Chanelle’s Story: Buying for baby in the Caribbean
Remember the pre-baby shopping frenzy? Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was receiving courier deliveries multiple times per day. Well, now imagine going through that on a remote tropical island where baby items are substantially marked up and deliveries come in via one route at a price. At 7 months Chanelle tries to gather all she needs for her baby. If you have anything to add to her list or any advice to give (especially if you’ve raised a baby in a hot climate), please do leave comments to help her out. If you want to tweet Chanelle directly, her twitter is @SegeriusBruce.
Here “on island” as they say shopping is limited. Very limited. There is one baby shop and when I did a little price comparison I found that items had around a 150% mark up compared with the US. I understand that running a business here is very costly and although baby items are meant to only have a 6% duty some things are classed as clothing or bedding and so have the hefty 36% import duty imposed on them. Yes, mull over those numbers for a while…
In the UK we were so spoilt with online shopping and you could pretty much have anything you wanted delivered to your doorstep after a few clicks and payment online. I found a company called Island Bargains that ships to many Caribbean islands including our little one, Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos. They have a base in Florida where you are able to have items shipped to. They will then box them up and ship over to us for a fee. I thought I had found a solution.
Problem number two. I have a UK card and this causes some issues with big stores when trying to place an order. Either they do not like the fact that your shipping address doesn’t match the card country or in the case of Target they will not ship to Island Bargains because they are a company address. I can’t help but think that they are missing out on a lot of sales if they refuse to ship items to anybody’s company address. Surely we are not home all of the time to receive our parcels? After having spent an age on Target thinking I would be able to do my entire baby shop there I then had to transfer everything over to Amazon. Luckily they stock pretty similar items and I should have picked trusty Amazon in the first place.
As a first time mom it is very overwhelming to say the least. What do I really need vs what is being sold to me? After reading a few mommy blogs and enough reviews to make my head explode I finally have everything I need. I think!
I thought I would help out some of you who are also brand new to all the baby business and list out the items I have bought so far. If I have left out anything essential please do let me know in the comments below. I really need to ensure I have everything here before baby comes as I cannot pop into Mothercare or the like whenever I need to.
Baby crib sets
Oh God, where do I begin? Some of the most tacky, cheesy, tat I have ever come across? Am I wrong? It took a long time to source anything I remotely fancied and in the end I went with a set from Olli & Lime. She is originally from the UK and now living in the US where she designs and makes some lovely, low key, non cartoon infested bedding sets for baby nurseries.
If money was no object, then I would have gone for a crib set by Dwell Studio, as I absolutely love their designs.
I hope I am not totally crazy in trying to do the good, green and slightly “granola” thing of having washable nappies! Here are on the island we have a small landfill site and the thought of fulling it up with disposables that take 200 years to biodegrade just doesn’t sit well with me. I am not going to profess to being some sort of mater and I think what I will end up doing is a mixture of the two. The brand Bum Genius has been highly recommended to me as a lot of moms on island have gone for the reusable diapers. (UK shop)
I have gone for the pack of 24 and they come in some really cute colours and patterns. These are peppered (press studs) and can be used from newborn through to two years old. We worked out that they would pay for themselves before three months of usage. Nappies are not cheap on island either.
I also went for the diaper sprayer that attaches to the toilet for getting rid of any solids.
Nappies are then placed in an airtight dry plastic box until you are ready to wash them. The entire all-in-one diaper can be put into the washing machine and then hung out to dry.
100% organic cotton wipes also from BumGenius
Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm
Like every other person on the planet with a baby I am now the proud owner of Sophie The Giraffe
After three separate parents told us about Dr Browns Bottles and how they saved their lives, I decided not to mess around and just get a set. They are meant to help prevent baby from having problems with wind and therefore have a happier baby overall. Here’s hoping.
The same theory applies to the Momma range of bottles, plus the design is pretty cool. I have a couple of those too.
A lady on island was selling hers. Don’t fret, it was totally unused! Never buy a used breast pump as infections can be transferred from person to person. Only ever use your own one and do not lend it to your BFF under any circumstances. My pump is the Medela Pump In Style which allows you to put two at once. Oh I just cannot wait to use this… yeah sure…
Since we live in such a lovely warm place we would love for our baby to get used to the water as soon as possible.
book: Water Babies: Teach Your Baby the Joys of Water–from Newborn Floating to Toddler Swimming
Head ring for babies: Swimava G-1 Infant Head Ring Starter Kit -Full Body Exercise
Maternity & Baby Clothing
I am not a huge fan of the clothing in the USA. In addition to that I have a bit of a tough time trying to work out their sizing. In the end I caved and bought some lovely things from Vertbaudet in the UK and had a friend send them to me via FedEx. We don’t get ANY post here. Not a thing. FedEx is literally the only way anything will ever arrive safely.
One US shop I did have some luck with is Victoria Secret. They do gorgeous sundresses and PJs for those of you heading to a warm country on a babymoon I would highly recommend the following dresses. Although they are not officially maternity clothes they fit wonderfully and have the ingenious “bra top” design which means full support and really comfortable too! Sign up for their newsletter/updates as they often have great sales on. I bought my items during the spring sale and if you spent $250 they gave you $70 off. Nice.
Dip Dye Bra Top
Eyelet-trim Nightie: Baby doll style fits nicely over the bump
White Maxi Dress: This is the dress I am wearing in the photographs featured here
Another maxi dress with bra top that I went for in a darker coral colour
I am loving my Mama Bee Belly Butter by Burts Bees: ”natural fragrance-free formula contains a combination of Cocoa, Shea and Jojoba Butters that will keep your belly feeling soft and smooth before and after your new arrival.”
Items for baby
Philips AVENT BPA Free Translucent Pacifier, 0-3 Months, Clear
Baby Mosquito Net: Tthis can be used over the crop or over a stroller. Might be a good idea for those of you traveling with your new babies.
Retro style baby sunglasses Baby Banz Retro Banz Oval Baby Sunglasses
Sun Protective Baby Suit by NoZone
Wide brim sun hat
4 Sided Changing Pad : I have also bought three covers for this so that they can be washed and swapped out when necessary
My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow : This pillow has fabulous reviews online and I hope it will assist me in being successful with breastfeeding as it is something I really want to try to do.
Also bought 2 covers for this
It gets very hot here and so we where a bit limited with baby carrying choices. In the end my husband Craig found this one
Lilleba by Nordic Carrier – breathable and you are able to wear baby in a number of ways… front, back, side… seems good to me.
NoseFrida the Snotsucker – oh yes, classy
Naturepedic Waterproof Fitted Crib Pad
With the high temperatures here I wasn’t able to purchase any old swaddle blanket so I went for the Ergo Cocoon Air – The world’s thinnest swaddle made from super soft bamboo
JP Lizzy Slate Citron Satchel
Simba Baby Safety Nail Cutter- Baby Safety Scissors
Apparently there are far more injuries to babies caused by the traditional nail clipper products than these nail scissors. Here’s hoping.
Triboro 5115L Just Born Organic Washcloths
Crib – we have one yes, bought from Kishco here on island during the Black Friday Sale. It was the first baby item that we bought in fact.
Second Hand Items We Have
Rocker type sleeper for during the day
Clothing – we have already been donated some lovely baby clothing which looks like new!
Still to buy:
Stroller / Pram – I have been told that a three wheeler with thinner wheels is good for here as you can even use them on the hard sand near the water for beach walks. To be honest Craig and I are not huge fans of strollers at all. Do we REALLY need one? Please say no. [ed: Yes.]
Cocoonababy® nest: This comes highly recommend by a few of my friends in the UK who are now parents. Unfortunately they are not yet available in the USA and I am scared to even price shipping that over to Turks & Caicos via FedEx. I want one though.
Sooooo that is my list. If you have anything to add please do and lets make this a great resource for new mommy’s to be!
Images by Anita from Brilliant By Tropical Imaging