Mom’s early days – Spain

One of my best friends lives in Spain and she was the source for these questions. She lives in Valencia where she and her husband  welcomed a girl earlier this year. Enjoy! And ask away if you have any questions.

  • Do you get to decide how your labor will look like?

Yes, you make a birth plan.

  • Can you give birth at home?
Yes, but without certified medical help, just with a doula.
  • Can you choose not to take medication, are there any alternatives birthing options?
Yes, you can choose not to take medication and you are offered alternative pain relief options such as a laughing gas (entonox) or injections with distilled water etc.
  • Are you free to move during labor, can you listen to music, dim the lights etc?
Yes, both in private and public hospitals you can choose what you want to do, pilates balls are offered, bathtubs or showers (depending on the hospital). You can take your music, dim the lights, light candles etc. However, so much depends on the birth plan and the stage you arrive at the hospital, i.e. did your water broke, do you want to take any medications, what kind of hospital you are in.
  • Who can stay with you at the hospital?
  • Can someone be with you during the labor?
Yes, one person of your choice.
  • Can your partner cut the umbilical cord?
  • Who can visit you in the hospital and when?
Family members and friends, as many as you want and can fit into your room, immediately after you are brought to the room and they can stay as long as they want.
  • Where does the baby sleep during the hospital stay?
A cot in the mother’s room, the baby never leaves the mother’s side without being supervised by the mother or whoever is with the mother. In private hospitals you can pay for the baby to sleep in a different room with other babies.
  • Is skin-to-skin done?
  • Is breastfeeding promoted?
  • Is episiotomy a normal thing?
It is mostly avoided, unless the mother or the baby are in danger
  • When do you leave hospital?
After 2 days (depending when you give birth it could be less than 48h – closer to 36h), if everything is ok with the mom and the baby, for example unless the baby loses more than 10% of her birth weight
3 days after a c-section  
  • Is it typical for someone to move in with you for N-weeks and help around?
No, not really.
  • Are there any special traditions that you have respected during the first 40 days after the labor?
Not really.
  • What role does husband/partner play in the early stage?
The current generation of husbands/partners play a crucial role both during labor and the post delivery. They are actively involved.
  • Do husbands/partners get a parental leave?
Yes, the same amount as the women (16 weeks which could be used during the first 12 months, plus an hour for breastfeeding a day until 12 months which could be used either all together and it ends up being around 20 work days or you can use it when you go back to work).
  • When do women go back to work?
16 weeks plus lactation which is 15-24 work days.
  • How many women leave work to be stay at home moms?
Not many.
  • What are the main reasons for that (i.e. they genuinely want to stay with kids or find it hard to navigate both)?
Financial reasons.
  • How expensive are daycares?
There are not enough places in public preschools (government paid) so you end up paying private ones around 450€ a month.
  • How expensive are the nannies?
Around 6-15€ an hour, also depends on their nationality.
  • Are there in-home daycares (or is there an alternative between a daycare and a nanny)?
Legally no.
  • Are there support groups for moms?
Government funded no.
  • Can moms work remotely?


  • Can you bring the baby with you to work? Do others ever do that?
  • How do you spend the maternity leave?
At home, taking care of the baby, traveling. People take the babies into public pretty early and you see newborns in restaurants regularly, even late at night.
  • Does your baby sleep in the same room as you? When do you transition them out?
Yes. But I believe that depends on many conditions, such as (1) size of your apartment/house, (2) is the baby being nursed and (3) if a baby is a good sleeper.
  • Do parents co-sleep with babies and how?

Yes, in co-sleeping bassinets or directly in bed with their children.

  • Did you feel ready when you went back to work?
No, my baby was too small and still exclusively breastfeeding.
  • What was the hardest thing about going back to work?
Knowing that the baby won’t be able to eat on demand, being afraid that my milk supply will drop because of the work related stress, worried that the baby won’t nap during the day without me and worried how would I cope with work and sleepless nights plus time I spend with my partner.
  • Was your decision to breastfeed impacted by knowing you have to return to work after N-weeks? Did anything change (breastfeeding wise) after you got back to work?
I am still breastfeeding and hoping nothing will change once I start working full time.
  • Breastfeeding and food restrictions or suggestions , breastfeeding at work, pumping, exclusively pumping or breastfeeding or formula feeding or anything in between and why?
Exclusively breastfeeding, although I’m pumping in order to create a freezer stash for an emergency or for when I can’t come from work to feed the baby. I have to pump at night and it adds to sleeping less, it’s tiresome but hopefully worth it. Many restrictions due to babies intolerance to dairy and soya.
  • Is there a system in place that supports moms with postpartum depression?
  • Is there such a thing as lactation specialist?
Yes, the midwife helps you during the first checkups, later on no one asks about your experience, although you could seek more help from the midwifes.
  • Was there a nurse coming to visit you/check in on you and the baby after you were released from the hospital?
  • How is mother’s physical health treated? Who examines the mother and when? (Pelvic floor, diastasis, etc.)
Gynecologist in private hospitals, very routine, no special advice for the pelvic floor recovery or the diastasis. Midwife in the state hospitals, a bit more concerned, but also not too involved. You get the best care if you pay a private physiotherapist for the pelvic floor
  • Did/do you take any lactation vitamins or supplements?
Yes, due to food restrictions and overall supplements are recommended while the mother is breastfeeding.
  • About the prenatal care (when do you get the maternity leave, are there any changes to your salary, who pays your salary -the government or the company, what if you are unemployed, pelvic floor specialists, physiotherapy for the pelvic floor, exercises, courses and pregnancy oriented sports)
In most cases you get the leave when you deliver, even if your pregnancy is a high risk pregnancy, in most cases, you don’t get the leave earlier, you can ask for a normal sickness leave in which case you earn 60% of your salary.
During the maternity leave you get 100% of your brut salary which is paid by the government during 16 weeks. The lactation period is covered by the company and you get less then 100% of your Neto salary if you chose to take all the hours (which is approximately 24 work days), if you are unemployed you still get some income from the government.
If you were a full time employee, company pays. If not, government paying redemption depends on every family condition (single mom, disable, unemployed etc).
Pregnancy yoga and Pilates, swimming, courses, pelvic floor specialist and physiotherapists are available at your expense.
* When do you first bath the baby?
It is showered on the second day in the hospital by a nurse who shows you how it should be done.
  • When do you start giving solids to the baby?
At 6 months.
  • How do you introduce the solids?
First the fruit (banana, apple, pear).
  • Did you sleep train the baby?
For now, no.

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