A second part was needed. Becoming a parent in Germany (or anywhere really) is no easy business. With this guide, we aim to bring together some of the information that we consider relevant for those of you who are planning on becoming parents in Germany.
- Start the shopping list
Here it will be useful to cover pregnancy, maternity, with care, hygiene and baby development products and activities.
Keep in mind that many items do not need to be purchased brand new, but you can buy them second hand (e.g. baby crib, rocking chair, changing pod and nappy cupboard, mirror and touch books).
- Take a birthing preparation course
With all the advice you will find on Google, forums and from other moms, you might find it reassuring to take a course for new parents on how to take care of your newborn. The good part about such courses is that they come from specialists, like hebammes or nurses, and you don’t need to check your information from various sources.
The birthing preparation courses are reimbursed up 80% of the course costs (or max. EUR 100) with the public health insurance. If you are privately insured, you will need to check with your provider the extent of your policy’s services.
You may also find useful to take a first-aid course for babies and children. It’s best to be ready with knowledge than to have only a few minutes to act.
- Find a mom buddy
Women who already went through pregnancy are more than happy to support first-time mothers with advice, since they went through this themselves too.
Mother and baby solutions in Germany will definitely be different than those in your home country, so it saves a lot of time to do research, use your intuition, before going down a rabbit hole and feeling overwhelmed with how many things you need to know.
Plus, having a mom buddy (or more) will give you a significant budget save, because you can receive pre-worn items from their children. Clothes, toys, stroller, baby bed, rocking chair, books…children grow very, very fast, and do not care if something is new or not, they only use items valuable for their appropriate learning stage. Invest, don’t spend.
- Schedule yourself a maternity photoshoot
Do you need it? Not at all.
But how about you also do something that is not purely practical and treat yourself to something lovely, like some professional photos during your pregnancy? You can have some really nice photos showcasing your glowing feminine energy, play with outfits and poses, feeling powerful and maternal, and also have your first memories with your baby and partner.
- Stimulate the brain
The baby’s brain can be stimulated from the womb already. Read books, do Sudoku or Math problems, do puzzles or Lego, learn a new language or an instrument, listen to classical music.
- Meditate. Love.
Eat quality food, not more. We pay more money for poor quality food, that does not really nourish your body. It forces us to eat bigger portions because we are hungry 1-2h again after we ate. Invest in food that is organic and makes you feel full, not that is cheap and shrinks in half in the frying pan.
Meditation can be anything from praying, to spending 5-10’ of mindful gratitude, to taking a rest. Calming your mind is beneficial not just for you and the baby, but also studies show that if you have restful sleep and a relaxed body, the birth will be much easier.
Love your pregnancy and its novelty, love the lessons you are given, have forgiveness for those who upset you and receive love. It is a great time to experience rebirth throughout your pregnancy and nourish your body cells with good, nourishing energy.
Fights, long work hours, overthinking and worrying take a lot of mental energy and leave the body very tired and hurt. Why self-sabotage when you can choose how you react to the world, your environment, your patterns? It is a great opportunity to heal, to clean relationships, define boundaries, be a role model for your child.
Your body will need its time to heal after such an important medical intervention. But if you take care of it early, under supervision of a coach/trainer, you will feel better about doing something for yourself. You will have more stamina and energy, invest in happiness hormones and be ignorant to post-partum depression.
Another reason: when you do regular physical exercises after giving birth, you will shed the baby weight efficiently and guaranteed, otherwise it has the reputation to stick around for years.
Above all, exercising is important for your overall health. Fitness experts and doctors recommend to start 3 weeks after giving birth vaginally, In cases of C-section, can take 11-12 weeks. Consult your doctor before undertaking such an activity.
- Borrowing a breast pump https://www.medela.de/stillen/deine-stillzeit/milchpumpe-auf-rezept
Did you know that in Germany you can rent a hospital grade breast pump? You read that sentence correctly!
Reasons why this is an option:
- If you have a health concern (e.g. mastitis, sensitive or painful nipples, surgery) or your baby has difficulty for several reasons (e.g. premature birth, oral dysfunction);
- If you are not yet sure if milk pumping is for you;
- If you do not want to do this regularly, but want to store milk for a few months anyway;
- If you want to get a good deal for your money (renting for 1 month can save more money compared to committing to owning one).
Here is how you can get it:
- Depending on the source of the issue, that is the right doctor to prescribe it. If it’s a problem related to the mother, it’s the gynecologist. If it’s baby related, it’s the pediatrician.
- The doctor will give you a prescription for 1 month and you can go to any pharmacy and rent one.
- Take swimming classes with your baby
In most German cities, the public pools organize swimming classes for babies as early as 3 months old. You can do it together with your partner to have some nice bonding time as a family. Or have your partner do it, while you take a deep, restful sleep.
Just make sure to pack for your child a bathrobe with a hood and a swimming diaper.
- Have a psychotherapist in your agenda
Dealing with the life changes and postpartum, as a couple or on your own, can feel overwhelming, even if you prepared well enough on paper. It’s good to have a psychotherapist to talk to and have good support to navigate this.
And since this is Germany, especially if you live in a big city and prefer English speaking therapists, make sure you squeeze yourself on their agenda in due time.
- Take too many pictures of your baby
They grow really fast when you are looking away.
Take pictures, spoil them with attention, indulge yourself with all the love you get from them. There is no such thing as spoiling your newborn too much, they are supposed to be spoiled with love and there is no such thing as a full memory on your phone.
Mark milestones, capture memories, be present.
If you’re looking for the first part of our, it’s right here.