Sunday, June 17, 2012

Kinder Medicine

Unfortunately I found out because Hannah has an eye infection, but medications for children are free in Germany.  Maybe free isn't the correct word - the medications do not cost you a penny when you go to the drug store or apothecary (apotheke) with your prescription.  How amazing is that!?  I was surprised as this is quite different than the United States.

One other difference....A big difference.  Nothing is open 24-7 quite the opposite of the US.  So when you need to fill a prescription after 6pm during the week, Saturday night or on Sunday you have to figure out which apotheke is open that day.  Every neighborhood seems to have several apothekes and the one schedule that I found online was incorrect.  So I recommend walking to the nearest and checking out the posted "after hours schedule" - I can not remember the German name for this, but will update later - in order to see which one is open.  There is generally a different one each day and with in walking distance.  Hopefully you will never need this information, but it's very useful if needed.

Learning new things every day!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Post Natal Gymnastics - Rückbildungsgymnastik

After having a baby your body is not what it once was with nine months of gestation and then labor having morphed different areas and scared others.  There is good news (and your insurance might pay for it)....the post-natal gymnastics course for mothers and babies (Rückbildungsgymnastik) is a must take course.  From my experience most women take a course and highly recommend it and now I can see why.  Once I had the 6 week check-up OK to go back to normal activity I was eager to try this gymnastic class.  Luckily, the prenatal instructor informed us of her upcoming course in English, which she told us about at our "class reunion" in April.  So I enrolled and now Hannah and I are enjoying our weekly class and lunch with other moms and babies.
Hannah playing footsie with her new buddies
(center of photo in the red &  white stripes)

The class is great for several reasons...We meet once a week for two hours.  The first hour is dedicated to exercises for the moms while the babies play barefoot in the center of the room in a circle.  The last few exercises (baby kiss push ups, the diaper sniff, and a modified airplane) are with baby, which Hannah loves - especially the airplane in which she lays on my shins as I circle her around quietly asking her to not spit up on me. It is great to hear all these babies giggling as I struggle to do push-ups. 

Hour two of the class is devoted to discussion.  Each week has a topic based on the mom's input.  This week we discussed weaning and transitioning to solid foods, granted Hannah is one of the youngest (oldest being six months) but this reinforced how fast she is growing and time is going!  Of course there are always added questions that are brought up the end.   

The class is a great resource not just for learning the best exercises to get your mid section back into shape, but also for these weekly discussion.  Plus, the connection made with other young mothers is priceless.  Usually after class a group of us go to lunch at a nearby restaurant, which really lends to the camaraderie and our very hungry bellies.  

As far as I know, the post-natal gymnastics class and the prenatal class in English are only offered by the Familien GesundheitsZentrum in Frankfurt.  Both are very helpful and I highly recommend taking them (this is not an advertisement!)

Hannah enjoying class and watching her buddies!

Friday, June 1, 2012

German Kindergeld

Kindergeld is a benefit offered through the Income Tax Law and is available to children of German residents from birth until the age of 18 in most cases.  There are some circumstances that allow payments until child is 25 years of age.  Applications for kindergeld are filed with the Familienkasse (Family Benefit Office) of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency).

Resident permit(s) and working permit(s) copies are required to be sent in with the paper work.

The Bundesagentur für Arbeit website is helpful and has some information in English, however much of the info in German as well as the forms (thank goodness for Google translate!). 

In Frankfurt the office contact information;

Agentur für Arbeit Frankfurt am Main
Fischerfeidstrasse 10-12
60311 Frankfurt am Main

Servicetelefon 01801 54 63 37
Kindergeld (0 69) 2171 28 23

Office Hours: Monday - Wednesday 8-12, Thursday 8-6, Friday 8-12

From what I understand Kindergeld is one of the "social" programs that Germany has to encourage people to procreate - at least that is the view of one of our German friends.  Elterngeld and Mutterschaftshilfe are also a part of the benefits of having a baby in German, if you are eligible.  More on those later.