How the Swiss Care for my Baby

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.

Baby Natural Remedies

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.

Mutter Vaterberatung

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.

Baby Doctor Book

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.

Baby Vaccine Calendar

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!

 

My Swiss Pregnancy

After visiting my sister and her newborn son earlier this year, I will admit, the baby bug bit me.  It wasn’t a super strong bite, but more of a “let’s see what happens” kind of bite.  Who knew that just a couple months after returning to Zurich, I would end up carrying a little bun of my own.

Pregnancy in Switzerland has already been an adventure, and the baby isn’t even here yet.  As I imagine is the case with pregnancy everywhere, there are good things and bad things to be experienced, and I have laid them out here in humorous form for your entertainment.  Being an expat, I didn’t think there was anything more that could surprise me.  Clearly I was wrong.

 

The Bad

  • Pregnancy tests are ridiculously expensive – it’s just a plastic stick you pee on
  • No more alcohol
  • My doctor’s lack of reaction to anything
  • Shopping in Switzerland is so expensive – diapers, baby clothes, etc.
  • The day care (kinderkrippe) costs as much per month as our rent

 

The Good

  • I am eating whatever I want and the baby has a strong preference for cheese and chocolate – I guess I chose the right country to live in
  • Discovering new delicious and non-alcoholic Swiss drinks like mountain herb tea
  • The incredible and extremely thorough health care system – and my doctor speaks perfect English
  • Zurich has a huge expat community that is constantly selling gently used goods – we now have a crib, high chair and pack-n-play which cost almost nothing!
  • The kinderkrippe will teach our child German from a young age and is extremely clean  – plus it’s super close to our home, making it very convenient to get to

 

The Hilarious

  • Hovering over the pregnancy test box using Google translate to understand what two lines meant (clearly it meant ‘pregnant’)
  • My doctor’s constant accusations that I am “putting something on my stomach” that is interfering with her ultrasound photos – I am not putting anything on my stomach
  • This is a first-born child starting out in the world with nothing but hand-me-downs and it makes me feel incredibly successful
  • We had to apply to the kinderkrippe in July 2016 to secure a spot for July 2017, and had to leave an entire page blank that asked things like name, gender, birthdate, etc.

 

I am sure there will be more fun things to discover, but until then, I will just keep baking this little bun. 🙂

 

 

Off to the Theater

I can’t believe that after 3 years of living in Switzerland, in the last 2 weeks I have gone bowling for the first time, and now, gone to the theater for the first time.  At this rate, I am practically Swiss!  Now where’s my passport, please?

The theater is something I loved to attend when I was in Chicago – I love musicals, local plays, sketch comedy – I had many friends involved in local Chicago productions and would always try to attend.  When moving to Zurich, though, of course the thought is that everything is in German, so I really never paid it too much attention.

Luckily, my neighbor Carolyn has a good friend involved with the local theater scene in Zurich, and this friend is trying to promote the many English productions that do, in fact, exist.  On Wednesday, I attended my first English production at the Gessnerallee.

The Gessnerallee is an incredibly cool space.  They have huge indoor and outdoor bar areas that then lead you into a large, black theater.

Gessnerallee

Gessnerallee

I really loved the wall of different lamps off to one side of the bar.  I just thought it was unique and creative, and tried to identify how I could pull that look off in my own home.

But back to the show.  For only 16 CHF, I purchased a ticket to see “Real Magic” by Forced Entertainment, a British group based out of Sheffield.  I have included the description of the performance from their website:

“Forced Entertainment’s new performance Real Magic creates a world of absurd disconnection, struggle and comical repetition. To the sound of looped applause and canned laughter, a group of performers take part in an impossible illusion – part mind-reading feat, part cabaret act, part chaotic game show – in which they are endlessly replaying the moment of defeat and the moment of hope. Caught in a world of second-chances and second-guesses, variations and changes, distortions and transformations, Real Magic takes the audience on a hallucinatory journey, creating a compelling performance about optimism, individual agency and the desire for change.”

Carolyn and I entered the theater and were anxious for the performance to begin.  It had been so long since I had seen a live show that I couldn’t wait for it to start.

Gessnerallee

As far as how I felt about the show?  Honestly, it wasn’t what I might normally select if I had understood more about it up front.  It was funny, and it was interesting, and it was entertaining, but I also felt the concept went about an hour too long (the whole performance was 90 minutes).  If you are someone that doesn’t normally go to the theater, I would say you’d probably want to avoid this specific production, but if you are into really different and interesting things, then this would be right up your alley.

Even with that feedback, I still had an incredible time.  It was so nice to go out on a “school night”, meet some new people from a completely different part of the Zurich expat community, and see my first live performance in over 3 years.  I am now keeping a close eye on the Gessnerallee performance schedule so I can take in another English production.  I will of course make sure to report back.

Check it out for yourself – you might be surprised at how much you enjoy it!