Becoming a mother has been the biggest and most fulfilling challenge of my life. A lot of things that would have been easy in my own country suddenly all require thinking and research. It starts with “which doctor should I go to?”, “should I go to a public or a private hospital?”, “how do I figure out all the admin?”, “where can I buy the baby stuff?,,, etc. The list of questions was and still is never-ending. You start searching for answers and suddenly I stumbled across an antenatal course in English called Belly to Baby and Beyond. Anna and Viktoria tried to answer all our questions, explained the common issues and pitfalls of giving birth in general and also more specifically in Cataluña. A nice plus was all the nice couples we met during the course. We kept in touch as the babies were born one by one and decided to meet weekly to exchange experiences and ideas. 4 months later we still meet and I really enjoy our weekly coffee chats. Even though I started working 2 months ago, I still manage to keep Thursday mornings free so my baby Alfie can go hang out with the little friends he met even before he was born.
My boyfriend who is a photographer asked me to try out some lighting techniques with him and for fun he turned it into a fictitious magazine cover for BarceMama, a magazine for mums with cojones. This triggered some of my sleepy brain cells and I realised that the same questions keep coming back so I decided to assemble some of the info on this page. What you find below is a mix of data I got from my Thursday coffee mummies, the lovely ladies at BCN tots (a google group I recently joined) and a few other blogs I read over the past few months. I hope it can help some other BarceMama’s out there.
Soon, I will also collect info on getting a NIE for your baby and nice holiday ideas so do send me any info you have and/or suggest additional topics that may be interesting.
1. Dealing with the admin crap
Unfortunately, there are no easy answers here as things change all the time and sometimes depend on nationality. The most important piece of advice is to stay calm, take all the documents you can think of and remember this crap does not only happen to you. If you feel like screaming, have a look at this video.
On a serious note, I find this website very useful as it gives you a chronological list of which documents you need to get and where. I followed it and everything more or less went well: www.tramitesnacimiento.com.
When in doubt, you can call 060 or visit www.060.es which is El Punto de Acceso a la Administración Española.
2. Taking your baby swimming
Eurofitness, C/ de Muntaner 166, Barcelona
They offer the class in 3-month increments (e.g. April, May and June) but they will let you start in the middle of the three months if you want and just pay for the portion that you use. They don’t speak English at the class, but the instructor is good and relatively patient, and most things can be figured out with rudimentary Spanish and pantomimes. The class is 30 minutes, which is just about the maximum that the kids seem to be able to pay attention and do so much physical work at one time, so it’s perfect. You do not have to be a member, but there is a discount if you are. (I believe it was about 90 euros for 3 months as a non-member, or 72 euros for 3 months for members).
Lenoarmi, C/ Doctor Roux 19-21, Barcelona
3. Shopping for your baby
Limobaby, C/ de la Diputació 278, Barcelona
This shop has a great selection of baby accessories, furniture, clothes, etc. They are very friendly and you can also shop online. Here is a selection of the brands they have: bugaboo, limobasics, babybjörn, babyhome, bébé-jou, cybex, difrax, imps&elfs, kidscase, kik-kid, koeka, maclaren, manduca, skiphop, stokke.
We bought our ego baby on this page. It was the cheapest price I could find for the one we wanted. They offered free delivery within 24 hours. I ordered it at 17:00 and the next day at 9:00, ding-dong there it was.
Unfortunately, finding what you want and at the right price can be difficult in Barcelona. There are not that many shops with a big assortment and some of them are just no fun to visit. I hate going into Corte Ingles, I start sweating the moment I set foot in it and service is mostly non-existent. Prenatal offers very little service as well and was put on the black list of brands that produce clothing in factories in Bangladesh where the workers are exploited. I always order on amazon.co.uk because even with the shipping costs, it is still cheaper than the .es version. Just to give an example: 74 Pampers diapers cost 49 EUR on the .es site versus 9,99 POUNDS on the .co.uk site.
Vertbaudet is an originally French online retailer but they also have a Spanish page. They have clothes for babies and kids, furniture, bedroom decoration, very cute sheets and much more. I’ve placed orders with them several times and was each time satisfied. Delivery takes about 7 days and you can pick up your items at the distribution point close to your home or have it delivered at home. I go pick up my orders as when something is not what I wanted, I can bring it back there to return the goods which is easy. Shopping from in the sofa can be so convenient with a newborn.
4. Finding treasures at these second hand shops – baby
Casa de Pandora, C/Sepúlveda 61, Barcelona
They have loads of stuff (buggies, breast pumps, clothes, shoes etc.) of very good quality. They also do baby massage courses & other stuff
Somriure, C/Industria 48, Barcelona
Bebesitos, C/ Vallespir 197, Barcelona
BabyECO, C/ Travessera de Gracia 168, Barcelona
Reciclababy, C/ Cartagena 244, Barcelona
La Bufanda,C/ Cigne 12, Local 2, Barcelona
5. Exploring the green spaces Barcelona has to offer
On this page of the Ayuntamiento you can find a list of all the green areas: http://w110.bcn.cat/
On this page of Time Out Magazine, you find a list of picnic spots: www.timeout.com/barcelona/
6. Having fun with kids in and around Barcelona
On “Kids in Barcelona” (in English) you find info on Family Attractions, Museums & Culture, Parks, Playgrounds & Soft Play, Beaches, Swimming pools & Water Parks, Adventure, Theme Parks & Animal Parks, etc.
On “mammaproof” (in Spanish) you find a list of places (bars, restaurants, culture, open air, etc.) to go to with kids.
On “Petit Explorador” (in Spanish) you find a list of kids friendly activities in Barcelona and Cataluña: www.petitexplorador.com/eventos/21/rutas-ninos
Happy exploring BarceMamas!