Breastfeeding in Portugal
Most women in Portugal opt to breastfeed and you will have no problem breastfeeding in public. If you are breastfeeding, make sure to stay properly hydrated and eat well.
Baby Formula in Portugal
The quality of the water in Portugal is generally quite good and bottled water is available everywhere but please be mindful of the fact that it can be overpriced in hotels and it is cheaper to buy it in the local shops and markets. If you are using bottled water, you will need to boil it first for babies under 6 months. try to find a mineral water with a low sodium and mineral content
Continente Portugal is one of Portugal’s largest chain of ‘hypermarket’ and you will be able to find this in Albufeira and other larger towns. Formulas are available in supermarkets and larger pharmacies. In some of these you will be able to find Cow and Gate baby milks which are marketed under the ‘Nutrilon’ brand Portugal. Nutrilon 1,2 and 3 are equivalent to Cow and Gate 1,2 and 3. Aptamil milks are still marketed as Aptamil in Portugal and you will be able to find Aptamil 1, 2 and 3. SMA baby milks are sold as S-26 Gold 1, 2 and 3 (from Wyeth Nutrição) and these are equivalent to SMA 1,2 and 3. You will also be able to find these brands for ‘hungry babies. Hipp formulas are also widely available. Remember that the formula that you purchase in Portugal may not taste the same as that in the UK and Ireland so if your child is fussy or you think they may not take to a new taste, it is safer to bring the formula with you.
Fresh milk (leite pasteurizado) for babies is sold in larger supermarkets. Gordo is full-fat, meio-gordo half-fat and magro is skimmed milk. Mini-markets, smaller shops and cafés generally only stock UHT milk. Formula is widely available in supermarkets also however the brands available in the UK and Ireland are difficult to find.
Baby Food in Portugal
You can buy Milupa baby porridge and other Milupa foods in Portugal. Jars of local baby food are also available but be aware that these may taste different to what your child is used to. Many travellers say that the food there is not as nice as what is available in the UK and Ireland so if you have any doubts about whether your child will eat it, it is safer to bring your own or cook there if you have a kitchen in your accommodation. Pouches of food are easy to pack, especially if you are going for one week.
If you do have a kitchen, you could bring some Boots organic, salt free stock cubes. They are easy to pack and make a great tasty base for cooking.
The fruit purees and yoghurts available in Portugal should satisfy your child and there is a lot of fresh food and vegetables which you can buy everywhere.
Children are welcome in cafés and restaurants at any time of the day. Waiters often go out of their way to spend a few minutes entertaining restless children. Highchairs are normally the clip-on-table type and most restaurants will have them. You could also opt to bring a fold away highchair which can be easily packed. If the restaurant does not have a childrens menu you will probably be able to order a half-portion. Restaurants rarely open much before 7.30pm and local children often stay up late at night.
Sterilizer bags are great for holidays and are small enough to pack. Another option is to bring sterilising tablets or microwavable steriliser bags if you will be staying in self-catering accommodation.
Buying Nappies in Portugal
Nappies/diapers (fraldas) are widely available in supermarkets and pharmacies. Pampers are sold as ‘Dadots’ and Huggies are also widely available. Local brands will also be available in small and large supermarkets. Specific changing facilities in restaurants, cafés and public toilets are mostly nonexistent but you will find them in larger shopping centres, but in women’s toilets only.
For further information on formula, food and sterilizing, please click here.
Health & Wellbeing
A good first aid kit is essential for any trip abroad. Click here for advice on first aid and how to treat minor injuries, burns and bites yourself. The main concerns that parents have for their kids in Portugal are the hot sun and fast cars. Make sure to take all the usual precautions when taking your child out in the sunshine and be careful near roads as cars tend to move pretty quickly.
Pharmacies in Portugal
Most pharmacists in Lisbon and the Algarve will speak English well and if your child is unwell they may be able to direct you to a doctor or hospital.
Travel Insurance for Travel in Portugal
If travelling from the UK and Ireland you should ensure that you and each family member travelling has either the European Health Insurance Card or private health insurance. Irish residents can apply for the card at http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/1/schemes/EHIC/ and UK residents can apply at www.gov.uk . This card allows you to get health care covered by the public health system in Portugal. If you have previously applied for a card make sure that it is in date before you travel. Travel insurance should be taken out if you are covered by private healthcare however check your policy as it may offer you some cover while overseas.
The European Emergency number is 112 where you will get English speaking operators who can direct your call to the appropriate emergency response services.
Contact your consular service or embassy if you have been a victim of crime, arrested on suspicion of committing a crime, if you or anyone in your family has a serious illness, experience the unexpected death of a partner or spouse and for help with repatriation after a crisis. Consular offices also provide help in the case of a lost or stolen passport.
The British Embassy in Lisbon is located at Rua de São Bernardo 33, 1249-082 Lisbon/ tel +351 21 392 40 00. There is also a British Consulate in Portamao in the Algarve, The address is Edificio A Fabrica Avenida Guanaré, Portugal, tel +351 282 490 750.
The Irish Embassy is located at Embaixada da Irlanda, Avenida da Liberdade No 200, 4th Floor, 1250-147 Lisbon, tel + 351 213308200.
Slings & strollers
Cobbled town centres, castles, monuments and stepped alleys can be difficult for anyone with a baby or toddler and a stroller so you might consider bringing a sling with you as well as a stroller
A sling is very useful for sightseeing and for negotiating the metro stations in Lisbon. It gets extremely hot in Portugal during the summer months so if you can bring a lightweight sling it will help keep your child cooler. For the resorts, you may not need a sling (although one can be handy at the airport) but a stroller is useful for getting around and most of the footpaths are stroller friendly. For tips on the best travel slings and strollers click here.
Mosquito repellent, a mosquito patch and or a mosquito bracelet are necessary in certain parts of Portugal, especially if your baby is going to be out in the evenings. Mosquitos and other insects can bite even if they do not pose a malarial risk, particularly in the evenings. Many restaurants and markets are outdoors and the risk of being bitten is higher. Click here for further information on insect protection and how to deal with bites.
Ensure that you bring sunblock for babies, many brands of sun block cannot be used on babies under the age of 6 months and therefore it is important to ensure that their skin is protected by keeping them away from direct sunlight. Older babies and toddlers should always wear sunblock when out during the day (Factor 30+).
Lightweight clothing is best however at night is advisable to cover your baby’s feet as mosquitoes may bite. UV protective swimwear with long sleeves will protect your baby while in the water. Make sure that you also bring a sun hat for your baby as their heads can burn very quickly. A parasol will assist in keeping the sun off your baby’s skin and certain ones can be attached to your baby’s buggy. A UV protected small sun tent can be purchased for the beach.
For further information on protecting your baby from the sun, click here.
Taxis in Portugal will have a seat belt in the back if you plan to bring your own car seat however this may be cumbersome and you can also arrange to hire a taxi with a car seat (See getting around). For further information on travel safety abroad, click here.
Using Hotel Babysitting Services
Using a babysitter abroad would not be for everyone but it is your decision. Most good hotels in Portugal will offer babysitting services with experienced babysitters however they tend to be quite expensive. For information on using babysitting services when abroad and a checklist of questions to ask a babysitter, click here.