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How are Births Celebrated Around the World

The birth of a baby is a momentous occasion for any family. In some cultures there is a lot of support for the mother prior to, during and after birth (the postpartum period). The concept of a baby moon or something similar is still practiced in many cultures where the mother is supported by those around her for at least the first 21 days post birth but often up to a month. The general idea is that mothers and babies need time to recover from the birth itself and rest and bond without having to worry about cooking or cleaning!

Sadly, this period of rest revered by many cultures has been forgotten in many countries. Indeed in some countries there isn't even any funded maternity leave. People travel more and move away from their homes and extended families; so that when it comes time to birth their own families there is often a poor support network. In many countries, prior to a baby's birth, friends and families offer gifts at a baby shower. These events often involve games and stories about the baby and mother.

A blessingway is a form of celebration too but focuses on the mother and baby and preparing them for a calm birthing experience. Honour is given to all the mothers who have birthed before them and beads or tokens are gifted to the mother. A necklace or hanging is often created from these beads to remind the birth mother of the support she has from all her friends for a safe birth.

At a blessingway it is customary to organise a roster of meals so that all guests contribute a meal or meals for the entire family for the first few days or weeks following birth to allow the new family to rest.

Following the birth different cultures treat the placenta and umbilical cord in very different ways. In some they are quickly removed from the baby and mother and discarded as medical waste. In others the cord is left attached, until it seals and falls away naturally, and the placenta preserved in what is termed a Lotus birth. In many cultures, including New Zealand, the placenta is often buried near a tree or even has one planted over it.

There are a variety of post birth traditions practiced in different countries, here are just a few more:

- In Finland the government supplies a baby box full of clothes and supplies to all new mothers regardless of financial status, the box even doubles as a first crib or cot.

- In Holland more than 50% of babies are born at home; it is encouraged and all mothers receive a homebirth kit and a home/baby care nurse for 7 days post birth.

- Japan encourages new mothers to stay in hospital for 5 days post vaginal birth and 10 days after a caesarean. Then mother and baby usually go to stay with her mother for 21 days for support and to be cared for.

- In Turkey new mothers and their babies are encouraged to stay home for 20 days for rest, and then visitors come with gifts.

- In Bali, babies are not allowed to touch the ground for the first 3 months and are carried everywhere - no tummy time!

- In China and Vietnam they observe a 'sitting month' where new mothers stay home with their babies and relax in their pyjamas.

- In Pakistan, the baby's hair is shaved or cut at 7 days old, the hair is weighed and the equivalent weight in gold, silver or cash must be donated to charity.

- In Britain, 'wetting the baby's head' is where the new father and his friends go the local pub for a few beers to celebrate the birth.

No matter where you come from, the birth of a child is a joyous occasion, one to be celebrated by friends and family. It is quite common for people to send flowers or a gift basket to the new parents. Usually a blue theme for boys and pink theme for girls. Contact Gails Floral Studio in New Zealand (NZ), a Hamilton florist who creates the most stunning new baby gift baskets in Hamilton NZ.

Gails Floral Studio have a stunning range of flowers that celebrate new mothers in Hamilton & the whole of NZ. Choose flowers with chocolates, a teddy and/or balloon, and gifts for mother and baby, all presented in a pretty gift basket with ribbons for that perfect baby celebration gift. Visit Gails Floral Studio at www.gails.co.nz to find your perfect floral celebration!

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