Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Need help packing

Okay, I need some help from all you parents who have traveled to Ethiopia to pick up your children. I am preparing packing lists, and need to know what things are important, what is nice to have, and what isn't really necessary. If you could help me out with both baby and adult related items, I would be much appreciative.

Besides the obvious, here are some of the things I have on my list.

Bug spray
sun screen
basic cold/flu stuff
ear plugs
eye mask
neck pillow
anti-bacterial wipes
snack/comfort foods (how much is really necessary?)

baggies for soiled items
baby carriers (sling and Bjorn)
lots of clothes
crib bedding (for hotel crib)
lots of blankies
bottles (are the ones with disposable liners the best, to reduce washing?)
formula (any specific kind that the babies are used to?)
baby wash
Bouncy seat? (would this be nice to have for the hotel room, and nearby restaurants?)

We are hoping to stay at either the Hilton or the Damu. Is there anything else we should bring that might be specific to these locations, or that I am missing? I appreciate any advice!


Anne said...

Hi, Shana -- we brought formula and switched Hayat over to it almost immediately and she did fine. They use Nestle Nan, which you can buy there -- I've heard it's very much like Nestle Good Start formula. We used the bottles with disposable liners, which were very convenient, and Hayat preferred the variable flow nipples, but we brought some slow, variable, and fast flow because we didn't know what she was used to and we wanted to be prepared. I had a small bottle of dish detergent and a plastic bowl for washing nipples in the hotel room. The Hilton had lots of bedding for the crib (they call it a baby cot). I was also glad I brought Cipro and amoxicillin -- gave me some peace of mind, and I ended up using the amoxicillin for my eye infection right before I came home. And of course I used my hand sanitizer constantly -- a lot of times it's impossible or inconvenient to wash your hands with soap and water.

Other things I was very glad I brought were a flat sink stopper and little travel packets of Tide for doing hand wash. The roll of paper towels we brought were like gold. One of those immersion coil-type water boilers was also great for the hotel room to heat water for bottles -- and a small stainless steel thermos for having warm water ready for mixing bottles at night. Both of those things came from REI. The adaptor kit I bought at Wal-Mart worked for most stuff -- but I had to ask for an adaptor from the front desk for my laptop.

I'll think some more about what was really critical. It seems like such a long time ago! I'm so, so excited for you.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anne about the variable flow nipples. Noah prefered those too--must be similar to the nipples used at Wanna. We used the platex bottles with liner as it was so much easier for travel. I didn't bother with dish detergent, we used hot water via room service for rinising out the nipples. we didn't bother with crib bedding the hilton fixes it up nicely--so I wouldn't worry about that. Hand sanitizer is a must--we also brought beef jerky and trail mix and that was really nice snack to have. We used target formula in addis and switched Noah right away and he didn't show any adverse effects and then we changed his formula again to enfamil when we got home and again he did fine. They use a couple different types of formula for the babies at Wanna. I think they work really hard to keep the babies on the same type of formula for their entire stay.

I wouldn't bother with a bouncy seat. Your babe is going to want to be held and you are going to want to hold him, etc. One thing that was an absolute must was a container-available at Target or any other store that sells baby stuff-that holds four portions of formula or cereal. It was great for days when you are out sightseeing and absolutely essential for plane travel--that way you don't have to mess with scooping while cramped on the plane. We took a pacifer but Noah was not that into the pacifer--it took about 1 week or so for him to take it and now I kind of wish I hadn't introduced it, because he loves it. We took a few toys but kept them small and Noah really took to one toy and that is the only one he really played with--it was one of the lamaze animals. Blankets are imperative, as if you go out in public you will want to keep your little one completely covered--if you don't the Ethiopian women will not hesitate to cover him for you. Please feel free to email me if you have any more questions.

Brianna Heldt said...

We packed pretty light and it worked out fine. If you stay at the guesthouse, they'll move a crib into your room for you and I believe they give you bedding for it.

We brought along some fruit snacks, wheat thins, jerky, etc. to have as snacks and I am glad that we did, it was helpful having stuff to munch on. However you can always go to the grocery store there and stock up, as we did that too.

We also brought along doc's prescriptions for traveler's diarrhea--which fortunately neither of us had to use! But it did give us peace of mind having it. (You don't even have to see your doc to get them, just call and tell them what you need and they should be able to just call it in to the pharmacy.) We took those Pepto Bismol tablets along as well, a little first aid kit, and hand sanitizer.

The main thing, bring way more diapers and wipes than you think you'll need, because if your son has giardia you may just need them all!