10 must-knows if you’re having a baby in Antwerp

Lauraandbaby
Laura Soave

This is for you if you are going to have a baby and you live in Antwerp-
a few helpful things to keep in mind by Laura Soave (pic right), who has recently had her second child here in Antwerp.

1.The Mecca of Parenting

If you need advice about your baby or pregnancy, or about  breastfeeding; if you want to find a baby massage class, do yoga during pregnancy or if you just want a chat about your sleepless nights with your newborn you’ll find everything you need at the Kraamvogel.

Kraamvogel provides a variety of services and support: the website is very clear in terms of finding what you need: it’s divided into 3 sections: Zwanger (pregnancy), Bevallen (delivery) and Kinderwens (getting pregnant/ starting a family). In the Kraamvogel (Volkstraat 7 – 2000 Antwerpen) you’ll find lots of books about babies and pregnancy too

kraamvogel2. All you need is help

If you are in need of a consultation at home or you would like support in deciding  whether to deliver at home or at the hospital, you can go on the website Vroedvrouwen.be to look for a vroedvrouw, a midwife. These are independent professional women and they provide a phone number that you’ll be able to reach during the week or weekend if you have difficulty with breastfeeding or other newborn-related issues. You can also contact organizations like Solidariteit voor het Gezin to get the kraamzorg. This organisation, like many others, will be able to provide you, for a fair price, someone that can help you during your first days at home with your baby. They will prepare simple meals for you, you can send them on an errand to the pharmacy or the supermarket. They’ll even do some cleaning in the house, if needed

3. If this isn’t your first Rodeo…

First-time parents cannot wait to buy new clothes, lots of toys, a new stroller. When you’re having your second child, it’s a whole new vibe. You’ll try to recycle whatever you can and at some point you’ll want to get rid of things. Whenever you want to give away things (clothes, toys, crib, etc.) you can bring them to Moeders voor Moeders, a charity organization located in Borgerhout that works with 160 volunteers. I have done a tour of the place myself and believe me, when I tell you, it’s huge and well organized in departments, there’s even a cafeteria where people who cannot afford it, can get coffee for 10 cents.

moedersvoormoeders

 

You can also go to the Geefwinkel creandersregenboog in Berchem, where you’ll find clothes (men, women and children) and you’re allowed to bring things but also to collect what you like or need.

4. To pump or not to pump: that is the question!

NoordbabyNot a lot of people know that the public hospital Sint-Vincentius in Antwerp doesn’t rent electric breast-pumps any longer, nor will you find them at the pharmacies. I found Noord Baby as the only place in Antwerp city centre that rents breast-pumps. The owner is a midwife and also organizes workshops on different topics (pre-partum classes, breastfeeding, and so on).

You can also contact your mutualiteit (health care insurer) to rent the breastpump (generally for a very fair price).


5. When your baby is born

Shortly after the birth of your baby,  you’ll be contacted by an organization called Kind en Gezin, who will arrange an initial visit with you at home. During the visit, they’ll test hearing and monitor the baby’s weight. They’ll also get you an appointment for the baby’s first vaccinations. You can either go for a general consultation, or just to take the weight and measure your baby (no appointment needed for this). All of these services are for free.

kindengexin

6. Home delivery and Shopping 

Orchestra and Dreambaby on the A12 are the cheapest big malls for toys, clothes, strollers, diapers, and more important items. But can also find lots of good deals at Kruidvat. Especially on baby products.

Personally I’ve always found practical to have diapers delivered home, together with other baby supplies. Parents do not always have time to rush to the supermarket to get the essentials (diaper disposal bags, wet napkins, diapers).

Let’s call it ‘peace of mind’: I only do this once a month via bol.com and get it delivered at home for free in 24h.

Don’t forget: if you have Mobile Viking as phone provider, you’ll receive a percentage of your purchases as phone credit. Pretty awesome!

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7. CPR for babies and toddlers

This can be a scary topic for new parents, but bear with me here, because it is important.

It’s a must for every parent. There are organisations which offer classes. It’s just one evening (4 hours- but you can also find longer courses that offer more detailed and developed training) during which an expert will teach you what to do in case you’ll have to manage a situation involving choking, drowning, burning, drinking poisoning substance or medications. There is also a practical session at the end with practice- mannequins. This is a specific class for CPR on babies and toddlers: Rode Kruis First Aid to babies and children in EN EHBO bij kinderen in NL

healthcarelogos

8. Parental Leave (Ouderschapsverlof/ Congé Parental)

If you have a Belgian contract, once your insurance has terminated the payments for your moederschapsverlof (maternity leave) you can also apply for your Ouderschapsverlof (parental leave). You can do this easily by applying via RVA’s (ONEM) website. This website provides the paperwork you need only in NL and FR.


You’ll need to fill in the paperwork (to be downloaded on the website) and there is a part for the employee and a few pages for your employer. You’ll need to attach to your file a copy of your baby’s birth certificate too. This procedure usually takes about a month or so to get approved. You can also follow your file online, to see scheduled payments etc.


9. Find your Mary Poppins.

mary-poppins-2756841_640Use Bsit: this is a very handy app created in 2015 by two cool Belgian mums – Géraldine and Donatienne – who wanted to know more about their babysitters before meeting them for the first time. You set your price per hour; you choose for proximity or best reviews. The reviews are very helpful; you can read about other parents’ experiences with that same person. You also get to know things like: how much experience your babysitter has, how many sittings she has done, which languages she speaks, her age etc.

There are also a couple of other organisations that provide this kind of service: Kinderoppas and Nanny in Nood. These can be a little more expensive than Bsit, but helpful and professional in the same way.

10. If you’re going back to work…

You’ll find a very useful list of Crèches on this website. There is a section for people in immediate need of a spot, but usually finding a daycare that has a spot in Antwerp can take a while, so try to do it as soon as possible -many people in busy areas will get onto waiting lists after the 12 week scan. You can choose whether to opt for a Group daycare or apply for an Onthaalmoeder– these are mothers at home that take between 6 and 8 babies. This is a solution for parents who prefer a smaller environment for their child. But again, hurry!  There are often long waiting lists for any of these solutions.

About the blogger

LauraS
Laura Soave (nonnative blog)

Laura Soave is an Antwerp blogger and designer from Italy. Check out her blog: nonnative and find her on InstagramFacebook and Twitter  

Would you like to write a guest post about your experiences (or knowledge) of Antwerp? contact me on nessascityblog@gmail.com. I’d like to hear your Antwerp story.

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This weekend in Antwerp: 17th, 18th & 19th May

antwerpartF
Antwerp Art Pavilion, Hanzestedenplaats

It’s Antwerp Art Weekend over the whole weekend. Galleries -both large and small- around the city open their doors to spotlight and celebrate contemporary art. Over 80 venues are participating and you can find a list of them here. This is the fifth edition of Antwerp Art Weekend.

 

 

Friday

Friday evening should be dry and mild, so here’s three possible options for starting the weekend with a few outdoors drinks:

sommar2019
Sommar

Sun-lovers will be pleased to know that another summer bar is opening for the season. Sommar under Hangar 27 (near Eilandje) opens at 5pm.

 

Aper’eau is on Grote Markt from 5pm with its usual brand of drinks, summer cocktails, food trucks and DJs until 11pm

And regular Dokmarkt is on Napoleonkaai (Eilandje). If you’re out the office early that starts at 3pm and combines music, outdoor drinks with stands which sell a variety of quality, small-batch products from local businesses.
Saturday

For kids: encourage your smallest ones to begin enjoy books and reading at Bib Festival Voor Kleintjes: read aloud, creative fun, workshops and activities based around books, stories and reading for babies and toddlers from

On Sint Jansplein there’s the regular mega grote openlucht rommelmarkt (huge second hand market) from 10am -6pm
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Plein Publiek

And at Plein Publiek it’s the revive market from 10am- 4pm, which is a classy closet sale of vintage and sustainable fashion, where there’s also a bar, and bites available. NB: most stands are cash only

Why not jump on your bike and head to Park Spoor Oost for Festa Primavera? Music and food from 5pm. It’s free but the buffet costs 15e (8e for kids) and it’s advisable to reserve via parkspooroost@outlook.com

On the other side of the water, you can also enjoy festival feelz at Left Festival on Linkeroever: food, music, games and a rommelmarkt from 10am until midnight. This event is free, kid-friendly and takes place on Thonetlaan 133, 2050 Antwerpen

Sunday

Goegekregen are in Park Spoor Noord from 9am with their usual vast array of second hand good, antiques, curiosa, vinyl and second hand & vintage fashion.

Bouger Bouger is a nice neighbourhood party on Krugerplein in Borgerhout from 10am -5pm and features music, food and again, a second hand market.

pianomarathondeconninckplein2018
Piano Marathon 2018

Openwervendag gives members of the public the chance to go and see building projects which are currently underway in various regions. Here are the sites which will be open in the Antwerp area.

A Piano Marathon will take place alongside the usual second-hand book market on de Conninckplein today from 10am-4pm

And if that isn’t enough secondhand eco-friendly goodness for you, head to nightspot Ampere and get your vintage fashion by the kilo from 10am -6pm.

The weather should continue to be pleasant (20-21 degrees over Saturday and Sunday) with the possibility of a bit of stormy weather on Sunday afternoon.

Miscellaneous

pintofscience
Pint of Science

Pint of Science is coming to Antwerp to explain some cutting-edge scientific ideas and developments, and some of their presentations and discussions will be in English. Here is their program for Antwerp venues – events take place next week from 20th- 22nd May in bars around Antwerp.

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This week on Monday I published an extra post: meet Sylwia, a life coach from Poland who has lived in Antwerp since 1996.

And tickets go on sale for the 2019 BATS Variety Show in June. This is a popular annual event, so get in early if you’d like to catch this fun show!

And here’s another option for theatre in English from Antwerp based theatre and impro group Mixed and United: Loads is a play written by Sebastian Badarau. It’s about student actors preparing a Chekhovian play and you can order tickets online here.

loads

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