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Considering having a (first!) baby in HK

  1. #1
    esque is offline Registered User
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    Considering having a (first!) baby in HK

    I have just moved to HK and my partner and I are going to take a few months here deciding whether/when we want to have a baby. We're not actually sure how many years we'll be staying in Hong Kong, which like the baby decision, depends a lot on how much we like living here.

    I'ver browsed a few threads here and it seems that most people find having a baby in Hong Kong to be a positive experience. However I did meet a mum the other night who said it was a horrible environment to raise young children (!). I wondered if anyone would like to offer advice, share any pros and cons or warn me off the idea ;)

    Also wondered if someone could recommend a good doctor to go to for a pre-trying checkup/consultation. I have no GP/family doctor here yet.

  2. #2
    aprilbaby is offline Registered User
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    i'm 26 weeks pregnant and wish i had thought about the pros & cons more carefully, everything here seems to so much more of a headache then at home (UK). Yes you can have home help and not ever have to pick up an iron ever again but do you want to leave a baby with a helper everytime you want to pop out, because central is so child unfriendly. Travel here without a car is a nightmare in itself, as I am sure you have read in other threads. Also I live in cyberport, there is no where nice to walk with a pushchair, would be better to live out in Repulse Bay or Stanley at least you can stop and have coffee. These are just a few of my thoughts, I could go on forever. Hopefully I havent put you off, i cant wait for baby to arrive i just know I will have to be very organised. I will defo be having baby # 2 in UK though, where I will have a car, have family support and not have to worry about silly things like what water to use/not use, how to push a baby and a trolly in olivers or great and worry about the pollution in HK. Also I think to myself alot of people have to cope in far worse sitations.

    Good Luck!

    p.s i use Dr Lucy Lord, I find her really good, 2 friends use her too.

  3. #3
    aldougie is offline Registered User
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    I have two children and have had them both in HK and the only thing that I regularly worry about is the pollution. I take them both out in Central which can be a bit of a pain but isn't impossible and you very quickly become an expert at pram bumping! Public transport is cheap and frequent in HK but I must admit that as soon as we had our first child we bought a car and I certainly wouldn't be without it with two (it was an indulgence with one!).

    There are plenty of places in the mid-levels area to take a child out for walks, Bowen Road, the Peak, Happy Valley, Botanical Gardens and with a car you can easily get to Big Wave Bay, Stanley, Shek-o and the new territories (although these places are all accesible by public transport).

    I am leaving HK now and one of the big reasons for this is the cost of education and the lack of grass for my toddler to play on BUT if we wanted to we could go to Discovery Bay and have plenty of grass over there.

    In terms of doctors I would recommend Helen Bryden as a GP and Philip Ho as as an OBGYN.

  4. #4
    Sumei is offline Registered User
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    hi,

    it's a tough decision when you are unfamiliar with HK but coming from a stay at home (expat) mother of a 12 month old baby, Asia/HK is one of the best places to have very young children because you can hire live in domestic help to do all the yucky housework (believe me it triples when you have a small one) and if you are a stay at home mum, you can concentrate on enjoying your baby fully and completely (something that all my girlfriends in countries with no hired help don't seem to be achieving cos they are just too tired all the time). Despite what people say about not trusting an outsider to look after your baby, unless you have parents or in-laws camping out with you full time for months on end (believe me, while I love my parents and adore my in-laws I don't want them THAT actively involved) you can't really leave your baby to them as they won't know them well enough unlike a domestic helper who sees them everyday (yet doesn't take it personally when you tell them how exactly you want things done). Although HK may not be as baby/child friendly as some Western countries like Australia and NZ, it's certainly not difficult. I take my son out twice/thrice a day for walks in his stroller (Bowen Road/Peak/Repulse Bay/HK Park/Ocean Park etc), strolls through the shopping malls (IFC/Pacific Place/Times Square/Lee Garden),play dates, playgroups (St John's Catheral in central) and soon classes like gymboree and kindermusik etc. The only downside is healthcare - while being very good can be expensive if you prefer to go private (OBGYs/dentist/paeditricians) which is what we did as I don't speak Cantonese. This can be mitigated if you or your hubby's health insurance covers it or a majority of it. As mentioned, pricate school fees can be expensive but that onyl really becomes a consideration when they hit school at about 3 years old. Do not let negative feedback deter you from enjoying motherhood, while HUGELY exhausting, it's very rewarding!

    Good luck!

    ps. I used Dr Robert Dawkins who is a excellent OBGY.

  5. #5
    Penn is offline Registered User
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    Hi,I moved here 3 months ago with a five and three year old and have just had my third baby at Xmas. Although I had visited HK several times before I still completely under estimated the logistical difficulties of having kids in HK.
    As far as pregnancy care/ delivery goes you will have absolutely no problems if you have private medical cover and the standard of care is far better than UK. I have heard mixed reviews regarding public hospital care....mainly related to an underlying Chinese negativity to breastfeeding (despite all the pro b/feeding posters on the walls in hospitals) rather than actual medical care problems but if you dont speak Cantonese then Labour could be a bit of a lonely experience.
    However....the logistics of trying to push pram and trolley round supermarket (there are no baby trolleys);Trying to carry the shopping, a pram and carseat up to the taxi rank if you dont have a car/ getting it up to your flat the other end/ yes, some shops will deliver the groceries but dont specify more than am/pm time slots and you have to take all fresh stuff with you/ public transport is good but I havent been to an MTR station yet which didnt have at least one large flight of steps.Even if you dont take pram and carry your baby or make your toddler walk you are often walking a good 1/3 of a mile at some stations up and down escalators from the station entrance to the platform. I went to three parks in the last few weeks and every single one would have been impossible without my partner to help get the buggy up all the steps.
    Utility bills, good quality food, outings, housing and education are all significantly more expensive than UK . I am paying more for my three year old nursery education than I would have paid to send both my 3 and 5 yr olds combined to private schools in the UK.
    It is also quite difficult to meet other mothers which is why websites like this are so handy .If you go to the parks you will usually only see helpers/maids looking after the children.Many playgroups are the same. Also many wives here are able to work .
    Dont even think of trying to have a baby here without a car! I also think you will get to explore HK more if you have one. Second hand cars here are quite cheap.
    I know I sound negative. I am still trying to create a life here for my family and the day to day trivial stuff does sometimes get to you.I am glad to have the experience of living abroad but I wish I had been better informed before I came. I have experienced far more simple kindesses like always being given a seat on the tube when I was pregnant that I never got in the UK. Last week a whole queue in Wellcome let me go to the front cos the baby was hungry and crying. I didnt ask they just did it.
    Good luck

  6. #6
    rads is offline Banned
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    Hi,

    I agree with the other moms that the most difficult bit is moving aroung in HK with a small child...it all depends on how much you want to have a baby....

    I had my first child in HK 2 years ago & my second one is due anytime....I think once you have toddlers you may think of moving out of HK...we are planning to do that soon as space is VERY limited here & I was really concerned when I took my 9 month old son to NZ for the first time & he was actually scared to sit on the grass!!!!!!

    The positive aspect is that the younger years you will get to spend lots of quality time with your babies as you can hire a live in help who can do everything else at home for you....

    I think the bottom line is how much do you & your partner want kids ) it changes your life compltely....

  7. #7
    sunnysideup is offline Registered User
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    Online shopping tips - for grocery

    This may help with your shopping needs. I do online-shopping these days coz it is just so much easier. Order over $400 then delivery is free, otherwise you only need to pay $20 for delivery.

    ParknShop - http://www1.parknshop.com/WebShop/home.jsp
    Wellcome - http://www.wellcomehk.com/delivers/default.asp?ctk=

    You can order fresh stuff like milk, yoghurts, fruit, meat (under Frozen section of their websites coz it was probably pre-frozen then defrosted). However, I still buy fresh meat from supermarkets so I can choose one with the longest expiry date and there is simply more choice in the shop. (PS. 1 lb of banana is about 3 pieces, you can order by pieces but they kept giving me by lb so when I order 4 pieces, they gave me a lot of bananas which i have to return. Wellcome doesn't do weighing so fruit selection is limited.)

    Tips - ParknShop delivers a lot faster than Wellcome. If you order before 11am, you get your food in the afternoon between 2-6; if order before 2pm, you get it 7-10pm. Wellcome delivers the next day. If you are not at home, both shops can leave your shopping outside (okay in winter i guess). NOTE: PnS tends to give you milk that expires in 2 days so i normally order 1 then buy the rest in shops. Wellcome's food is normally a lot fresher but I don't like them come in cartons coz it's hard to open (PnS comes with bags).

    Wellcome on Robinson road is good for fresh produce. If you like fish, Wellcome in Causeway bay (walk from Sogo towards IKEA direction and you will see it on the way) is great with lots of meat too!

    Hope this helps!

  8. #8
    esque is offline Registered User
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    Thanks so much everyone for the advice and stories. I really appreciate your taking the time. I'm going to think seriously about all of these things before I make a decision.

    Sunnysideup I think your shopping tips will be useful whether we decide to have a baby or not!

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