• Home
  • Search
    •  
  • Login
    • Username: Password:

      Did you miss your activation email?

Author Topic: Baby Formula – Taking A Baby To China  (Read 11821 times)

Slim Pickens

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 181
Baby Formula – Taking A Baby To China
« on: March 23, 2010, 02:45:14 AM »
We are taking our three month old son to China in a few weeks time so that the Chinese side of the family can get to meet him.  We will be tucked away in northeast China for three months, therefore not in a position to pop over to Hong Kong to stock up on 'genuine' baby formula (i.e. dry milk powder).

Because of the baby milk scandals we have decided to load our suitcases with three months' supply of baby formula purchased in the UK – which equates to about fourteen/fifteen large 900g tins – but we are worried about the possibility of this being confiscated on arrival in Beijing, or some official asking us to open every sealed tin to check the contents (the manufacturer recommends that the contents be used within four weeks of opening).  Everything I have read leads me to believe that we will not have any problems, but it only needs one official to make life difficult for us.
 
Worst case scenario: we have no baby formula.  What do we do?  Is there a brand that has not been tainted by the baby milk scandal?  Are the larger department stores (e.g. Fu Mart) immune from stocking fake produce?

I am not worried about feeding him en route to China, because we can get ready-to-go baby formula 'airside' at the airport (i.e. beyond the point where they confiscate liquids). Our major concern is what will happen once we touchdown in Beijing.

Also, with an eye on the future and possible job opportunities, how does get a family get hold of baby formula that they can trust? My research has dug up a few Anglocentric websites:

http://www.britishcornershop.co.uk/
http://www.expatessentials.com/
http://www.expatdirect.co.uk/
http://www.shoppingfrombritain.com/

The addition of postage, on top of the already inflated prices, make this a pricey option; there is also no guarantee that the milk will arrive at its destination.  For those that brought up very young children in China – from 0 months to 12 months – how did you feed your baby if your home was deep inland and the 'breast is best' option was not available?
« Last Edit: April 06, 2010, 11:05:44 PM by Slim Pickens »

Yokie Kuma

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 227
Re: Baby Formula – Taking A Baby To China
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2010, 03:01:47 AM »
I cannot help too much as we live in Shenzhen so the HK run is an option.

However, I have carried 10+ cans across the border into China and never had a second glance .... I would give you more than 95% that you will have no problems when you get to Beijing.

But, there is still that 5%.

I believe it was Sanlu that had the tainted milk issue.  So stay away from them.  If you need to get formula in Beijing, I would look for a foreign brand and look closely at the cans.  The date codes are usually applied with some fancy type of engraving / printing equipment that is hard to copy.  We use Wyeth here in SZ .... their cans have a blue bottom with some type of grey laser etching for the date codes.

I would think there must be western stores that carry imported supplies in Beijing.  Maybe slightly more expensive but could be worth the ease-of-mind.  Also a ton of baby-order catalogs are available that will ship or deliver to your door.  Let me know if you want me to dig up some phone numbers / web addresses.
"A ship in port is safe; but that is not what ships are built for."  Grace Hopper

"Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now." Larry Kersten

Slim Pickens

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 181
Re: Baby Formula – Taking A Baby To China
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2010, 03:19:46 AM »
We use Wyeth here in SZ...

We use SMA Gold here in the UK.  I gave their helpline a call and they said that Wyeth is the parent company and that the closest thing to what we are using is Wyeth S-26 Gold.  Is that available in the mainland or only available in Hong Kong and the little island due east of Xiamen?


...a ton of baby-order catalogs are available that will ship or deliver to your door.  Let me know if you want me to dig up some phone numbers / web addresses.

I would be grateful of a couple of numbers and addresses of companies that you have used and trust, because even getting to Beijing is going to a stretch for us.  Our connecting flight once we arrive in Beijing quickly takes us deep into Dongbei.

LaowaiSaosao

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 346
Re: Baby Formula – Taking A Baby To China
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2010, 04:29:30 AM »
Hi there, I brought my third son back to China when he was 7 weeks old last summer and have been living here since then. To address your questions in order, I carried 4 tins of Aptamil in my suitcase and was not stopped or questioned about it. But to lessen the chances of that one official making life difficult for you, I suggest you pack what formula you are bringing in your suitcase and go through Customs separately from your wife ie with your suitcase on one trolley, which you push, while she pushes her suitcase on a separate trolley. Then if she is stopped, you keep on walking and wait for her on the other side of Customs.

If worst case happens and you end up without formula, you should be able to find Wyeth S-26 Gold in supermarkets, I know I have seen it in Carrefour and Auchan here in Chengdu. There are also other brands that are made by international companies using foreign milk, your wife can look on the tins and see where the formula was manufactured. Although it is not possible to guarantee 100% that they have not been tampered with, I think the big stores have a lot to lose if they are found to be carrying counterfeit goods so will work hard to ensure that doesn't happen.

That said, we have been importing formula from the UK through britishcornerstore (which you mentioned) to give my son. I imported formula for two reasons - I can afford to, so given a choice between formula purchased locally (which probably travels all over China and sits in a company warehouse for a while before it reaches my local store, thus increasing the window for tampering) and something shipped directly to me, I want the latter. Also, in terms of cost it doesn't work out any more expensive to import myself, as the imported formulas in Chinese supermarkets cost around rmb200 per tin (way more than in the UK) which is in fact slightly more than I end up paying britishcornerstore.

With regard britishcornerstore, I have been very happy with the service I have received. I have ordered formula from them twice so far and both times my order has arrived within a week. The second order was slightly slower as it seemed to have arrived in Chengdu but had not been delivered to our compound so I emailed BCS my address in Chinese, they passed this onto the delivery company and the parcel arrived the next day.

Good luck with your trip, the only other baby essentials that I bring from home are nappybags (the very thin, perfumed bags that you use to dispose of smelly nappies), bottles and dummies/pacifiers as I think the safety controls are better in the UK and I wouldn't want to worry about these plastics deteriorating (and leaching chemicals) while being used by my son. We bought a microwave steriliser for bottles here for around rmb280, a bit more expensive than in the UK. And for nappies, we use pampers and they are fine. You can buy these all over the place ie up in the mountains of nw sichuan where my in-laws are from, but of course the smaller the shop the more expensive the nappies so we buy massive bags from carrefour or auchan.

oh, one more thing, bring your infant car seat with you as there is no charge to bring this on the plane (even internal flights) and these seem to be totally unheard of here, even in big cities like Chengdu, we get people coming up to us all the time asking what it is!

The Local Dialect

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3900
Re: Baby Formula – Taking A Baby To China
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2010, 04:50:02 AM »
You can get Wyeth infant formula in the stores here, and other foreign brands. We use the Mead Johnson formula, the Enfamil and Enfa-whatever it is for toddlers, which I trust as, although the one we get in China is labeled in Chinese the brand is a foreign (American) brand which has a good name worldwide. Around the time of the formula scandals here the big stores were very careful. It is mostly the little mom and pop stores and Chinese brand formula that you need to be careful about. We were able to get our Enfamil even in Kunming if we shopped at the big chain stores. Lots of Chinese people don't trust Chinese brand formula either and the big stores make a lot of money stocking brands like Wyeth, Enfamil and Similac.

I second LSS on the carseat. They are available here, but ridiculously expensive. I am not kidding -- 3000+RMB for a seat. Of course if you don't have a car you're going to have to figure out what to do when your baby gets too big for the more portable seats, but for now bring the most lightweight seat with the highest weight limit you can get your hands on.

BrandeX

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 1080
Re: Baby Formula – Taking A Baby To China
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2010, 06:34:57 AM »
Yes, it was really only Sanlu, and they are shut down, so you don't have to worry about getting forumla form them. Their hasn't really been any comments about melamine for a long time. I wouldn't worry about it. Most baby stores have imported forumla available. We use Meiji I think it is form Japan.


Yokie Kuma

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 227
Re: Baby Formula – Taking A Baby To China
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2010, 07:38:31 AM »
Wyeth is sold just about everywhere .... quite popular (even though I am told the Chinese think it makes the child "hot" .... whatever that means)

You can check a website www.jierle.com .... it's a catalog/online baby store that says they will deliver to DongBei .... but I can't read their website (Chinese) very well.

The Wyeth seems to be the same whether it is Promil Gold or the S-26 .... you said your son is 3 months old?  Here is a small kicker with the Wyeth.  The HK (and UK and Australia and Singapore and everywhere not-China) has Wyeth 1 for 0-6 months, Wyeth 2 for 6-12 months, and Wyeth 3 for 1-3 years.

China has Wyeth 1 for 0-6 months and Wyeth 2 for 0-12 months.  We called the company and they say the 0-12 is the same as the 6-12 .... and we tried a few cans and they were not the same.  So, depending how long you are here with your son you may want to bring the cross-over (6-12 month) as well.

A last thought.  I was told that it takes a baby anywhere from 5-7 days to "switch" from one formula to another .... their digestive systems are just not very flexible at that age .... so whatever you do, try to get your son on one brand and keep him on it .... we had this problem when we went to the US last year .... there is no Wyeth and we did not want to spend the first week switching our daughter to a US brand and then 2 weeks later switching here back.

We flew without a carseat.  My parents bought one in the US.  Easier than carrying one around the world.

My wife and I took turns carrying the child in our lap.  Very very very hard to sleep with a baby on your lap.  Hard for the baby to sleep also.  And the changing tables on a plane are really just not big enough.  Our flight to the US was 16 hours.  We brought 3 bottles.  She was eating every 2-3 hours so I had to wash on the plane also.  This was easy as the stewardess helped .... rinse em out (dump the milk in the toilet) and they have some seriously hot water to rinse again after.

Easy to fold stroller we checked at the airplane door so we could wheel her around airports.

She slept going to the US (it was a night flight) and cried most of the way back to China (day flight).  And she had jet-lag on both sides of the trip.


"A ship in port is safe; but that is not what ships are built for."  Grace Hopper

"Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now." Larry Kersten

ting

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 160
Re: Baby Formula – Taking A Baby To China
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2010, 02:43:50 AM »
Here is an ancient but perfect solution which will benefit many: in dongbei hire a 'wet nurse'.  The baby thrives on the perfect food, the local girl benefits with a bit of money and the parents' peace  of mind  is re-assured.  This a solution if mother is not nursing and  may i ask why is she not nursing her baby? What could be the drawbacks to the natural  way?  Why depend on sleezy marketeers of synthetic formula when mother nature shows the way?

ting

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 160
Re: Baby Formula – Taking A Baby To China
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2010, 02:47:20 AM »
Let me issue an invitation to  our 'good doctor' to offer his views on artificial infant formula (of any or all brands), natural breast milk and wet nurses. Maybe he can offer a point of view more  readers can accept or trust  than my humble comments.

Yokie Kuma

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 227
Re: Baby Formula – Taking A Baby To China
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2010, 03:15:49 AM »
if mother is not nursing and  may i ask why is she not nursing her baby? What could be the drawbacks to the natural  way?  Why depend on sleezy marketeers of synthetic formula when mother nature shows the way?

Do you have kids?  You would know the answers if you do .....
"A ship in port is safe; but that is not what ships are built for."  Grace Hopper

"Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now." Larry Kersten

The Local Dialect

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3900
Re: Baby Formula – Taking A Baby To China
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2010, 03:20:19 AM »
There are loads of reasons why a woman might not be able to nurse, but when it comes down to it, it is her choice and no one else's. Slim asked the question about formula, not for advice about breastfeeding. Let's not turn this into a breast vs. formula debate, there is enough of that on parenting forums and this is clearly not the place for it.

Stil

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 4800
    • ChangshaNotes
Re: Baby Formula – Taking A Baby To China
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2010, 05:24:47 AM »
I like milk. Been worried about melamine. Wet nurse you say?
« Last Edit: March 24, 2010, 05:32:30 AM by Stil »

Raoul F. Duke

  • Lovable Rogue
  • Despot in Absentia
  • *****
  • Posts: 9572
  • "Be specific if you order the mushrooms!"
Re: Baby Formula – Taking A Baby To China
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2010, 08:03:17 AM »
Down, dog, down! cbcbcbcbcb

Anyway. When Hope was a baby, we fed her SMA Gold. We bought it from a high-end baby supply shop in Suzhou...'t'weren't cheap, but no problems. Hope was plump and sassy. akakakakak

I think part of the trick is to use a reputable dealer that imports...never buy in markets or all-Chinese supermarkets.
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

becster79

  • Barfly
  • *
  • Posts: 1678
Re: Baby Formula – Taking A Baby To China
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2010, 08:22:40 AM »
Agree with Raoul- wouldn't 100% trust baby milk from the average Chinese supermarket. God knows what nutrients are missing- perhaps that's why half the Chinese population looks so 'runty'?!
10 easy steps to stop procrastination.

1.