Monday, November 29, 2010

Finding Baby Items in Egypt

Last week I mentioned that my son just turned 1 year old recently. And while having a baby in Egypt has been one of the greatest blessings for me here, I have often found it a challenge to find the things I need for him here.

Yes, I know I've been home to Kentucky twice in the past year so what am I complaining about?

Well, I can't buy EVERYTHING in the States. Some things just don't last long enough to warrant them valuable enough to bring back to Egypt from America.

That and they won't fit in a suitcase. (I know, I tried)

But seriously, in case you're wondering yourself about where to get things for a baby in Cairo. Because there are a lot of things available here, but sometimes you just have to look where you least expect things to be to find them.

Here's a rundown of some everyday baby items you might be looking for:

Diapers. Supermarkets, pharmacies, and Seif stores (City Stars, Maadi, Giza). My personal favorite is the Pampers brand (Premium Care, white package, imported from Saudi Arabia)

Diaper wipes. Supermarkets, pharmacies, Seif stores (City Stars, Maadi, Giza), and Mothercare stores (City Stars, Maadi, 6 October). I stick with the Pampers brand. My 2nd choice is Johnson & Johnson.

Antibacterial wipes. Supermarkets, some pharmacies. I use these to wipe down a table or a highchair before I put my son's food out on it. I like the Wet Ones brand (you can find the individual travel packs).

Shampoo, conditioner, baby wash. Supermarkets, pharmacies. Just about everyone carries the Johnson & Johnson brand which is supposed to be tear-free. Honestly what we use is a Johnson & Johnson head-to-toe baby wash brought from the States (it's not available yet in Egypt). We did use a Sanosan (blue bottle) bath and shampoo combo wash when our son was first born that was okay.

Diaper rash cream. Larger pharmacies. You might have to look around for this because it comes and goes. Mine is from the States because 1 jar lasts forever. My advice is if you can't have someone bring you some and you're nervous about diaper rash, you can use a small amount of olive oil until you can find some here.

Bottles, nipples, breast pumps, sterilizers. Toys R' Us (Babies R' Us section in the back) carries the hands-down best selection in Egypt. Mothercare may have a few things and you might find bottles in a Seif store or various pharmacies. But the prices at Toys R' Us are better. I recommend the Avent (Philips) brand.

Bibs. Mothercare probably has the best selection I've seen all the way up to toddler-age. A lot of ours are from the States. Sometimes you can find them where they sell baby clothes.

Teething rings. Toys R' Us, Mothercare, Seif stores, some pharmacies. Toys R' Us carries the Avent brand which has different teething rings for different stages. I bought my son a teething rattle from the Seif store that he loved.

Teething gels. I have not seen this here in Egypt. You might check in a larger pharmacy first. Ours is from the States.

Baby brush, nail clippers, droppers. Mothercare had sets including these items. Ours is from the States. You might find these individually in a pharmacy.

Baby bathtub. Cheap and available just about anywhere (try Spinney's or Carrefour for cheaper ones, Toys R' Us/Mothercare/Hallmark store for a Fisher Price or other name brand). If you have a little baby that needs a support, I'd go with the Fisher Price brand. We bought a little white *chair* that fit inside a regular baby bathtub that held our son at an angle so that we could wash him without having to hold him in our arms. It was pretty reasonably priced from Mothercare.

Baby monitor. Toys R' Us and Seif stores are the only places I've seen these so far. Check if they'll work okay in your home, these cement walls are terrible for reception in Egypt.

Bouncy chair. Most toy stores will carry bouncy chairs in Egypt, just sometimes they sell out pretty fast. I hardly ever see them at Toys R' Us. Check Kams stores and Love & Care stores. I recommend the Fisher Price brand.

Baby swing. Expensive and bulky but if you insist to buy one, you might want to price them first before you make a decision. I've seen them at Toys R' Us, Kams, Mothercare (occasionally), Hallmark store, and Premaman (City Stars) store.

Highchair. Do yourself a favor and wait to buy this until they're several months old. We bought our Graco brand highchair at Toys R' Us and we love it. I've seen them at Premaman (City Stars) and Seif stores, as well as Mothercare.

Crib. You need to evaluate your safety priorities before you make this decision. Safety was #1 for me and I wanted a crib built on an international standard. Larger Egyptian toy stores carry cribs sometimes. You can also have one made to your specifications by a carpenter (just check on the mattress size first). Ours is from the Mothercare store.

Mattress. Be careful to buy a mattress where you buy the crib. Dimensions will vary greatly in Egypt and I'm not even sure what is available from a regular mattress store.

Mattress pad. I have never seen these in Egypt. Mine are from the States.

Changing table. I have seen very few changing tables in Egypt. We bought a changing table topper at Mothercare for our son's crib which was (and is still) a lifesaver.

Pack n' play, playyard. Toys R' Us, Seif store, Kams store, Love & Care store, Premaman, and sometimes Mothercare. A bit pricy in Egypt. We don't own one (yet).

Stroller. Toys R' Us, Mothercare, Premaman, Seif stores, Kams store, and Love & Care store. Ours is from the States.

Sheets. Sheets for cribs seem to be a novel idea because I've not really seen them anywhere except Mothercare in Egypt. But take care at Mothercare because what I know as a "crib" is really a "cot" so be careful before you buy something. Another option (which is what we've done for almost all of our sheets) is to take the dimensions of the mattress and had someone make sheets for us. There are many shops that sell bedding & towels that might perform this service for you if you ask. This is cheaper and made to order - can't beat that.

Baby towels & washcloths. Special towels for baby? Someone gave us a set for our newborn boy that included some sort of hooded towel that was from Egypt, but I'm not sure where they bought it. I think you might ask in the same type of shop as the sheets above where to get these. Washcloths (for anyone) don't really exist in Egypt. Most of the ones I've seen for adults are small towels which are not really suited for washing your face with. What we have at home are mostly what my husband has received on an airplane or snagged from a hotel.

Onesies. White, short-sleeved, snapped one-piece typically worn by babies as an under-layer. I buy the Gerber brand from the States, but I have bought them here from Ladybird (Toys R' Us brand) and Mothercare. I've seen them also at Spinney's (might check Carrefour as well).

Sleepers. Long-sleeved, footed, snap-up or zippered one-piece typically worn by younger babies to sleep in. Most of mine are from the States (Carter's, Just One You, Okie Dokie brands) but I have had to buy some here as well (sizing can be tricky with a new baby). I've seen these at Mothercare, H&M, United Colors of Benetton, and just about any other store that carries baby clothes.

Shirts, pants, socks, jackets, coats. There are a lot of baby clothes stores in Cairo. Sometimes they have sales with some good deals and/or clearance prices. I've bought random shirts and pants for our son this way to supplement what I've bought in the States. I cannot vouch for the quality of the local Egyptian made items because I haven't had to buy any yet. Most of our stuff from Egypt was bought on sale from stores like H&M (bought some great jeans & overalls there), Mothercare (his coat is from there), United Colors of Benetton (they had a great clearance sale back last summer for winter items), and a few things from the Ladybird section of Toys R' Us.

Shoes. If you're looking for newborn baby shoes, just keep your eye out in stores that sell baby clothes because sometimes they have accessories like shoes as well. There is a section in City Stars on the 4th floor around the corner from the Food Court that has a bunch of kids stores, including 3 or 4 stores dedicated to shoes for kids. You can find shoes in Mothercare. My main concern now with a 1-year-old who will walk soon is finding flexible soles that are easy to get on and off.

Fever-reducer/pain reliever. Try Infant Panadol.
Cold/cough (under 2). Try a saline rinse like Physiomer (with Baby comfort tip). For anything stronger, I recommend you get a doctor's opinion first.

I find shopping for clothes for any age (including myself) in Egypt a bit of a challenge. This is true especially if you have something specific in mind (which I usually do). I want to buy things that are good quality and are not going to fall apart the first time (or 2nd or 3rd time) I wash something. Make sure you check the washing instructions before you buy anything because I've learned this lesson the hard way by buying something that said don't dry in the dryer (what?!) and I did anyways.

But if you keep your eyes out for things and make a note when you see them at a certain place, this will help you later on when you're in a jam and need something quickly.

Is there anything missing from the list above?

1 comment:

  1. i want ask about SANOSAN Baby Diaper RUSH


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