You will be able to find all of your baby and toddler necessities in Turkey from nappies and wipes to baby food and formula
These are available at the local supermarkets, Migros, Tansas, Kippa (Tesco) and Carrefour. You will also find a selection of Baby foods, nappies and other necessities at local convenience stores. If you are heading off the beaten track, you should stock up before you go as you may not be able to find the brands and types of food that your child is used to.
Most Turkish women discreetly breastfeed their babies in public. Bring a scarf or loose fitting clothes and you should not run into any difficulty, particularly in the more touristy areas.
You will find a good range of nappies including Pampers and Huggies. They start around 24 lira (about £10 for about 62/72 in a pack). The best Turkish brand for nappies is Molfix which are a little cheaper but only by a couple of lira. It will be difficult to find changing facilities in Turkey outside of the department stores so make sure you bring a travel changing mat with you.
You will also find a good range of powdered formula in Turkey. Aptamil and Bebelac are the main name brands here and cost around 22 lira for a pack. Turkish brands include Hero Baby by Ülker, Bebelac and Ülker and are slightly cheaper than the Aptamil. You will also be able to find Nestle and SMA in some stores. You can also get follow on formula and junior milk. If your child has allergies or is fussy then it is recommended to bring the brand of powdered formula that your baby is used to when travelling there as the local brands may not have instructions in English and may taste different to what your baby is used to.
There is a good variety of jarred baby food such as Organic which is similar to what you would get in the UK/US. Baby food in jars starts around 2.50 lira. You will also find a good range of baby rice and wholemeal options of baby rice. Oat Bran baby rice is called Yulaflı. Baby rice depending where you buy it starts at 5 lira up to about 11 lira. You can also get rusks and baby biscuits here and other food options like yoghurt and of course the markets offer great fresh fruits and vegetables if you wish you make your own food for your child while visiting.
The water in Turkey is of very poor quality and it is very important that babies and toddlers do not ingest it at all. Used bottled water for everything, don’t eat raw food that has been washed in water and don’t get ice cubes in drinks. When brushing teeth, used bottled water only. You will be able to buy bottled water everywhere in Turkey and it is relatively cheap.
Sun & Heat
Turkey gets extremely hot during the summer months, particularly in July and August. Extra precautions must be taken at these times avoid over heating, sunburn, dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. There are mosquitos in Turkey although they do not carry malaria although there have been outbreaks. Check the NHS Fit for Travel website for updates and health warnings in the region. It is best to bring a mosquito net and other forms of protection from bites such as patches or repellents. For information on products to help protect against bites click here.
Doctors & Pharmacies
It is advisable to bring a good first aid kit with you to Turkey along with over the counter pain relief medication such as Calpol, although Calpol and Ibuprofen medications for babies are available in pharmacies throughout the country. If you will be staying in Istanbul or in a popular tourist spot, you will find that pharmacists will speak English and will be able to assist you with dealing with minor ailments and injuries. If you or your child needs a doctor, your hotel or local pharmacist will be able to give you the name of a local doctor or direct you to the nearest hospital.
Make sure your child is covered on your travel insurance or you have separate travel insurance for you child. Healthcare in Turkey is not free and you could be looking a huge bill if something goes wrong. Small issues such as cuts or colds etc are reasonably inexpensive at the local hospital or doctors and medicine here will not break the bank if needed.
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Important phone numbers
Car seats are mandatory in cars in Turkey, even in taxis so either take your own, book one with your car rental agency or pre arrange a taxi with a car seat on arrival from one of the companies mentioned above (see Getting There). Many hotels provide shuttles which have a complimentary car seat.
Slings & Strollers
Ideally you will have both a stroller and sling (baby carrier) with you on your trip and be aware that Turkish footpaths/ sidewalks can be of very poor quality. A sling is also very useful for sightseeing as many of the famous sights such as ephesus and pamukkale have uneven surfaces and steps which make it difficult to use a stroller. It would be advisable to bring a lightweight sling if possible to prevent your baby from overheating. For information on lightweight slings and strollers click here. It is always handy to have a stroller with you when taking a stroll or going for dinner in the evening so that your baby can sleep while you eat. Remember to bring a shade or parasol and maybe a small fan to attach to the stroller to keep your baby safe from the sun and heat. You can also get stroller covers which blackout the stroller and help your baby to sleep better, these doubles as mosquito nets to keep your child from being bitten while out and about.
You should bring a light grow bag if your baby is used to them. The cots offered by hotels are generally travel cots with sheets and a baby duvet or blanket on them. A blanket might also be useful for the plane. Cots vary in standard in hotels however most 4 and 5 star hotels will either have Western style travel cots or comfortable wooden cots. For further tips on helping your baby to sleep while travelling click here.
Light clothing is essential and it is handy to have a combination of vests, full baby grows and other light clothes. If there are mosquitos where you are going you may wish to cover your baby’s arms, legs and feet in the evenings prevent bites. A light cardigan or hoody would be useful for the evenings as some parts of Thailand can be cool at night especially in the winter months. The air conditioning tends to be turned up high in most hotels and restaurants also so make sure you carry something to keep your baby warm when you go indoors. A hat is also a must to protect your child from the sun and if your child will be in the water, UV protective swimwear which covers arms and legs are fantastic for preventing sunburn.
Using Hotel Babysitting Services in Turkey
Using a babysitter abroad would not be for everyone but it is your decision. Most good hotels in Turkey will offer babysitting services with experienced babysitters. If you decide to use these services it would be advisable to ask the hotel as much as possible about the babysitter. Police vetting is not carried out in Turkey and most babysitters are mothers themselves but may not be professionally qualified in childcare or trained in first aid. If you are going out at night, ask to meet the babysitter earlier in the day and introduce them to your child. Ask them about their experience and make sure they are qualified to mind your little one. For information on using babysitting services when abroad and a checklist of questions to ask a babysitter click here.