Moving to Sri Lanka with 18 month old

(28 Posts)
JustAddWine Thu 12-Jan-12 10:09:18

My job is sending me to Colombo in Sri Lanka in April for a couple of years. DH will be a SAHP to DS, who will be 18 months old.

Are there any MNers out there who can give me a heads up on availability of essentials, such as Calpol, nappies, etc? Also, any activities to keep DH and DS amused during the day?

TIA

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kreecherlivesupstairs Fri 13-Jan-12 11:39:17

I know there are a couple of International schools there. Try googling for websites and contact them?
FWIW, we took our DD to Sri Lanka when she was about a year old on holiday. She had a great time.

OhFraktiousTree Fri 13-Jan-12 13:25:29

Nappies will be fine. Infant paracetemol will be available but not necessarily calpol.

I would look at reusable nappies though as I find DS's bum gets hot and sweaty in sposies and the good weather makes drying a doddle. Plus nappies are pricy wink

<Indian Ocean but nearer Madagascar>

megapixels Fri 13-Jan-12 13:32:59

Calpol is available everywhere, the very same thing but Sri Lankan made. But Panadol Syrup is the more popular brand of infant paracetamol used there. Nappies are freely available too, major brands like Pampers and Huggies (expensive, and of a different quality to those found here) and also cheaper brands that aren't very good. And OFT above is right when he/she says that the baby usually gets very hot and sweaty in disposables.

Sri Lanka isn't very big on organised activities for babies or toddlers as it's very extended family oriented over there so things like baby groups and such are not generally done by locals. Once you get there and make contacts with other expats they'll be able to point you in the right direction for activities.

JustAddWine Fri 13-Jan-12 14:30:34

Thanks guys, that's all very helpful.

I can't see DH buying into the reusable nappies idea, but I'll have a go. I hadn't even thought about the hot and sweaty factor of disposables. DS will probably spend a lot of time butt naked on the beach anyway!

Can't wait!! smile

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kreecherlivesupstairs Fri 13-Jan-12 14:33:07

I think that you'll probably end up with some sort of domestic help anyway. resuable nappies would be the way to go then wouldn't they?
If you are planning for your family to spend a lot of time on the beach, it would probably be worth getting some all in one UV suits for your DS. When we lived in Oman (similar climate, less rain) we had to have them sent from England or Aus.

OhFraktiousTree Fri 13-Jan-12 14:34:38

Definitely UV suits from the beach. I never let DS out nekkid in the sun. Tropical sun is just too strong.

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JustAddWine Fri 13-Jan-12 15:27:16

Good point. I'd better stock up on UV suits in a range of sizes. I've started stockpiling suncream, but UV suits sound much easier to me, then I can just cream up the exposed bits.

Still not sure about domestic help, but that would help the reusable nappies discussion with DH. In fact the more I think about it, the more sense it makes to go for reusables - I'll investigate further!

Thanks all, this is really helping. grin

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kreecherlivesupstairs Fri 13-Jan-12 15:43:00

Also, reusable swimming nappies. When we moved to Thailand, I used to buy little swimmers at a huge price.
Someone pointed out that reusable, while hideously expensive at first, would work out much less costly in the long run.
Since DD loved water and swam daily it was a wise investment. Especially since she would void her bowels as soon as she got in the pool.

JustAddWine Fri 13-Jan-12 15:47:04

Kreecher I didn't even know they did reusable swim nappies. Man, I've got a lot to learn. Thanks for the tip!

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kreecherlivesupstairs Sat 14-Jan-12 06:50:21

Oh the things you'll learn or have to learn.
If it's any help, I got DDs from a Mothercare concession in a very smart Bangkok dept. store.
Probably best if you get yours before you go.
Don't forget any vax you need to have.

megapixels Sat 14-Jan-12 12:22:22

Where in SL are you going to JustAddWine?

frankie76 Sat 14-Jan-12 16:21:52

I know someone that worked there and loved it - there is a real ex pat community which is really family orientated

I go every year for work and they really love kids
It's one of the places I would move if I needed to
Very jealous

JustAddWine Mon 16-Jan-12 09:09:27

Kreecher Thanks, I'll start looking into nappies now then. Got the jabs all booked up.

Mega We're off to Colombo, but looking forward to lots of long weekend exploring the whole island.

Frankie Thanks for that - so high chairs won't be a problem out and about then?

Thanks for all this - I'm getting really excited now!!! grin

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megapixels Wed 25-Jan-12 12:36:51

Good luck JustAdd on your adventures in SL. I am from Colombo too (just got back to the UK two weeks ago) so if you have any questions feel free to ask. Here or PM.

helloitsme Mon 30-Jan-12 08:00:53

Hi JustAdd. I do not live in Sri Lanka, but my 2 year old DD was born and brought up so far in southern India, so I'm guessing lots of things might be similar. I'm also sure that Sri Lanka might have differences, but I thought I'd share with you some things we've learnt.
One of the most useful things we bring is, suprisingly, ziplock bags (or similar!) These are suprsingly useful, and not available here.
We also use reusable nappies, as disposables do cause a rash (though we do use disposibles in AC and overnight). We have selected ones which dry easily, since in the rainy season drying can be an issue, though it's a breeze (so to speak) for the rest of the year.
Also, if you have preferences for things like nice nappy rash cream, kid's bath soap or special kids toothpaste, better bring them as only the standard Johnson Johnson kind of stuff is available here.
We also bring things like sulpherless dried apricots and ground almonds. These last for a long time and go a long way to making nutricious snacks for toddlers, since there's certainly not the same range of kids snacks which are available in Britain. Of course most dried fruits and lots of nuts are available here more cheaply, but I use the ground almonds to make biscuits with.
We also have a breadmaker. I know that might seem a rather large thing to put in your packing, but it's lovely having homemade bread, and really helps to make use feel at home. The local flour works fine, though we have brought our own yeast. We actually brought ours as carry-on baggage and the airline didn't complain, in fact they were rather interested! Certainly where we are, we can buy nice bread, but it's on the other side of town, and really not worth the hour and a half round trip!
We have found that the mosquito spray available here is rather chemically, so we sometimes ask people to bring us things like Mosiguard, or the boots natural mosi-spray, since we don't want to cover our DD in chemicals every single evening, and Mosiguard does seem to be effective enough to keep them off her.
We have also brought nice supportive sandals for her from England. It's not really necessary, since of course you can very well buy shoes out here, but at the same time, it's nice to know her feet are well supported, and it's almost impossible to get Clarks/Startrite quality stuff here.
We found it suprisingly difficult to buy good quality beach toys! Maybe you will have a different experience in Sri Lanka, but lots of the expats here have brought their beach kit in Ikea (sadly not us, and our flimsy local stuff is clearly not as good).
OK, well good luck with your preparations and packing, and I really hope that your life in Sri Lanka is as happy as my time in India has been!

YNK Mon 30-Jan-12 08:11:04

Oh god yes - a breadmaker. What a good idea! The bread in SL is sweet and not at all nice IMHO!

JustAddWine Mon 30-Jan-12 12:19:12

Breadmaker - what an inspired idea. Think I'll look into that.

We're already stocking up on toiletries, suncream and mozzie spray.

Thanks Mega and hello. As the time draws nearer I'm sure I'll think of 101 questions to ask you!

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JustAddWine Mon 30-Jan-12 12:39:08

Oh, here's a question. In monsoon season, are wellies or sandals best for an 18 month old to wear?

DH wants to buy wellies for DS, but I think jelly shoes or sandals will suffice (fashion statement aside grin)

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YNK Mon 30-Jan-12 17:25:55

I would go for jellies TBH.

Say hi to my friend Mel and her DH and their families for me if you get to know the expats. I'm sure our paths will cross when I come out on one of my visits.

helloitsme Tue 31-Jan-12 06:01:27

I would go for jellies too. It's too hot for wellies, and the dampness can make them go mouldy inside. Flip flops are ok, but when it's wet, they can flick mud up the back of your trousers if you are not careful. If your DH is worried about your child's feet in dirty water, I understand. Me and DH carry DD if we think the water might be polluted. We would never let her near it, even in wellies. Otherwise, if it's just muddy, she splashes about in her sandles, and we wash her when she gets home.
Another thing that I always bring from England is hairbands! I don't know if you have long hair, but the quality of the hairbands here just isn't as good, and in the hot season I like to have my hair tied up a lot since it's very hot and sticky on the neck otherwise.

JustAddWine Wed 01-Feb-12 09:54:39

Thanks again. So shopping list so far...

UV suits for DS
Breadmaker & yeast
Beach stuff
Jelly shoes
Hairbands
Ziplock bags
Toiletries inc mozzie spray

and still need to look further into reusable nappies.

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VickityBoo Wed 01-Feb-12 09:58:28

I just wanted to say good luck. smile

We had a holiday in Sr Lanka in 2004. It remains one of our most memorable holidays. It's such a beautiful country and the people were just the kindest and most welcoming. We didn't stay in the resort, we took a private taxi and hired the driver to take us to key places, gorgeous country.

MerryMarigold Wed 01-Feb-12 10:12:56

My dh is from Colombo. I don't know if you've worked in developing countries before, but the first time I went I found the poverty quite a culture shock, just wasn't expecting it (and I was brought up in Africa!). Although, because we weren't in the expat community, we probably did see more of it.

There's a really lovely beach called Mirissa, it's between Galle and Bentota. Go and stay for a week, it's pretty chilled out and basic but reeeally empty and beautiful. If you go there, try and conceive a dd, as it's great name for a girl biased.

There's not really mozzies in Colombo (thank goodness) or Kandy but there are a lot if you travel down South.

We've taken all our kids, last time we went was for 3 weeks and I had 15month old twins. They didn't like the food much (though I did!) so were mostly breastfed. The bread IS weird. Agree on snacks. Things like fruit/ muesli bars which we took went down well with my kids. Not sure what your ds is used to for breakfast, but maybe take some to last for a little while to help the settling in time.

And definitely get some domestic help. It's very cheap. You'll be helping someone out by giving them a decent job. And one of the perks of living there!

Definitely envy. You'll have a fantastic time! I LOVE sleeping to the sound and feel of a fan overhead (not a big fan of AC though).

JustAddWine Wed 01-Feb-12 12:46:52

Vickity and Merry Thanks for the replies.

I still can't believe that we've never been to Sri Lanka before, so all this positive feedback is very well received! grin

We've done lots of south east asia, and south america, so I'm hoping it won't be too much of a culture shock. All previous travel has been with backpacks though, so this 'grown-up job and baby' stuff is a whole new ball game!

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