Naked family time!
Previously we looked closely at Finnish sauna and nudity in Finland, not too closely since you don’t really want to look at naked things too closely, especially in a sauna. Now let’s focus a little more on the family aspect of these two, since we are, indeed, Mom of Finland.
When non-Finns hear about sauna we still get comments like “Isn’t that just for old people and pervs?” or “I don’t really have to be naked, do I?”. To the first one we answer with an astonished look and a nervous laugh, the second one gets a “Yeah you do”, “Not kidding”, “Stop complaining and get naked, you big baby”. Which brings us to the next question, “You don’t really go to sauna naked with babies?”. Well yes we do indeed!
It’s completely not weird to sauna with your parents, or grandparents. Not when you are a baby, toddler, child or even a grown ass adult. There’s not one thing sexual about a sauna, and for us it’s weird that someone would even suggest that.
We understand, that some of you have never seen your parents naked, or even without their hair done. Any kind of natural state really. To us nudity is exactly that, natural. It might be a bit different, being naked, out there in the big world, but for us Finns there’s nothing special about it. In a sauna. At a bank or a library it’s a completely different thing. Even nudity has it’s time and place.
Since newborn babies are not capable of regulating their body temperature, a sauna could be dangerous for them. Because Finns love saunas, the Finnish government has had to advice that a child under six months should not be taken to a sauna. And from six months to one year, a baby should not be exposed to high temperatures in a sauna. Stay on the low level, don’t stay in the sauna too long, and monitor the baby closely.
So we sauna together. A family that sauna together stays together! Come Saturday night (any night is okay, Saturday is the most traditional), you gather your children and spouse and go bathe together after dinner. Yes you sauna with your child even if you’re a woman and he’s a boy. And dads sauna with their baby girls. Everyone goes together. It would be weird and dangerous to let your four year old sauna alone, since the fireplace is really hot and 4-year-olds sometimes fall down a lot and touch things they shouldn’t. After sauna you sit together before bed and have a drink, mother and father can have a beer if they feel like it, and kids get juice or soda. It’s family time.
“What about all the private parts? It’s damaging to a child to see their mother naked.” But is it, reeeeally? No it’s not. We believe that being comfortable with your naked body teaches the child to be okay with their body too. Hashtag bodypositive. From the start of their lives the child sees that there are many different bodies in the world and you shouldn’t be ashamed of yours, even when it doesn’t look like the ones in magazines.
“But why would a teenager want their parents to see them naked?” It’s not a big deal like that, like we said, it’s natural. But when the kids get old enough and start to grow more independent, they can, and usually will, choose not to sauna with their parents anymore. At least the parents that are the opposite sex. We don’t force our kids to sauna with us. We only force our foreign friends.
When bathing with your child you also can get compliments, and compliments make everyone feel better. Things you can hear in a sauna: “Mommy, your belly button looks really good on you”, “Mommy, are your boobs so floppy because I drank all the milk from them?”, “and “I want a big jiggly butt like yours when I grow up”.
Sauna really is a family thing.
The writer of this story is a member of the Mom of Finland community.
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