Baby and Toddler Essentials in Spain – Nappies, Breastfeeding, Food & Baby Formula
There are a number of large supermarket chains in Spain where you can buy formula, food, wipes and nappies and some of the products available in the UK and Ireland can be found here. A lot of supermarkets close on Sunday. Most large supermarkets are open from 9am until 9pm. Smaller shops might close for lunch between about 1.30 and 4.30pm.
Baby food, disposable nappies, formula milk and other standard items are widely available in pharmacies and supermarkets, however you may not be able to find the brands that your child is used to at home.
Breastfeeding in Spain
Breast-feeding in public is acceptable in big resorts and the main cities. You might find it less common in rural areas and smaller villages. If you are breastfeeding ensure that you stay hydrated in the sun and eat well.
Powdered Milk/ Formula in Spain
For formula fed babies, the quality of the water is generally good however it is safer to use bottled water to feed your baby and your toddler as it is treated differently and may cause an upset tummy. For babies under 6 months the bottled water should be boiled as it is not sterile. When purchasing bottled water make sure you buy a brand with a low mineral and sodium content as these can cause stomach upsets. Evian, Beyaz and Font Vella are available in Spain and are low in minerals and sodium.
The following brands of formula are available…
Aptamil – is available in some pharmacies and also in El Corte Inglés and Eroski.
Cow and Gate – called Almiron in Spain and is available from some pharmacies.
Hipp Organic- Eroski, Alcampo, El corte Ingles, Hipercor, Opencor, Leclerc, Gadisa, Caprabo, Dinosol, Carrefour and Consum.
Hero, Baby Bio and Nestle formulas are locally produced and widely available in supermarkets in Spain. Remember that numbering on the containers of formula is different from the UK and Ireland so look for the word ‘meses’ which means months.
Fresh cows milk (called leche entera) is not always available but you will be more likely to find it earlier in the day in larger supermarkets. Whole milk is generally found in blue packaging and reduced fat milk in green packaging. UHT is more commonly drunk by young children in Spain and is available everywhere. If you require anything specific or if your child is selective with their baby formula and food, it’s best to bring it with you or check with the manufacturer about equivalent brands
Shops with Formula from the UK & Ireland
If you are travelling to the Costa del Sol, Expat Baby Shop operate a delivery service for British baby formula (SMA, Aptamil and Cow and Gate).They offer a delivery service to in and around the Marbella area.
Another option is to visit Morrisons in Gibraltar where you will be able to pick up UK products.
If your child is fussy or you are unsure of the brand you would be better off bringing formula with you. You can purchase formula online from Boots (click and collect) and collect it at some airports in the UK and Ireland after checking in. This is a good option if you do not want to carry everything with you through the airport. Just ensure that your airlines policy allows you to carry products purchased at the airport onto the flight.
Baby Food in Spain
There are many British stores in Spain and these will stock many of the baby products that you are used to. However, you will be paying more here for the products that your child is used to than at home. If you are travelling to the Costa del Sol, Expat Baby Shop operate a delivery service for British baby food (Heinz, Cow and Gate food, Ella’s Kitchen and Organix). They offer a delivery service to in and around the Marbella area.
Many of the larger hypermarkets, such as Carrefour, Lidl and Mercadona sell organic and non organic baby foods. Be aware that many of the local or Spanish brands contain small amounts of sugar or salt and some travellers warn that the quality of the food is different and not as palatable to babies and toddlers.
Pureed food, baby cereals and yoghurt should be available in most stores and these are generally the same quality as at home. Another option is to visit Morrisons in Gibraltar where you will be able to pick up UK products.
Organic baby food is hard to come by away from the big-city supermarkets, and most Spanish non-organic baby foods contain small amounts of sugar or salt.
A better option is to take a small amount of the baby food that you trust with you and then cook homemade food at your accommodation, if possible. Boots offer a range of organic, salt free, baby stock cubes which are small and easy to pack and will make a great base for cooking.
Nappies in Spain
Nappies are widely available in supermarkets and pharmacies as well as baby bottles. Pampers are called ‘Dadots’ in Spain and Huggies are also available. Be warned that in the resorts you could be paying up to €13.00 for a dozen nappies. If you will be buying nappies in Spain you will need to know your baby’s weight in kilograms. You can also buy wipes in supermarkets and pharmacies and Huggies wipes are available in Carrefour. Changing facilities are few and far between but you will find them in department stores and in some restaurants.
Most restaurants and cafes will be able to warm your baby’s milk or food if you’re taking your own.
There are plenty of baby and toddler friendly restaurants in the major cities and in the coastal resorts of Spain. The main tourist resorts are used to catering to families and will have high chairs. Many of the restaurants in more tourist centred areas will also offer kids menus and fresh cows milk will generally be available.
Tapas are a good option for toddlers and young children as you can choose a selection of smaller dishes such as potatoes, omelette, chicken, and rice. Toddlers also love the ham and cheese croquettes which are available throughout the country. Bread is also served with meals.
Deciding where to stay
When booking independently, finding accommodation in Spain is straightforward. There are plenty of family hotels in the cities, towns and coastal resorts.
Hostales and Pensiones can be found throughout Spain and generally offer family friendly rooms with three or four beds. If you do opt for budget accommodation in towns and cities, many of the rooms will be located on the upper storeys of buildings, often without lifts, so keep this in mind if you have a stroller or young child that needs to be carried. There are plenty of apartment rentals available in the larger cities, particularly in Barcelona and Madrid and many of these will be able to set up a cot for you.
The coastal resorts are very much geared towards families and you will be able to find family friendly hotels with kids clubs, babysitting services and entertainment. Family resorts in Spain are a great option for a stress free holiday as all of your needs will be taken care of and kids love them. The only down side is that you may not see as much of the country as you otherwise would.
Another great option for families are the large camp sites dotted throughout Spain such as Eurocamp which offer mobile homes with cots and baby equipment together with family friendly activities such as swimming pools, crèches and kids clubs.
Kids Clothes in Spain
For babies’ and children’s clothing, Prénatal and Chicco are Spain’s main suppliers of baby, toddler and kids clothes and you will find shops in most towns and cities. El Corte Inglés department store is found throughout Spain and you will also be able to find kids clothing here.
Sterilizing in Spain
The quality of tap water varies from area to area so ensure that you ask about whether it is drinkable. In any event, it is safer to use bottled water as differences in the water treatments can cause tummy upsets. For babies younger than 1 year, ensure you boil bottled water before preparing bottles. 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.
Slings, Strollers and Car Seats
Ideally, you should bring both a stroller and a light sling (to protect from overheating) with you. You might want to bring a smaller fold up stroller for older children however it is very handy in the evenings if your baby can sleep in a stroller when you eat out, so make sure whatever you bring is comfortable. Remember to bring a sun shade or a parasol and blackout covers are fantastic if you will be out and about a lot as they allow your child to sleep easily. For information on slings and buggies click here.
Health & Wellbeing
Spain is generally a safe country to travel in and has excellent medical facilities. The sun can be very hot so take the usual precautions to protect babies, toddlers and kids from burning and dehydration.
In an emergency, call 112 and ask to be connected to an English-speaking operator.
Take your EHICs and any other insurance documentation you have when you go for treatment (see below).
Pharmacies in Spain
Pharmacies are helpful for minor injuries and illnesses. There is a lot more medications available over the counter in Spain than in the UK and Ireland. Pharmacists are usually speak English in larger towns and resorts and can supply a wide range of advice, medicines and first-aid supplies. If a pharmacy is closed, the address of the nearest open pharmacy may be posted on the door or alternatively you can ask at your hotel for assistance. Calpol is not widely available but there are local alternatives which are paracetamol based. If you are bringing Calpol with you check with your airline about the quantities permitted on-board the aircraft as restrictions are in place.
Insect Protection in Spain
Mosquito repellent, a mosquito patch and or a mosquito bracelet and a mosquito net are a must in in certain parts of Spain especially if your baby is going to be out in the evenings. Mosquitoes and other insects can bite even if they do not pose a malarial risk. 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.
If travelling from the UK and Ireland you should ensure that you and each family member travelling has either the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or private health insurance. Irish residents can apply for the card here and UK residents can apply here. This card allows you to get health care covered by the public health system in Spain. 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. If you have to see a doctor in Spain, call your travel insurance company and ask them for a list of recommended doctors.
Consular Services in Spain
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 contact number for the Irish Embassy in Madrid is located at Paseo de la Castellana 46-4 28046, Madrid. (Tel: +34 914 364 093) and there are consular services in Alicante (Tel: +34 965 107 485).
The British Embassy is located in Madrid at Torre Espacio, de la Castellana 259D, 28046 Madrid, Spain (Tel: +34 917 146 300). There are also a number of British consulates located throughout the country and in the main tourist resorts. Please click here for contact details of individual consulates.