Cultural: Small things, part 3
I had two of them while in Poland and three before we came (total - 5). So, I was kind of an experienced, though of course, there are women who are far more experienced than I ever was. However...
We were told that holding the baby by bending him/her in the middle would cause spinal damage. Sorry kids.
They lay them flat in a buggy type stroller and the kids just lie there-- (mine hated being "flat" like that - they wanted to see)! Their babies seem to be more passive than any of mine were.
Oh, and those buggy type strollers - when I was looking they cost about $300-$500 each. I was in shock as to how expensive they were. At that time, I didn't know how to find a used one. Everyone figured we Americans were "rich" anyway, so no one offered to give us an old one. We went without. But here's a picture of a typical one. Big tires help go through all types of terrain.
The wrap babies up like a cocoon. Many babies look like they would suffer heat stroke - as they seem to keep them in many more layers than I ever did - even when it is warm outside. When going into a person's house or apartment who has a newborn, you must be prepared to be quite warm. They think it must be ....hot. It is the rare young mother who thinks differently.
When going outside in the sun, often they have a cute umbrella attached to the stroller.
Often moms take their babies for afternoon walks. It is the American equivalent of putting the baby in a car seat and driving around - as it seems to be the baby's nap time. (This does have the positive effect of letting the mom get exercise and out of the house - but this is difficult to do if it is child number. 2 or 3 - not so hard with number 1)
When Mike held our babies in a typical "football hold", they were very concerned. We assured them it was very safe.
When I was in the hospital with my fifth child, my first meal after Daniel was born was milk soup, hot watered down cocoa - tasted more like hot milk than anything resembling chocolate, white cheese which is farmer's cheese, and some not really soft bread. No veggies, no juice, nothing like that. It was pretty awful since I hate hot milk and I am lactose intolerant. I had missed breakfast (labor) and 'dinner' since I delivered just at the time when they served it.
But I won't complain. My husband brought me some good stuff to help round out the hospital's diet - plus I wasn't there very long. And in 1997 it only cost $12 for the delivery and a 2 day stay. For that price, I could provide my own diapers, medicine, needles, and food.
People felt very free to tell me what I was doing wrong with my babies. It was humorous since they were numbers 4 and 5 - not 1 and 2. Come to think of it, it wasn't always humorous!
The birth rate in Poland is less than 2 per couple, so our 5 was an anomaly. Many figured we were "really religious" - in fact, Mike was told this at his Polish class when I after our fourth child was born.
Many Polish couples seem to have one child, then wait 5 or even 10 years and then have a second child. It has more to do with economics than anything else, I think.
I also think mothers think it will be easier if their older child is in kindergarten before having a second one.
So, there you know at least a few things about babies in Poland.