Preparing and Living in Afghanistan with Babies

Living in Afghanistan with Baby

Living in Afghanistan with babies may sound a little scary, but it actually is a great place to raise a baby. There are many humanitarian workers who are nurses or doctors, military hospitals, and of course, Cure Hospital.

Many foreigners have lived in Afghanistan with their babies, children, and teens. We also raised our children from as young as 4 weeks old to later elementary years.

I was pretty scared coming to Afghanistan the first time with our three-month old, but I relaxed quickly as I found many of my friends had medical training and thankfully, the children were generally healthy.

There are a few things it would be wise to bring with you - items not hugely available in Afghanistan. If your work allows you to go to Dubai occasionally, it will be easy to pick up any additional items there.

What Isn't Available:

  • Cloth Diapers
  • Baby Carriers
  • Children's Dishes and silverware
  • Children's sunscreen and hats
  • Fluoride-free Toothpaste
  • Pack-n-plays
  • Sippy cups
  • Play things like Exersaucers and Jumping swings (usually there are not door frames, but you can secure a Johnny-jump-up with a heavy duty hook, which you should bring).
  • Children's liquid flavored ibuprofen, and chewable tablets
  • Speed thermometer
  • Baby socks, high quality onesies, baby clothes
  • Baby/Toddler/Elementary Books in English and Farsi
  • Child-safe toys
  • Heavy duty stroller

What IS Available

  • Pampers, Moltex, and other brand diapers
  • Johnson's Baby Shampoo
  • Wipes
  • Pacifiers
  • Baby Lotion
  • Bottles
  • Potty Training Chairs
  • Formula
  • Some Gerber and Heinz baby food
  • Cribs, toddler beds, highchairs, changing tables (these are available or can easily be made)
  • Some vaccines

What About a Humidifier?

Unless your agency supplies a generator, this still could be hit or miss, electrically speaking. By all means bring a baby humidifier, but you may still desire to have a back-up plan, in case there is not readily available electricity.

Here is a picture of an Afghan bukhari, with the water tank above the heating chamber. I found it could quickly get to boiling, and produce lots of steam if needed. (And hot water for all those cloth diapers waiting to be washed!)

Afghan heater

We found it quite easy to keep a wood heater with an audon (water tank) attached to the heater.

We were always ready should our young children need steam, to quickly light the heater and get steam going in the bathroom (great for an easy sauna, too!).

Strongly Recommended to Bring

  • If you have an infant (less than one year), consider bringing a baby carrier - it will be one more clean place to set baby while you work.
  • Bring any battery operated toddler/preschool toys, but it is possible to have blocks made out of wood or sponge. There are more and more items available, but if it is possible, try to bring it from home or buy in Dubai when possible.
  • Have more questions? Please feel free to Contact me with specific questions!

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