Watch This Mom Swing & Dip Her Baby In Freezing Water ... for an Immune System Boost

Mom flipping naked baby in freezing weather
In the Now/Facebook

Parents have been known to try just about anything to ensure their child is healthy and thrives, but at some point, you have to question if certain actions jeopardize a baby's well-being. This viral video of a Russian mom flipping her naked baby before dipping her in freezing cold water is causing a ton of controversy. Would you ever considering doing something like this to your child?

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The In the Now Facebook video shows a mother -- rocking a bikini while standing barefoot in snow no less -- holding her child by the legs as she swings baby up and down like a kettle bell.

 

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Mom also gets in a few aerial moves by holding baby upside down (look at that tush!) before swinging LO by the arms.

 

And just when you think your mouth couldn't drop to the floor any more, the Russian mom heads to the icy water where In the News says she "dunks" her child for the sake of boosting baby's immune system.

More from CafeMom: How to Boost Your Baby's Immune System Before Birth

 

Wowza!

Check out the whole video:

Needless to say, this video caused a great debate leaving many people concerned for the baby's safety and wondering how such a practice of swinging a child in this manner could affect the little one's body over time.

Others, however, stood up for this mom and snapped back at her critics.

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As chilling as this looks (literally), "baby flipping," or dynamic baby gymnastics, appears to be a common practice in Russia that's quite legal. Some practitioners, like psychotherapist Oleg Tyutin, believe it can help babies -- newborns even -- better adapt to their surroundings. "It makes infants more open, more sociable, more relaxed," Tyutin tells BBC News. "It also helps them develop more quickly."

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Lena Fokina is a Russian "baby yoga guru" who believes in the benefits of dynamic gymnastics, telling DadWagon.com: "This system has been used for over thirty years in Russia, and the children are all alive and healthy. If you need more proof, the best this is to come see us."

(Lena's baby yoga video sparked controversy in 2011 and was eventually removed from YouTube.)

In addition to dynamic baby gymnastics -- or "baby yoga" -- it seems some Russian families also look to immersing their babies in cold water as a way to strengthen their immune systems. Just a year ago, a Russian mother made headlines for dunking her 3-month-old son in freezing water. Like the mother above, this mom and her family believe icy water can make her child stronger.

And Andrei Roletski is a Russian father who admits he started bringing his son Igor to icy rivers when he was 8 -- and truly believes freezing cold water prevents his kid from getting sick.

"[Igor] hasn't even sneezed once for the past two years as his body has become much more resistant to cold viruses and infections," Roletski explains to BBC News.

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(The BBC also notes that it's not uncommon for Russian Christians to dive into icy water in religious observance of Jesus's baptism, which the Russian Orthodox church believes occurred in January.)

No matter how great these benefits sound, it's so hard not to question whether or not flipping your baby or dunking LO in cold water is dangerous.

KidsHealth.org warns parents about handling newborns roughly, noting that babies should not be "jiggled on the knee" or "thrown in the air." Dr. Robert Young, a pediatrician who worked in Russia for close to 15 years, also believes baby gymnastics can be "potentially dangerous." 

"The baby can slip, the baby can accidentally move when he's being twisted around and hit somebody's leg or furniture. That would be harmful in all cases," Dr. Young tells BBC News. 

Irina Yefremova is a Russian pediatrician who worries about a child's health when plunged into water that's below freezing. She tells BBC News, "Such a great temperature change is a huge shock for the body -- one minute the child is dressed, the next he or she is in icy water. It is very stressful for the system, especially for the heart." 

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Hmm ...

Watching this video made me cringe a bit for the baby. No matter how fun of a time this mom was having, all I could think about was the snow and that naked child. I think it's safe to assume parents who do this aren't intentionally trying to harm their kids, but I can't picture myself walking outside in a bikini barefoot with my 2 1/2- and 1 1/2-year-old boys to swing them in the air and dunk them in icy water.

... And I live in Buffalo. (You're stronger than me, Mom!)

As controversial as this video is, it does provide an outlook on different cultural norms and parenting practices across the globe. We've heard about parents and daycares leaving bundled babies to nap outside in Sweden, so perhaps a practice like this isn't really that shocking or far-fetched. (One of my college roommates in Michigan was from Eastern Europe, and she loved sleeping with the window open. It was cold, but guess who didn't get sick?)

I just hope that everyone involved doesn't get hurt ... and stays warm!

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