As an Outlander, you might not have the ‘inside’ knowledge of what to buy and what not to buy for your baby’s nursery. This information in Norway is usually past down from mothers, discussed in mothers groups or even posted on mother and parenting blogs – however, some of us don’t have the luxury of having a Norwegian mother or being socially active due to the language barrier. So to find out why you need certain equipment and how to us it can be difficult for the regular non-Norwegian.
I’ve found that this valuable information is taken for granted in Norway – because, I guess, it’s just common knowledge. It was hard for me to get ‘pre-knowledge’ of what equipment I needed or what clothes to dress the baby in. Norwegians aren’t in the habit of giving ‘pre-advice’ – but they are pros at ‘after-advice’! Before I had Lilu, I was trying to get info from everywhere – Farmor, Tante, friends, midwifes, and doctors – but it was only after the fact (when they saw our baby equipment or clothing) that the information flowed freely. So to help you NOT learn the hard way, like me, this post will share with you some of the most common Norwegian specific equipment that is good to know about before going shopping for your nursery, complete with ‘whys’ and ‘how tos’! (The post ‘Having A Baby In Norway – Baby Clothes’ will be posted in the near future.)
Usual baby equipment like cots, car seats and strollers are basically the same in Western countries. However, each country has slight differences according to climate and trends. For six months of the year Norway is covered in snow, so it’s obvious that Norway would have different styles of baby equipment than say a country with a hot climate like Australia. Also Norway has different trends that I find extend back to the olden days.
Prams – Vogner
The pram above is a very popular style in Norway. I would class it as the 4WD of prams. However, it’s design is very important in the Norwegian climate.
Firstly, it has a strong broad base and the wheels are fixed (meaning they do not swivel). At first this was a turn off for me as I know how hard it can be to push such a heavy pram that doesn’t easily turn. However, this pram is specifically designed this way. The strong base is so the pram can be pushed onto the back wheels for easy turning. The strong base allows for great suspension. (In fact, the best suspension I’ve ever seen in a pram.) You can often see mothers bouncing their babies to sleep in these prams – in buses, standing in the street or even while walking. It is a lot more practical than having to push the pram back and forth to get baby to sleep.
These prams are good for the city, the suburb streets and even bush bashing. The wide base makes the pram very sturdy which is good for going over rugged terrain. In Norway it is very common to go for a walk with the pram (baby inside, of course) even in a blizzard! Most suburban streets are not paved, and some places are quite hilly, so it is very important that your pram can handle the rocks, puddles, bumps and ditches – fixed wheels are best for these conditions.
Having the fixed wheels and broad base is also important when walking on snow and ice. Swivel wheels will turn in snow tracks or get stuck in debris under the snow. It is much safer crossing snow ploughed roads with fixed wheels. The great suspension will make the pram bounce smoothly over the uneven roads. And as you’d want your pram to last (maybe even to re-sell) this is the pram to do it.
Secondly, the carriage is important for the colder climate of Norway. The carriage can be upgraded to more open ones as your baby gets older, but the basket carriage you see above is primarily for new-borns to one year olds, depending on how big or adventurous your little one is. (Always check the ‘weight’ allowance when buying prams.) You will notice that the hood has a good extension and that there is a wind guard too. This is especially good in snow and windy conditions. Sometimes knitted ‘bunny rugs’ are placed over the opening for extra protection.
The basket itself is very deep. This is because of all the things you need to put in it. The basket will come with a thin mattress and padding around the walls. Then you fill it yourself. In the winter, most people put in a short-fleece sheep skin rug (see below). Another layer can be a thick woollen blanket, a voksi (see below) or even a dona and pillow. Sometimes a couple of these things are used together if it is especially cold out. The base of the basket can be propped up to make a seat back so the ‘sitting-baby’ can view out. Usually a small pillow is used for comfort and support in propping up baby. In the summer, the hood can be lowered right back with the top canvas taken off when it’s warm. You can even get little umbrellas that clip onto the pram so you can give shade for baby according to where the sun is.
It is common for these prams to be used as bassinets for the first couple of months for the baby as they are small and snug. They can be wheeled in beside your bed, into the lounge room etc and have wheel protectors (see picture below) so you don’t have to worry about bringing in dirt and snow from outside. The prams are also good for putting babies outside, on verandas etc, for a day sleep. It is very common for Norwegians to place their babies outside, even in the middle of winter for daytime naps. I was a little dubious of this at first. However, I’ve learnt that fresh air is good for the baby, especially good for circulation, and actually helps the baby to sleep deeper and longer. Though, you need to make sure the baby is rugged up for winter outside naps, and I wouldn’t suggest doing this if your baby is at the active stage and can crawl out of the pram.
These prams can be bought at speciality stores or normal shops like Reflex or Brio. Toy stores also stock baby equipment.
Sheep Skin Rugs – Lammeskinn
Wool products are very important in a cold climate. They are natural, keep you warm, and pull away moisture. It is typical to use short fleece lamb skin rugs in the baby’s sleeping places (picture below), such as cots, prams and even the floor. You can also get a rectangle shape that will fit in your pram. The short skin fleece provides a soft warm base – however, it is best placed on a hard flat surface as the baby still needs strong support to lay. Wool or knitted materials are particularly necessary, especially in the North, for baby clothes but we will discuss that more in detail in our next Having A Baby in Norway post.
These lamb skins can be bought at speciality stores or normal shops like Reflex or Brio. Toy stores also stock baby equipment. Sometimes supermarkets like Coop sell cheaper versions.
Sleeping Bag – Voksi
‘Voksi’ is a brand name for a special type of baby sleeping bag in Norway (and Scandinavia). The bag is based on a thousand year old tradition of a sheep skin bag for babies especially made for the tough winters of Norway. There are may different varieties with natural materials. The voksi is like a dona or fleece blanket that can be tied up in certain ways for different practical uses. It can be used as a throw rug, sleeping bag, pillow, play mat etc but best of all you can tie it to suit your growing baby – particularly important so you don’t loose your baby to the bottom of the sleeping bag – just tie it to match your baby’s length. These real voksis are quiet expensive but last from birth to about three years. And if you plan on having more than one child then it’s a good investment. They last for a very long time and can be re-sold. The one we used for Lilu was actually Moose’s old one from when he was a baby.
Voksi can be bought at speciality stores or normal shops like Reflex or Brio. Toy stores also stock baby equipment. The main website for this brand is: www.voksi.com
High Chairs – Stokke ‘Tripp Trapp’
This is for the older baby. The high chair pictured below is very common in Norway. They even have them in restaurants and cafes. Norwegians love using natural materials so you’ll find that wood is very popular in all baby equipment. You will see in the design below that this chair is made to be very adjustable. You can get extra fittings for it like a cushioned back and set, and a table. The best thing I like about this style is that it is compact, easy to clean and very table friendly – it fits perfect at the dinning table. However, in using this model you need to set it up correctly with the seat back so the baby can use the foot rest, otherwise it can cause strain.
These high chairs can be bought at speciality stores or normal shops like Reflex or Brio. Toy stores also stock baby equipment.
Woollen Breast Pads – Ammeinnlegg
These little things are fantastic if you are breastfeeding. They soak up the moisture straight away. The natural wool helps your breasts to be warm and cosy. You can get different sizes which also can have extra ‘soak-up’ pockets. It is good to change these breast pads often as they can go stiff and sometimes need to be peeled off your breasts. You might also need to buy two or three pairs for change-overs but they do dry pretty quick. You will need to wash them in wool specific detergent as they will deteriorate with normal detergent. But these are definitely a lot nicer to wear than disposable ones.
Woollen breast pads can be bought at speciality stores or normal shops like Reflex or Brio, chemists (pharmacies), toy stores with a stock of baby equipment. Sometimes supermarkets like Coop sell cheaper versions.
Nappies – Bleier
Unfortunately, there is not a cloth nappy to be seen in Norway! The reason? There were attempts made a couple of years back to reintroduce cloth nappies again for ‘environmental friendly’ purposes. However, they found out through research that the environmental benefits were cancelled out by the amount of washing that needed to be done. All the soap and chemicals used to clean the cloth nappies made them environmentally unfriendly-er than disposable ones – huh, who would have thought? So, you will have to buy disposable nappies from the get-go.
There are two leading brands in Norway: Pampers and Libero. Libero caters for larger sizes. (Even though Lilu is 18 months she is the size of a three year old! Well, Pappa is 6’7″ so the extra big sizes are certainly needed.) I’m impressed with the Norwegian Libero website. It has so much info about their nappies:
– all in Norwegian, of course. The website also has a forum, activities and mothers discussions. All this just from a company that sells nappies? Wow.
The good thing about buying nappies from supermarkets, there is generally a permanent nappy deal. At Obs! Coop you can get 10kr off each nappy packet (no matter the brand) if you are a member (a ‘frequent buyer’ member).
It would have been nice to have the choice of cloth nappies – but they just aren’t practical in the Norwegian climate. Cloth nappies have a tendency to wet through (even with plastic pants on top) and this is certainly not good for the baby when out in the cold – especially, as there aren’t many baby change rooms. At least disposable nappies can hold a lot more and can wait for a ‘wet’ change until you get home.
If you have come across any Norwegian-specific baby equipment and how to use it – do share. All of the non-personal items above can be bought second-hand on Finn.no. But here are the more popular stores (with websites) for baby equipment in Norway: