I still remember how surprised I was when we wrote to our friend from Buenos Aires asking about the availability of ready-made food for children in Argentina. She said that there, everybody cooks at home. We were a bit worried about that since we weren’t planning on sitting at home too much. Fortunately it wasn’t as bad as we thought.
From the parent’s point of view, Argentina is a totally ordinary country. Really. We had absolutely no problems getting anything we needed for the child, or doing something for the little one. Obviously, not all the stuff is as widely available as in Poland, but you shouldn’t have any problems stocking up.
Here’s a bunch of practical information which should come in handy if you’re a parent.
If you’re vaccinating your children I’ve got good news for you – in Argentina you don’t need any special vaccinations or any extra caution. A basic pack is required: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, tetanus, typhoid fever, diphtheria.
A flight to Argentina with your child may be a challenge since you will have to spend quite some time airborne. We flew to Amsterdam with KLM (less than 2 hours) and then to Buenos Aires (13 hours). You can read more about it here. Good news is that a child that’s shorter than 65 cm and lighter than 10 kg gets a ‘cradle’ which can be mounted in front of its parents. Unfortunately there’s only a few places like that on a plane so think about it when choosing your seat. It’s a great option and you should use it if you can.
Other things – we didn’t know that a child is entitled to a 10 kg registered baggage apart from the cabin baggage and the pram. It was the best news on the day when we packed because we managed to squeeze some of the stuff that we thought won’t fly with us. :)
You can have your own baby food and drinks on the plane. They will have a close look at it during the customs control but that’s the security regulations. When you get to your destination, the food on location will become the crucial matter. We took a week-long supply of food for Amelia, so that she could gently get used to a changing intestinal flora. The ones that live on mother’s milk only shouldn’t have problems with that, but Amelia was 7.5 months old and she ate much more.
– cereals – you can find Nestum cereals to be mixed with modified milk in any shop. We didn’t want them however, because we prefer the ones made with water. Our friend – mother o three – told us that she takes cereals designed to be used with milk and mixes it with water and juice. Unfortunately when I started doing so, Amelia got diarrhoea and stopped eating it. So we found another cereals to be mixed with water (also Nestum). These were quite rare (mostly in COTO megastores), so whenever we found it we bought at least 5 packs. Buckwheat groats and barley groats or rice are all widely available. The prices are pretty similar to Poland (maybe 5 % more expensive).
– modified milk – something, young Argentineans would never be able to survive without. it’s everywhere, even in the smallest shop in the smallest city and in every pharmacy. When it comes to brands we know we found Nan Pro by Nestle, Nutrilon (our Bebilon by Nitricia), Bebe (our Enfamil), Nido and Vital (second one is also by Nutricia but is twice as cheap). I breastfed Amelia until she was 12 months old, then she switched to Vital which worked great for her. Prices are similar to those in Poland (maybe 5-10 % higher).
– vegetables – I expected amazing and unusual offer and instead got pretty much the same stuff as in Poland. We sometimes had problems finding parsley root (they only had the leaves) but it’s not exactly Amelia’s favourite. Broccoli, cauliflower and carrots can be found everywhere.
– fruits – well it’s not one of the strengths of Argentina even though we thought it would be. We only found those fake-looking ‘polished’ apples that come in green and red and are also quite popular in Poland. But you can get great pears, plums and sweet cherries. It was summer after all.
– ready-made food- even though we were initially told that it’s almost impossible to buy it, it turns out that it’s not a problem in large cities. We had no access to kitchen as we travelled through Argentina. We were leaving in the morning and arriving somewhere in the evening. Ready-made food was a blessing in such situations. Everytime we found it in store, we bought supplies for at least 2 weeks. Still, twice we almost faced starvation. Amelia liked the food very much. I’m not sure why though, since it looked and smelled like dog food. And it came in plastic containers. When we were in Chile or Uruguay we found regular jars (similar to those in Poland) which smelled like a normal dinner after opening. Amelia didn’t want those though. She preferred her Argentinean stuff that came in 4 flavours: pasta with vegetables, chicken with vegetables, meat with vegetables and rice with meat and (obviously) vegetables.
It was easier with desserts since these were widely available (also in plastic containers). Flavours included apple, pear and mixed fruits.
– snacks – not that many of them. There’s one company that makes cookies for kids. I bought Amelia regular rice cakes without salt which she loved. Available in any shop.
– water – I remember how much time I spend in Poland trying to find water with ingredients appropriate for children. You don’t have to care about that in Argentina – they don’t have water for kids there. Kids and adults drink the same.
– juices, drinks – we don’t use those but still we haven’t seen any dedicated to little children.
This was one of my biggest worries since Amelia has a very delicate skin. I the first week of her life she got an allergic reaction to Dada or Pampers diapers (hard to say which ones since we used them both at the same time) so we switched to diapers from Rossmann (Baby dream) and been using them until now because they work great. There are no Rossmann stores in Argentina. We could choose from Pampers, Huggies and Babysec. We dismissed Pampers in the first place. I was happy about Huggies since these have good opinion, but unfortunately they withdrew from Polish market around the time Amelia was born. We bought them and it was great from the very beginning. No skin irritation, very comfortable. We once bought Babysec out of curiosity and it was quite OK. Huggies were the absolute winners though. Good news is that you can buy them practically everywhere, any shop, any town. What about the prices? Pampers are the most expensive as you may have already guessed. Huggies and Babysec cost pretty much the same – PLN 40 for a large pack (58 pcs.)
Baby bum cream
I didn’t have to buy that since we only use Sudocrem. We have 7 different creams at home and all of them resulted in an allergic reaction – only Sudocrem helped. So I took enough for the whole stay. If you don’t have or don’t need to have this one particular cream, the shops, markets and pharmacies sell all that’s necessary.
Other hygienic products
– bum wipes – no problems finding those – Pampers and Huggies are the most popular.
– bum swabs – because of Amelia’s sensitive skin, we usually use regular swabs which we dip in water. Good idea that’s cheaper than the wipes
– undepads – no such thing here
– shampoos, olives, creams and toothpastes – everything is easily available here, no need to take it from home.
– plenty of all sorts of toys. An easy way to save on your suitcase space. Amelia likes playing with wires, chargers, parts of cameras etc. so it’s quite easy for us, but her favourite plush dog came with her from Argentina.
Depending on the length of your stay. But don’t take too many. Prices are similar to Poland (at least in the markets) and we always managed to find something. There was a problem with the sizes though. I think Polish children are bigger. 11-month old Amelia wore shorts designed for 18-monh old children. That may be an exception but think about it.
Public health service is available to anyone. Obviously, there may be queues so if you’re in a hurry, you can always use private medical care. One child’s visit costs approx. PLN 120.
When Amelia was 10.5 months old she got her first runny nose and we decided to have her checked by a doctor. Doctor examined her and gave us medicine which we did not have to pay for. Quite weird as such thing never happens in Poland. Generally you buy medicine at the pharmacy. :)
We used April and it worked great when we had to schedule a visit a doctor’s visit. Don’t know about other cases since we didn’t have to find out.
An amazingly expensive thing in Argentine (40-50 % more expensive than in Poland). It’s not worth buying it here. We borrowed ours from our friend but if we couldn’t do that we would have rented it along with the car (there are bundles like this).
Horribly expensive (regular Chicco costs PLN 600) but have a look in the markets. We managed to find an ugly one that was a bit bigger but as functional on sale for PLN 20. It travelled throughout Argentina with us, visited Chile and Uruguay and that’s where we left it. A good road companion.
Such portable feeding chair may be a good alternative – it works with every normal chair.
Amelia only slept in her own bed rarely since most hostels didn’t have it. Therefore she spent most of her nights in Deryan tent (here’s our model) and that worked great. However Amelia may not be the best person to judge that since she loves to sleep and sleeps everywhere. We decided to buy a tent instead of a tourist bed because of its size and weight. The tent was my cabin baggage and I could also fit some more stuff in it. Recommended.
You can buy a tourist bathtub but we decided to buy a large inflatable frog in which Amelia took baths similar way. Differences? It cost us just PLN 20 and we could fit it virtually anywhere.
I guess that’s all when it comes to the most important information. If you have other questions or requests, let us know in the comments section. I’ll be happy to respond. In the meantime, go to Argentina and enjoy your time. :)
*All prices according to unofficial dollar exchange rate