Friday, November 11, 2011

About Baby's Healthcare in Germany

Today is the day of my daughter's vaccination, so I thought it might be a good time to tell about the healthcare provided for small children in Germany.

The wellbeing of newborns is well monitored here. When you are pregnant, you choose a Hebamme (midwife), who will visit you and your baby when you get home from the hospital. Before the birth, you can meet with Hebamme and talk about anything you have in mind related to the delivery or the baby. And after the baby is born, the Krankenkasse (health insurance) will pay for up to almost 30 Hebamme visits  until the baby is eight weeks old.

Compared to the Finnish system, I found these Hebamme visits great! At the beginning (especially with your first child), you come up with new questions daily, so it is nice to have someone to come and visit you. Then you can discuss all things that may seem stupid and which you wouldn't like to call anyone about. And she comes to your home, so you don't need to travel anywhere yourself!

Our Hebamme visited us first daily, then every other day and finally weekly, about 12 times during those 8 weeks. She was such a great help! She examined and weighted the baby during all visits. She also told us things we didn't even realize to ask and had many practical tips about baby care. She did not try to sell us the German ways of doing things, but instead she was very interested in the Finnish ways, for example the recommended temperature limits when you can put your baby outside to sleep.

I know I was very lucky in getting such a good Hebamme. But how to find one that suits your needs? You can find long lists of Hebammes working in your area from Internet and your doctor´s office, but it might be difficult to know how they work and what they value. For me, the most problematic thing was that when it was time to book a Hebamme, I was still living in Finland. You can´t find email addresses for Hebammes and they are usually so busy, that they cannot answer the phone and will call you back later. But I found that they are not so eager to call back to a foreign phone number...

When we moved to Germany (only a few weeks before my due date), I went to visit a company with several Hebammes. The Hebamme I met there was not able to take me as a client, but she was very friendly and was able to find me one that spoke English and was free at such a short notice. At that point, I was relieved to have any Hebamme at all, but I was even happier, when she turned out to be such a great one! If you are looking for an English speaking Hebamme in Wiesbaden area, please contact me and I'll be happy to give you our Hebamme´s contact details!

But. After the eight weeks with Hebamme, you are pretty much left alone with your baby. The next doctor's appointment is when your baby is about four months old, then again when she is six months and one year old, after that once a year. In the Finnish healthcare system, you talk a lot with a nurse and the doctor's checkup is in secondary role. But during the German appointments, only the medical things are checked. So, there are no in-depth discussions about everyday issues that might be bothering your mind, like how to introduce solid food to your baby. I have noticed, that I should have a list of questions written down, because otherwise I'm not able to recall any questions when the doctor storms in and hastily examines the baby.

So, we will now stop by the doctor's office. Let's see, if I could remember to ask the questions which I forgot in the one-year-old checkup...

Art outside the doctor´s office


Frau Welle said...

Two out of three, not bad!
Q1: Do children get vaccination for chicken pox here in Germany?
A1: Yes, my daughter got it the last time and again today. Oops, I should have known... :/

Q2: When should I make the first dental appointment for my daughter?
A2: After her second birthday.

I was about to ask the third question (I did remember!), but the doctor was hurrying out of the door, so I decided to leave it.
Q3: Just out of the curiosity, what type of milk is recommended for small kids here? In Finland, they usually recommend skimmed milk, but some say that also whole milk is OK. Does anyone know about the German recommendations?

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
I just came across your blog-it is great and I am sure I will be using it as a reference for all things baby. I am about to become a first time mum( from Australia) and will be having my baby in Wiesbaden at the end of January. I am really interested in finding out who your hebamme was given your positive experience.

Would you be able to share the details with me?

Many thanks
Danielle (

Anonymous said...

Hi just found your website can you please provide me with contact details for a 'Hebamme' in Wiesbaden? Many thanks, Angela.

Frau Welle said...

Hi Angela, I don't feel comfortable sharing my Hebamme's contact details here. But please, send me an email ( and I'll get back to you!