Pregnancy and Childbirth in Florence, Italy

On Monday, my birth story on Maple Leaf Mamma was posted! It's been eight months(!) since Livia was born and a few months since the interview, so it was really fun to reread the adventure that was giving birth in Florence. Ever since I started posting about having a baby here and a few tips for visiting Florence with kids, we've been contacted more than a few times for additional advice and insight. In an effort to provide a "one-stop-shop" post for those that need the info, I'm listing below all of the kid, pregnancy and childbirth-related posts right here.

Livia-23-Web-300x199Kate and Livia's Birth Story at Ponte a Niccheri from the Maple Leaf Mamma blog

Before emailing with any questions related to what it was like to have a baby here, use the Italian healthcare system, choose a hospital, find an OB-GYN, etc., I kindly ask that you read this extremely detailed interview!

Visiting-Florence-with-BabyVisiting Florence, Italy with a Baby

We receive a lot of questions from fellow Americans about visiting Florence with a baby and what to expect. This post is my attempt to answer questions about strollers, changing stations and car seats in Florence. This city is baby-friendly in some ways, but definitely not in others.

cloth diaper introductionFAQ: Everything You (N)ever Wanted to Know About Cloth Diapers

When someone finds out that we use cloth diapers they are always intrigued — including people who have no interest in kids! In this post, I outline (in detail) exactly how we make these diapers work in our casa. The biggest surprise? We've found it all rather easy.

 

IMG_2874Baby Abroad: First Steps

I think it’s valuable information to share for current and future expats that find themselves pregnant in Italia. Having a baby in Italy as an expat is definitely a unique experience. In this post, I outline the first steps you need to take to get on the baby-mamma healthcare track.

 

IMG_1575-webBaby Abroad: The Home Stretch

This post covers the "next steps" to take later in your pregnancy as you prepare to actually give birth. I cover topics like choosing a hospital, getting the final tests done and what decisions you can and can't make about the actual delivery.

 

For those that are interested, we've also rented baby equipment in Paris and Amsterdam and you may find those posts helpful when planning your own visits to those cities.

How to Rent Baby Equipment in Amsterdam

After our success with renting baby gear during our trip to Paris in December, it seemed like a no-brainer to try the same thing in Amsterdam. With fingers crossed I googled "baby equipment rental Amsterdam" and was super excited to find Travel Baby Amsterdam. Not having to lug our stroller across Europe was a huge relief!

We rented the Classic Stroller and a highchair. Livia is pretty attached to sitting in a high chair during meals, so we knew it was a must for the trip. I was nervous that a different type of chair might not be comfortable for her, but she loved the one that we rented! She was similarly comfortable in the lightweight stroller, which was a dream for navigating around a crowded city like Amsterdam.

I'm getting quite attached to having baby gear rental options in the cities that we travel to. Being able to travel light and not worry about who is lugging what baby stuff where is a huge relief during the actual travel process. Just like the company in Paris, the folks at Travel Baby Amsterdam deliver and pick-up the baby gear -- all you need to do is tell them where and when to deliver and it shows up on your doorstep. After three long days driving from Florence to Amsterdam, it was nice to have this taken care of for us.

Planning a visit to Amsterdam with the kiddies in tow? We highly recommend Travel Baby Amsterdam - www.travelbabyamsterdam.com

Baptized in Florence

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Regular readers know that we don't share photos of Livia very often on the blog. BUT, it just seemed like cruel and unusual punishment not to share a few of the stunning photographs shot by Birgitte during last weekend's baptism.

It really was a special night. We had a little (ok, not so little...25 people) apertivo at our apartment before celebrating the baptism during Easter Eve mass. Even though she wailed like a crazy girl during her big moment, it was beautiful and wonderful and we felt really blessed to share it with so many family and friends. I never could have imagined how much Florence would/could feel like home after two short years.

On a side note, the photos shot by Birgitte are nothing short of spectacular. If you are a Florence mamma looking for family photos or a soon-to-be traveler to Florence looking to capture your time here, I cannot recommend her enough!

Visiting Florence, Italy with a Baby

Visiting-Florence-with-Baby A few weeks ago a reader emailed with questions about visiting Florence Italy with a baby. I realized that my answers to her would probably benefit a lot of parents that find our blog while planning their trip here.

Here are some answers to popular questions and concerns about visiting Florence, Italy with a baby:

Do taxis here have carseats? Short answer: a big, fat NO. I've never seen a taxi with one set up or even one in the trunk. I imagine if you tried to call for one that had a carseat you'd be waiting a very long time. I know what a pain in the neck that is because when you are visiting a new city you typically only need a carseat for the taxi rides to and from your hotel/apartment. Lugging a carseat around the world for half an hour of use is annoying. There are two ways to solve this problem: (1) hire a private car service for your airport transportation. It is much more likely you'll be able to find a car service with a car seat. (2) Take the airport shuttle bus*.

*My concern with this is who really wants to hop on public transportation with a baby after a long flight? Not me!

Should I bring my stroller? Will I be able to use it on the narrow cobblestone streets? Navigating 500 year old cobblestones with a stroller is definitely a learned skill, but it's totally doable. If you have a lightweight/umbrella stroller and it's not a total pain in the rear to bring it, I highly suggest it. Also, bring a Baby Bjorn or other carrier. They are VERY convenient.

Are there any baby gear rental services in Florence? Not as far as I know, which is unfortunate because the one we used in Paris was fantastic!

How are changing room facilities in Florence? Total hit or miss. Most smaller (i.e. good) cafes and restaurants won't have them or they will be super nasty and you won't want to get very close. My best advice is to map out where the department stores are (Coin and Rinescente come to mind), as well as the Babys R Us equivalent (Prenatal). They are the cleanest options for you. Also, museums will be well-equipped. Finally, in the summer it's not uncommon to see parents put a blanket or travel changing pad down on a park bench and get the job done. Don't over think it -- people aren't as judgmental here about that stuff. Any side-eyes will be coming from your fellow American tourists.

What else do I need to know about visiting Florence Italy with a baby? Italians love babies. I mean, really love them. If you have a baby under a year old prepare to be swarmed by Italian grandmothers asking all kinds of questions about your little babe. When a cafe owner sees you walk in with a baby they won't roll their eyes and banish you to a baby ghetto like in the U.S. They will offer you a high-chair, help you stow your stroller and offer any help you need all while making silly faces at your baby. Your baby won't be paying attention to you because she'll be laughing at the old guy at the next table smiling at her. Seriously, they love kids. You can let your guard down a bit and it's a big relief.

Baby Gear: 5 Favorites from Our Home

baby-items-5-favesLivia is 4 months old already, can you believe it? It seems like only yesterday that we were posting about the pregnancy and her birth. Over the past few months we've come to rely on some crucial baby gear products.

Living in a smallish apartment means that every piece of baby gear makes an impact -- for better or worse. As such, we try to pick out low profile, modern and fun products that do a lot without making it look like a Babys R Us threw up in our apartment. In terms of bigger items, we love:

  • Baby Bjorn Babysitter Bouncer: Since Livy grew into this at 5 weeks she absolutely adores it. She controls the bouncing depending on her energy level. We love the low profile and neutral color.
  • Stokke Tripp Trapp Chair: A gift from Rob's mom that we are obsessed with. I was dreaming of that chair from the moment I found out we were pregnant and needed a highchair. You can buy a lot of accessories for the chair (ours has a cushion and plastic seat insert). Best of all? It fits in really well in a modern apartment AND it will grow with her. Bonus!

We also swear by these smaller items:

  • Boon Winter Grass Drying Rack: A gift from friends who dared to buy something not listed on the registry. Thank goodness that they did! We loved it so much that we bought a second one. It's a fun way to dry all of those baby bottles, is easy to clean and also works for wine glasses!
  • Sophie the Giraffe: I don't know what miracle fairy dust they put on this thing, but it really is as great as everyone says. It's Livia's favorite toy...she literally giggles at Sophie when she sees her. Too cute!
  • NoseFrida: You know you're a parent when...you have a contraption called "The Snotsucker." But seriously, it's genius. Google to learn more.

When it comes to bigger purchases we try to stick with neutral colors, shapes, etc...just in case we have another baby and that baby isn't a girl, too!