In an age where everyone is busy about something and each day goes by in a flash, nobody has time for superstitions anymore. Right?
I tapped 20 of my millennial mom friends and asked them if they still practice Filipino superstitions (a.k.a. Pamahiin) about newborn babies. Turns out, 17 of them still practice what these superstitions require. However, most of them said they do it because either:
- Their mothers, grandmothers, titas, or in-laws will scold them if they ignore the pamahiin (ehem, hi mommy!); or
- Because there’s nothing to lose if they do it. So, G na them… Lol!
Only 2 moms declared that they’re taking time to adhere to the superstitions because they believe in and fear the consequences of neglecting these beliefs.
Me? I’m sorta in between. There are beliefs which I give credence to, so I carry out what it requires. But then, there are some which I’m not really convinced of. Dedma na sana yang mga yan pero, like my friends, I have a mom, grandma, and titas who will kurot-my-singit if I don’t practice them. Hahaha!
For the sake of the moms and dads who are oblivious to these beliefs, be enlightened! I give to you… tan tara rraaan…
Filipino Superstitions About Newborn Babies!
1. Baby’s first roll
It is said that putting a bible on your baby’s back when he first rolls over will make for a kind and good-hearted child. There is also another version in which a book is put on top of the baby instead of a bible. They say that this will make the baby smarter.
2. Baby’s first haircut
According to folklore, your baby will be sharp and quick-witted when you insert the hair from his first haircut in between the pages of a book or the bible. This, I did.
The person who will cut his hair matters too! It says that the one who will cut the baby’s hair for the first time should be intelligent, so that the child will grow up to be intelligent as well. So, needless to say, I was the first one to give Rigel a haircut. Because, well, she won’t let anyone else touch her hair. But, let’s just say it’s because of the intelligent person part. Okay?
They say you shouldn’t breastfeed when you are tired because you will pass on the stress to your baby. Your negative energy affects the quality of the milk which can make the baby uncomfortable and cranky.
I don’t follow this, though. Because when you’re recovering from a C-section and also have a newborn to feed, you are always tired. Hahaha! So, you really don’t have a choice.
Paano pa if you’re a working mom, right? Kung pagod ka pa from a busy day at work pero nagwawala na si baby kasi gutom na, may choice ka pa ba?
4. The “Usog”
They say that this is a condition brought about by persons with “usog” or evil eye (shout out to my sis-in-law, Wea). It happens when the person becomes fond of the child and gives compliments. Once affected, the child begins to develop fever. The child may experience uneasiness, therefore, he/she will be cranky and will cry a lot.
Supposedly, the child can be cured if the person puts some of his saliva on his finger and then rub it on the baby’s forehead, abdomen, or foot. He should also say “pwera usog” to prevent the hex from taking effect on the child.
I don’t want to believe that humans are capable of such “power”, but I always say “pwera usog” when strangers give compliments to Rigel and Altair. Just in case…
5. Baby’s Nails
You’re supposed to cut the baby’s nails only during daytime – doing so at night will bring forth bad luck. Some even believe that cutting the baby’s nails on a Friday is unlucky.
Maybe this superstition was made up when most people don’t have electricity yet. And since it’s dark during nighttime, syempre mas malaki ang chance na magupit mo ang balat ni baby. Malas! Hahaha! Just saying…
“Sungbil” is a Bicolano word which means to give the baby a certain type of food for the first time in order to influence the baby’s future. They say that whatever you feed the baby will determine his future. Here are some of the top first-food for baby’s sungbil:
- Chocolates – so that the baby will not be a picky eater
- Chicken brain – the baby will be smart and alert
- Vegetable – baby will become intelligent
The list goes on… I gave chicken brain to Rigel and chocolates to Altair. So far, it’s accurate!
7. The Hiccups
When the baby has hiccups, they say that the cure is to put a wet cotton ball or a small piece of paper or a thread on the baby’s forehead. And tada! The baby’s hiccups will go away…
NOT! This does not work at all – for my babies anyway. Breastfeeding is far more effective. It’s like magic – poof! Goodbye hiccups.
8. Baby’s Christening
Good fortune will come to a baby’s future if he cries during baptism. The louder he cries, the more successful he will become. I just found out about this a few months ago. If this was true, sana kinurot ko si baby habang binibinyagan sya. Hahaha! Just kidding.
9. Toe Sucking
The baby is asking for a new sibling if he is already sucking on his toes. I sent a picture of Altair sucking his toes to my friend and she said, “Oh! He’s asking for a new baby brother!”
I was like, “Nnnoooooo!!!”
Our pedia said that it’s normal for a baby to start sucking on his toes when he about 4 to 8 months old. According to her, this is an important milestone. Toe-sucking is very satisfying and soothing to your little one, so, don’t discourage it.
10. The Pusod
They say that the end-part of the umbilical cord (a.k.a. pusod) which dries out and falls off from the baby’s navel should be kept. This is said to be for good luck. Some even say that it becomes a good luck charm.
I, for one, has kept both of my kids’ umbilical cord. In fact, sa galing kong magtago, di ko na alam kung saan ko itinago. Huhuhu!
These are just to name a few. I know there are a lot more! Share your favorite superstitions about newborn babies in the comments below.