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I'm living in a small town in Catalunya, and have found I am the complete freak of the town. I face criticism from in laws, pediatricians, and people on the street for breastfeeding "too often", sleeping with my child, carrying her with me in a sling ("she'll get too accustomed to being carried and she will never let you put her down!"), using cloth diapers ("that can't be SANITARY!") etc.
Just wondering if there are any other like minded mothers in the area.
 

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I just got back from Tossa de Mar. We had a wonderful time and I did like some things about the culture with children in Spain but I can imagine there are significant challenges as well. I recently met an AP mama from Barcelona but she's living here in Heidelberg, where we are. You're welcome to PM me if you need to chat. Look us up if you're traveling.
 

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hi, I am starting to do some research about moving abroad and came across your post. I was sad to hear the struggle you are facing. Have you met anyone new or found any support? I am wondering if the other parts of Spain share beliefs that don't jive with AP? Please let me know when you can. Thank you, Sarah
 

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Hello "Lapatch":
Sorry to hear about your troubles, but not surprised. I was just looking at the "threads" in Europe because my family (and my dh's too) is "Spanish", from Alicante (they speak a form of Catalan too which I never learned). I have not been to Spain in almost 15 years but I keep in contact with family members who either visit (I'm in Canada) or email, they think we're a little weird too. I think it's just the culture. They've been "brainwashed" in the last 40 years ++(remember there was a dictatorship there for 40 years up to 1975) about what "modern" is all about. So many people in Spain are not aware that the rest of the (Western) world has different ways of parenting now.
But while going on-line I have found that there are people there (a minority I think compared to North America) that realize the benefits of natural parenting, BF, etc and there are groups devoted to this. In fact, I'm pretty sure there are often public BF meetings in Barcelona and various organized activities revolving around midwives, etc. If you're interested email me and I'll look up some old contacts in Spain for you, as far as on-line groups, etc.
Don't give up! What if you do look weird to them? There's an old spanish saying "vaya yo caliente y riase la gente", you've got to be "thick skinned" like them!
Cheers!
Di.
 

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Hi, I am a spanish living in the UK. With all due respect Rikalexdi, this comment about spanish people being "brainwashed" is just nonsense. What does the dictatorship has to do with this? You say that you have not been to Spain for 15 years and it shows.
I agree that Spain is not the most "AP" place in theory, people tend to breastfeed just for few
months and cloth diapering is not popular. BUT in Spain children are so respected and cherished, the whole family revolves around children. They are welcome in bars, restaurants, and people stop you in the street just to tell you what a lovely child you have.

And I can tell you that we are are probably too attached to our parents , we tend to live with them until our twenties or even more!

So my advice to the OP is to try to understand the local culture about child rearing. At the end of the day it is all about loving our kids.

Good luck.
 

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I apologize if you misunderstood my words, but the problem is I don't really see the need to apologize for my beliefs, in view that I am 100% Spanish like you. We might simply be seeing things from a different perspective or even from opposite sides of the political fence. But it might have been miscommunication, so I'll try to clarify.

I agree with your point that "lapatch" (and anybody else visiting a country) should get to know the people and culture of Spain and that goes without saying. A visitor, whether permanent or a tourist, should always try to get to know the culture, or they won't get much out of their visit. But getting to know the culture doesn't guarantee that you'll always like what you find.

Your other point puzzles me. I don't know if you're implying that I said that the Spanish don't love their kids. Of course I would never say or imply such a thing!
: First of all because all cultures love their kids in their own way, or they wouldn't have kids! And second of all, I may not be Spanish born & bred, but I'm still Spanish in origin. It's true I've chosen not to visit in 15 years but given today's technology and rapid means of communication and travel it's really not very hard to keep abreast of the changes and life in another country. I have lots of contact with Spaniards both here and from Spain.

But I think it's my comment about the fact that the dictatorship had a profound effect in Spain (including in its child-rearing practices among many others aspects of life) that threw you off. I think this simply shows your age. I'm only guessing, but I assume you're roughly 10 years younger than me and that you did not live through the dictatorship in any meaningful way. I did. I was only a school age child when I spent 6 years there, thankfully at the end of the dictatorship. But I still saw and heard first hand the oppression and its effects on people and my family in particular: no freedom of choice, no freedom of thought, no freedom of religion, no freedom of vote, and the list goes on. In short there was no freedom at all! I think the effects were profound both on the people that lived through this and even on their descendents because it shaped Spanish society in a certain way for 40 years. A dictatorship stops a society on its tracks and that's just what it did for Spain. This is what I meant by "brainwashing" and I stand by my words because I lived it for a while. It was not literal brainwashing but in my opinion it is brainwashing just the same. When it was thankfully over (and I was no longer in Spain) some people rightfully rejoiced and started to fight back, others unfortunately longed for the "good old days" and most I think simply were relieved and proceeded to ignore the whole thing and get on with their lives.

But when I speak with family and friends from Spain today I do truthfully feel that in some aspects they try a little bit too hard to be "modern" as a result of those 40 years of virtual "prison", whether they know it or not. My aunt was breastfed until she could walk & talk (and ask for mummies) but that was in the 1930's, what a novel idea! Right? You'll be hard pressed to find a mother in mainstream Spain today that breastfeeds to one year, let alone 3 or 4! I have breastfed my daughter until she was past 5, in today's "modern" Spain I would have been a "freak".

But I learned some of these things from my mother, who's in her 80's...Spain was not always the way it is today in respect to childrearing. It used to be a little bit more "natural", thanks to 40 yeas of being "stopped in its tracks" it lost some of that knowledge.

Of course there are many in Spain who agree and practice the principles of AP and natural parenting (the wear-the-baby, extended BF, no vax, family bed, etc, etc) and I've met many over the Internet, but they are in little "pockets" or clusters of society here and there, they are not part of the mainstream. And as in many parts of the world, when you practice this you become a part of the fringes of society, but that's OK. I think that if you have this particular philosophy in Spain today at best they'll think of you as an eccentric hippy ( OK if you're a foreigner though) and at worst a raving lunatic in need of psychological help! Either way, you're in the fringes and will need to get your support from others like you, but not from people in the mainstream of society.

So, I do apologize Inesmama if I offended you in talking like this about Spain "in general", but I do have my reasons. I think it's a great country to live and visit but generally speaking AP friendly it is not!

My advice to those in the AP lifestyle who plan to live in Spain is to find those little clusters of parents (much easier in large cities like Madrid or Barcelona or Seville, etc) and to find their support there. Just don't look for it in the rest of society.
 

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I 'm from Madrid and I feel a bit strange sometimes.

I haven't found any CD mum out of the email apart of my mom. She has given me some of the finest covers I have but she still thinks that now it's easy to use disposables. This is mainly true cause I have to order the rest of my diapers.

In other aspects I have been surprised. I made a bunch of friends in the prebirthing class and they agree with me in many things. I think in some ways it's easier to find support with our grandmothers than with mothers cause most of us were born in the time of the 'bottle'. I remember when my mother was asked which brand of milk she was giving us and she answered 'none'. But now that things have changed, you can see it in many places. Many people is open to this 'new ideas', but they're from the bottle times and get surprised at some things.
 

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HOLA!
I'm happy things are changing in some parts of Spain, but not likely much where my family comes from, too "small" for that. And you're right, our grandmother's (or in my case my mother-I was a late "child") know much more about natural parenting than many mothers of today who grew up with bottles, compulsory vaccinations and a lot of misinformation on the part of the medical establishement. That's true everywhere, and it's a shame and it'll be hard to change but hopefully not impossible.

If you're looking for email groups with Natural Parenting style in Spanish (and with a majority of members from Spain, I think), I know of two, both run through EListas:

www.elistas.net/lista/crianzanatural
www.elistas.net/lista/MAP

The first one is what the name says, natural parenting styles or Attachment Parenting. The second one stands for Mamas De Amamantamiento Prolongado. I can tell you, because I'm still a member, that that group is no longer active, as far as emails, but it has a huge amount of information in its archives, which you can access once you're a member (just need to sign up to receive the emails, that's all). It's been around since 2001 but the emails have "dried up", although I'm sure the members are still around. Many are part of the other group which is still very active apparently (right now, I'm not part of it).

I've found that often, through these, you get to know of other groups or people in different regional areas. I'm not in Spain, so that didn't matter to me, but I have met some great friends that way with different styles or degrees of AP.

Maybe there, you'll find other cloth diapering mums too. I did CD until my daughter was past 2, then she didn't want diapers any more...she wanted real ones,so we used some disposable pull-ups for a while and I hated it! I wish I had taken my mum's advice and "toilet-trained" her before she was 1! That's what my mum did with us. I read articles (there's books too) about how to do that. Apparently it was very normal (still is in some societies) many, many years ago! It's apparently easier to toilet traine when they're babies...if you have the patience & time. Fat chance uh?
 

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Hi Rikalexdi

Sorry it has taken me such a long time to reply. I was on holiday in Spain visiting my parents. In Alicante of all places, my whole family comes from the area.

First of all, sorry if I sounded nasty in my reply. Sometimes it is difficult to me to find the right tone in english.

Well, I don't think I am as young as you suppose I am. I was 10 in 1975 when Franco died and I lived in Madrid. I was not exposed to the repression and lived a nice and sheltered life, but I became quickly fascinated by politics and the transition from a dictatorship to democracy in a very short time. They were such challenging times. Less than 30 years from the death of Franco the place is unrecognisable. Gay marriage is going to be legalised in a few months' time, just as an example.... I am very proud about that. I don't agree that people decided to ingnore the previous 40 years and just get on with their lives. No. Lessons were learned and there has been an enormous amount of soul searching in the country. To try to see who we are and how we can be together, being an incredibly complex and diverse country with a troubled history. It is a work in progress.

With regard to childrearing... in the 50's,60's and 70's bottles became popular everywhere, not just in Spain and not because of Franco's regime. I live in the UK and I can tell you that most women bottlefed here at that time, many more than in Spain. In Spain women tended to stay at home and not go to work, so most of them would breastfeed for some time. 90% of the people I know were breastfed for at least 6 months, some for a year.

But I do think that one consequence of the dictatorship was the determination of women of my generation to work full time after motherhood and be financially independent. We saw our mothers not having accesss to proper education and being confined to the domestic world, controlled by their husbands. So we reacted against that and that has definitely had an impact on breastfeeding. As most women go back to work after the 14 weeks' paid maternity leave, they tend to breastfeed just for that period. Pumps are not popular at all.

Sad situation? We are a product of our circumstances. But you can see now, that the country has prospered immensely, some young women with good education are choosing to stay at home and raise their familes. And we will see more.

But yes, the vast majority of women would breastfeed for 3 months and would not consider cloth diapering (too much hard work if you work full time, they think. And people are not very eco-friendly. That is a shame and I hope we start learning about that soon)

Apart from that.... you find quite a lot of people co-sleeping for some time (although generally in desperation, not by choice!) and leaving babies to cry is just not an option there. Babies and children are always responded to.

Well...this is my opinion. I think that Spain is a good place to raise a child. I hope to be there soon. Just give us a few more years to catch up .
 

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I'll try those forums. I'm desiring to talk and talk about my daughter... and hearing about other children too. I'm learning a lot of things with her and she's changing me and my priorities more than I thought she could.
Seems nice the idea of early potty training. I didn't now it could be done so. Could you tell me where are those articles?
Saludos:
Alpián
 

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Hi mamas

I am German and dh is British, we are living in the UK at the moment but may be moving to the Valencia area in the next few months.

I would LOVE to meet like-minded parents there. I have lived in Ibiza for a short while before and I really like the family-oriented element of the Spanish culture.


If anyone in Spain would like to chat send me a PM.
 

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Hello

I'm writing to you from Madrid in Spain. I'm mom to Guillermo of two months and my greatest joy.
I came across this website through another Spanish website www.crianzanatural.com inspired in natural parenting. There you will find lot of people promoting and supporting the importance of breastfeeding, co-sleeping ,cloth diapering and even home-birthing .People who are raising their babys with love, respect and consideration.
 

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I would very much like to hang out with you guys.. if that's ok. My husband is from Madrid, and we spend every summer in Madrid and Valencia (where my inlaws have a beach property). My husband misses home very much, but, for now, we live in the midwest and will for the forseeable future.

I have not found Madrid to be a very AP place, but I only lived there for a year and now spend my summers there. I never saw anyone using a sling, breastfeeding was something to be stopped at four months, and cloth diapering was just unheard of and unsanitary. While we visited this summer my mother in law told me specifically that I would have to use disposables, as she did not want to deal with diaper laundy or diaper pails in her house.

But, I do agree that Children are more a part of everyday life than they are in some places. My kids played the slot machines at a bar this summer and no one thought anything of it. (They are 5 and 2). Sometimes I believe the culture can be smothering though. Independance doesn't rack high on a Spanish mother's list of worthwhile attributes for her children.

We are trying to raise our children bi-lingual too... anyone else?

Christina
 

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Hi Christina:
My dh is Spanish (not born but raised there more or less) and I've lived most of my life in Canada so our dd is now bilingual. She spoke little English until just over a year ago, at age 4, when we moved to the country and far from our Spanish families in the city (here in Canada), so all of a sudden she started to communicate with our neighbour's kids and she hasn't stopped since! She's now almost 6 and has just started school, we understand she still gets slightly confused with some sounds (mixing up the "I" and the "E", that kind of thing) but otherwise no problems. We try to correct her mistakes in both languages but to simplify things I'm "officially" in charge of English and my dh handles the Spanish. Of course since we're both bilingual we both try to help her out. Your kids should do just fine and they're very lucky to be able to go back and forth between two cultures/languages. I did that most of my young life and ended up with 4 fluent languages! And it's great!

So, I guess I'm not the only one who finds some Spanish families generally "smothering", of course I'm speaking strictly personally re. my mum & mother-in-law. After 35 years I'm finally glad I put some real distance between me and them...it might not be for everybody but it works for me, I only wish I had done this sooner!

You're so lucky to be able to go back & forth like that! Too bad about the "no nappies rule" in your in-laws place, but hey, at least you've got a beach house to go to! Enjoy!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Alpian
I'll try those forums. I'm desiring to talk and talk about my daughter... and hearing about other children too. I'm learning a lot of things with her and she's changing me and my priorities more than I thought she could.
Seems nice the idea of early potty training. I didn't now it could be done so. Could you tell me where are those articles?
Saludos:
Alpián
Hi Alpian: sorry my reply took sooo long... I don't have those articles any more. I saw them several years ago and my computer "crashed" since then, so I lost a lot of stuff. I don't remember the name of the author (I know she had a small book on the subject though), so I did a little search and came up with an article with similar info (I'm going from memory though) on the subject under: http://babyparenting.about.com/cs/po...f/infantpt.htm
Also, try looking under "infant toilet training/potty training" for more info. I'm sure there's something out there...I just don't know where anymore! I know my mum used a similar method when we were around age 4-5 months, like this article says. I didn't; we used the usual "modern" way. But if I had to do this again (toilet train) and I had the "time" (it sounds time consuming) I think I would give this a try. Good luck!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by lapatch
I'm living in a small town in Catalunya, and have found I am the complete freak of the town. I face criticism from in laws, pediatricians, and people on the street for breastfeeding "too often", sleeping with my child, carrying her with me in a sling ("she'll get too accustomed to being carried and she will never let you put her down!"), using cloth diapers ("that can't be SANITARY!") etc.
Just wondering if there are any other like minded mothers in the area.
Hi Lapatch -

I realise that you posted this a long time ago - but hope you´re still there.

I am currently in Bangalore in India, but at the of January my ds (6 years) and I will be going back home to Norway to pack up our stuff and move to Tarragona!
Are you anywhere close?
My husband is a tennis coach and works with players here in India and for several months each year in Spain - hence our move (nothing for him to do in Norway!!!). I prefer to have a base in Spain to Norway since we have two cats to bring with us. And they have already travelled the world it seems - from Dubai to Brunei to Singapore to Norway. But alas - now soon on to Tarragona.
Besides - love being in Spain! Don´t speak any spanish though - only my husband does.

We were in Tarragona this summer for 2 months and enjoyed it a lot, but I had a hard time finding any AP mamas there. There is a group of AP mamas in Barcelona (let alone homeschooling or vegetarian mamas), but I didn´t get a chance to meet them. I did meet a lovely lady and her son in Tarragona though. She is Peruvian and married to a Spanish guy.

Anyway - hope you are still around when we get there! And keep your chin up - you are definitely NOT a freak despite what everyone lets you think!

Pm me if you like!


Pia

- the choice of ds!
 

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Hello! We may, may be moving to Spain sometime in the next year or two. My dh lived there for 2 years in some of the places you have mentioned (Catalunya, Valencia, Barcelona), in fact we have a CAT bumper sticker on our car. I am not a fan of the pet cats so I had a hard time letting him put it on there but he was quite insistent.

We would live in Madrid for two years. What is the culture like there? Things are slowly evolving here i feel like where I live. I was the first among my friends to extend bf but since I have i've had a couple of friends follow suit so maybe I can help be a kind example for those who would like to do the same but haven't done so yet.

I am curious to know what the people are generally like, what the customs are, what daily living is like. Any information would be really appreciated. Thanks!
 

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Hi/Hola

I am in Mallorca, Spain. I grew up here and moved away (to Seattle). We came back to spend time with my family (mother sister etc) who still lives here. We live in a small village. I have a four year old boy. I just discovered this site and would love to communicate with folks on parenting in Spain. I love the spainish people but we are not well supported in our some of parenting choices (home schooling etc..). Since we are the "nice, but strange" outsiders in the village it is ok, for now. However it becomes more challenging as Elias (son) gets older and more social in the village. I need support in the form of just sharing experiences. Really enjoyed the few commenst by others on this site. I find the cultural exchange very interesting, stimulating but hard and lonely at times too. Hope to hear from you or any others. Cheers, Mandy
 

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We moved to Barcelona in February, and we just love it here!

Last weekend was spent at a homeschooling meeting for the whole country - there are many of us!
The rest of the year we have a local homeschooling group that meet up once a week, either in Barcelona or in Vilanova i la Geltru - sometimes at the beach, in a park or at a museum.
It´s been a wonderful experience for us coming here - especially in the context of homeschooling. Having done a lot of traveling it´s finally time for us to stay in one place for a while - and Barcelona is the place for us.

Mandy - if you ever come to Barcelona, send me a pm!

My son Oliver is almost 7.
Also, maybe you can contact ALE to see if there are any other homeschooling families on Mallorca.
http://www.educacionlibre.org/
 

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hallo all

I am wanting to go to Spain this January, but i need a way to make money (or at least have a place to live) while im there. I was thinking about trying to be an au pair, but with such short notice im not sure if that would work.... I also considered trying to work for a hostel in exchange for a room. While i dont really have the luxury of being choosey, i would LOVE to be in contact with some Spanish AP families.

any ideas??
 
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