When we came back to The Netherlands, we came with a 13-year old and a baby who was days away from being 4-months old. The travel alone with a baby was different. You have to realize that Grace was almost 4 when we moved here the first time. All my experiences with a baby were all in America with Grace. Most things are the same here, but there are a few differences. Here are some differences that I’ve observed.
1) You really have to bundle your baby up more here. Because we’re outside walking more than when we are in America, we have to make sure that he’s got enough layers on. Plus, we need to make sure that we have enough covers for him when he’s in his stroller.
2) Going for a walk with your baby is a much more common thing to do here. Putting your baby in a stroller isn’t just for going to the store. Getting fresh air is pretty important for babies here – no matter how cold it is.
3) If you wait for the weather to be perfect before you go outside with your baby, you’ll never go. Rain covers here are very practical and wonderful so that you can go out whenever you need to.
4) I know that I’ve been talking about going out for walks for a while now, but besides getting him out and enjoying our neighborhood, walking with my stroller to the store is wonderful. Samuel is still a little bit too small to be able to sit in a seat on my bike, so I walk with him a lot to the shops. I’m shocked at how much I can get in that stroller!
5) Because it’s often cloudy here, children suffer from Vitamin D deficiencies. You have to give him Vitamin D every day for several years.
6) Finally, going to the doctor is a little different. In America, everything is done through the pediatrician. Here, you go to the doctor when the baby is sick, but they don’t give antibiotics nearly as often as they do in America (and I think that’s a good thing). There is a government department that is in charge of many things that a pediatrician would take care of in America. They are there to help when a baby is born and growing up. They give all the vaccines, weigh and measure your baby, give information about how to feed and raise your child. They’re very helpful people! Samuel saw one of the ladies from this department yesterday, and he’ll go into their office next month, so we can see just how much he has grown.
I’m sure many more differences will crop up in the months and years to come. Since it’s been 13 years since we’ve had a baby, I would have to learn everything again anyway, so I might as well learn it in a different culture.