Some time ago I wrote you a blogpost about the baby shopping in Malta. In Turkey it’s actually similar, but we have a few important differences here, we should mention to Parents or Guardians before holiday with Toddlers 🙂 It will be rather nice, though long.
1) First of all – water!!!
What you have to know: In Turkey we don’t drink tap water – even if it’s boiled. In Malta it would be just salty, but in Turkey it’s completely unable to drink (Cappadocia was an exception). Turks often order around 20 liters of water in carboy for 10 TL (eg. Erikli, Sırma or Pınar). In markets or children’s stores they often have special baby spring water for sale (tr. kaynak suyu) produced by Hipp.
2) Where and what?
In Turkey there’re several chain stores for children, however I’ll recommend two the most popular, inexpensive and the most widespread. They’re Joker and e-Bebek 🙂 What’s in those shops? Everything! Baby jars, drinks, modificated milks, diapers, changing pads, training pants, clothes, cosmetics, toys, accessories, and also cots (classical wooden, travel one and side sleeping cribs), cradles, diverse strollers, car seats, bed sheets, breast pumps, nursery pads… and even the mysterious drinks for breast-feeding moms, but I’ll be right back there 😉
What I like in Turkey (or at least in Istanbul) is that I can solve everything in one shop and I don’t have to run to the first one for baby clothes, to the second one for a stroller, and to the third one for modificated milk 🙂 Prices between shops are mostly similar to each other, so you don’t think like: „Ok, I can buy a modificated milk while buying cot, but in Macro it’s 15 TL cheaper, so let’s waste those 20 minutes for going to another corner of the shopping mall and three floors higher” 😉
The Joker store is often divided into two parts: Joker Baby (with clothes and equipment strictly for babies) and Joker Toys. It helps parents to discern and find the product they are looking for.
I’ll write about e-Bebek a bit more, because… Firstly, I go there more often due to its location close to our house, so I know more about this store. Secondly, it offers some interesting products and services that are worth mentioning.
If you search for a cheaper alternative to famous Pampers, e-Bebek sells its own diapers „Baby & Me”. They’re quite a good quality, they resist much and they have a stripe down the center of the diaper showing the level of wetness (like in Pampers Premium Care). Bibi didn’t complain 🙂 Furthermore, there’re added diaper bags for free (thrust me, this gratis is useful).
E-Bebek leads their own hair salons for little children in at least two locations:
1) European district Bayrampaşa in the „Forum Istanbul” shopping mall (address: Kocatepe Mahallesi, Paşa Cad. 3-5, Çamlıca” (address:
E-Bebek sells also their own magazines in Turkish for a few liras. You can read there many interesting parenting articles and there’s a little gift added to each issue – sometimes it’s a diaper, sometimes drink for moms.
If you prefer online shopping, e-Bebek is one of the few Turkish children’s stores having English version of their webpage: https://www.e-bebek.com/en/
INTERESTING FACT: The seller at e-Bebek isn’t just anybody 😉 Sorry, it’s not seller, but Bebekolog. Employees at e-Bebek undergo special courses regarding the scope of responsibilities and knowledge about little children, to receive this honorable title afterwards.
4) Clothes and shoes:
I really appreciate in Turkish shops (especially in the mentioned children’s chain stores), that clothes are made in Turkey!!! They’re also inexpensive and a good quality. Usually foreign companies such as Chicco or Mothercare sell clothes other than Turkish.
For comparision: In Poland you can buy Polish baby clothes through the Internet and only in some individual stationary stores. They’re also more expensive, than other clothes. In chain stores the origin of clothes is usually China, India or Bangladesh. In my opinion, Poland should support “our” clothes more, because Poles really make nice clothing.
Some time ago Bibi somehow has lost her shoe while playing in Istanbul park. As my Mother-in-law recommended, I’ve bought for my Daughter the shoes from Nubebe in Kadıköy district (Asian side). Although these shoes aren’t the cheapest (the average price is around 100 TL, through sometimes you can find a discount where shoes are 60TL), they’re awesome – they look great, they’re made of natural materials and are well contoured. They all have stiffened heels, which is an important aspect in children’s shoes, but sometimes overlooked. Just look at them!
5) Baby jars:
In Turkey they’re produced by four companies: Hipp, Milupa, Bebelac and Hero. In most of the European countries you can buy baby meals with everything: various meats (chicken, turkey, beef, rabbit, veal or pork), fish (pollock, salmon), vegetarian and even spaghetti 🙂 They’re being sold in different age ranges. How does it look in Turkey? There’s only chicken! (tr. tavuk) For example, the dinners for infants by Hipp are: chicken with vegetables and rice (from 4th month), chicken with vegetables and potatoes (from 8th month) and chicken with vegetables and noodles (from 12th month). The similar situation is with Milupa and Bebelac. The meals are intended for infants aged 5 to 8 monthsand contain chicken and various vegetables (beans, tomatoes, carrots or leek) with rice or potatoes. There’re also soups without meat. I didn’t find any baby jars with pumpkin, Bibi really likes.
So what can we do, if we want to give something more to our baby than just chicken and vege soups?
1) Take so many baby jars in checked baggage that it will last until the end of the trip (the luggage will be heavy, but I was doing this recently).
2) Go in the middle of holiday to Bulgaria and Greece for one day for shopping (not the most reasonable solution, if you go only for this).
3) Cook by yourself (some wives of Turks are lucky to have culinary talented mothers-in-law, who always has some ideas 🙂 ). In Turkey there’re many seasonal bazaars with eco-food.
4) Being in a restaurant choose something suitable for our little one (here it can be expensive, if food isn’t included in the price of accommodation).
The situation with fruits and desserts is much better. There’s a big choice of fruits. Short time the problem with fruits and vegetables was, except standard apple and carrot, there was often problem to find a baby jar just with one ingredient (the fruits are usually mixed). Milupa has recently solved this issue making a „Tek Meyve” („Single Fruit”) series. In this edition there’re: apple, plus, pear and banana. Furthermore, Bebelac and Hero also produce fruit yoghurts (with banana, strawberry or tropical). You can see the fruits with cereals as well. But if you prefer to give home-made products, Turkish bazaars have great natural yoghurts and fruit 🙂
What we can see everywhere, in big amounts and from each brand is a milk pudding (in Turkish: sütlaç). Bibi used to be the biggest fan of it! A classic smooth sütlaç is usually intended for babies from the 4th month and it’s being sold in a jar aroung 120g. Hipp produces also apple-milk puddings for infants above 10 months old. The jars are already 200g and you can find there bigger pieces of rice. Bebelac offers banana gruel as well. However, I highly recommend you to read the product composition on all the jars, because some of them may contain white sugar (tr. şeker).
The prices start from 1,50TL (cheaper desserts), and end with 6TL (bigger dinners).
6) Other food products:
a) Modificated milk (tr. devam sütü):
You can buy a modificated milk from standard European companies (Nutricia, Hipp, Humana)… The products of the Nutricia concern have the names: Aptamil (more expensive one) and Bebelac (a bit cheaper). I used to buy Aptamil, because my daughter really liked it in Poland (there Aptamil is called Bebilon). The one-kilo package cost us about 80 lira. I don’t know how it is in other countries, but we noticed a big difference between Turkish Aptamil and Polish Bebilon (which is a bit sweet and leaves a foam). Turkish Aptamil strongly smells like a fish 😉 It’s the result of increased amount of Omega3 acid responsible for the brain, bones and immunity development.
Important note: In Turkey the milk number 1 is intended for newborns and infants up to 6. months. Number 2 – six-nine months old. Number 3 – from ninth month to the first bithday. Number 4 – till the age of two. Children more than two years old drink the milk number 5.
If you go out of town with your baby, it’s worthy to buy small disposable packages with ready-made modified milk. The portions „for once” are produced by Aptamil and Pınar for each age range. Just heat it and it’s ready 🙂 For comparision – in Poland, single portions of milk are being sold in sachets with powder, but only for the first two “numbers”.
b) Porridges: The situation with porridges is similar to most of European countries – you can find them with the taste of fruit, bisquits, honey, yogurt… They are made by: Aptamil, Bebelac, Hipp and Hero. They all contain milk and they’re served in boxes. Bibi liked the most multifruit Aptamil porridge, but she didn’t like the pear one (I don’t remember the brand already). They cost between 6TL to 16TL.
c) Teas: The teas from Milupa brand are the most frequently seen on the store shelves: dill tea (rezene çayı), camomile tea (papatya çayı) and so-called „night tea” containing a mixture of sedative herbs (gece çayı). Bibi drinks them quite willingly. They’re aroung 14 TL. Sometimes, we can also see teas from well-known European companies such as Humana or Hipp.
d) Bisquits: I really like Turkish cookies! They aren’t too hard to bite, they have very pleasant, milky taste and they can be dissolved in milk 🙂 According to the information on package, they contain various vitamins and minerals. I have two favorite brands of bisquits from the Atatürk country. The first one is a cult brand Cici Bebe belonging to Eti corporation 🙂 Biscuits are sold in two versions. The cookies in a silver package (classical milky) can be already given to half a year old baby. The bisquits in a gold package are intended for babies from the eighth month and contain more grain. I’ve heard also about a banana version, but I’ve seen it only in the Internet 🙂 Cici Bebe is liked not only by children 😉 I and my Husband often buy the additional package just for us 😀 Furthermore, on the official webpage you can find the recipes you can use the mentioned cookies.
Recently, we have also another favorite company of Turkish cookies – Bebe from the Hunnap concern. The biscuits aren’t only made with whole grains, but also goat milk and very healthy carob were used in production.
7) Something for Moms 😉
Breastfeeding moms (especially newborn ones) know very well that natural feeding isn’t a piece of cake. Breast fullness, stasis, adenitis, lactation crisis… Don’t eat this, because it’s spicy, don’t eat that, cause it’s gassy (although more and more doctors are convinced, the diet of moms doesn’t have much to do with infantile colic). Honestly, the first months after delivery were very hard for me. Sometimes I couldn’t manage with changing nursery pads and sometimes I have an impression, it’s the end of breastfeeding, cause „there’s no milk”. I was trying to motivate my lactation with special supplements, but they were terribly sweet or tasteless. Moreover, for the first two months, whatever I ate, Bibi had stomachaches, so I was only eating light soups and mild poultry… I pretty much lost my weight afterwards.
Once upon a time my Husband brought me some mysterious cans of drinks from Turkey. They were neither carbonated drinks (I couldn’t drink them anyway), nor lactation supplements. They were vitamin drinks for pregnant women and breastfeeding moms (with the majority of B vitamins). Thanks to this Moms milk is even more valuable and she can drink something tasty and healthy.
Vita Moms are refreshing fruit drinks available exclusively in e-Bebek. You can buy two flavors of Vita Moms – mango with orange and strawberry with banana and apple. They’re around 2,5 lira. Promalt and Mami Power in turn, they have a delicate, slightly sweet taste. My favorite one is Promalt – it’s cheaper than Mami Power (for comparision – Promalt is about 3-4 lira and Mami Power 5-6 lira) and it’s less intensive.
8) Hygienic articles and pharmacy (tr. eczane):
“Pampers” in Turkey are called “Prima”. They’re quite inexpensive (the average price is 0,50TL per Active Baby diaper). You’ll pay even less, when you order it online. In many cases the delivery is for free. There are also swimming diapers available. About the rest of products such as baby wipes or cosmetics, you can find almost all the popular brands in reasonable prices (wipes are from 2 till 6 TL per package). Unlike in Poland, you can buy training pants in every chain store like e-Bebek or Joker. In my homeland I had to order them online.
Now I’ll talk about pharmacy. In case of teething you can easily buy Dentinox in any pharmacy. Turkish tube of gel is quite big (20 g) and cheap (10 TL). Pregnant women can buy folic acid for 3 lira. When Bibi got ill, we paid twice less for prescripted medicine, than in Poland. On the other hand, you must be prepared for slightly higher prices for vitamins, minerlas and Omega 3 acid (mostly improrted from the West anyway – like Children’s DHA).
By the way – do you remember famous Baby Float in which Bibi swam the Maltese sea? It’s been bought in Istanbul 🙂
And to sum up – what you’d better take to Turkey?
1) It doesn’t matter if you buy baby jars or you cook by yourself – take a few baby meals. As I’ve already mentioned, the choice in Turkey is very small and you’ll never know, when it can be useful.
2) Supplements you take or you give to your baby – in Turkish pharmacies they’re usually more expensive.
3) Although my Bibi has never had it before, many Europeans complain about stomach problems while holidays. That’s why take something against diarrhea for your baby.
4*) You can take a packaging of sun cream, but during vacation you’ll also have an opportunity to buy a good quality sun cosmetics in a reasonable price.
Today’s currency of 1 TRY:
The next entry will be the continuation of the shopping plot, but will be strictly educational. I’ll write a little dictionary, you can use during shopping (many shop assistants in Istanbul don’t speak English).