Brussels seems to have baby fever. Well ok, maybe it’s just my friends. Almost all of them have either had a baby (or two) already or are having one soon. And what a great place to start a family! I’ve heard only positive stories about giving birth in Brussels – standard 5-day hospital stays, excellent medical care and loads of support before and after the delivery date. But it must nevertheless be a bit daunting to go through the whole experience in a foreign country and away from family, as many of us are. Where do you look for information in English? What are the rules for parental leave? Where do you buy a good crib?
(Before we continue a little note to my mother, who I know reads this blog: No I am not pregnant :))
Fellow American Nina has written a new guidebook for soon-to-be mothers and fathers – the Brussels Baby Book. She gave birth to a boy back in February and impressively wrote this guide for expats during her maternity leave!
Looking for information during her own pregnancy proved difficult at times and often came from disparate sources, so she compiled the book with a holistic approach in mind, covering everything from medical to financial and administrative aspects to birth preparation and postnatal activities. It also includes tips for activities to enjoy while pregnant and with your baby, a list of baby-friendly hang-outs in Brussels and a birth plan check-list.
Talking to Nina about the book, she shared a few tips she wished she had known before giving birth.
1. Look into arranging pregnancy check-ups through the L’Office de la Naissance et de l’Enfance (National Birth and Children Office). They can be much cheaper than through a private clinic.
3. Look online for better deals on baby furniture, supplies and toys. Nina bought most things via Amazon and uses the Ludotheques service for affordable toys. Essentially a toy library, you can rent toys for all ages for 1-3 weeks for a small fee (€1 to €2.50) from one of their many locations around town.
Nina has created a Facebook page for her book, which she hopes to use as a discussion forum and a place to post additional tips, and she encourages visitors to post their own tips and recommendations. She has also teamed up with a British midwife to hold Planning & Pregnancy information sessions on how to navigate having a baby in Brussels. The cost is €25 for a 2-hour session (or €31 including a copy of Nina’s book). See the Antenatal and Baby website for more details and dates. Nina suggests checking websites like AngloInfo, Expatica, Le Ligeur and Babyboom for helpful information as well.
Images via Brussels Baby Book.