next door

Nothing will happen to it

And it will grow up to become a strong Norwegian 

Norwegians love physical pain and suffering

Babies need to get used to it early

Norwegians just leave them outside under freezing temperature


Read more about our amazing Norwegian friends in Our Social Guidebooks to Norway 



By Julien S. Bourrelle

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