I mentioned this before, but when I first arrived to Oslo I was veeery pregnant and didn't know a lot of people here (specially not mothers to be, like me). And as a new mom in a new city, 'making friends' was high up on my to do list ;). The question was, HOW? Let's face it, it's kind of embarrassing to be hunting out for friends... Then one day, someone told me about something called Barselgruppe and got my hopes up.
In case you're not yet familiar with the term Barselgruppe (Norwegian for maternity group), it's a group of moms with same age babies that are usually grouped up by their Helsestasjon.
Most times, this is done automatically by each Helsestasjon without you having to request it. They should contact you a few weeks after the birth of your bay and invite you over to the Helsestasjon for your first meeting. This meeting is led by someone at your Helsestasjon (in my case it was a physiotherapist) who will talk a bit about your babies and will have a round of introductions. Moms usually exchange their contact information and start organising the meetings to follow.
If your Helsestasjon doesn't contact you about this, don't hesitate to call them and ask. In my case, for instance, they were quite busy during the time I gave birth (September) and decided not to invest resources into forming barselgrupper. So I had to call and ask them if I could join the last barselgruppe they had created (August group) and luckily they were ok with that. I'm in the Grünerløkka Helsestasjon though, which is usually a busy one.
In my barselgruppe all moms were Norwegian besides me. They all spoke very good English, but I felt a bit bad for making them all switch languages constantly. But anyways, I was tremendously happy to finally be able to share my mommy worries and concerns with other moms, discuss diaper brands and complain about lack of sleep ;).
It's up to each barselgruppe to decide the frequency of their meetings, but mine did it weekly. We met for coffee, strolls or for playdates at someones place.
Are YOU in a barselgruppe? How do you find it? Please, share your experience and tell us how often you meet with them, where and what kinds of plans you do. Gracias!
I don't know about you, but I've often found myself strolling around and wondering where to go next. Staying at home all day is a no go for me. Thea gets really bored and time just goes by sooo slowly if we don't leave the apartment during the whole day.
Well, if this ever happens to you (and I bet it does ;) Steen og Strøm is a great and very centric alternative for babies and toddlers. In case you've never heard of it, it's a department store in Karl Johan, very close to the Stortinget t-bane station. It has an indoor playing area on the 5th floor in the middle of all the children stores.
This is how it looks like:
Cool, right? What makes this place so great are the separate playing areas for non crawling babies, crawling and almost-walking babies and more active toddlers. As you can see on the pictures above, they also have changing tables, breastfeeding chairs and even a small lounge with a microwave to heat up your food. How handy is that?! It's also a great place to meet other mums and dads and get your little one to play with other babies, too.
Other scenarios when you might find this place really useful:
* Have to do some weekend shopping? Leave your partner and your baby here and go shopping without having to drag the stroller behind you. The location couldn't be better!
* Meeting some baby-free friends? Grab a coffee downstairs and take it up to the 5th floor. Your baby will be more than entertained with all those new mats and toys and you'll be able to sit and talk (at least every now and then ;).
* Is it raining or just too cold to be outside? Go have some indoor fun!
* If you're running some errands in the city center and don't know where to breastfeed or change your baby.
*If someone's babysitting your child (grandma, auntie, a friend, etc.) and you need some alone time at home you can suggest them to come here.
Do YOU know other similar indoor places? We'd love to hear where you go when you HAVE to leave the house and are with your little one! Please, share on the comment box below! Takk, takk :)
If you don't speak Norwegian yet, you've probably already experienced how frustrating it is to not understand what the brochures at the helsestasjon say, the fastelege's prescriptions or the baby food ingredients. Well, I can't really help you with that, BUT I can share your pain ;). And so can many other mums whom you're probably really looking forward to meet.
How to meet these mums? Well, first thing is to join the following Facebook groups:
IMoBaGO - International Mothers and Babies Group Oslo: This is a real lifesaver! You'll find other international moms living in Oslo sharing baby related information, concerns, events, organising meetups, etc. If you have baby related questions you can always post them here and you'll surely receive many helpful answers.
* There is special IMOBAGO groups for each season of the year, for instance: IMOBAGO autumn/winter 2015-2016. This is to group mom's by their baby's age. Try to find yours and request access. Most moms I got to know where through this group.
Oslo international parents group: This one is broader and contains more general information directed to expat parents. It's helpful, but it hsd a lot of business promotion kind of posts, articles, etc. Not so "cozy", but definitely useful. Don't be shy though, if you're on the lookout for other potential mom-friends just post a comment. I did that and met an amazing mom I now call my friend ;).
A Karma World: If you haven't heard of a Karma World yet, well stop reading and Google it now! It's a really cool place run by an American and an English woman -both super nice- and offers loads of baby friendly activities for moms in English. They also have coffee mornings where you can go and meet other moms. Great stuff! More about A Karma World in this post.
IMOBAGO Hovik Playground: This group organises weekly meetups for children and moms to get together and play. Could be a really nice way of meeting other moms and letting your little ones make friends, too.
Snapback: A really cool group and a great initiative for very sporty moms. This group organises mommy bootcamps and they meet weekly to exercise in the park. I have to be honest here, I haven't tried it out yet (oops), but never say never, right? Anyhow, this could be a potential source of new friends. Most moms attending this are Norwegian though, but there are surely a few that are not.
Oslo Sling Library: This group is for sling-fan moms. The founders of it are baby carrier advisers and have a weekly drop in advise session taking place at A Karma World every Monday. On this FB page they also post events like sling walks around Oslo.
Do YOU know any other cool groups that could help us meet new moms? Please, share them as a comment below! Gracias ;)