"Fiocco di nascita, corredino, bomboniera & confetti & the gift from the new dad to the new mum"
Italians (and above all Sicilians like me) are cheering people and they don't waste any occasion to celebrate! And what is the most joyful event if not the birth of a new relative in the family?
The day 1 postnatal ward scenario is VERY different compared to the Ireland one. The babies are not rooming-in with the mum, therefore the nursery is the only way for the family visitors to catch photos, opinions on nose-mouth-head-eyes so similar to mum (generally mother side relative) or dad (dad side relative), with the help of unearthed faded photos of the dad & mum at birth.
The nursery doesn't let people in, for the hygiene issue but above all...to manage the complete chaos!
While in Ireland generally just the very close relatives and friends come to visit at the hospital, in Italy instead you witness the entire family crew knocking down the doors, full of presents, flowers, plants, food, perhaps more than on day per stay!
They run into the mum's room kissing and giving the congratulations, to run few minutes after where the big show starts: half an hour of curtains up on the window wall facing the babies, NO FLASH on the babies, the nurse mimes! Impatient relatives knocking on the glass to ask the nurse to hold the baby, or to just move the blanket a bit away from the baby, soon commenting on how rude she was. Who knows why? :D
"Bomboniere nascita" & gift opening
Then the relatives come back to mum's room and give their presents. In Italy we DON'T have a baby shower party at home and just few people come to visit again once the mum is at home, therefore all the presents are given at the bed side.
The mum will have few favors for the guests to say thank you, very similarly to the baby shower party favors, a little object including a tag with the baby's name and date of birth and few sugared almonds, called "bomboniere"! Everyday the dad makes sure that the bed-table is occupied by a big tempting tray of fresh little pastries and biscuits with the add of sugared almonds colored red or blue according to the baby's sex. The guests are offered the sweets, but they cannot say no to at least one sugared almond! It MUST be done for the baby's luck sake! :)
Dad's present to the new mum
The dad is expected to traditionally bring a beautiful bouquet of red roses to the new mum with a sweet card and a gift. Generally it's a precious ring or jewel, but It really depends on the people involved, it could also be just a spa day for two ;)
Fiocco della Nascita, Birth Ribbon
But this was the follow-up of a 9 month planning and traditions involved. Every mum in the hospital, or her mum instead, starts crafting a beautiful "Birth Ribbon", in Italian "Fiocco della nascita", generally decorated in cross stitches baby trimmings, embroidering the baby's name, weight, length and day of birth. She completes it at the hospital and finally hung it on her room's door or at the bed side and then it will be placed in the baby's room at home.
Corredino nascita, birth kit
This is a tradition very deeply rooted in our culture. And an amazing souvenir to keep forever.
Generally up to either the grandmothers or the grand-grandmothers, the "corredino" or birth kit is a hand-made set of knitted baby blankets (wool or cotton depending on the season), baby cardigans, hats, shoes, or even mini-skirts for the little girls! Then baby bed linen, nappy holder, baby bibs & baby towels decorated in cross stitches or painted, with cute animals and generally the baby's name. The corredino is completed with the "camicetta della fortuna" or the good-luck-shirt, which is a tiny baby sleeveless shirt in red or white which is the first thing the baby should wear, wishing him/her the best of luck :)
This is Italy! What about your country birth traditions?
Gloria Coccoli, midwifery student in Dublin, but born in love with life in the land of sun, Sicily, in 1995
Mother of a baby with wings