Parentally helps you find the best care and support for your needs, to prepare and feel great at every stage of your parenthood journey.

Having a baby is a beautiful journey – but it’s not always an easy one, and it’s even more challenging when in an adopted country, away from family and close friends. Thankfully, finding the right extra care and support options at the right time can make a world of difference in your new life as a parent or parent-to-be.

In addition to arranging for your midwives and kraamzorg, here are five things you should definitely consider when having a baby in the Netherlands.

1. Following birth / parenthood preparation coursesFollowing a birth preparation course is a must-do when having a baby. It will teach you about the changes in your body and how to best prepare for birth, and you’ll also learn about the local maternity care system, your options on where to give birth, pain relief, and more. There are plenty of courses to choose from, whether you prefer a group or private course, online or in person, over just a few hours, one full day or weekly sessions.

A great option is HypnoBirthing: this course will teach you relaxation and self-hypnosis techniques to manage fear and pain for a natural birth. Next to birth preparation courses, you can also join courses that will prepare you for parenthood, and even courses specially aimed at fathers and birthing partners. Take some time to explore options and find the best fit for your needs so you can feel confident and fully prepared.

2. Hiring a doulaHaving a baby in the Netherlands or in an adopted country in general can seem scary when you are not familiar with the local maternity care system, the culture, and when you don’t have family and close friends to support you. A doula can you help navigate through it all by offering not only knowledge but also physical and mental support and encouragement throughout the pregnancy, labour and birth.

Whether you are giving birth at home or at the hospital, a doula will also help facilitate communications with midwives and other healthcare providers. A real help to have by your side, especially if you also share the same language and cultural background.

3. Arranging for extra postpartum careParents having a baby in the Netherlands are lucky as they are entitled to kraamzorg: these wonderful people who come to your home for eight days post-birth to take care of the new mom, baby, and more. Past these eight days though, many new parents aren’t exactly thriving yet and may be struggling with a few challenges: breastfeeding issues, sleep deprivation, surgery recovery, or even just the lack of time and strength to manage it all.

Thankfully, postpartum care providers such as kraamverzorgsters or postpartum doulas can come to your home to offer the extra care and support you need. They can help care for you and your baby, but also cook, do groceries and light housekeeping, or even take care of your other children. A fantastic option to keep in mind when things get a bit overwhelming!

4. Getting physical and emotional supportIt’s easy to neglect your own physical and mental or emotional well-being when becoming a new parent and all the focus is on the new baby. Allowing time for self-care can really make a difference in your everyday life. It can be little things such as booking a pre / postnatal relaxing massage, a pre / postnatal yoga class, or a workout session tailored to your needs.

You could also consider getting nutritional advice to help establish healthy eating habits that will give you more strength and energy. Or set up some coaching sessions to help deal with some apprehensions, fears, or specific issues, for instance related to your sleep or that of your baby.

Whatever your needs, there is a world of specialised professionals who’ve made it their mission to help parents like you, so never hesitate to reach out when you feel the need. Many of these services are partly covered by some health insurance packages, so it’s always worth having a look at your options.

5. Finding your communityLast but not least: “It takes a village to raise a child”. You’ve probably heard this time and time again, yet it never gets old. Becoming a parent is tough and can be a lonely journey, especially when you are an expat in a new country. Finding your support network can be a game-changer.

Parent meetups, circles, retreats, or Facebook groups can offer amazing opportunities to connect with other parents like you, share experiences, ask questions, or just hang out. It is never too late to ask for support, be it from your inner circle, other parents or professionals.

Parentally helps you find the best extra care and support at every stage of your parenthood journey by connecting you with a network of 100+ verified practitioners including doulas, childbirth instructors, HypnoBirthing teachers, lactation consultants, child sleep coaches, yoga teachers, massage therapists, nutritionists, postpartum care providers, family coaches and counsellors and more, as well as with communities of other parents and parents-to-be. Contact them at [email protected] to learn more and follow Parentally.nl on Instagram for more tips & resources around pregnancy and parenthood.

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