In case you didn't know about this yet, Norwegians are craaazy about their wool! They even have a song to confirm that. But jokes aside, it's actually a quite handy way to survive the winters here.
You know that association game when someone says a word and you have to respond with the very first word that pops into your mind? Well, not so long ago, if you would have said "wool" to me, I would have definitely replied "itchy". Maybe this is a "southern mom" thing, but if you are one of those who associates wool to an old cabin sweater or an itchy blanket, please join me with a big WOW when I tell you babies here are basically wrapped in wool during the winter. They wear wool bodies, wool undershirts, wool tights, wool socks, wool hats, wool pyjamas and they would probably wear wool diapers if these existed. But, guess what! It's smooth as kitten and, of course, warm as an lamb.
I have only spent one winter here and that was enough to turn myself into a wool lover. I have to say, it took some time until I understood how to dress my baby properly during the coldest months. But she made it through her first winter here (yay!), which tells me I didn't do that bad after all :). I think most moms are anyways never really a 100% satisfied with what their children are wearing, and will always suffer in case they're too cold or too warm. But that's in our nature, I suppose. The first time Thea wore a wool body I felt like she was going to melt! So the next day I went back to cotton, and ended up worrying the whole day in case she was freezing.
So, just in case you feel as lost as I did when I first found myself at minus a lot of degrees, here are a few tips that might help you get through the coldest months:
How to dress your baby in wool?
If you felt identified with the 'too warm - too cold' dilemma, you might be happy to know that Norwegians have a very handy 'three layer rule'. They recommend to dress babies in a wool body, a second layer (wool or fleece) and a thicks jacket (usually an outdoor overall). And of course, let's not forget some thick pair of socks, gloves and a hat. But you know your child best. You know if he's usually warm or cold, if he has a tendency to sweat more, etc. So trust yourself and listen to your inner mamma instinct that knows best what your child needs.
And if I'm using a baby carrier?
I remember, when I used to wear my baby in the sling, I never had a thick jacket on her, just a wool body, a sweater, thick wool socks and a hat. The sling would act as the third layer plus the contact with my body kept her really warm. The few attempts to add a jacket on top of that, ended up with little Thea roasting in there. They also sell some sort of jacket extensions, which is basically a piece of fleece fabric with two zippers to make your winter coat larger so your baby or baby bump fit underneath. It looks like this. Or if you prefer, you also have baby carrier fleece covers, which I think are specially useful on windy days.
Where can you buy all this wool?
Wool clothes are quite expensive compared to cotton or other fabrics. These days, you can find wool bodies, leggings, socks, etc. almost in any store that has a children section here in Norway. But it's important to check the quality and make sure it's not too thin, both because it has to keep your baby warm and because it should last at least the whole season. Which stores would I recommend?
All these stores are very handy, but the best wool resource for us so far has been farmor! She's been great at knitting blankets, sweaters, hats, socks, overalls, dresses... which have been super useful, plus have the added handmade value. So, if you have a Norwegian bestemor with good knitting skills, you already know what you can request for Christmas!
How to wash wool?
Wool is quite delicate and expensive, so I try to was it less frequently, even though that's really hard with baby clothes. But when you wash them, make sure to use a wool program, which lasts and spins less than the usual programmes. Also, wash them at low water temperature (I wash them at 30º max.), use a special wool detergent and make sure you separate dark and light colors. And because the washing cycles are shorter for wool clothes, you'll find it can be quite a challenge to remove stains. Well, no worries! There's this amazing stain remover that you can get at Clas Ohlsson called Galltvål, which works great on wool!
Do YOU have any wool related tips? Any favourite wool brands? Please, share!
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 :)
Depending on where you come from, you'll find there are not so many baby stores you'll randomly ran into in the city. You have to know where they are and where to buy what.
The biggest and most popular baby stores are Babyshop and Barnas hus. you'll find them both online and offline. They have everything (or almost everything) related to babies: clothes, strollers, beds, toys, etc. If you're interested you can subscribe yourself to their newsletter, they are on sales quite often and have many items on offer.
If you're looking for more "natural" baby products like cloth diapers, for instance, you might want to check out Bæreglede. They also sell pregnancy and breastfeeding clothes.
Another very cool online store is Jollyroom.no, where you'll find prams, furniture, toys and much more. They also have good offers every now and then.
Komplett.no is also very useful if you're buying bigger items, I find. I, for instance, bought our stroller and our babybjorn chair there. I guess we could say Komplett is like the Norwegian Amazon.
If you're looking for second hand stuff there is Finn.no, which you're probably already familiar with. This is the 'go to' place for any second hand thing here in Norway ;). For baby specific second hand items you should also check this Facebook group: IMOBAGO - Barneting / Buy, Sell Kids' items. You should be able to request access and get it granted in short time. It's basically a group where parents post items they're selling or items they're looking for.
If you find the websites just to be available in Norwegian, try right clicking on the mouse and hit "translate to English". Most sites should have this Google feature enabled.