leaving babies outside to sleep

The Benefits of Norwegian Babies Sleeping Outside: Exploring the Cultural Tradition and Health Advantages

In Norway, it is a common practice for babies to sleep outside, even in cold weather.

1. The Traditional Practice in Norway: Where Babies Sleep

In Norway, it is a common tradition for babies to sleep outside, even in the coldest months of winter. This practice dates back centuries and is deeply rooted in Norwegian culture. Unlike many other countries where babies are typically kept indoors to sleep, Norwegian parents believe that fresh air and exposure to nature are essential for their child’s well-being.

This traditional practice involves placing the baby in a pram or crib outside, either on a porch or balcony, or even directly in the yard. The baby is bundled up warmly with blankets and dressed in weather-appropriate clothing. Parents often check on their sleeping baby regularly and may use a baby monitor to ensure their safety.


Benefits of Outdoor Sleeping

The belief behind this tradition is that fresh air promotes good health and strengthens the immune system of the baby. It is thought that exposure to natural elements helps build resilience against common illnesses. Additionally, being outside allows babies to experience different sounds, sights, and sensations which can stimulate their senses and contribute to their overall development.


  • Parents always ensure that the sleeping area is safe from potential hazards such as sharp objects or animals.
  • Babies should be dressed appropriately for the weather conditions, with warm clothing and layers.
  • The pram or crib should be securely positioned and protected from strong winds.
  • Babies should never be left unattended while sleeping outside.

Research Findings

Studies have shown that outdoor sleeping may have positive effects on infants’ sleep patterns. Research conducted at the University of Oslo found that babies who slept outdoors had longer periods of uninterrupted sleep compared to those who slept indoors. The exposure to natural light and fresh air during the day may help regulate their circadian rhythm and promote better sleep at night.

It is important to note that this traditional practice may not be suitable for all climates or individual circumstances. Parents should always consider the safety and comfort of their baby when deciding on sleeping arrangements.

2. Norwegian Babies Sleeping Outside: A Long-standing Tradition

The History of Outdoor Baby Sleeping in Norway

Outdoor baby sleeping has been a long-standing tradition in Norway, dating back several centuries. It is believed to have originated from the harsh climate and rural lifestyle of the country. In the past, Norwegian families lived in small houses with limited space, making it common for babies to sleep outside in cribs or prams during both daytime naps and nighttime sleep.

This tradition has been passed down through generations and continues to be embraced by many Norwegian parents today. While it may seem unusual to outsiders, outdoor sleeping is deeply ingrained in Norwegian culture and is seen as a natural part of a child’s upbringing.

Benefits of Continuing the Tradition

  • Promotes fresh air exposure: Sleeping outdoors exposes babies to fresh air, which is believed to have numerous health benefits such as improved respiratory function and increased oxygen intake.
  • Enhances connection with nature: By sleeping outside, babies are exposed to the sights, sounds, and smells of nature from an early age, fostering a sense of connection with the natural world.
  • Promotes better sleep quality: Many parents believe that outdoor sleeping helps their babies sleep more soundly and peacefully due to the calming effects of nature.

3. Why Norwegian Parents Choose to Have Their Babies Sleep Outside

Norwegian parents have various reasons for choosing outdoor sleeping for their babies. One key reason is the belief that exposure to fresh air promotes overall health and well-being. They view outdoor sleeping as a way to strengthen their child’s immune system and prevent illnesses.

In addition, Norwegian parents value the connection between their children and nature. They believe that by sleeping outside, their babies develop a deep appreciation for the natural world and grow up with a strong bond to their surroundings. This connection is seen as essential for fostering a love for outdoor activities and environmental stewardship later in life.

Furthermore, Norwegian parents often cite the practicality of outdoor sleeping. It allows them to have some uninterrupted time during the day while their baby sleeps peacefully outside. This practice also encourages self-soothing skills in babies as they learn to sleep independently in a calm outdoor environment.

4. Health Benefits of Outdoor Sleeping for Norwegian Babies

Improved Immune System

One of the key health benefits of outdoor sleeping for Norwegian babies is an improved immune system. Research has shown that exposure to fresh air and natural elements can strengthen a baby’s immune system, making them less susceptible to common illnesses such as colds and respiratory infections. The cool temperatures and clean air found in Norway provide an ideal environment for boosting immunity.

Better Sleep Quality

Sleeping outdoors has been found to promote better sleep quality for Norwegian babies. The natural sounds and gentle movements of nature can have a calming effect on infants, helping them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Additionally, the exposure to natural light during daytime naps helps regulate their circadian rhythm, leading to more restful sleep at night.

5. Precautions and Safety Measures for Norwegian Babies Sleeping Outside

While outdoor sleeping is a common practice in Norway, it is important for parents to take certain precautions and follow safety measures to ensure the well-being of their babies. Firstly, it is crucial to choose an appropriate location that provides protection from extreme weather conditions such as strong winds or heavy rain. Secondly, parents should always dress their babies in warm clothing and use proper bedding materials designed for outdoor use.

In addition, parents should regularly check on their sleeping babies to ensure they are comfortable and not experiencing any discomfort or distress. It is also recommended to keep a close eye on temperature changes throughout the night and adjust clothing or blankets accordingly. By taking these precautions, Norwegian parents can safely continue the tradition of outdoor sleeping for their babies.

6. Effects of Outdoor Sleeping on Norwegian Babies’ Development: Research Findings

A growing body of research has explored the effects of outdoor sleeping on the development of Norwegian babies. Studies have shown that exposure to natural light and fresh air can have a positive impact on cognitive development, sensory perception, and motor skills. The stimulation provided by the outdoor environment helps babies develop their senses and explore the world around them.

Furthermore, research has indicated that outdoor sleeping can contribute to emotional well-being and reduce the risk of developing mental health issues later in life. The calming effect of nature and the sense of connection with the natural world can promote a sense of peace and contentment in infants, laying a foundation for healthy emotional development.

7. Ensuring Warmth and Comfort: How Norwegian Parents Care for Sleeping Babies Outdoors

Norwegian parents prioritize ensuring warmth and comfort when it comes to their babies sleeping outdoors. They carefully choose appropriate clothing layers for their little ones, including woolen base layers, insulated outerwear, and hats to protect from heat loss through the head. Additionally, they use high-quality bedding materials such as sheepskins or specially designed outdoor sleeping bags to provide insulation against cold surfaces.

Parents also pay attention to creating a cozy sleep environment by using windbreaks or tents to shield their babies from strong winds while still allowing for fresh air circulation. They may also place soft toys or familiar objects near their baby’s sleeping area to provide a sense of security and familiarity. By taking these measures, Norwegian parents ensure that their babies are warm, comfortable, and safe during outdoor sleep time.

8. From Region to Region: Exploring the Commonality of Outdoor Baby Sleeping in Norway

The tradition of outdoor baby sleeping is not limited to specific regions in Norway but is rather a common practice throughout the country. However, certain variations exist depending on local customs and geographical factors. In coastal regions where temperatures are milder, parents may choose to sleep their babies outside year-round. In contrast, in colder inland regions, outdoor sleeping may be more common during the warmer months or limited to daytime naps.

Regardless of the specific region, the underlying belief in the benefits of fresh air and nature remains consistent. Norwegian parents across the country embrace outdoor sleeping as a way to connect their babies with the natural world and promote their overall well-being.

9. Adapting Tradition to Modern Lifestyles: Changes in Baby Sleeping Practices in Norway

In recent years, there have been some changes in baby sleeping practices in Norway due to modern lifestyles and urbanization. While outdoor sleeping remains a cherished tradition, many parents now opt for a combination of indoor and outdoor sleep for their babies. This allows them to maintain the benefits of fresh air while also accommodating busy schedules and living in urban environments where outdoor space may be limited.

Additionally, advancements in technology have led to the development of innovative products such as portable cribs or strollers designed for outdoor use. These allow parents to easily transport their babies between indoor and outdoor sleep environments without compromising on safety or comfort. The adaptation of tradition to modern lifestyles ensures that Norwegian babies can still experience the benefits of outdoor sleeping while meeting the demands of contemporary society.

10. Cultural Beliefs and Values Surrounding Norwegian Babies’ Outdoor Sleep Tradition

The cultural beliefs and values surrounding Norwegian babies’ outdoor sleep tradition are deeply rooted in a strong connection with nature and a belief in its healing powers. Norwegians view nature as an essential part of life and prioritize spending time outdoors regardless of age or weather conditions. They believe that exposing infants to natural elements from an early age fosters resilience, strength, and a deep appreciation for the environment.

This cultural value is also reflected in Norway’s emphasis on sustainability and environmental conservation. By embracing outdoor sleeping for babies, Norwegians aim to instill a sense of responsibility and care for the natural world in future generations. The tradition is seen as a way to pass down cultural values and ensure a harmonious relationship between humans and nature.

In conclusion, the practice of Norwegian babies sleeping outside highlights a cultural norm that prioritizes fresh air and outdoor exposure for infants. Despite initial concerns, research suggests that this tradition is safe and beneficial for their overall well-being.

Why do Norwegian babies sleep outside?

According to Bowman, the fresh air in Norway helps babies breathe better and become more self-sufficient, which is why many people there leave home at an earlier age compared to other countries. It is thought that the fresh air also contributes to the overall health of babies and improves their sleep patterns.

Are babies left outside in strollers in Norway?

Rather than worrying about their child’s well-being in the winter, Norwegian parents choose to leave their babies in strollers outside in the cold. Despite sounding strange, this practice is genuine and widely embraced among parents in Norway.

How do babies sleep in Norway?

In Norway, infants have different sleeping arrangements during the day, such as being outside alone, and during the night, like bedsharing with their parents. Norwegian mothers do not see these sleeping places as conflicting and believe in supporting their infants’ independence and freedom to choose.

What country leaves their babies outside in the cold?

In countries like Denmark in the Nordic region, it is normal for babies to take naps outdoors even in very cold temperatures, as low as -16 degrees Fahrenheit. Some experts on sleep suggest that the fresh air can help babies sleep more soundly, although there is a risk of hypothermia and abduction.

Is it healthy for baby to sleep outside?

Sleeping outdoors offers numerous advantages, including enhanced brain activity that leads to increased happiness, improved concentration, and better memory in children. These benefits contribute to their cognitive development and foster a sense of curiosity and receptiveness towards learning.

How cold is too cold for baby to be outside?

When is it unsafe to take newborns and babies outside in cold weather? It is generally recommended to avoid taking them outside when the temperature or wind chill is below -15 degrees F, as the baby’s exposed skin can freeze within minutes.


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