Baby care – it is something all new parents worry about. I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to have given birth in Switzerland, and today’s blog is meant to explain why.
The Swiss have already managed to care for us and our baby in so many wonderful ways. I will start with the hospital experience (which I still intend to detail out in another blog). I was able to opt for a cesarean with no questions asked. It ended up being the right decision because during the procedure it was discovered that my pelvis is too small for a natural delivery. I was also kept at the hospital for 6 days, with nurses constantly available to help with Matilda and teach me how to care for her. My final night in the hospital, Tony and I were given a “romantic” dinner, including wine and candlelight, while the nurses watched Matilda. The nurses themselves were all exceptionally kind and spoke to Matilda in their native tongues. My little girl was exposed to Italian, German, French and English all within her first week of life.
Once home, I was given access to multiple baby care options. First, the midwife. Once a week for the first 2 months, a midwife visited my home to help with my baby. Together we kept track of Matilda’s weight and height, and I was able to ask any questions I had. One such question was regarding red spots that had appeared within Matilda’s cute neck folds. The Swiss are very big into natural remedies, and the midwife suggested camomile to calm the skin and calendula oil for moisture. Matilda’s neck is now so much better and all without prescriptions.
The second option is the Mütter und Väterberatung. These are canton funded centers where parents can go without appointment. It is a place to meet other parents and ask questions without needing to visit a doctor. Babies can also be weighed and measured, and access to these centers is available until the baby is 5 years old. I have not taken Matilda here yet, but just knowing they exist puts my mind at ease. I love that I have the option to visit should anything concerning arise.
As far as doctors, the Swiss recommend and almost enforce having a pediatrician near your home. When I called to make Matilda’s 1 month appointment, I was even asked what neighborhood I lived in to ensure I was close to the doctor’s office. We have found an incredible doctor at the office of Dr. Sepp Holz. As soon as we entered the office for the first time, I felt relief sweep over me. The receptionists so obviously love their jobs of working with babies. The doctors are wonderful as well. Matilda is in the care of a doctor named Dr. Gerber and I immediately felt comfortable with his care. He is extremely gentle with her and happy to answer all of my neurotic new mommy questions.
With each visit, I have to bring Matilda’s baby book with. This is where the doctor and midwife record all of Matilda’s important medical information. Should Tony and I ever move back to the States, this book will prove very useful.
Matilda has already had her 1 month and 2 month check ups. Vaccinations start at month 2 and continue up until she is 29 years old. The below calendar is extremely helpful because I can clearly see what vaccines she is receiving and when. I can also easily compare this to the United States if needed, and I have a document that details out everything she has already received.
I am still unclear at this point what vaccines are or are not mandatory. I know this is a very polarizing topic, especially in the USA. When searching, I found information stating that vaccines aren’t actually required in Switzerland, but I want to do all I can to protect Matilda. This is especially true given how much we plan on traveling with her.
The final way the Swiss care for my baby is in the documentation they provide. We have received multiple mailings and documents with free information, booklets, pamphlets, etc. These are meant to help inform new parents on Swiss child laws and also provide suggestions and ideas for parenting. I could not believe how much proactive help and information has been provided to us, and I am so thankful for it all. Raising Matilda thus far has been so smooth and simple – touch wood it continues! – and I know so much of that has to do with the Swiss care.
A big thank you to Zurich Stadt, Dr. Gerber, the nurses at Klinik Im Park, and our midwife for their kind help and care!