jeudi 5 février 2015

Having a baby and toddler in Whangarei, NZ

It has been some time that I wanted to write a post about having a baby in NZ. It takes a little while to find the good places, and ggod tips when you arrive in a totaly new country. I have been asked some details here and there and the arrival of several families this year finally push me to do it. I hope this will help yatchies to find helpful informations about life with a young baby in NZ.
 If you've read my previous posts on pregnancy, you already know how much support during this key period I have receive, here! I would qualify it as both a wonderful, empowering and human care! If we were planning on having a second child (which we are not), I would definitly would want it have him/her here.

Having a child in NZ costs?

Figures are from 2013. I had a pregnancy and childbirth without problems.
  • 2 ultrasounds
  • blood and other tests
  • medical monitoring by my midwife about 3 quarters and visits after childbirth about $ 2,500.
  • Hospital plan $ 3,000 for birth (bath and a room for the birth, with a nurse for some of the work, no epidural, natural labor, no wire-laying or anesthetic) and 1000 per day after delivery (for a non-private room).

Note that you are visited at home after birth your midwife and later by a Plunket nurse (national program) for free. My daughter is not a New Zealander on paper but still receive free medical visits and vaccinations.
A small 'luxury' that was really a plus were the "Parent class" at the "Parent Center". This allowed us to meet other parents, the births were all happenning within a month and it created a small group of moms and fathers who could discuss the little joys and small apprehensions of life as a young parent. Even today we meet when we can, for exemple this year we organize a joint birthday for two years of the little bubs.
La Lecheleague is present too and and you can get an appointement for free if you have questions. I met the two consultants in the hospital, both very nice, and visited once .

And thereafter for Stella
  • Chiropractor to monitor everything grows well. Emma was recommended to us by our midwife, she specializes in treating children. $ 58 / $ 33 first visit then 
  •  Powder for teething (teething powder) approximately $ 20
  • Heathline for nocturnal anxieties, phone line where a nurse will point you in the event of minor injuries when your doctor rests.

Having a baby in NZ where to find his car seat?
  • Through the program 'Plunket it is possible to rent a car seat for $ 50 for 6 months, there was a deposit that you get back on return of the seat. This is what we chose. There are other stores that rent their own but it is more expensive (baby steps, baby factory ...)!
  • Sometimes I have seen some car seats in second hand shops, and you have the website '' with individuals who sell their used one (ebay type of auction).

Warning, car seats here have limited life. If buying a used one check the date!

Having a child in NZ and after what I do I do with her/him?

  Free activities
Marina playground
  • The playground near the marina. At first it allows babies to be outside and observe children playing, then it's the perfect place to let their energy loose and socializing, but also a great place to meet other parents.
  • Feed the ducks!
  • Many walks
  • The beaches of course! Our favourites are Whale bay (Matapouri coast) and Smugglers cove (Whangarei Heads) both are fringed with Pohutukawas trees. Whale bay is really protected not much waves perfect for little ones. And if you want waves, Ocean Beach (Whangarei Heads) is a must. If you don't have time to go so far we sometimes just drive to Tamatereau, there is a lot of shells that the little ones can collect and a short walk following the coast.
  • The play area inside Mitre 10. When it rains for a week we are ready for anything. There is a small cafe attached that allows everyone to breathe.
  • A trip to the library or Toylibrary, you must registerer if you wish to borrow.
  • You need a break with the boat or less funny, you have work to do without having to live on it? The house-sitting is quite widespread. We just talk about it with friends, neighbors at the marina or go on a few websites that offer it. This is a wonderful way to live differently for a while, to help each other out and for your children to discover the joys of the vegetable garden, pets or farm animals.
  • Forum North. Tourists should be paying, but if you can prove that you are living in the country it is free (NZ driving licence or for us the car insurance paperwork)! It was the best place to see kiwis birds, call before and ask when they will be fed come right before that and you will be lucky to see those amazing and strange birds. There is also a museum that we really enjoyed and a lot of things that we didn't had time to see.

Few bucks to more activities
  •  Library in Town. 65 $ per year ($ 30 deposit), can borrow up to 30 items! Note 30 min of free internet daily.
  • Toy Library one of our favorite places! Regent sector. $ 30 / quarter or 90 to 100 for the year and this is an investment you will not regret! Plastic toys are used thousands of times before retiring, and this is a great tool to see what interests your child have without end up with something useless or stored until interest come. The toys are yours for two weeks and if they are noisy, ugly or bulky, it's your problem for a very short time! Small snacks offered on Thursday mornings and another way to meet parents. Say 'hello' to Pam from me!
  • Mainly music it is sometimes difficult to find accurate informations for it on the internet. I've never been there personally. There is at least one session at the library and a church downtown. Some of my friends love it, others find that the discourse on God a bit much. A symbolic yellow coin.
  • Baby gym, WAGS, Kensington, ASB Sports Arena. WE LOVE IT! $ 82.50 / quarter or $ 9 for séance.
  • Swimming classes in town, just next to the marina   Prices vary depending on the number of lessons. Tikipunga, facebook page "Swimsmart learn to swim", smaller and cozy, non-chlorinated, ideal for toddlers ... A year ago you could pay by the lesson.
  • Daycare, starting at $5 for a homebased daycare (no more than 4 children), we started like that when Stella was 6 months and put her in a bigger structure when she grew up. We chose Kingdom Kidz (lots of time outdoor, animals, cook and wonderful teachers) and we are very happy. The price depends on the number of hours.
  • Playcenter, enjoy the space and equipment of a preshool but stay with your child and meet other parents. I went to the Kamo one several times and I enjoyed it. The parents were active, the place was clean and it was quite international. I finally chose to put Stella in daycare for 3 days a week and it was not compatible anymore, what a shame! 3 free sessions then you have to subscribe.
  • Chipmunnks in town. It is a large enclosed play area. It's quite expensive (prices of their page do not seem to coincide with reality, so double-check), we can not arrive with our own picnic and the food dreadful BUT when it rains continuously for weeks, sometimes we can be convinced ...
Note the Facebook page 'Kids Play Whangarei' provide informations on events for the young ones and the 'buy / sell / swap Whangarei' and 'pay it forward Whangarei' are a good tips to buy clothes (a few bucks for a big bag) or used toys .

That I'm sure I'm forgetting tones but it's a start!

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