Caring For Infants
Prebaptismal Rites for Infants.
The Orthodox Church has three rites for infants which are closely linked to baptism.
First Day of birth
The first rite is for the mother and child on the first day of birth. In this rite the Church expresses her thanksgiving for the safe delivery of the mother and her joy at the appearance of a new life. Blessing the newborn infant the Church anticipates its new and second birth through water and the Spirit (John 3:5).
Eight Days after birth
A second rite is conducted on the eighth day after birth, when the new born child receives its name from its parents. The child is given a Christian name as a sign of its new identity with the faith community.
Forty Days after birth
The third rite is conducted on the fortieth day after birth. The new-born child is to be brought to the Church in imitation of the New Testament event, when Mary, the Theotokos, brought the infant Christ into the Temple to fulfill the requirements of the Law. On this day the mother is blessed and the infant “churches,” or is accepted as a peripheral member of the Church, until it is fully incorporated into her life through baptism.