#1: Bepanthen. When Charlotte was born the nurses in South Africa threw tubes of this stuff at me. It heals whatever ails you. Nappy rash, cradle cap, stretch marks, cracked nipples, eczema, new tattoos (seriously!) You name it. A little dab'll do ya. They do suggest that if you're going to use it both on your baby's bum and mom's nipples you get two separate tubes. Good advice indeed. And you can get it on Amazon! I mean c'mon, a cream that works wonders on diaper rash, nipples and tattoos. How can you go wrong?
#2. Gripe Water. Okay you knew this one was coming. And no, I do not have stock in the company. But Gripe Water remains Mama Congo's most searched/most viewed topic so I know you love it too. If Bepanthen is the cure-all for whatever ails you externally, Gripe Water is the answer for all things internal.
I used to think it was the miracle serum for fussy babies, but recently discovered it works well on 3-year-olds too. Say, for example when they wander out of their bedroom 5 minutes after being put to bed (every night) and say, "Mama I can't sleep. I'm sick." [Fake cough, fake cough.] "I think I need some medicine." Yep, you sure do! Here are two drops of Gripe Water (which will do absolutely nothing for you, but make you feel "better"). And a good night is had by all.
Be sure you go for Woodwards non-American made variety with sugar and alcohol. Because really, is there anything a little sugar and alcohol can't fix? I'm having a hard time finding this specific concoction for sale online. Perhaps the #1 perk of living in the Third World is no one's outlawed our alcoholic Gripe Water.
#3. Johnson's Baby Anti-Mosquito Repellent. Congo Moms are experts on mosquito repellent. Just ask anyone and you're in for a 20 minute speech about what works best for her kids. Here's mine: After 5 years we've tried at least a dozen products. Most keep bugs away. But all feel gross on their skin, contain weird chemicals, or have to be scrubbed off immediately after outdoor play. And if I accidentally forget and kiss a kid wearing bug lotion, I can actually feel the cancer growing in my mouth.
Then a friend suggested Johnson's. She stocked up in Colombia because you can't find this stuff in the States. (Probably because it actually does contain carcinogens.) But it keeps the bugs away, has zero scent and I can't even feel it on my kids' skin. And the best part is, I don't have to bathe them afterward. The lazy mom's best friend.
When my Colombian stock ran out, I found this person on Amazon in Thailand. He/she is quite great and even sends me cute messages making sure I received it okay. And sometimes throws in an extra bottle. Done and done.
#4. Monganga Bébé Shampooing. That's right, shampooing. Okay you're probably not going to be able to get this one outside of Congo because it's made in Kinshasa, but it's kind of great. There's something about that little baby on the front that inspires our kids to wash their own hair. By themselves! They love her.
|It's not weird that my child cuddles up with a bottle of shampoo, right?|
|Just what have you been up to?|
#5 Milton's Sterilising Tablets. Sometimes I wonder if the people who make baby equipment realize there are families without dishwashers. Or that their products might end up in Congo where you can literally watch mold grow. Enough with the infinite crevices and 15 detachable parts already!
I'm not interested in boiling our plastic, street bought, Chinese sippy cups, and hand washing can only get them so clean. So once in a while I round up all the suspicious stuff and sterilize it. You just dissolve a Milton's tablet in water, stick everything in a Ziploc, and voila all those bottles, pacis, sippy cups, and ridiculous water bottle lids are super clean. Sometimes the mold's still there, but at least it's clean mold, right?