After a somewhat bumpy start, I am happy to say that six months down the line (already!) life abroad with a new baby is pretty much what I hoped it would be. Our “Bavarian” Boy (or Bua if you’re really speaking Bayerisch) is hugely laid back and a very welcome (and super cute) part of the family – it feels like he’s been here forever…
Without wishing to sound overly smug, I can confirm that motherhood third time around is a breeze in comparison to those often stressful early days of first time motherhood. I remember wanting to do absolutely everything by the book, whilst simultaneously going through a mourning period for my old “normal” life, having exchanged it for endless days spent with my very own tiny baby. Not only was I overwhelmingly responsible for her, but at the time I felt like I wasn’t much of a baby expert. I hasten to add that at no time was I ever ungrateful, I knew exactly how lucky we were in comparison to friends desperately hoping for the same life – it was just a massive life adjustment…
Bavarian Baby stork – announcing a new arrival!
It makes me laugh now when I think back to how long it took to get out of the house for example, and the worry that every tiny sneeze could possibly (in the eyes of her over imaginative mother) lead to pneumonia. Swapping my daily London commute for days spent singing songs (I still have one about bubbles embedded in my brain from 11 years ago!) and typically covered in baby food were something of an eye opener, in a mostly fun, life enhancing way!
Second time around I had less time to fret about things. Life with two very young children passed by in a blur and was usually made up of lots of improvisation and throwing lots of self issued rigid parenting rules out of the window. So it’s only natural that third time around motherhood should seem even easier then? Except this time we are obviously abroad, and I could not rely on any of the baby framework I once had around me.
So what’s life like when you have a baby in Bavaria? Obviously we are not in outer-Mongolia so there are masses of similarities, but there are a few differences that take some getting used to. Being told off for not having the correct number of layers on Small Baby is something this anti-authoritarian mother will always struggle with (despite him dressed in several layers and a snow suit on the coldest of days), and I will admit to recently wanting to ask one elderly lady whether she was “the hat police”. Having to bite (or not) your tongue on the odd occasion is definitely part of the norm here when it comes to baby rearing, recently in the space of around ten minutes I had someone tell me to put the hood of the pram down as the sun was in his eyes, and a few minutes later someone else telling me to put the hood up as he wanted to look around. You have to laugh…
Generally most people are very sweet though, and as much as Bavaria is child friendly, it is equally as baby friendly too. In comparison to my old life, various things have come as a refreshing change this time around – not having to struggle on London buses with a pushchair for example – here we mostly use the UBahn (when I am not driving or walking) and trains aren’t usually crowded. Breast feeding is not frowned upon in anyway (as long as you’re quite discreet!), and there are nice little touches like baby changing areas complete with nappies and wipes in shops that are free to use if you are a customer, so adjusting to life with a tiny person in a foreign country hasn’t been that hard.
Healthcare varies in that we visit a specialist paediatrician (a Kinder Arzt rather than our usual GP surgery) where we have monthly appointments to chart weight, height and for various inoculations. It did come as something of a surprise at our first appointment when Mr R and I were asked to produce our own vaccination certificates, and on not being able to do received several on the spot vaccinations ourselves (and the whooping cough one gave me a bit of a reaction – I have had tinnitus ever since so if anyone has any cures?!).
And what about the boy himself? He has been busy cultivating two lower teeth to perfect his overtly gummy smile that he uses to charm all and sundry. At six months he can’t quite sit up by himself yet, but is happy to sit in his high chair to have copious amounts of food shovelled in. He has a voracious appetite, and a bit of a penchant for spinach and apple – quite often but not intentionally together. His favourite time of the day is the afternoon when we pick up his brother and sister from school – he has a bit of a fan club there and gets a lot of attention from a vast percentage of the school community. He differs very much from my other two in that he loves bedtime, maybe that’s a Bavarian baby thing. It is highly likely that his German is already better than mine as well as most people communicate with him in that.
Thankfully he seems to enjoy our love of travel! So far in his 24 weeks on planet earth he has visited three countries with plenty more to come. The next few weeks are pretty hectic so he will be able to tick lots of firsts off his list starting with his first camping trip next weekend. Don’t even talk to me about the weather forecast!
Anyway, here’s to the next six months sweetie, and all the changes and stages it brings with it. Don’t rush though please, I want to enjoy each and every phase. x
PS. If you have just found out you are expecting in Germany and want to talk to someone about how things are done, do drop me a line, especially if you are Munich based, I would be more than happy to share my newish Bayerisch “baby framework”…
Mummy and the Mexicans says
Wow, I would never have imagined people in Germany being interfering like that! That didn’t really happen to me here in Mexico, that I remember at least! Except from my mother-in-law and that was enough! They sound very strict about vaccinations, I have to say, but the changing areas in shops sound nice. #MyExpatFamily
Thank you, yes they can be – much more so than at home! :D Usually they have your best intentions at heart though!!
I had both my children in the UK but took the first to Jamaica when she was just a few months old and the second came with us to Pakistan when she was around 7 months so experienced a few different parenting cultures. To be honest the biggest differences were the heat and the difficulty in finding appropriate food – in islamabad most of the babies seemed to have been brought up on dhal that got gradually spicier. I think had we stayed longer that would have been our eventual route too :) I also love the Stork and wish I had known about them as I think I would have ordered one for myself! #MyExpatFamily
Wow Clara, you have lived in some incredible places, far far more exciting than I have! I have a very unfussy baby thankfully, might have to start him on dahl!
Cristin @Between Roots and Wings says
How interesting to have children in different countries. Babies really have a way of making all the little cultural nuances stand out, don’t they?! Sounds like it’s quite nice being a Bavarian bub. :-)
I love the baby announcement stork. So sweet.
I think he enjoys it! Thank you Cristin! (:
This is so lovely! He’s absolutely gorgeous and sounds like a true charmer already!
Your monthly checks sound like ours! Interesting about the vaccinations for you, a good thing though I suppose aside from the tinnitus (sorry not suggestions there!)
I love how much your little guy has travelled already and love the idea of him knowing more German than you do!!
Thanks so much for sharing this lovely update on your little guy with #myexpatfamily
Thank you so much. Hope you are well xx
Nicole Webb says
Awwww he’s just gorgeous and having only had one child, I can imagine the third one would have you sooo much more relaxed! Had a giggle about the “hat police!” In Hong Kong we had the “sock police!” Heaven forbid if I took my small person out sans socks, even in 30 degree heat!!! ;) Cheers, Nicole
Oh gosh we also have the sock police hear, hence why the whole socks with sandals thing still exists – bare feet = ill health! :D Thanks Nicole! (:
I have 3 boys and moved to Zambia when number 3 was 4 months old. So much of your story feels familiar :) I also get told off for under dressing baby blue even though it has not dropped below 12 degrees here!
It seems I am not alone then in being told off! :D Thank you :)
Eline @ Emmy + LIEN says
What a cutie pie! It’s so interesting comparing parenting experiences in different countries, isn’t it? I’ve only had a tiny baby in Italy (where everyone interferes all. the. time and weaning purees include parmesan cheese from day one), but now it’s so funny to see the differences between there and Sweden with my 3yo in tow. Night and day, difference actually – it’d take an entire page to describe them! One thing that always strikes me as a result of comparing everyone’s conviction THEIR way is the ONLY way, is that you really just have to do what suits you and your family. So if no hat is best then no hat is best ;-)
I LOVE that they include parmesan in purees! I am off to Italy Wednesday, I will have to look out for them!:D I loved being in Scandinavia with a two year old and a four year old (when we arrived), they had such a lovely time in the forests and on the beaches, and the fabulous museums and galleries that were totally geared up for them. It’s pretty child friendly here too, but I still think Scandinavia is special! :) Thank you x
Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely says
How is he six months old, already???!!! I’m so sorry but I sniggered a bit reading about the hat police. I was forever being stopped in Zurich and told that the boys were cold (they seem to wear winter coats until it’s 30 degrees, there). In fact, I used to get stopped myself and told to put a coat on. Love the community law enforcers ;)
I was told off in Copenhagen too for not having a coat on myself! :D Thanks Rachel x
Nayna Kanabar says
I think we become more confident with a second or third baby who just has to fit in with everyone elses routine. Your baby looks so cute.
Thanks Nayna! Yep, he definitely just fits in! :)
he is so cute, I remember being completely phased by any trips away from the comfort zone of home with a small baby (which clearly, you never were or you’ve obviously adapted). Looking forward to catching up with more of your travelling adventures. Can you pretend not to understand the “hat police” or do they come bi-lingual.
I love the German efficiency of nappies and helpful things in a change room, compared to the unwelcoming, grey boxes of grimness that is change rooms here. Lovely post.
Thank you Gemma. I think the problem when it comes to the hat police is that I am such a bad liar and my bad German always lets me down! :D x
Donna Billson says
Awww he is just adorable.
I was so much more relaxed with my second than I was with my first, although I am in awe of anyone that juggles a third (or more) into the mix.
Lovely post x
Thanks so much Donna! I am definitely more relaxed this time around! :) x
Lovely, informative blog. x
Thank you xx
Helen Moss says
Hi Emma, he looks gorgeous, I hope we can meet him soon!
I had to laugh when you describe the “hat police”. We experienced that in France and it is so frustrating! Being told off for not enough clothes, being told off for too many clothes, being told off for taking the baby up the mountain (apparently dangerous for their brains?!) and being told off for using baby reins when Emilie began walking. They don’t exist in France and people literally walked up to me in the street in a rage, accusing me of treating my child as a dog! (No one understood that they were to stop her running into the road!) You end up just laughing and taking it all with a pinch of salt!
Oh my gosh Helen, Bavaria seems like a breeze in comparison! We must absolutely see you soon. It’s been far too long. x
How can he be 6 months old? An absolute love, too. My mother-in-law always laughed about the amount of gear that she required just to take the first baby on a trip to the supermarket, and how drastically that changed by the time she got to #3! Good thing this is the 3rd baby, though; can you imagine how all that conflicting advice would make you crazy if it was your first time around? ; )
I think I would be a wreck by now Caroline! :D Thank you. Strange to think that you have kind of met him before when I was mit bump, but not when he was “earth side” :D
Carole at Healthier Mummy says
What a lovely post – so interesting to hear about having a baby in another country and your little boy is a real cutie. I love the stork idea! But not sure I’d have been that keen to have on-the-spot vaccinations either. Maybe the 3rd-child chilledness is also something to do with being in a different country? I didn’t find the transition quite as easy as you.
Thank you very much Carole :)
Your post made me smile – I’ve been told off a few times here in London too, for not shielding the baby from the sun, and for allowing him to sit in the buggy without socks! And time really does fly. Even I can’t believe it’s been 6 months…
I must have escaped the teller-offers in London first time around! :D Thanks Nell!
Ha! Had no idea people interfered in such a way, telling you off!
He really is a gorgeous boy and this is such a lovely post – I have a big smile just reading it xx
Oh yes… I suppose they are just being caring, but not in the way that I am used to! :D Thank you Trish. Love the new look site! :) xx
Phoebe @ Lou Messugo says
He’s so cute Emma, I’m really pleased it’s all going well. Here’s to the next 6 months. BTW we get the same interference in France with people offering unwanted advice on clothing/shoes/sun etc.
I don’t remember that many comments with my other two at home. :D Thanks so much Phoebe! :) x
Mookie Moo says
awww isn’t he just adorable? How precious. :) Enjoy every little moment with them as the time as small goes so fast. It seems like yesterday my daughter was little and now she is 19!!! :)
Thanks so much Annie! (:
Erica Price says
Are you feeding him cooled camomile tea or is it peppermint that they like to give babies in Germany? I saw something vinegar socks as well the other day in my German class. Google it if you haven’t heard about it – we watched some very funny Swiss German videos about it. I can imagine it’s easy to be a lot more chilled with number three especially as the other two are quite a bit older.
They have a tea for everything. Fennel in place of gripe water and I think camomile generally. We use the fennel from time to time and they have a great tea for when children have a bad cough. I was quite sceptical about it at first, but it actually works! :D Yes, I had heard about the vinegar socks! :D Thanks Erica! (:
Nichola - Globalmouse says
Aw I’m so pleased it’s all going so well. I love the Storks to announce the arrival! I would find it really hard with all the stranger’s ‘advice’ though!!
The storks are lovely aren’t they? They generally announce the baby’s name and arrival and quite often little clothes are pegged out too… This one was ours, but it blew down in a storm sadly – everyone else on our road who has had babies in the past year still has theirs up! :D