Disposable Baby Diapers in Germany

Thrifty Travel Mama | Expat Life - DiapersSeveral weeks ago, I gave you a snapshot of the options for jarred baby food in Germany.  But eventually all that food is going to come out the other end, and you might want to be in the know about what kind of products we have here to cover your (baby’s) bum.

In short, the two main disposable diaper options in Germany are Pampers and generic store brands.  I have never seen Huggies diapers (only a strange, stray box of DRY wipes), nor do we have Luvs or Seventh Generation.IMG_0107 copyThe diapers are sized similarly, but the weight ranges are in kilograms.  Whatever US diaper size your baby wears (1,2,3,4,5,6) will most likely be the same in Germany.  IMG_0101 copyIMG_0102 copyIMG_0103 copyIMG_0099 copyIMG_0106 copyAs for cost, I did a quick comparison of the German Pampers prices with the American Pampers prices on diapers.com, no sales or coupons.  When you convert euros to dollars, the diapers work out to be about the same price in both countries.

If you’re looking to save some money, the generic disposable diapers at dm are actually of decent quality.  Grocery stores like Lidl and Aldi also sell store brand diapers, but I would only use these in a pinch except for the Lidl pullups which are similar in quality to the dm ones.IMG_0100 copyWe used Pampers diapers for all three boys (including Big Foot who was born here in Germany) when they were newborns, and then switched to generic diapers once they hit size 3 (except for when we used cloth diapers which I really, really miss).  On any given day, you can find dm diapers on Big Foot’s bum, and we have personally used the dm pullups as well.  IMG_0093 copyIMG_0095 copyIMG_0096 copySpeaking of pullups, the options for underwear-style diapers are the dm ones I mentioned and Pampers Easy-Ups.  For older children, DryNites are also available.IMG_0098 copyIMG_0091 copyIMG_0105 copyFor those that want to go a more environmentally friendly route, dm also sells chlorine-free diapers.  They are cheaper than Pampers and a little more expensive than the generic dm brand.IMG_0109 copyAnd, for summer and trips to the pool, dm sells their own brand of swim diapers.  I haven’t seen any Pampers swim diapers, but they may be lurking in large grocery stores that I rarely visit.IMG_0097 copyThough we have less choice than in America, I think this actually makes diapering decisions easier.  I’ll take three decent options over fifteen mediocre ones any day.

Have you tried disposable diapers in Germany or elsewhere outside the US?  What was your experience?Signature-Marigold

Vintage Ride

Not exactly my bike, but I love the design.

This mama’s got a new ride.  Except it’s not new.  In fact, it’s older than I am.  (shhhh, don’t tell!)

Last Friday, Doc Sci surprised me with a new bike.  I could hardly believe it.  I don’t get many presents (which is fine, unless it’s my birthday in which case, pony up and at least make me something), so this news bordered on ridiculously thrilling.  However, I had to wait until the next day to see it.

In fact, no only did I have to wait, I had to run my Saturday long run (pesky marathon training), and THEN I could have a look.  And a ride.

Man, oh man, this thing is SWEET.  It took me forever, but I finally dug up the provenance here.  I am now the owner of a mixte frame Peugeot UE-18, made somewhere between 1971 and 1974.

Original decals.

Though it’s not in perfect condition, the frame is all original including decals and paint.  A few things are new(er), but I’m not a collector so big whoppin’ flip.

The mixte frame.

When I rode my bicycle for the first time, I felt like I was riding on dirt roads through the Tuscan countryside.  Not very French, I know.  I think I somehow managed to get a bicycle version of a Vespa experience.  Amazing.

Three speeds and my old skool light.

It’s still not 100% enjoyable to pull a 40-lb T-Rex and a 30-lb Screech in a bike trailer uphill, both ways, in the rain.  But somehow, it’s actually easier with this bike.  Rock on.

But, what about the price, you say?  Germans are not known for their bargaining, especially with bikes.  In the US, you probably could get a used bike on Craigslist for $30.  It might be junk, but it would work.  In Germany, unless you’re at an auction, you’re not going to get a used bike for less than 80 to 100 euro.  And, if you do, it will need some work.  The cheapest new bikes we found were 200 euro and up.  For a pile of metal that’s not even FUN to ride.

Even the pedals are original. And check out the decal on the chain guard. Royally rockin'.

Never look a gift horse in the mouth, right?  But I had to know.  How much of our travel money did you spend on this bike?  A lot less than you’d think, and my wonderful husband even talked the guy down more than 25%, practically unheard of here.  To make things even sweeter, the shop owner said he’d buy the bike back from us when we moved for half of what we paid.  Bonus!

So I’m off to pretend I’m French.  Or Italian.  Or something equally as ridiculous.

My ride!

There’s just one thing.  The poor thing doesn’t have a name.  I’d love any suggestions for a superb French name for the little lady.  Leave a comment with your ideas!

Essential German Toys: The Bobby Car

Weeks and heaps of days ago, I showed you T-Rex’s crazy cool PUKY bike.  Today, I’d like to introduce to you… drumroll please… the Bobby Car!

My first friend here owns two of these things: one for inside and one for outside.  And before you scrunch up your nose and scowl and say, why in the junk would you need one of those?  Think about this un momento por favor.  How do you teach a child to steer?

Yes, hmmm that is a problem.  I can personally attest that the classic shout & point method is utterly hopeless.  A two year-old has absolutely no idea what “turn” means, let alone left, right, that way, no this way, stop, be quiet, and go to sleep.  Solution?  Okay, a Bobby Car is not a bona fide prescription for success, but it does help.

Get your 1+ year-old a pair o’ these wheels, and let them figure it out in the comfort of your own hall, kitchen, living room, parlor, and ballroom.  The wheels are non-marking.  Well, provided you keep your inside Bobby Car inside and your outside Bobby Car outside.  In other words, if marks on the floor is an issue for you, don’t use this item to teach independence and responsibility.

I like this thingamabob because both boys play with it, and it doubles as a walker.  I’m all about things being multi-purpose especially when you don’t have a lot of storage space.  Screech is doing great at walking now but his chub needs a bit of help sometimes.  So he pushes Bobby around the ballroom, er I mean the hallway.

This is what a Bobby Car is supposed to look like:

 

This is what ours looks like:

That’s because a new one costs 50 euro, and I paid less than 3 euro.  Less than 3 you say?  That’s a bit vague for someone who’s rather exact about her money especially when it comes to saving it.  Ahhh, well, that’s the beauty of the flohmarkt.  I offered the hawker all the coins I had in my wallet.  He wanted 5, I paid about 2.83.  Rock on, thriftytravelmama.

So although it is old and faded and the stickers have half jumped ship, neither boy knows this.  And, by the time they do, they’ll be too old for it anyway.  But if you’re a little bit crazy or a little bit snotty (or both – I won’t tell), you can purchase the Bobby Car Benz.  Bling sold separately.

Would you buy a Bobby Car for your Bobby?  Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

The Family Car

T-Rex is always asking me if we are going to go get in the car.  Sorry, little buddy, we don’t have a car here in Germany.  But we do have bikes – and a borrowed bike trailer!

While I can see the value of a car here more than in bigger cities like Berlin and Munich, it just wasn’t worth the cost to bring it over for only one year.  Two years, maybe.  But not just one.  And then there are the issues of a German license, registration, insurance, etc., when you don’t speak the language.  In an attempt to keep some simplicity in our lives, we bought bikes.

Unfortunately, we weren’t very bright about this bike buying thing.  Of course, we didn’t have much choice.  We needed bikes ASAP.  Trams do exist in my city and are quite convenient.. but also quite expensive.  We got a great deal on  a bike from an American leaving to go home.  It just so happens to be a girls bike that is too big for me.  Oops.

Doc Sci went to a bike auction to be all thrifty (I love that man) and get a good deal on a used bike.  A good deal he did get – on a teenage boys bike.  So I ride the boy bike, and he rides the girl bike.  Ahh well, live and learn, right?

 

The cargo hold, a.k.a. the trunk.

 

Our Aussie friends lent us a bike trailer to tow the two boys around.  My Thrifty Travel Mama workout has now been changed from climbing stairs to pulling too many kilos of boys behind my bike to and from T-Rex’s kindergarten.

Actually, I haven’t done that yet.  I’m kind of afraid.  Afraid that it will take an hour for what takes every one else 10 minutes.  Afraid my muscles will wimp out and I’ll have to walk all those kilos of boys attached to my bike.  Uphill.  Both ways.  In the snow.

 

Backpack carriers are for more than just babies.

 

Most of the time T-Rex & Screech like the trailer.  One particular trip to IKEA proved to be the exception.  We did load their laps with cargo.  And they protested in a way only loud American boys can do.  MAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

 

We stupidly put coffee cups in here. They slid right out when I bent over to lock up the bike. Doh!

 

If you have any tips for packing on the cycling muscles, leave a comment and enlighten me.  My boys will thank you.

Thrifty Travel Mama

Flohmarkt

Saturday’s trip was a little one, a short walk and picnic in the Black Forest.  After all, we had FLOHMARKTs to go to!  And what, pray tell, is a Flohmarkt?

Google Translate tells me it is a flea market.  I don’t remember the last time I was at a flea market so I can’t attest to whether or not it really is like one.  But I’m pretty sure “flea market” isn’t entirely accurate.

Flohmarkt!

I happened to see a sign for the Saturday morning one while getting lost.  How is it that you find things when you get lost?  One of the mysteries of life, I suppose.  This one reminded me more of a yard sale.  We didn’t get anything.

Scouring for deals

While T-Rex and Screech were peacefully napping (ha if only that were true), I went out with my new friend to another money pit, er, I mean sale across town.  This flohmarkt reminded me more of a crazy kids consignment sale.  You had to pay to have a table inside, but people lined up all along the path outside hawking wares for free (fellow thrifty mamas!).  Gobs and gobs of moms were packed inside the gym.

Thank God for my new friend.  She gave me the scoop on what all I needed for boys in winter.  I haven’t the foggiest, snowiest, rainiest idea.  However, I am most excited about the fact that I got… drum roll please… a PUKY bike for T-Rex!

I love me a PUKY bike!

These things seriously rock.  They are little bikes with no pedals.  The kid just scoots along, using his feet, while learning balance and steering.  I love it because it means I don’t have to push 36lbs of boy on an already heavy stroller.

I also picked up a pair of what my friend calls rubber pants.  Yeah, yeah, snicker away.  But I’m a clean freak which makes me a BIG fan of such contraptions.  The playgrounds here are mostly sand.  I already cringe at the thought of having to clean up sandy toddlers and babies (with no vacuum..) but once you get the stuff wet, it’s even worse.  Of course, Germans would have a solution to such problem.  The kids put these jumper thingies on and they can dig, bury, and roll around to their heart’s content.

Dirt is no match for T-Rex in the rubber pants

In addition to the PUKY bike and pants, I got a winter stroller cover for the Screech man, two tubs of good ol’ wooden blocks, a humongo sleep bag (I have only seen these for newborns – all kids here wear them), and three German word books.  All that for about €38!  I KNEW there were deals to be had here!

Do you have a favorite consignment sale, garage sale, etc find?  Leave a comment, link, or shameless plug!

Bump Rider

“Let’s go – we’re leaving!”

“In the car, mama?”

“No, we don’t have a car anymore.”

This speech happens almost every time we leave our flat.  T-Rex can’t really understand where our car went, but at least he doesn’t complain about walking everywhere.  Why?  Because we have a Bump Rider!

A former bump riding

A Bump Rider is a handy dandy, half skateboard-ish contraption that attaches to the back of any stroller.  A toddler or preschooler can stand up on it, hold on to the stroller and ride for free.  In other words, it’s an insta-double stroller!

Though I wouldn’t consider it cheap, it is a BARGAIN compared to the price of strollers here.  Doubles are hard to come by and not easy to maneuver over cobble stones, through narrow aisles, on and off trams, etc.  Of course, there is one double model that is, Phil & Teds.  (I’m secretly in love with you Phil & Ted – shhhh!  Don’t tell Eddie Bauer!  I’m figuring out the detail$$ of how we can be together.)

As for what you do if you have 3, I guess you just get your car shipped over here.  Or you get a Chariot to pull two, a bike seat for one, and ask Santa pretty pretty please for some killer leg muscles to pull all that kiddo weight!  Okay beg, grovel, plead.  You (I) will need them!

Do you have a stroller you love?  Have you used it on public transportation?  On dirt paths?  I want to hear about favorite strollers – extra points for bargains!

Trip Report: Schauinsland

On your second weekend in a new country where you’ve just moved do you..

(a) sleep in

(b) clean and organize

(c) study language books

(d) explore

If you answered anything but (d), you’re reading the wrong blog!  We headed out to ride the Schauinslandbahn, the longest circulating cable car in Germany.  We took a bus to the bottom of the mountain and you’ll never guess who we met!!!

View from the top

Santa Claus was on our bus!  And even better than that, we now know he speaks German!  He was sporting his holiday haircut and beard, short, very short.  He was, as I mentioned, on holiday with a bunch of his buddies.  But that did not stop him from having T-Rex sit on his lap the whole bus ride.  T-Rex still doesn’t quite understand that not everyone in the world speaks or understands English!  We did not get a picture with him – we were a little star struck and didn’t want to draw attention to his fame.

T-Rex in the cable car

Trip report tips:

1. Keep it cheap! Though we did buy two, full-priced, return tickets (up and back down the mountain), there are other ways to reduce costs.  First, bring your kids with you!  Both boys were free.  Look for any other discounts you can (student, senior, bahn card holder, etc).  You can also pay to go up and walk or bike down if your kiddies are bigger than mine and not begging to be carried the first five minutes on the mountain.

Screech riding for free

2. Get a map! You don’t want to be lost AND tired/hungry/frustrated/cold/wet/etc.  And best of all, these maps are almost always free.

Doc Sci uses his fancy schmancy brain cells to figure out which way to go

3. Bring your own lunch! Of course there was a restaurant at the top station but why pay when you can bring your own?  We had about 5 euro worth of food for all four of us (Screech can eat bits of turkey, bread, banana etc so it’s like he is eating a sandwich too).  I don’t even think you could buy a drink at that restaurant for 5 euro.


Cheap picnic lunch

4. Bring the right equipment! We have a Snugli cross-terrain backpack carrier.  I’m not endorsing this product, simply stating that we have one.  There are lots of other models out there.  An internal frame backpack carrier is definitely the way to go when bringing an early walker (or not walking at all in the case of my super laid-back Screech) on an outdoor excursion.  When we took T-Rex to Ireland last summer (Screech was still baking in the oven), everyone marveled at this contraption.  We could’ve found our pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow selling those puppies.  This thingy also lets the babies take a nap on the go if needed.

Screech napping on the go

4. Be realistic about your athletic ability! Don’t stress if you can’t spend all day hiking all the trails just to get your money’s worth.  The view and time spent together is worth the price.  We only spent 3 hours or so on the mountain because we have ittie bitties that still take (and need) naps.  Just get out there, get some fresh air, and make some memories.


T-Rex trying to keep up with Screech who got a free ride

In Germany, everyone enjoys the outdoors - even the nuns!

One other thing.. can I just say that I LOVE how the Germans are super kid-friendly?  We stepped off the cable car at the top of the mountain and, voila!  A kinderspielplatz (aka playground)!!  More to come on German playgrounds…

Schauinslandbahn playground