As temperatures fall and winter looms, foreign parents in Norway are once again experiencing culture shock over a Norwegian tradition that literally leaves babies out in the cold. The practice of bundling them up and then parking their baby carriages outdoors is viewed as entirely unacceptable to many.
“No (expletive deleted) way!” declared one father from Iran after seeing sleeping babies outside a local day care care center in the middle of winter. “Do all Norwegian babies sleep outdoors?” asked one young mother from Romania while attending an introductory session for foreigners at the Deichmanske Library in Oslo. Newspaper Dagsavisen, which sat in on the session, reported that she was met with nods.
The practice has caught new arrivals by surprise for years, but it continues unabated. Norwegians believe it’s healthy for babies to sleep outdoors in the cold. “That’s strange,” said one young American woman. “In the US, we don’t even go outdoors if it’s raining.”
Ane Storhaug, who led the group organized by NABO Oslo, responded that Norwegians like to have confidence in one another, which explains why many also will simply park their baby carriage outside a shop a café while they go in. That wasn’t popular with the foreign parents either, or their parents back home.