As many people will tell you, there seem to be very few constants in life. One though, is that there has always been children, and thus there has always been people raising them. The basic fundamentals of raising a child have not changed. Nevertheless, there is a seemingly never-ending list of particular ways to deal with children. Any given trip to a bookstore and a person will see all the books written on how to raise a child. Of course, all of those deal with raising kids in the modern Western world. What about places that are not so modern? Who do people on tribes raise children? Those are very likely questions many have never given much thought about. Part of the reason is that people might not like the answers that they get.
Tribal cultures, fair or not, do somewhat have a reputation of being very different than this part of the world, and that is pretty understandable. When comes to children, babies in particular, that can certainly be the case. There are things done in tribes that would probably freak a lot of people out. In fact, there are 14 tribal baby trends that would surely freak anybody out.
14 Co-Sleeping With Babies
In modern America, a baby will most likely have its own room. It will more than likely have its own bed. This is actually what a lot of experts probably recommend and a lot of parents probably want so that their baby can have its own space to some degree (and parents, too). However, in many tribal cultures around the world that is not the case. In many tribal cultures the baby sleeps with it’s mother all the time.
That probably seems pretty strange to parents in this part of the world. Nevertheless, babies in tribal areas of places like Africa do it. It seems to work out pretty well. Babies in theses tribes are said to very seldom cry during the night unlike babies in modern American society. So there might actually be something to it that mothers may consider trying out.
13 Breastfeeding For Years To Come
A natural part of raising a baby is breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is typically thought to only be for babies. It is largely looked down upon to breastfeed a child for a great length of time. However, ancient tribes around the world would breastfeed for years. In fact, they would breastfeed for two to five years. Five years is well beyond what most mothers would breastfeed their kids to.
Experts claim women should breastfeed for at least two years. This helps to build up a baby's immune system which is not fully developed until the age of six. Also it has been mentioned that babies sleep with their mom in tribal cultures. While they are doing that babies tend to nurse all during the night. That is also likely a big reason as to why babies in those cultures do not cry during the night very often.
12 Baby's Never Alone. Ever.
Since it has been established that mothers sleep with their babies in tribal cultures this next custom probably will not come as a surprise to many. Many tribal cultures feel that loneliness is something that a baby should never know. As a result, babies are not left alone…ever!
Granted, no culture in the world is really known for leaving babies alone for any serious amount of time. In America babies are often supervised if for no other reason than for safety purposes. That only makes sense. However, they are left alone sometimes even if it is to sleep. Nevertheless, in some tribal cultures such a thing is unheard of. There is always someone with the baby at all times, no matter what.
11 No Need For A Stroller
One thing that most mothers probably could not live without is a stroller. When mother and baby are out and about in the world, things like strollers prevent babies from having to be carried around all the time. A baby being carried around all the time can be pretty tiring. However, in tribal cultures there is no need or desire for things like strollers. In tribes babies are carried everywhere at all times.
That is not to say that babies are always in someone's arms. Babies tend to be in some kind of sling on a person allowing the baby to be carried around hands free. This is done to assure that babies have constant human contact, warmth and a sense of security. It also allows babies to view the world from a grown up perspective.
10 It Takes A Village
There can be little doubt of how important parents are in a baby's life. This is of course because parents do the majority, if not the entirety, of raising the baby. In tribes though, this is not the case. Many tribes take the notion “it takes a village to raise a child” straight to heart.
In many tribal communities it is the job of the entire community to raise a baby. It is the responsibility of the entire tribe to raise and nurture a child. The modern Western world does not really share this view, but maybe it should. After all, raising kids on their own leaves a lot of parents to being overwhelmed and exhausted. So maybe a little more help would not be such a bad thing.
9 No Cliques Here
One thing that tends to be true a about life is that people usually form cliques. This can even be true when it comes to babies. Parents often want their baby to play and associate with children their own age, and thus forming something of a clique.This is not the practice of tribes, however.
In many tribal cultures, including prehistoric ones, babies played and associated with children of all ages. This was done largely out of necessity. Tribal communities are much smaller than modern communities. This means that kids of all ages knew and interacted with each other. This was a benefit for the babies in that they learned valuable skills from the older kids that they were around.
8 Only Reward The Good
A well known verse in the Bible talks about sparing the rod and spoiling the child. How to properly discipline kids has long been a topic of discussion. One thing that seemingly everyone can agree on is that kids should be disciplined. However, many tribes do not actually agree with that.
Many tribes do not actually believe in punishing children at all. They believe it is best for children to learn on their own. They also believe that acknowledging good behavior is far better than punishing bad behavior. It is probably important to point out that people in tribal cultures will act to prevent a child from doing something potentially dangerous which means they do not simply let kids run around.
7 Baby Tossing Time
Moving on to more specific tribal areas around the world it is important to point out what some cultures in India do with babies.. They have a rather unique tradition when it comes to babies. They toss them! Specifically they toss them about 50 feet.
This is a yearly non-religious festival in Solapur, India. Naturally, the babies are not allowed to slam in the ground. People know as catchers hold a sheet under the baby for it to land on. They have been doing this for 500 years and there has yet to be a fatality as amazing as that might seem. So it might sound pretty terrifying to people, but no one can argue with its safety track record.
6 Never Touch The Floor
Crawling is an important step for a baby that allows them their first measure of freedom. However, even before babies can crawl it is not uncommon for them to be on the ground to at least some degree. In Bali, that is not the case for the first three months of the baby's life, as they are not allowed to touch the ground during that timeframe.
The reason for this has everything to do with the baby’s purity. It is believed that a baby touching the unclean ground will affect its purity. After three months, the baby is finally allowed to touch the ground. The family actually has a ceremony to celebrate the occasion of the baby touching the ground.
5 Pass Through The Smoke
It is only natural that parents want to prevent their baby from being exposed to anything harmful. One such thing is probably smoke since it is not exactly good for anyone. In some parts of Africa though they have a more relaxed view on smoke. They actually willingly pass babies through smoke.
The smoke is made from leaves that evidently have a very bad smell. The babies are held upside down as they are brought through the smoke. As one can imagine this is quite a shock to the babies and many are so stunned they do not even cry. For the record this does actually have a point to it. It is a ritual done so the baby never becomes frightened or timid in life.
4 No Eye Contact With Babies
It is no secret that babies tend to draw eye contact with just about everyone that is around them. After all, many babies tend to be pretty cute and adorable, and who does not want to look at that? In Kenya babies do not seem to be so eye catching. In fact, people in Kenya make an effort to never make eye contact with babies.
Believe it or not, this actually all has to do with authority. In Kenya, eye contact is believed to represent authority. Therefore, people in Kenya do not want to make eye contact with babies so as to prevent bestowing power on them. In other words, they need to need to remind babies who the boss is.
3 Spit On Him
Babies are no stranger to saliva. They do tend to drool a great deal, and even at times get it all over them. The last thing anyone would likely want to do is add any more saliva to the baby. They would likely find that to just be gross. However, there are people in a Mauritania that have a different view when it comes to saliva and babies.
Those people believe that human saliva retains words. Therefore they spit on babies to add blessings to them. It is not just one kind of spitting either. Women spit on the baby’s face whereas men spit in it’s ear. To give the baby even more good luck, they will rub saliva all over the baby's face.
2 Alligator Pepper, Baby
Parents often make an effort to make sure babies do not eat anything they should not. This is especially important since babies have a tendency to put everything in their mouths. As you might have guessed not everyone is as strict as to what goes in a baby's mouth. Some tribes in Nigeria give their baby alligator pepper.
Alligator pepper is a West African spice. People chew this up, put it on their finger, and then put it in the baby's mouth. They do this after taking the baby to a well of a spoken relative's house of the parents choosing. This all has a point to it. This is actually a ritual to assure the baby is as well spoken as their relative.
1 Bath Time, Brrrr
Many parents enjoy giving their baby a bath. It is a nice way to bond with the baby. However, one thing that no parent probably does when giving a baby a bath is to bathe it in cold water. After all, it is often seen as very important to keep a baby nice and warm. Plus, it is hard to imagine that anyone would like taking a cold bath. That is not the case in Central America.
Mayan women often bathe their children in ice cold water. This is done to help with heat rashes as well as promote a restful sleep. However, babies do cry while a mother is doing this. No one likes to be cold, especially babies.
Sources: Aleteia.org, MyTinySecrets.com, GlobalCitizen.org, PsychologyToday.com, MamaHub.nl