Baby Customs in Germany

By Suzy Giovannettone Cope
German families have a variety of customs that are practiced with their babies.
German families have a variety of customs that are practiced with their babies.

Germany is commonly known for its rich ethnic foods, beer and colorful festivities. However, the Germans also have many traditions that occur when a baby comes into the family. You will find that many German families still maintain older traditions while incorporating modern and holistic medical care for mothers and babies.

Baby Showers

Contrary to Western traditions, Germans believe that throwing a baby shower before the actual arrival of the baby is bad luck. They might celebrate baby showers at the actual birth or when mom and baby return home. However, it is common not to have a baby shower at all. Instead, friends and family will send a gift to the new parents. Material gifts are not critical to bring to a baby shower in Germany. Friends and family are more concerned about showing love and support for the family.

Medical Care and Maternity Leave

According to an article in "American Baby" magazine, doctors are available for maternity care, but midwives are typically used more often. The midwife is present during labor and delivery as well as pre-natal and post-partum care. Holistic care is widely encouraged in Germany for mothers and babies. Many medications for infants are given in a suppository form rather than by oral liquid. The "American Baby" article also states that women who are pregnant cannot be fired from their work after they have informed their employer of the pregnancy. Paid maternity leave is provided before and after delivery. In fact, mothers are typically not allowed to work until the baby is at least 8 weeks old. Pregnant women might also start maternity leave six weeks prior to the due date without threat of losing their job. Moms can take advantage of three-year unpaid leave in order to focus on taking care of their child.

German Baby Names

Germans followed a pattern when they were naming their babies in the past. According to Riepe Roots Surname Genealogy, it was common for infants to be named after grandparents and great-grandparents depending on the order of their birth. Over time, this tradition has fallen by the wayside as a result of modern day influences. Two names were provided for the baby after birth or during baptism. The first name was in honor of a saint, which was a commonly used name for other members in the family as well. The second name given was considered to be the baby’s secular name and is the name which he would be commonly known.

Wedding Trees

According to Abby Rogers of Business Insider, families might choose to plant several trees when a baby girl is born. The trees are planted in honor of her birth. When their daughter decides to get married as an adult, the family will uproot the trees and sell them. The earnings are used as a dowry for her wedding day.

About the Author

Suzanne Giovannettone Cope started writing in 2010 for eHow and LIVESTRONG, where her specialty topics include educational issues and redefining disability. She is a licensed educator whose formal training was completed at Northern State University. She holds a Bachelor of Science in elementary and special education with a concentration in Braille and teaching children with visual impairments.