When to baptize a child? Religious traditions and practical advice When to baptize a child? Religious traditions and practical advice

When to baptize a child? Religious traditions and practical advice

4 read min.4 read min.
May, 2024May, 2024

Baptism is a special event in the life of a Christian family. This is a way to emphasize your belonging to a large Christian community, as well as present a new family member to it. In addition, it is a symbol of the new birth of a child for spiritual life and freedom from original sin.

There are several views on what age is best to baptize a child. Some of them are relying on traditions, others are based on personal or family experience. In this article, we’ll look at the most popular points of view to help you make the decision that’s best for you. After all, in such delicate matters, it is important to remain true to yourself and your faith.

At what time is a child baptized in different denominations

Most Christian churches are inclined to baptize a child within the first few months after birth. However, this is not a rule. If for some reason the parents were unable to perform the rite for the newborn, the older kid will definitely be baptized at any age and in any church. The following periods of time are the most popular for christenings:

  1. The first 40 days of a baby’s life. Once upon a time, within 40 days after giving birth, a woman was considered “dirty”. She was not allowed to enter the temple, so baptism usually took place after this period. While some conservative Christian denominations may have similar restrictions, thankfully, this rule no longer applies in most churches. However, it is better to check with the priest who conducts the ceremony. General practice shows that it depends only on you on which day of the child’s birth the christening will take place;
  2. After 40 days and up to 3 months. This usually applies to Orthodox denominations. Christians of this rite believe that during the Sacrament, the child gets rid of original sin and becomes a member of the church. The baby also gains God’s care and protection. Therefore, the sooner, the better;
  3. The first few months. Most often, Catholic and Greek-Catholic families involve the child in the bosom of the church during the first 6 months of life. As in Orthodox churches, there are no strict rules regarding a specific age. Rather, it is a recommendation that in a Christian family it is better to involve a child in the church from early childhood. If the baptism takes place at a conscious age, the child may have to attend several preparatory classes at the temple;
  4. From a year and more. Protestant (mainly Baptist) denominations teach that baptism is a conscious choice of faith in God. Therefore, children are most often baptized when they are mature enough to understand what is happening and even choose the Christian path themselves.

How to have a comfortable christening of a newborn. Tips for parents:

In addition to the religious scale, there is also a practical side to christenings. After all, it is necessary to decide where the ceremony will take place, who will be the godparents, whether there will be an after-party, what size and format, who will be invited to it. We have collected several tips that will help make christenings at an early age calm and joyful for all participants of the holiday:

  • Choose a format. Before the baby’s birth, parents are usually busy with the birth plan and organizing the postpartum life. Therefore, if you are planning a big and loud celebration, it is better to postpone it for several months. It will be easier for the baby to tolerate noise and many people. And mom will be able to take part in the celebration, instead of sitting alone with a sleepy little one in another room;
  • Make the baby’s interest a priority. There is an opinion that it is easier to baptize newborn babies, because they sleep more and are less fussy. However, this does not apply to every child. If you feel that the baby has a hard time going to other people’s arms, cries a lot and does not lull – do not be afraid to wait. After 2-3 months, the baby will be able to look at the flickering of candles or observe godmother’s jewelry through the whole ceremony. And everyone will be comfortable;
  • Assign roles. Discuss in advance all duties. For example, arrange with the child’s father to contact the church himself and agree on the date of the christening. Ask the godmother to choose a baby’s christening outfit, and instruct the grandmother to make a menu and a shopping list. Remember that a calm mother usually has a calm child. And a calm child usually means a pleasant christening for everyone;
  • Delegate everything that can be delegated. For example, buy a full christening set, so you don’t have to run around the stores. If you are planning a home celebration, order snacks instead of cooking them yourself. Or ask the godparents and grandparents to bring some of the food with them. At the restaurant, ask if they have ready-made menu options for christenings.


And most importantly, make a holiday for yourself. If you feel that you want to baptize the baby immediately after discharge from the maternity hospital, do so. If you want to first adapt to life with a baby, establish breastfeeding, wait as long as it feels necessary. Book a restaurant and a band only if you really want it. And if there is no desire to celebrate on a grand scale, just dress yourself up, call a photographer or take a phone with a good camera, order a pizza and invite the godparents for a small gathering at home. After all, memories of christenings will remain for a lifetime. May they be pleasant and joyful!

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