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Motherhood Mondays: Sleeping in Denmark (This Made My Jaw Drop!)

We talked last week about taking kids outside to play every single day, even in cold weather. Well, listen to this…


In Scandinavia, it’s common for people to take their babies outside for naps. And, when they go into restaurants or shops, they’ll even leave their sleeping babies alone in prams outside!

“When I lived in Helsinki, I noticed baby carriages outside most cafés,” says my sister-in-law Emily. “I assumed the babies were inside with their parents. Nope, they were sleeping soundly outside in their carriages while their parents were hanging out inside. Now there’s a country with a low crime rate for you!”

“The parents are usually really close by, near the window,” says photographer and mother of two Jenny Brandt, who lives in southern Sweden and went to Copenhagen to take a few photos for Cup of Jo. “I think the whole thing started because the cafés and shops are so small.”

What happens if a baby wakes up? “I’ve walked into a café letting the guests know that ‘the baby in the blue pram has started to wiggle around and looks like he’s about to get up,’ ” says Jenny.

It sounds crazy at first, right? But it would actually be amazing and liberating, I think, as long as your town was safe. How wonderful to just pop into a store quickly without waking up your baby; or to eat dinner with your spouse while your baby sleeps, and then all walk home together.

Plus, many Scandinavian parents believe it’s healthy for babies and children to be exposed to cold air for a few hours a day. In fact, the Finnish Ministry of Labour specifically recommends it (see page 24 under “naps”). “Parents feel that their child is more alert and eats better after sleeping outside,” says designer and mom of two Elisabeth Dunker of the blog Fine Little Day , who lives in Gothenburg, Sweden.

“My friends tell me that in Swedish daycare, naptime for babies is always outside in their prams, even on the coldest days,” says my friend Kim, who lives in Sweden. “They bundle them up and make them cozy, and park them outside. They say it builds health for the kids–physical toughness as well as reducing colds/germs that would spread if they were all cooped up inside.”

Not all Scandinavian parents are completely sold on the idea, though. “I’ve never let my kids sleep outdoors unattended, wouldn’t dare to!” says Elisabeth. “I would be afraid that someone would take them.”

I have to say, I kind of love this idea! Toby sleeps through the night starting at 7:30pm — it would be amazing to be able to take him out to dinner, where he could sleep soundly in the fresh air. Think how much money you’d save on nighttime babysitters, and it’s really nice for the family to be together, even when the baby is asleep. But then again, New York City is nuts, and there are too many crazy people walking around. (Also, of course, it’s illegal in the United States. In fact, back in 1999, a Danish mom visiting Manhattan left her sleeping baby girl in the stroller outside a restaurant–and got arrested.)

What do you think? Isn’t this fascinating? Does this all seem nuts or amazing to you? I would LOVE to hear your thoughts — all the cultural norms and differences are incredible! Every country, city, family and parent finds what works best for their sweet babies. (It reminds me of this wonderful documentary.)

P.S. More Motherhood Monday posts… xo

(Photos taken by Jenny Brandt/Dos Family for Cup of Jo)

  1. Samantha says...

    I live in Sweden and what makes my jaw drop is how chocked every one seem to be. Have you ever experienced the comfort of sleeping outside? In the summer, in a hammock? Or in the cold of winter, comfortably under the fluffy covers with your window open. Fresh air makes you sleep so much better.
    There can be a row of 6-8 strollers outside a café, if you hear one of the babies waking up when you pass by, you just pop your head in and tell the mother.
    The day you can’t put your stroller safely outside the café, is the day this country has gone crazy. A sad day…

  2. Anonymous says...

    Well, I am from Hamburg, Germany (and that is near Denmark) and I wouldn´t do it, especially not with an expensive Bugaboo. I would be scared that somebody would want to steal the pram…with my baby inside…

  3. Anonymous says...

    Here in Finland, I have never ever heard that a baby would have been stolen from outside a shop or cafe whilst sleeping in her own pram. However I don’t see that happening so much anymore in the biger cities but in the countryside yes. Babies love to sleep outside, even when it is ver cold, freezing cold. Shepskin blankets and woollen clothes and I can guarantee that after a shor t walk the baby will be more than happienr to take a nap outside. I live in the countryside and my 3months old daughter sleeps outside at least couple of hours a day, plus 3 walks with the dogs /day

  4. Oh, and about biking: I biked to my regular pregnancy check-ups right from the start to the very last appointment. In fact, biking was the only confortable and pain-free way to move when I was just a few weeks away from my due date. And, I took a bus and walked my way to hospital when my baby decided it was time to come :D

  5. Hi! I just have to say – I’m from Finland and my daughter is now 9 months old. She was born in June, and felt like forever before fall and winter started, since I couldn’t make my baby sleep outside in our balcony because it was too hot outside. My daughter Laura gets her very best naps outside, and the colder the better. When the temperature sank under -25 degrees Celcius (-13 degrees Fahrenheit), she’d have to sleeps inside. Outside she sleeps 3-5 hours, inside only ½-§ hour. And in Finland it’s normal to leave the baby outside for a nap – actually people may be stunned if you don’t. :)

  6. Anonymous says...

    In Finland this is very common thing to do. My three children all slept so much better outside, so there wasnt’t any point trying to make them sleep inside!
    Even when the temperature was about -20 degrees Celsius, they slept outside.
    Of course I’m very careful where they sleep. I wouldn’t leave them outside anywhere but familiar place, like my home or friends home. Not in city center!
    And baby alarm was always on when child was sleeping outside.
    I feel very safe here in Finland, but there are crazy people also in Finland, so careful you must be.

  7. Ditte says...

    I lived in Copenhagen when my twins were babies and they always napped on our balcony :0) but I never felt comfortable leaving them outside stores, cafes etc. (besides the sidewalks were too darn narrow :0D)

  8. Anonymous says...

    Love your site, Jo! I also saw this practice when I lived in Germany and Austria. It’s not quite as common as it sounds like it is up North, but definitely not uncommon, either. Tres cool!

  9. Anonymous says...

    Im from Finland and this is so everyday for me :D This is old habit here.. When I was baby 23 years ago I slept all my naps outside our own yard :) It doesnt matter how cold it was, my mom just made sure that I had enough warm clothes on and I slept hours like an angel :D

  10. Anonymous says...

    I live in Finland, but in our town it is not common to leave babies outside cafes or restaurants. Never saw this is our town. Normally babies are in the prams inside the cafes / restaurants.

    But it is extremely common that people leave their babies sleep naps outside, even if they live on the ground floor next to road, where people are passing. Of course, they have a baby monitor in the pram. But still I cannot do it.

    I used to live in US and UK looking after children and maybe learned my fear at that point not to leave children unattended.

    I think in some conditions you could leave babies outside, with high fence, safe neighbourhood etc. or in a windowed balcony in a flat house (where fresh air goes through). I have left my baby a couple of times outside a bedroom window when I was reading inside and I could see the pram all the time, and the door was near.

    But I totally agree that it is better for children’s (and adults’) health to be playing outside every day of the year, in the fresh air. In Finland, we have fantastic outdoor clothes for children (and adults too) in which they can go outside even in -25C, or in the cold rain and wind. With those clothes you just stay warm and it is really refreshing. I love it!

  11. Saara says...

    I live in Finland and yes, my 3 months old son sleeps outside every day, unless it’s too cold. He doesn’t sleep nearly as well inside, so there’s clearly some magic to the fresh air outside! I live on the countryside, outside a small town, so it’s pretty safe here, however I wouldn’t leave the baby outside in a bigger town. The baby alarm is a great help! I think sleeping outside also helps the baby to learn how to sleep despite background noise, and also this way our older daughter won’t disturb him.

  12. Anonymous says...

    I am from Finland and both of my children has slept outside. I wouldn’t leave them in front of store etc. but at home they slept/sleep in our balcony. They sleep so much better and longer outside.

  13. Anonymous says...

    Hi! I am a Norwegian mother of two, living i Norway, and I can assure you: we all do it (well, at least most of us). Some of us even do it when it is minus 20 degrees celsius outside. And the babies wake up with happy faces and apple-red cheeks. I just wanted to comment on the last part of the post, about going out for dinner at night and let the baby sleep outside the restaurant. I wouldn’t do that. It has probably something to do with the increasing amount of people going out for drinks. The city changes at night – at least here in Norway. And I wouldn’t do it in a place I didn’t know. Anyhow: nice blog – I just stumbled across it!

  14. Malene says...

    WOW -being a dane, its very interesting tol read the comments. Let me just say, to all of you who find this practise wrong, that children are NEVER abducted while sleeping outside, it just doesnt happen. We all put a monitor next to the baby, så that we can hear them if they wake up, choke or something different. I ahve to say, I feel så blessed living in a society, where people can be trusted.

  15. I haven’t read all the comment, but putting kids all bundled up to sleep in their strollers outside is VERY common in Eastern Europe. But I’m not sure if I would ever be able to leave my little one alone outside the store :) but that’s big city living for you…

  16. Taylor W. says...

    I’m an American student studying abroad in Denmark right now. I major in Child Diversity and Development and for my practicum, I work at a Danish pre-school. I have put so many babies to rest outside on the pram. The idea of putting a baby down for their nap outside seemed crazy at first, but the more I see it, the more it makes sense. We bundle the babies in layers of fleece, hats, and gloves and place layers of blankets over them. When I asked one of the pedagogues about this custom, she stated, “I’ve always been taught to do it this way. I can’t imagine putting a baby down for nap anywhere else.” From the sound of the many snoring babies, I don’t think they seem to mind much either.

  17. I love this idea! Love it, Love it, looove it. However, i live in Philadelphia, and it would never work here.

    When I first had chloe I was nervous to even take her out the stroller – I needed to always have a hand on the stroller when I was in the store and wouldn’t even turn my head away from her! I felt much more comfortable having her in a front carrier. We have gotten past this stage. I take her out in the stroller pretty-much every day, even cold days. I would love to be able to not need to wake her up by bringing her into a crowded store or dinner, but I don’t think the U.S. is ready for us to park our prams outside of the grocery store.

    These kind of things make me want to move to Europe – it just seems much more family friendly.

  18. I don’t live in NYC {or anywhere even remotely close}, and we’ve let our babe sleep outside when she falls asleep after naps, but our front door is secluded with an entryway that is blocked from the street and other neighbors, {all of whom we know.} Our house is from the 60s and the steps are really high, making it difficult to get our very British pram up them. I confess, I got the idea from a friend who moved here from Russia and was shocked to learn Americans don’t let their babes sleep outdoors. Her youngest used to sleep in my pram daily outside their apartment.

  19. Camilla says...

    I am a Danish mother of two. In my country I would be considered a bad mother if the children did not sleep outside. I just wanted to add to the debat that the tradition started in 1853 when myrdes recommended babies to sleep outside due to a cholora outbreak in Copenhagen that killed over 3000 people. Ever since we have continued the praxis. Today there are of course no health reasons for doing it, but the children doc sleep better. Plus moms can vaccum without waking Them up. Also EVERYONE always uses babymoniters so there are no issues regarding safety or abandonment.

  20. k. says...

    I’m a Finn, and me and my little sister had naps outside up to -20 degrees Celsius (which is -4 degrees Fahrenheit). My mum tells me that we were the healthiest kids on the planet until we started kindergarten at age 4. I would like to know, however, where Americans get the silly idea from ANYONE would want to steal their baby? Most people can’t stand their own most of the time, so why on earth would they take someone else’s? :DD

  21. Rachel Z. says...

    We are Americans living in Denmark, and our 8-month old has been taking all of his naps outside since he was born. It’s very healthy and he sleeps very well! But you can do it too – when we were in the States for a visit last year we just parked him outside wherever we were staying (of course, we knew not to take him to cafes or shops during naps there). He was perfectly safe in the backyard of a suburban house, on the balcony of a townhouse, or on the back porch of a beach house.

    Something the article doesn’t mention is that babies left outside in Denmark usually have a baby monitor with them. So whenever my Oscar is asleep outside a cafe, I can hear his noises (and the birds and cars too). It’s a fantastic part of living here

  22. I lived in Finland as an exchange student, not only would babies sleep outside of shops or cafes but parents would tuck them into the pram and put them to sleep on the balcony of their apartment. It’s just the norm. I think this is a great idea and in country VT one that we can follow.

  23. Anonymous says...

    I am a Canadian living in Denmark. I too thought this was crazy at first, but when my daughter was a few months old we tried the sleeping outside thing and the results were amazing. Now I am a true believer and our baby naps outside all winter. The secret is the high quality bedding they use in the pram, which is something like a sleeping bag called a “voksi-pose.” It keeps them at just the right temperature and they sleep far longer and more soundly than the do inside. I also leave my daughter sleeping outside cafes, always just outside the window from our seat. Many parents leave a portable baby monitor in the pram and take the receiver inside with them. No one thinks twice about it here!

  24. I love this approach and think it is probably healthy for both the mothers and the babies. It wouldn’t work everywhere, but if I could do it, I would! The fresh, cold, air thing makes sense to me too. Our apartment in Sydney is too humid- so much so that I worry about whether our baby will thrive here.

    For people to be able to trust each other like this, everyone needs to have a sense of responsibility for others. That is the key (but no easier to achieve).

  25. We napped outside (in Canada) when little and I’m now expecting my first little one and will be doing the same, although in much milder UK weather ;) Also, the whole idea of leaving the pram/baby outside is not new…many mothers used to do this in 30’s 40’s and even 50’s when social morals, codes and standards were very different than today!

  26. I had an experience yesterday which reminded me of this post. I’ve just moved to Scotland with my husband and 6 month old daughter, Julie. Yesterday, while my husband was painting, I took Julie on a walk around our new village, and she fell asleep. When we got back, she was still asleep and I didn’t want to bring her inside bc of the paint fumes, so I left her in the conservatory while I helped out with the painting. Usually, her afternoon naps are short and she can be quite fussy, but sleeping in the fresh air, she took the longest afternoon nap she has ever taken (I couldn’t believe she stayed asleep for so long and kept checking on her, thinking something was wrong!) and was refreshed and ready to play afterwards. I’m a total believer now in the cold fresh air baby nap!

  27. Anonymous says...

    When I lived in Iceland they would do the same thing there. It was strange at first but pretty awesome!

  28. Copystrands, I live part-time in Stockholm, part-time in Copenhagen and I can assure you this is typical in both cities. It is partly to do with small shops and big strollers but is also about the benefits of crisp, fresh air. Many babies are put down for their naps in strollers outside, even when at home. I will definitely be continuing the tradition with my children.

  29. re says...

    I grew up and still live in Vilnius, Lithuania. With a population of under 1 million Vilnius is a quite safe capital, especially cozy is its oldtown . And we do let babies enjoy fresh air every day snow or sun, winters and summers, few hours a day is a must. It’s extremely healthy for kids, winter weather (snow, dry) is amazing for babies. My parents were meeting friends in small coffee shops for lunch and leaving me and my sister sleeping peacefully outside. All of our generation grew up with lots of fresh air every day, and I am thankful for that, because when I see how often kids catch cold and get sick today, it’s just too sad, there immune system is just so weak!

  30. I’m Australian and moved to Stockholm, Sweden two years ago. I was at first shocked and horrified to see parents leaving their babies unattended outside in snowy weather whilst they met with friends or had a coffee by themselves inside the cafe. There are equally as many latte mummies and latte daddies around because of parental leave and they all do it!! I’m more used to it now but still keep an eye on the carriages outside (can’t help it)and imagine it will continue. It must be very liberating as a parent to have that security in the neighbourhood–it’s the way it should be.

  31. this is the wildest thing I have ever heard! love all of the old-fashioned “prams,” too.

  32. I lived in Copenhagen for a short time and I remember going over to my host family’s house for dinner one evening and seeing the baby carriage outside. When I went in the house I asked where the baby was. When they said outside (where it was cold + dark) I laughed. They looked at me funny and told me that was pretty typical to let the babys nap in the carriage outside in the cold to get to used to the weather. Now I wish my parents had done that with me because, well I despise the midwest cold winters!

  33. One of the most interesting and worth reading blog I read. pR

  34. Nicola says...

    This is so funny cause I thought I was the only one who used to get put outside in the cold to sleep! I grew up in Winnipeg Manitoba, so basically the middle of Canada, and we had cold cold winters, but on the sunnier warmer winter days (by warm i mean in probably around -10 or -15) my mom would apparently bundle us up in carriage with baby duvets and stick us on the back deck to sleep! When I saw photos of this as a child I thought she was looney, but she swore by it. And come to think if it, I love the sleep I have when I’m camping, all that fresh air is so great! I now live in Vancouver, BC, a much more temperate climate so I think I would totally put my kids outside to sleep, when I have them that is! :)

  35. My sisters and I all slept outside on our back deck as children (this was in Atlantic Canada and in March btw). In the playpen all bundled up and tucked in. To this day I still like napping outside in the cold air, bundled of course.

  36. Lala says...

    Lala added to previous comment:

    By falling asleep in stroller I meant: I be walking with the child at nap time and the child would get a good hour to two hours of sleep. The parent asked me to stop this routine and let the child sleep in the crib. I would never leave a child unattended or on the front porch. As I said I had my own paranoia. But I felt I could not even leave them in a closed up back yard for the fear of the parents thinking I had lost my marbles. The result was always a shorter nap and a much crankier child in the afternoon, than when they had slept on a good long walk in fresh air.
    Sincerely,
    Lala.

  37. Lala says...

    I was born and raised in Denmark and when I moved here permanently at 22, I was so paranoid because of missing children on milk cartons. Since then I have taken care of American children, while having my own. Some parents are really weird about the fresh air concept and their children. There was parents who did not want me to let their child fall asleep in the strollers because the parent wanted the child to sleep in the bed at home. I never did understood that. Sleeping in fresh air is absolutely the best choice for a child. How can it make so much sense for the average American to put on air condition, or wish they could, in their house so the child can be sleeping in a cool environment, but not choose the outside when the outside allows for it? Off course safety must always come first along side a child’s well being. That is and always have been the outside as much as possible. Good luck on letting go of uncalled paranoia and welcome to healthy living for grown ups as well as those to little to call the shots! American’s loves the outdoors, it started when we were born.

  38. Very interesting article. As a mother of 5 children in cold, upstate NY I do agree completely that the cold, fresh air makes for good sleeping children (and have to say for myself as well if I spend the day outdoors in the winter time). I have certainly left my children outdoors to sleep in my yard or outside our camper. Not sure I would feel comfortable doing it at a public place. I would if I could see the stroller though. I do not think it should be illegal in the USA if you can see the stroller. What are we so scared about???

  39. I would do this in a heartbeat, even in the US. But as is pointed out, in America IT’S ILLEGAL, which is sort of shocking, considering the crime rate (yes, including kidnappings, which happen the majority of the time by a member of the child’s family or an acquaintance, not a stranger) is the lowest it has been in several decades, including the halycon decades (70s and 80s) in which we grew up!

    The reason we think it’s so dangerous is because of the 24-hour, fear-mongering news cycle that only reports bad news and really clings to the vile stuff.

    In fact, for all of you curious about how to adopt more of this Scandi-style rearing, even in Helicopter Parent Ground Zero that is America, check out the Free Range Kids blog. I don’t even have kids and I read it because I feel so strongly on the subject.

    I can imagine how hard it is to not helicopter parent in the US when every person on the street believes they can tell you what you should and shouldn’t be doing with your baby (like that poor Danish woman on holiday in the states!).

    If I could, I’d move to northern Europe tomorrow and I’d certainly chose raising kids over there than the US. Every time I holiday in Europe I’m gobsmacked at how capable, articulate and *free* the kids are compared to the cloistered, socially awkward kids I encounter in suburban America. Yet I have a sinking feeling most people believe they’re doing their children good in the states. Given the chance to move there, I would take it in a second to have my hypothetical children be like the former rather than the latter.

    What a great post. The more this behavior is normalized the better!

  40. Anonymous says...

    Hello from a mom in Denmark.
    I have never ever thought about this – just always done it. I live in Copenhagen (the capital of Denmark) and have to boys. When the boys were babies (today they are 9 and 10) we often left them outside cafés or shops, just like everyone else. It is a very natural thing here. If I was in a café for a cup of coffee or lunch, I would of course always sit by the window, where I could see the pram and most parents have a baby alarm, so that you can hear, if there are any noises from the pram. I have never thought of myself as a bad mother for doing so. Everybody I know do it.
    And it is true, that in the nursery all children sleep outside. Thoroughly tugged in in warm clothes and blankets of course. But it is a fact that children sleep so well outside in the fresh air – also in the winter time.
    After reading your post, I for the first time in my life realised, that this might be odd to people in other countries. And I can fully understand that. New York is not Copenhagen. Here it is totally natural. Maybe I live in a safe country. I love my town, and now I will appreciate it even more.
    PS: Joanne, love your blog and thank you for enlightening me.

  41. Very cheerful colors and beautiful sareeby Rev

  42. Anonymous says...

    Hi, I read your article on how liberating you think Scandinavians are on leaving the babies out on the street while they pop into shops or go for a cup of coffee.
    I live in Northern Norway in a city called Tromsø .
    I never leave my stroller outside the shops or close to the window at caffees. It is something that not all Scandinavians do even in smaller cities. Tromsø has only 70 000 inhabitants and it seems very safe but one can never be sure. I would NEVER consider leaving my baby outside a shop in eq. Oslo, Stockholm or Kopenhagen. There are too many crazy people even here. You never know what can happen and it is not worth the risk.
    I think the very liberal Scandinavians that feel so safe to put their babies on the streets need to reconsider.

  43. It’s true that babies benefit from several hours of fresh air a day, and they sleep well outdoors. I have no problem with this idea at all.

    In fact, one of my mentors, infant specialist Magda Gerber (who was from Hungary) encouraged American parents to create an outdoor play and sleep area for their young children in their yards, or on outdoor deck, if they had no yard. But she also encouraged parents to use a proper crib, playpen, or pack n play for sleeping, as a safety precaution.

    Stranger danger aside, unattended prams aren’t good safe places for babies to sleep- (What if a dog jumped up, or the baby woke, and tried to get free?)

    While I don’t think it’s necessary for parents to be present every moment, babies should always be in a safe place, and in sight and hearing distance of parents or caregivers.

    What no one has commented on, and what I find most disturbing about leaving a sleeping baby unattended on even a “safe” city street, is what it must feel like for a BABY to wake in a strange place, and not be able to see or hear her Mom, Dad, or caregiver. Seems like it would be a pretty confusing or even scary experience for a baby- especially if they were in a period of stranger anxiety, which often begins at 5 or 6 months of age.

  44. I grew up with Danish au pairs and they always put my brother and I on the porch all bundled up for naps. It freaked my mom out at first, but she got used to it. My mom claims we were never sick and slept so well. I plan on trying this little trick with my baby. Maybe not outside a restaurant, but for sure outside my door.

    xo
    Erin
    http://www.imperfectpolish.com

  45. erica says...

    I find this to be so ideal. I just love it!

  46. Julia says...

    I’m from Austria and when I was a baby, my mum would put my pram on the tiny little balcony of our (fifth floor) apartment, only that I could nap outside. She’d do it no matter what the weather was, and even if she’d been on a walk with me before, she’d carry the pram up to our apartment and on our balcony. She said I loved it and that I slept really well there. And it seems to have worked out well for me, because I’m NEVER ill (: *knocks wood*

    I love your blog, by the way, just sort of stumbled upon it and can’t stop reading all your stuff (:
    all the best from Austria!

  47. Anonymous says...

    No way in hell.Crazy baby stealing people travel the world too.Did anyone ever hear the story of this couple who left their 3 yr old sleeping in an ajoining room next to the dining room while they ate and they never saw her again.You all can do what you want but my baby will stay with me.

  48. I find that so awesome and interesting! I wish it was like that here… I think it would be safe enough in my city but I think it’s illegal and even if it weren’t, I’d get judged for doing that.

  49. Those prams are all just gorgeous!!!

    More proof that life is better in Scandinavia ;)

  50. Jo says...

    Parents in Romania also do this, leaving the babies in the stroller while they get groceries, but not the restaurant thing, I think because they want the child to be part of the “fun” as well.

    It’s part of the old belief that no one would harm a baby, I guess. That’s how I explained it to myself and it still oddly makes sense, but in big cities I’d be afraid to do it – too many people rushing by.

  51. Anonymous says...

    I’m danish and well.. I have never thought of this as being – in any way – weird!

    Everyone i know, does this. And I have never heard of a child being stolen or something like that. And I would never rethink doing this, when I have kids.

    Great blog btw. Love it :)

  52. This is one of the reasons why my nanny family (I used to be a nanny) didn’t go for an au pair, and instead chose an American nanny. They both travel quite a bit for work, and knew of this cultural practice. I myself, could never do it. I am far too neurotic when it comes to the safety and welfare of children to ever risk it. And over what? A dinner or an errand? I could never!

  53. Y says...

    I remember seeing this in Prague and about passed out. But really, it’s amazing. If only we could do that here in the US. …

  54. Anonymous says...

    I think it just sounds logical, but I could never make it. In my tropical country, despite the warm weather we have the opposite practice, children are all over the place. I am just trying to make sense to weather this is connected to the “weather”, such opposite philosophies.

  55. Jo says...

    That would never happen in Asia!! Even in Singapore with a low crime rate, we would never do that.

    In a way it is terrible, that the world in some places is such, cynical and unsafe, but I guess that’s life. It is really awesome that people do that in Scandinavia and it’s completely safe though! It would be very liberating, as you said!

  56. Makes me want to live in Sweden. Too bad both my babies were crawling at six months. I’d have to worry about them waking up and climbing out of the pram!

  57. Anna says...

    My mom did this with my brothers and me! She just immigrated to Canada from Yugoslavia and it was unheard of in the old country that someone would want to take someone else’s child. It was common to see a line of strollers with sleeping babies outside stores and restaurants.

    One time, my mom went grocery shopping and left my brother in the car, napping, in the dead of Alberta winter. When she came back to the car, she found a police officer waiting, ready to reprimand her for neglect! (He heard her foreign accent and just warned her that this didn’t really fly in Canada.)

  58. I saw this very thing today in Iceland! I’m on vacation, and I couldn’t believe that this very young, fashionable mom left her baby asleep in the pram outside of a boutique. She went inside to shop (while on her cell phone). I was completely shocked!

  59. In Brazil, where I come from, it is strange to think about not opening the windows of your house at least once during the day. My grandmother always made sure to have the windows open during the day. Of course, it does not get too cold there, but fresh air is seen as important as food and water.

  60. My boy sleept so well outside when he was baby. I think it’s a shame it is unfortunate that it is not possible in the U.S.

    And yes, I’m from Denmark!

  61. Anonymous says...

    Thanks God that it´s still usual in Czechia (I’m not talking about centres of big cities :-) And about freezy weather – we have really harsh winters and we likes spend almost all winter on the mountain and my son slept always outside during the day… Now he is 2,5 years old and he wasn’t ill yet – we also visiting sauna and salt cave during the winter… Monika

  62. Anonymous says...

    I live in the north of Sweden where we have cold winters (minus 15 degrees Celsius is common). Both my kids slept outdoors when they were babies. I work in pre-school with small children and we put them outdoors to sleep in their prams every day, it´s how we do it. Research has shown that children who spend a lot of time outdoors get fewer infections. Also, we like being outdoors =)

  63. Here in Belgium I think it is unthinkable to leave your pram with the baby in it outside while shopping, having a coffee,…
    The idea of letting your kid spend as much time outside as possible isn’t considered strange, but I don’t think this is such a safe place as Scandinavia apparently is… Sad but true.

  64. Such an interesting post! I need to send this to my ex sister in law who was so nervous to let her kids outside, a favorite quote of ours was “we don’t touch screen doors in this family!” haha. I think if I were nervous I would bundle up myself and sit outside & read while baby slept, we all need more fresh air!

  65. I am a danish mom and my boy always sleeps outside in his pram during the day. Of cause with a baby monitor.
    Also during winther time, er are told that it is the healthiest for our children.

  66. The rate of corruption is so low in Denmark that this only surprises me slightly. When you’re there, the citizens will WAIT on a No-walk signal at the intersection even if there are no cars. That little guy on the light has to say WALK before they’ll move a muscle.
    I still think that maternal instinct would override the outrageously faux sense of security “seeing the baby through the window” would give; it only takes a second to steal a child.

  67. Beth F. says...

    I used to do this all the time (but in the suburbs on Long Island in my own backyard). My daughter has ALWAYS been an outdoor child (which is actually harder sometimes) and at 3 months old (in the middle of December) I started realizing that she was happier, more settled, and slept better if she had been outside. Now that she is 2 and wants to run in the street and say “NO!” to hats and other clothing, it is much more difficult. But since day 1, when she falls asleep in the stroller during a long walk outside, I park her at my back door and either sit next to her or watch from the kitchen window with a cup of tea. I love it! I assume this will be much harder when #2 comes along…

  68. Anonymous says...

    When i was a baby i often had my naps on our balkony, during winter too. i suppose i’ve also slept on the street like in those cute pictures:)-finnish girl

  69. I think we should keep in mind that this was semi-common at one point in America- where babies would be put to sleep in the pram outside in the front yard- perhaps under a tree.
    Our cultural protectiveness is something more lately developed. I love the idea, as well- We’re now through the baby phase with our four children, but I remember the days where it was necessary to be extremely busy while trying to eat out. It sort of took all the fun out of going out.

  70. I remember Oprah did a show on women’s lives in other countries and this was one of the topics. I found it fascinating. I say yes, I would totally do it, but my kids are 9 and 10 and I’ve become a much more relaxed mom. When they were babies, there was no way I would’ve let them out of my site!

  71. I’m originally from Finland, actually from Lapland (North of Finland.. reeeaaallly cold!) and yes, most of the babies sleep their naps outside ! And that’s totally normal !!! People think you are nuts if you don’t do that..

    Now I’m living in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and I have 3 moths old babyboy.. I would really like to put him outside for his nap, but it just feels strange, since no-one here does it.. Maybe I will collect myself and start to do that ! First I need to check that it’s legal here.. hehe

    Greets,

    Daria
    http://pikkujuttuja.blogspot.com/

  72. I remember Oprah did a show on women’s lives in other countries and this was one of the topics. I found it fascinating. I say yes, I would totally do it, but my kids are 9 and 10 and I’ve become a much more relaxed mom. When they were babies, there was no way I would’ve let them out of my site!

  73. You can even surf take strollers in cinemas on special mother and baby show usually once a week. There is usually someone who fits babies who sleep in their strollers while mothers are in the cinema. Wake up one of the babies up, he gets the right mother. It is allowed to take small babies into this particular idea and that it is okay they are crying inside.

  74. I think it’s so funny that people would freak out about leaving a child outside. I live in Barcelona and it’s not a common practice here but there are some shops that are too small or have too many steps for a stroller. I park it and leave it outside and check on my boys while I shop. For eating, we can usually find a cafe with outside seating and the boys nap or eat with us or run around in the plaza. My youngest boy (I have two, with a third on the way) has a hard time taking his morning nap anywhere but outside in his stroller.

  75. Jayne says...

    What a great idea! My 10 month old has had plenty of al fresco sleeps in England and Spain but both during summertime *and* in a private garden.

    It’s interesting that so many are talking about safety issues. I grant you, in big cities like central NYC there must be a fair few oddballs (I remember being harangued by a few myself when on holiday there). However, I work in public health medicine, and there are suggestions that our kids are more at risk of life-threatening problems related to sedentary indoor lifestyles (e.g. diabetes) than at risk of being snatched or abused in some way, not to mention the developmental benefits of outdoor activity (okay, this is more about walking, talking children, but it’s a general theme). The problem is that we all go with the herd, because who wants to be the only one with their kid outside a shop or playing alone in the playground? I hope this trend reverses, but it certainly won’t if the media continues to overemphasise the abuse risk in our society. It makes far better copy than the next generation potentially dying earlier than their parents due to preventable sedentary lifestyle-related diseases.

    This isn’t to belittle the shocking, horrific, but thankfully rare ocurrences of children being taken or abused by strangers, however, but to emphasise the negative impact of our extremely heightened fear of it. For the record, I also am not comfortable to leave my child sleeping in a buggy (stoller) outside a restaurant, but I hope I can find a way to unpeel some of the cotton wool in time for her to ‘play out’ unsupervised as I did as a child in the 80s – if I can find some like-minded parents to provide safety in numbers.

    Well done and good luck Jo on your playing outdoors challenge!

  76. I live in a little town on the south coast of western australia called, wait for it, DENMARK. . . and this sort of thing is commonplace. our denmark has a population of about 5000 so we certainly don’t know everybody, but there is a real sense of community and people tend to look out for each other. we’re lucky to be able to take a common sense approach to this sort of things and not have to live in fear.

  77. Meeg says...

    I was born in the 70s in Montreal and my Mum says that she used to put me in my stroller for a nap outside on her apartment’s balcony – even in the winter. My grandmother was Scottish and insisted that it was good for me. While I never did it myself when I had my daughter in Feb. 09, I do recall some freezing cold December days when she was about 10 months old where I took her outside because we were tired of being cooped up in the house. We bundled her up with a scarf wrapped around her forehead on top of her hat. She just loved it. I have pictures where she is grinning from ear to ear. I also recall taking a stroll on the afternoon of Christmas Eve and my daughter napped beautifully all bundled up in her stroller. So I think getting outside no matter the weather is a great idea. Fresh air does the body good. Love this post!

  78. I saw this when I was in sweden in the middle of winter with thick snow. The baby of a friend of ours was put outside the kitchen window (in its pram!), wrapped up in furs for a nap, it looked very cosy and cute and I’m sure the fresh air did it good!

  79. My first European destination was to Copenhagen…I will foever be infatuated by this city. It is a charming place to raise a family. It’s true, babies were everywhere outside, whether in strollers or on the back of their parents bicycles. I highly recommend everyone visit if you can.

  80. I love this! Here in Austria I know of a few people who swear by letting their babies take naps in their strollers in the backyard or on the porch when it’s chilly, though it’s definitely not as widespread here to leave them outside of restaurants or store even though this is a very safe country. I am loving your Monday posts. What am I saying, I love all of them :-)

  81. Sarah says...

    I live in northern Germany and it’s definitely the same here. Babies nap outside, even if it’s in the stroller on the balcony at home. Plus many shops have signs to leave the strollers outside, there’s just not enough room to bring them in.

  82. This is the first time I’ve commented, but I’ve been reading for a while now, and I love motherhood mondays!

    I live in Iceland at the moment, and leaving your baby outside is encouraged here, too. My aunt told me that her babies never slept as well as when they were outside, in their prams, under a foot of snow.

  83. Anonymous says...

    This is how most babies sleep in Denmark. I dont think anyone is worried to leave their baby outside sleeping while being inside a cafe, a shop or upstairs in the apt. living in an apt. in Copenhagen a lot of people leave the babies sleeping downstairs with a baby monitor.
    and that said, its the best way for a baby to sleep… and they sleep for a longer time.

  84. I live in Sweden, and we used to live in Denmark when our daughter was a baby. I always let her sleep outside, we used an electronic “baby alarm” so that we could hear her stir or make a noise. I just parked the stoller outside our window, then I could do the dishes or the laundry. Fantastic to get this time to do other things. Also to be able to go to cafés with friends or my husband. There is also “baby cinema” with parking outside the theater and a person assigned to look after the babies. The babies were also welcome inside the cinema where they turn down the sound and don´t turn the lights completely off.

  85. Marianne says...

    Growing up in Denmark this is perfectly normal to me, but your post made me realize how rare and wonderful it is.
    When I was a toddler my parents would take me outside for naps too. When I was done sleeping I somehow managed to get out of the pram (diaper butt first) and walk from our garden to our back door. My mum would see me from kitchen window and bring me back in. No need for baby alarms :-)

  86. I’m a Danish mom living in Copenhagen, and both my girls (1 and 5) have taken all their naps outside in their prams. THIS IS VERY COMMON in Copenhagen. Living in a typical city housing block almost everybody has access to a backyard (some paved, some green) where most kids sleep in their prams. In winter, too bundled up in wool and voksipose (http://www.voksi.no/produkter/voksiposen/classic/classic-blue-sheep), always with a baby monitor or the apartment window open though. The Danish health authorities recommend it, although not if it gets colder than -10 celsius / 14 fahrenheit. My girls both have very strong healths and rarely get sick. My 5 year old is now attending a preschool that only exceptionally spends the day inside (pooring rain or freezing cold) – and she loves it. They drive out of the city by bus every morning (25 minutes drive) to their lovely little house by their very own meadow close to forests, a stream and a farm with different kinds of animals. They learn all kinds of stuff about trees, wildlife and the seasons. So she gets close to nature everyday although she is a city girl. The little one will too, when she gets old enough.

  87. I live in Denmark and my two boys were sleeping outside every day and they loved it! They were sleeping like ice-bears packed in warm clothes :) And never ever no-one came to steel them, Denmark is very safe country!

  88. what a different way of life to the UK. there’s no way in hell you could do that here which is a shame really.

  89. Anonymous says...

    Reading this was very interesting. I’m Danish and live in Copenhagen and I guess we find it completely natural to put our babies to sleep outside as we ourselves were. Most mums in Copenhagen who leave their babies outside the cafes are able to watch them and check up on them regularly. Thankfully kidnapping is not a big problem i Denmark. I love that you are able to do this :)

  90. Sorry, but no way in NYC, where you can’t even leave a BIKE outside without someone messing with it!

    Many cultures have a more communal sense of responsibility for children. In Bali, if you have a seat on a full bus and a mother with a baby gets on the bus, instead of giving her your seat, she will hand you her baby!

  91. My whole family lives in Denmark and at first I thought they were a little crazy… but how amazing is it that the whole country does this and not one baby goes missing?! Plus all of that fresh outdoor air must just be amazing. During the winter they just bundle them up and call it good.

  92. here in switzerland they tend to be more linent with their children as well. They have their 4-5 year olds walk to kindergarten by themselves. you also see them on trams and buses going to school alone. as far as babies, i have seen people leave their babies and toddlers alone in the house while sleeping and awake while they go to the market down the street. they set their phones to baby mode and if the baby wakes up they run home hahaha! never ever would i do either or, and nor do i!

  93. N says...

    Oh lord, this sounds lovely to me! Our little one has started snoozing as early at 7pm lately and it would be wonderful to take her out in this fall weather while we shop or eat.

  94. Lived in copenhagen for four months and saw this just about everyday! It was definitely a culture shock for me, but I became accustomed to it. Still would never do it myself, hwoever!

  95. I lived in Iceland for a while and yes, 90% of parents do this! They also will put baby in the pram on the balcony (this must be the only reason to HAVE a balcony in a country where a “warm summer day” is 50F) to sleep in all weather save for the worst storms.

    My parents also did this with me growing up in Vermont. Though there weren’t really trips to restaurants or cafés in such a rural area, I was definitely left to sleep outside in the buggy after a walk.

  96. Fantastic post! I have many memories of prams lined up outside shops in Denmark even in the snow! It really is important for kids to feel connected to their environment even if you live in a city (I live in a city and I really make an effort to take my kids out everyday no matter what the weather)

  97. I like the idea of sleeping outside, but I don’t think I could bring myself to go inside while my baby is out, no matter how safe the city is. That’s just my emotional response. But hey, I would happily bundle up and sit outside with my baby napping next to me. I totally agree, it’s so nice to be cosy in bed in a cold room, which is probably why the little ones sleep so well outdoors!
    There’s actually a company in Australia (Swingz n Thingz) that makes special outdoor hanging cradles – you can hang them from a tree or on your veranda (porch?) or with a special stand. I LOVE that idea.

  98. I love it! My mom always tells me about how when she was 12 she would hangout outside of grocery stores. Moms would leave their babies in strollers and she would rock the strollers when the babies started to stir. It’s how she got all of her babysitting jobs!

  99. Kristina says...

    I probably won’t have children for several more years, but I love reading your motherhood mondays post because you bring such an interesting perspective to parenting. You are a wonderful mother. : )

  100. We lived in Scotland when I was a baby and my mum used to leave me outside in the pram while she did the shopping. It was a little town and everyone did it! I wish it were possible (and legal) in the states.

  101. Wow! It seems Denmark is forward-thinking when it comes to a lot of things… including biking while pregnant and (gasp!) while in labor. Here in the States we’re always told not to bike while pregnant. I posted about this just tonight: http://wp.me/pMzlI-10K

  102. 1- love all the prams! 2- wouldn’t it be lovely to feel so safe 3 – a friend was raised in Bulgaria and her mom was in grad school while she was a babe and they all left their babies outside during class.
    Amazing!

  103. I saw a piece about this topic on tv a while back and thought how neat to live in a safe place where you could let your children sleep outside in strollers. When I traveled to Sweden, Denmark and Norway this past summer I did not see one kid sleeping outside in a stroller. It was disappointing as the tv show made it seem like this was common. Turns out it is not.

  104. Great post Joanna!
    I almost got stolen like this when I was a baby in late 70s in Ukraine. My grandmother left me in a stroller in front of the shop and when she came out some woman was pushing the stoller away with me in it. When grandma cought up with her she just said: “oh, is it yours?”

  105. no matter how ‘safe’ a town or community is, anything can happen, anywhere/anytime. it would just be never ever worth the risk.
    (lovey concept in theory however)!

  106. Anonymous says...

    The thing that makes me so sad about this is the culture of fear we in the US are subject to. Maybe in NYC or big cities this would be unsafe and foolish, but there are many wonderful small towns that must have crime rates that are the same as (or lower than) those in Scandinavia. We are just trained to tend toward fear and paranoia by our culture, which I really hate. I wish we could all learn to trust one another more! :)

  107. I noticed this in Reykjavik–I think it’s the combination of small stores and huge prams, which don’t mix well. The babies all looked quite warm and peaceful. I think we’re much more paranoid about kidnapping and other things (and rightly so), but if I lived somewhere where this was the norm I don’t personally think I’d have any problem with it.

  108. I’m kind of horrified, to be honest…

  109. Morwena Jones says...

    I love the idea of children rugging up and going outside in all weather. I’m always disappointed when my daughter’s daycare won’t let them outside to play because ‘it’s too cold’ (and we live in Australia, it doesn’t get anywhere near Scandinavian temps!). I’m not sure about leaving them outside a cafe though.

  110. OMG! I’m literally in shock! How could this be possible?? I don’t have a baby but I can’t imagine myself doing this…maybe if I live in Sweden?!
    thanks for sharing Joanna!

  111. Anonymous says...

    This also used to be the norm in the UK. When I was a baby in London (yes it really was that safe in the 70’s)I was often left in the front garden or outside shops.

  112. I lived in France for awhile and it was exactly the same there. I was shocked to see mothers stroll their babies and just park them while they shopped, ate, etc. Even if the baby was awake he or she would just hang out in their pram and the mother would only come over if the baby fussed. I used to think of it as neglect, but now I kind of love the idea. I’d be too scared to try it, especially because my son knows the minute I’ve walked away from him and starts to scream, but if your babe would just hang out in there? Amazing.

  113. Anonymous says...

    I feel conflicted about this; I understand it in the context of Northern European traditions of parenting, but the first thing I thought of was Truby King!

    Of course fresh air is good – for everyone – and though I like the idea of building trust and social responsibility like another poster mentioned here, personally I think it kind of…hints at segregation. I’d be more interested in promoting inclusion in public spaces, especially given that children are largely regarded as a problem or nuisance when parents dare attempt to have a life outside the home.

    Children can get fresh air at any time of day; I suspect this has been seized upon so enthusiastically here because it it allows for the idea that parents can still exist in the ‘regular’ adult world with their child without being perceived as a social pest themselves, as some of the responses here seem to suggest.

  114. Anonymous says...

    Hi Joannna!

    I love your blog and your writing style. I feel like reading a close friend :)

    Having noted this, here is some information from me: I live in the Netherlands and I know some day care centers have small wooden boxes in their gardens for the babies to sleep outside!

    Also, in Germany there is a special type of kindergarten, where kids basically stay outside all day long in the woods, even in the coldest days. I think it is called Waldkindergarten or Naturkindergarten. There is a tiny cottage for only extreme weather conditions (like heavy snow, -10 degrees etc)but the rest of the time kids are outside!

    “Groetjes” from the Netherlands,

    Berna

  115. A.M. says...

    hi! I’m from Denmark and this is just as crazy for us- hearing that you find it crazy :-) I used to be an aupair in London and was surprised to find that babies in England doesn’t nap outside in their pram! I took care of a baby, and I tried introducing outside naps which made his napping so much better- inside he would wake up every half hour. So I’m a fan.
    Also, it’s so fun to see photos from my home on your blog!
    Hugs and fresh air,
    A.

  116. I was in Denmark this summer for my brother’s wedding with my baby girl, and I learned all about this! I was a little shocked at first, but a friend lent me a baby-sized down comforter and I gave it a try. Eloise slept like a dream!

  117. this seems absolutely nuts and shocking to me as an american! but i do think it’s awesome that there are places out there that people can feel comfortable doing that. i don’t think i ever could in a million years.

  118. Initially it’s interesting that this idea seems so crazy to those of us in the U.S. (or at least in fairly large cities in the U.S.). But when you think about it, it’s really kind of sad that we’re so freaked out by this idea. Unfortunatley our society won’t allow us to leave our sleeping babies just outside – for the very real fear of having them snatched. It would be nice to live in a place where this was not a worry.
    Aside, I think the idea of sleeping in the cold is interesting. We are, in my opinion, way overly afraid of germs in this country. I like the idea of getting the kids as much fresh air as possible.
    Thanks for sharing!

  119. Anonymous says...

    Definatly AMAZING! Should be normal! NOT CRAZY at all! What is crazy is all the crime big cities come along with especially in the US. I am just glad that save places like this do still exist in this world.

    kath

  120. i’ve seen this happen a little in austria/germany as well. i was actually just telling my sister the other day how much it shocked me.

  121. That’s the way the world should be, shouldn’t it? A place where we can let babies sleep in fresh air and people pop into cafes to let mothers know when they are needed outside. I think it would work in parts of Australia in the winter, if you felt brave enough and were nearby. I guess the flaw in that plan is that I have a non-napping baby. Maybe if we moved to Scandinavia she would sleep!

  122. a reader just wrote me this, which is so interesting!!

    “On a similar note…I’m a US expat living in Newfoundland. Our daughter caught a cold last year and our new doctor told us to let her sleep (in the middle of winter) with the windows open in her room. We bundled her up, left the window open and her cold was gone literally the next day. I continued to keep the windows open in our rooms all winter and we were much healthier for it and we slept better. I’m looking forward to trying it again this winter!”

  123. judit, i’m amazed (and so impressed) that your favorite season is winter! that’s inspiring :)

  124. I’m all for fresh air…and I live S. CA so we’re fortunate to enjoy and outdoor lifestyle all year round.
    Leaving baby outside unattended??? I think about Madeline McCann and get the chills!

  125. Anonymous says...

    i’m from Hungary and although my parents would have never left me unattended on the streets in the 80s, they did put me out on the balcony for naps all through the winter months – and we had some serious freezing weather back then. they just bundled me in wool and let me sleep in my stroller. i don’t know if it has anything to do with this, but i grew up as a very healthy kid who never missed a day at school and you will never hear me complaining about low temperatures! and needless to say that my favorite season has always been and still is, winter.

    -Judit

  126. Anonymous says...

    Hi! I’m a Danish mother of two boys at the age of 8 and 3. Both kids have been taking their naps outside – this including those days where I was at a cafe. I always brought an alarm that would tell me how much the temperature was in the carriage and that would let me know if the baby was about to wake up. In addition to that I always sat at the window – and as the carriage was parked on the other side – I considered it very safe.

    My boys never slept well those days I had to let them sleep inside and I consider less healthy while there is so much dust etc. inside – I prefer the fresh air.

  127. karen says...

    As a Swede living in the U.S. I find it interesting to read the comments. However, I just want to point out a few things.

    Yes, some parents let their babies sleep outdoors (just like Little Fine Day’s Elisabeth points out). However, it’s not as common (in Sweden) as it used to be. There has been a lot of talk about an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome when letting babies sleep outdoors.

    Yes, some parents leave their kids in the pram/stroller outside coffee shops/restaurants but only during the day time. I don’t think I ever seen it done at night (in Sweden).

    Yes, some kids (in Sweden) play more unattended than American kids do. It all depends on the area where you live and of course, the parents.

    Just a few of my thoughts :)

  128. B says...

    This sounds awesome! but I think most American’s would be too worried. When my babes was smaller, we kept her in her carseat + bundleme, most of winter, even inside, she napped it, she played in it, i guesse teh coziness did it for her!
    BTW- im obsessed with that documentary, i thought it was fascinating.

  129. I couldn’t leave my kids outside to sleep when they were babies,I worried too much but it is very common here in Finland.Me and my sisters and brothers have alla slept our naps outside,by the kitchen window.But I don’t think I have ever see a trolley outside a restaurant/shop in night time,I would not consider that safe even here where I live and this is a small town.

  130. thanks for sharing this! seems like the type of thing you have to grow up with. as much as it’s easy to say, “oh…i’d love to try that!” i think we’re conditioned to stay on-guard because of all the crazies we deal with here in the U.S. how could you really expect to adjust to that, after watching our scary nightly news for so many years? i’d be so nervous!

    but i absolutely love the idea all the same :)

  131. Anonymous says...

    Hi Joanna,

    I’m an American living in northern Finland and was shocked on my first visit to Helsinki when a woman parked her child’s buggy outside the cafe window and went in to have a cup of coffee with a friend. After observing countless nieces and nephews being wrapped up for their afternoon nap outside, I decided to try it for myself. Our 10 month old now naps outside on our second story apartment balcony. He usually sleeps longer than if I put him in the crib inside. I leave a baby monitor in the buggy with him so I can hear when he’s stirring.

    H

  132. redfrizzz says...

    I LOVE this cultural norm, and wish we could pick it up as well. It builds trust, comfort, and social responsiblity. I’m especially tickled that a stranger would walk in, and make an announcement that “erhum, the babe in the red pram is waking.” Besides me enjoying the word “pram,” this is just lovely. Perhaps I’ll move to where adults take care of one another and look out for eachother’s children.

  133. My maternal grandmother is Dutch, and when my mum was an infant they lived in a tiny flat in Montreal. When she put my mum down for a nap, she would always bundle her up and put her out on the balcony. I guess it didn’t do my mother any harm!

  134. My Grandmother was from Copenhagen and this was a common practice in our family. In fact, I never thought anything of it until I read this post! There are several pictures of me bundled up in a pram, outside on a chilly, winter afternoon taking a snooze. My Mother told me I had been sick when those pictures were taken and my Grandmother had said it would help me feel better to be outside.

  135. Wow…that is so interesting. But I will admit, I don’t know if I could leave my baby outside. That would be a whole lot of getting use to.

    http://www.cancerinthecity.com

  136. What a great post! I loved the photos, especially since I pass a couple of those windows on our bike ride to preschool every day! It’s true what you said about young kids. Everyone thought we were completely NUTS when we didn’t let our 9 yr old and 5 yr old walk and train across town to their first integration school here. Even now, with their new school only being a 3 minute walk, I still walk them to school. My daughter and her friends roam within the neighborhood pretty freely after school and it has taken everything in me not to panic! LOL!! My American mind screams danger, but the culture is so different here. We absolutely LOVE it! We say often that Copenhagen offers big city living with a small town feel. My Danish friends tease me a bit about being overly protective, and assure me that here there is a general protectiveness that strangers have over small children. There is a notion that one should always “do the right thing.” It’s very refreshing!

  137. So strange to see this — last week I shared your post with my aunt who told me a story about her old boss who always took her naps outside in Northern Minnesota (land of way more than 10,000 Scandinavians!) even in the dead of winter (and never got sick as an adult). Guess it wasn’t just an Ole and Lena story after all :)

  138. How lovely if this were indeed possible all over the world. Its a lovely to have some time whilst your child is sleeping, especially sitting having a coffee. Totally agree that lots of fresh air is great for babies (everyone actually) – from building up strength, germ resistance, hearty appetites and a good nights sleep. Haven’t you noticed how sluggish you feel after a day indoors or how cranky the children can get if they aren’t out and about outside.

  139. I live in Copenhagen (5 minutes from “Natur Poteket”) and it is indeed very common. My boy is 8 months and I have never done it because he would always wake up when the pram stopped. But I don’t know if I would have done it anyway as the traffic can be quite bad and when I avoid sitting outside on the pavements in the summer, I don’t think I should put my baby there. However most people have a shared courtyard where they live and if we didn’t live on the 4th floor without a lift, I would have tried and put him there. And how do you know if they wake up? Eh..baby monitors ;)
    What I did do though was to wrap him up warm and put him to bed in the bedroom and open the windows so that the room gets really cold.

  140. I think it’s a fantastic idea especially if you are sitting right next to the window and can take a peek outside to check on your baby, just in case. I wish we could do that in the US!

  141. That’s awesome! You can go to restaurants and not have to worry about the screaming baby next to you. I wish they had something like that here.

  142. I live in Spain and at first is sounds a little crazy to me; but it’s a great idea!! Mums&dads can be talking with friends and be very relaxed while babies sleep outdoors. But I can’t imagine this in Barcelona, also I’m quite paranoiac with the pollution in our air :(

  143. I love it and agree with it ALL!! My grandmother is Finnish. She has firm beliefs about taking children outside for many hours per day (I’m sure my mom and her siblings napped outside when they were growing up in freezing Detroit in the 50s) and she’s also adamant about sleeping in a cold room and not overheating one’s home.

    My favorite parenting book is the original American classic – Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care. He is also a big advocate for many hours spent outside year round. :)

  144. my american friend, who lives in sweden, just wrote me this: “What I also notice more in Sweden is very young children out on their own without apparent adult supervision. Last weekend on a bike ride, I came across four boys, ages probably 3-7, who were playing with sticks and (barely) managing to keep a stout dog on a leash, and generally having a great time on the bike path. Presumably they lived nearby and their parents had set limits for them to roam, but they were nowhere in sight- I think it’s super nice.” interesting!