PictureBeautiful, baby-friendly Brisvegas
Having just got back from our first trip home with our baby, a lot of things have become apparent to us.  The one overarching thing being that babies are everywhere back home.  In the supermarkets, the malls, the parks, the restaurants, in peoples cars, in hotels and parking lots - everywhere!  Of course, we were more likely to notice this phenomenon now that we were looking for it - with a baby of our own.  It struck us as odd, though, that we'd also noticed this in Sweden when we were there last year (before the pregnancy).  Then we wondered that if it was a local custom not to take babies out in public so much here...

Census data tells us that in 2011 there were 24.62 babies born per 1000 people in the Philippines, which had a population of over 92 million.  At the same time, Australia had a population of around 22 million, and a birth rate of 13.4 babies per 1000 people.  If we extrapolate those figures, there should have been 2,265,040 babies born in the Philippines, while in the same year Australia had about 294, 800 births - around one tenth of the babies.  So when the entirety of Australia's babies were potentially here in the greater Manila area, why didn't we see them? 

The two theories that I have are: that we live in a low birth area; and that locals here aren't so open about their babies as we are.  Ultimately I think that it's a combination of the two - we live in a wealthier part of town, so not so many babies are born, but also, people tend not to bring their babies out as much as Australians do.  And this seems to correlate with the strange looks we get from locals here when they hear Ava crying. 

The main indicator though, seems to me, the availability of baby changing facilities in public places.  It seems that taking our bubs out is part of our culture and we've put measures in place to ensure that it stays that way.  Every shopping centre has a baby room on every floor - and not just a change table in the men's room, it's a fully fledged parents' room.  Change tables, nappy bins, arm chairs, a toddler area with toys & a TV...  It was so different from anything we'd ever experienced living in Asia.  It was a godsend for us new parents. 

Our trip to Singapore had been slightly better, with malls offering baby change facilities, but they were a quarter of the size and grandeur of the Aussie ones, but as with everything Singapore, they take their cues from the Brits.  So the question remains, why is it so difficult to take babies out in so many Asian countries? And does this apply to just Australia, or does it occur in other Western countries?

Anyway, that's not something I'm going to be able to answer, so for now I'll rest easy knowing that whenever we get back home, our baby will be (mostly) welcomed wherever we go.   


11/03/2013 1:09am

Perhaps if the Australian nannies cost was the same as the filipino (in Philippines) ones, they weren't so many babies out there in down under ...
It is fairly odd in the Asia I know to have a newborn out of the house. There are a lot of cultural explanations, but mostly it's because a newborn is less likely to get sick if not exposed to a lot of germs. Not to mention the 1st month home confinement and special diet imposed to the new mothers for the same basic reason ...


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