When I think back on the first year with my little one, some things stick out and I wish I had known them before. So I decided to put together a list of my 11 personal things I would have loved to know as a new mom in Stuttgart and I hope that they are helpful for you.
Transparency: This article contains unpaid advertisement as well as affiliate links. It is based on my own experiences as a mom in Stuttgart and I only point out things and services that I personally know and can recommend.
1. It’s all a phase
Sleepless nights, sore nipples, teething, baby blues, weaning blues… Most moms encounter these things so don’t ever think you are alone when it’s getting tough! One thing a good friend told me right before I gave birth was this: “It’s all a phase. It will be hard sometimes. But it will pass, I promise you.” Man was she right. But this is also true for the good and sweet things. Your baby will not always smell like a newborn so enjoy it as long as it holds on! Your baby will not always fit in those tiny rompers, so take lots of pictures – mental ones and real ones. Your baby will not always make those cute noises, so safe them in your mind, your heart and on film… I could go on like this forever because now, one year later, I already miss all those little things 🙂
2. All those examinations…
When your baby is born it already has a lot of appointments. With your pediatrician. They are called “U-Untersuchungen” in German and it is very important that you don’t miss them. The following U examinations await you in the first 12 months:
- U 1 will take place in the first hour after you gave birth and the doctor will check your little one’s vital functions.
- U 2 will take place on day 3 to 10. It includes tests for metabolic disorders, cystic fibrosis and a newborn hearing test.
- U3 will take place within week 4 to 5. It includes – amongst others – a consultation about the vaccinations.
- U 4 will take place within month 4 to 5. It focuses on the physical and mental development of your child.
- U 5 will take place within month 6 to 7. The physical stage of development is in the focus of the examination.
- U 6 will take place within month 10 to 12. The doctor now looks at everything your child can already do. Special attention is paid to possible developmental delays so that, if necessary, early support or treatment can be provided.
You will get a special pass/book for all U-Untersuchungen, the yellow Kinderuntersuchungsheft. The exact date and the results of all examinations are recorded in the Yellow Children’s Examination Booklet by the doctors and, in some cases, midwives and maternity nurses. The booklet supports parents in preparing for the respective early detection examination by providing information on the age-appropriate examination contents. It is usually given to you in the maternity clinic – in the case of home births by your midwife or obstetrician.
3. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate
First of all: vaccinating your baby is not mandatory in Germany. But it is highly recommended. Your pediatrician will tell you what vaccinations are recommended, when they will be due and answer all your questions.
4. Post-birth fitness
You will not feel very fit after giving birth, this much I can tell you 🙂 I enjoyed participating in post-birth fitness classes. Special Rückbildungskurse are even payed for by German health insurances. Here your trainer will focus on the pelvic floor, your stomach and your general fitness and well-being. If you want to do more, special post-birth yoga or fitness classes will support you. I visited the courses offered by Laufmamalauf (Run Mom Run) and enjoyed them a lot. Some of them are even in English.
5. Fun groups for babies (and moms 🙂
Meeting other babies and moms is a lot of fun. You can join special Krabbelgruppen in Stuttgart, some of them are even in English or follow an international approach. I wrote about three of them in this former mom life update.
6. Where to buy baby stuff?
Believe me, you will need A LOT OF STUFF for a baby. I personally bought most of what we have second hand, on special baby bazaars in Stuttgart or on eBay Kleinanzeigen online. It doesn’t only save you money, is is also good for the environment to buy used items.
But there are of course also great addresses for new baby stuff in Stuttgart.
For example we bought our pram at Babyone in Leinfelden-Echterdingen. For the stroller we went to Metzingen and bought it at Princess, a store that is well known for it’s excellent counseling and huge selection when it comes to prams and strollers.
The drugstore dm has a great selection for babies when it comes to food and – that might come as a surprise – clothes. I can highly recommend the silk-wool rompers!
For more inspiration visit the post I have written about shopping for baby items in Stuttgart.
7. How do Germans introduce solid food?
From conversations with expats from all around the world I know that the German way of introducing solid food and weaning is different to many other approaches. In general baby nourishment is closely linked to culture and thus different from country to country. In Germany most parents feed their babies purees after a few months and introduce meat in a very early age. Find out more why and how in this article I have written about the German way of introducing solid food to your baby.
8. Oh I feel the blues…
Some of you might have heard of the “baby blues”. It can hit new moms a few days or weeks after giving birth and can even grow to a real depression. Very often it is linked to the sudden change of hormones in the female body after giving birth.
In my personal case I didn’t experience the “baby blues” but what I call “weaning blues”. It hit me – as the name suggests – two weeks after we have completed weaning. From one moment to the next I felt super weak, physically but also mentally. At first I didn’t know what was going on but then I found out that a lot of moms are experiencing the same and it has also to do with the change of hormones.
As I know from personal experience how horrible this might feel like and how helpless and lonely one can feel it is important to me to spread the word about this situation, the “weaning blues”. So in case it might hit you, I want you to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There are many of us out there who are experiencing or have experienced the same and went through the same you are going through at the moment. And: It is no sign of weakness to seek help! Your gyn or midwife are the first addresses you can – and should! – turn to! You do not need to suffer!
I can only imagine how it might feel being a new mom in a foreign country. If you need support I can recommend the local company Gravidamiga. The specialize in supporting international moms in Stuttgart. They offer private counseling as well as courses.
10. Helpful books and more
There are TONS of parenting books out there and I haven’t read all of them. That being said I want to recommend one book that I truly loved: The Wonder Weeks [affiliate link]. Apparently in the first year, all babies undergo the same developmental steps at the same time. This book tells you what is going on with your baby at the moment and how you can help him or her to master this step. This book has helped me big times understanding why the little one was grumpy one day and happy the other. And I got a lot of inspiration for games I could play with her.
Moreover, there were two Netflix shows that I LOVED as a new mom:
Firstly: The letdown. A comedy about new mom Audrey and her struggles. SOOOOO good, SOOOOO true and SOOOOO funny!
Secondly: Babies. A documentary series that follows parents around the world through the first year with their babies. Moreover, every episode focuses on different research findings about the development of babies. SOOOOO interesting!
11. Make memories for a lifetime
I couldn’t sound more stereotypical but: Times flies sosososos much when you have a baby! I can’t believe how much our little one has changed in only 12 months!! She’s not a newborn anymore, not even a baby but a toddler. Make sure t0 enjoy your baby as much as possible in this short first year. And believe me, as easy as this sound now, as hard it can be after a night without sleep or the fifth shirt you have to put into the washing machine because someone puked on it AGAIN in one day… But, oh my god, all those priceless little wonders! Those toothless smiles! My heart is melting when I think of it 🙂
Find a good balance between enjoying your baby “technic-free”and taking pictures and films of him or her to save all those wonderful moments for the future. Another wonderful way of conserving the “smallness” of your baby is to get 3 D imprints of their feet or hands. We went to Kerstin in Waldenbuch and she did a great job! She speaks English too and has worked with a lot of international families already. You find more information on her website: mk13.de
Another thing we did was take pictures of the litte one each month. Like this we could document how she was growing and developing. We have used these pretty wooden blocks [affiliate link] and the milestone cards [affiliate link].
Moreover, I also wrote a diary for the little one in this first year. My mom did the same for me and it was so touching and also super interesting to read it now, as a mom myself, with my baby undergoing the same developmental changes I did 🙂
Disclaimer: Please note that I am no doctor, nurse or midwife. For any concerns about you or your baby please turn to your gyn, midwife or doctor.