One great thing I have noticed about Germany so far is how accommodating they are to mothers and their children. I am specifically referring to the availability and quality of bathrooms with changing stations (Wickelbaum or Wickeltisch). We went shopping at IKEA and, of course, the baby had a blow out. There was an entire room just for mothers and babies. It had three changing stations complete with wipes and fresh sheets of paper for covering the changing pad. It had toys for older children to play with to keep them entertained. It had a lounger too. I’m thinking that was for mother’s who need a break!
I thought maybe the niceness of this was because it was IKEA, but the case is the same in many restaurants, groceries stores, the mall, and the zoo. The restaurant we went to yesterday even had diapers in various sizes available at the changing table. It’s nice knowing that wherever we go out, I don’t have to find a corner to change the baby or change her in the car.
Now the strollers here are a whole other world I have yet to figure out. I’m intrigued by the difference the ones I see in Chicago. I know some come from the different usage needs of different locations. One difference is that it appears that most moms have their babies in buggy/bassinet type strollers for a long time. Babies all seem to be lying down. We pretty much went straight from the car seat attachment to sitting up and bypassed lying down in a stroller all together.
If they are not lying down, they have a footrest for the baby, which is kind of like the footrest that comes out of a recliner. Why is that? Is it more comfortable for the baby? I have never seen this before.
Another feature I like is that they have bigger baskets beneath the strollers. I think this must be because they use the stroller as a shopping cart when they are out.
Moms and Dads here take their babies everywhere, even in the cold German weather. It is colder than Chicago here right now, but not winter cold yet. So we have still been carrying the baby around in the Baby Bjorn or in the stroller with a blanket over her. People here have their babies bundled up like they are in the North Pole. Every stroller is equipped with a huge fleece or fur body cover or muff. We are looking into getting one because right now we feel eyes glaring at us like we are not keeping our child warm enough.
I do love that people walk so much here and in Europe in general. They definitely do not let the weather keep them indoors. I think what helps with the walking is that it seems that every city has a pedestrian only shopping area that is perfect for strolling. The European stroll is an aspect of life I wish I could transport back to America, but can’t. So for now, I will try to partake in it as much as possible.