relocating to Kenya: with kids

When I lived overseas previously, I was neither married nor a parent. There are a lot of new things I've had to take into consideration this time.

First of all, diapers. Diapers are not used much here, therefore, they are very expensive. We have seen both Huggies and Pampers, but the more affordable disposables (which are still more expensive than disposables in the US) are not very good. We made the decision to switch to cloth diapers based on this. Since all of our laundry is being line-dried, I have Ben mostly in flats. Flat diapers are the super-old-fashioned kind of cloth diapers. They dry fast, though! Nate still wears diapers for sleeping and when we leave home, but awake at home, he's either in undies or naked.

Nate's little potty for downstairs, since all of our bathrooms are upstairs

Which brings us to potty training...We have had some potty training regression since moving, but he seems to be getting back into the swing of things. If I could get him to pee outside on the ground, we could ditch having him in diapers away from home, which I think would help progress, and I think he is ready for that again. With limited availability of public restrooms (and those that do exist are not sitting potties), he needs to be able to pee standing up before he can leave home in undies again.

Next, feeding them. There are several brands of formula here; we went with Nestle. We had brought Good Start with us to transition Ben gradually. We use bottled water for our drinking water, including mixing Ben's formula. We couldn't bring as much Good Start as I wanted to, but he transitioned just fine with the small amount we brought.

There is not a big variety of pureed baby food available in stores here. We were able to find a blender, though, so I have been making Ben's baby food. I never did this when Nate was a baby, but it's really easy.

Which brings us to Nate's food. I try to feed him what we eat, but he's not always willing. If we have leftover beans and rice in the fridge, though, he's good to go. He regularly asks for his favorite American snacks, but we haven't been able to find most of them. We have been trying out all kinds of snack food here to find some kind of replacements, with limited success. We have some cereal that is very close to Honey Nut Cheerios, but his favorite Kenyan cereal is bran flakes with raisins.

Then there are also things to consider like malaria pills (both boys are on a pediatric anti-malarial), mosquito repellent (DEET is the best repellent, and though not generally recommended to use on small children, it's not as dangerous as malaria, and is what the pedi told us to use), and shots (like Nate's typhoid and yellow fever shots; Ben hasn't had any extras yet, but he will when he's 9 months old).

We have a car, which makes getting around town so easy. Without the kids, Rodgers and I would probably take matatus (15 passenger public transport mini-buses) most of the time. Getting 2 small children in and out of a matatu would be a hassle. We have a double stroller, but will likely only use it when we are flying. I have seen some strollers being used at the mall, but most places aren't really stroller accessible. I wear Ben, and Nate walks or Rodgers holds him (or he goes in the shopping cart if we're somewhere that has them).

In a lot of ways, taking care of them isn't really that different than in the US. As my mom said this week, with a little creativity, you can make anything work!


  1. That may be difficult. I don't have any personal experience because none of us have food allergies. Our supermarket has a sugar free "diabetic" section, so they may also have some dairy free foods as well, but I haven't specifically noticed any. Sorry I'm not more helpful!


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