Would you leave your baby outside in the freezing cold for their lunchtime nap?
Parked in prams and buggies across the city side streets of Norway and other Scandinavian countries you will find dozens of babies snoozing al fresco whatever the weather because, well, it's a cultural norm.
However, this isn't a recent fashion or new parenting trend - babies sleeping out the front or back garden was once a common practice in Ireland.
Your grandparents probably did it with your mother or father, or maybe they did it with you but unfortunately, with the growing fear of crime over the years, there has been a vast decline of babies napping outside. Most parents nowadays are afraid to leave their children out of sight, even in their own garden.
First promoted by, Arvo Ylppö, the father of Finland's maternal health clinic system, babies as little as two weeks old, toddlers and young children outdoors once a day in warm and appropriate clothing for up to three hours at a time even when temperatures drop below zero.
If you walk through the heart of Norway's capital Oslo in summer and especially winter, you will see hundreds of buggies parked in a line outside cafes and restaurants with snoozing babies while their parents lunch inside.
And the idea of babies sleeping in subzero temperatures has scientific backing according to a study by Marjo Tourula of University of Oulu, Finland, napping outside of the home promotes better daytime sleeping. Research shows parents in Northern countries felt napping in the open-air promoted many health benefits in their infants.
The five main benefits of babies sleeping outside include:
- It's believed the restriction of movement from being secured in a stroller, and extra layers of clothing increase the length of sleep, something you couldn't do indoors with the fear of overheating.
- It has also proven that babies slept longer outdoors when compared to those who napped inside. Outdoor naps lasted anything from two to three hours while indoor naps lasted between one and two hours on average.
- Babies who nap outdoors can nap anywhere, even when they get older. Nature naturally has a calming effect on us, no matter how old we are. Moving clouds, wind chimes and swaying branches can help a baby drift off without any effort.
- Spending more time outdoors reduces the risk of exposure to germs that you would find in enclosed spaces decreasing the risk of bugs and colds spreading helping mature babies immune system.
- And finally, being outside is a good habit to instil from a young age and promotes extensive opportunities for learning, good mental health and physical activity.
What do you think? Is this something you would like to try or maybe you already practise nordic napping? We would love to hear from you...