The Big Felafel


Hadassah Baby Hotel = heaven

Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital

A while ago I wrote about finding maternity clothes in Israel and as you might have figured out, after buying the maternity clothes and going through pregnancy, it was time to have a baby! You can read Molly’s guide to giving birth in Jerusalem here. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl at Hadassah Ein Karem in Jerusalem. My experience at the hospital was mixed – I had a great experience in the delivery room (if such a thing is possible) with the amazing midwives but my experience in the maternity ward afterward was disappointing. After going through the craziness that is labor (I’ll leave out the gory gory), my emotions were as stable as the Scream Machine roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure, that is to say, not very. When I arrived in the maternity ward, I hoped for a welcoming party with balloons and cake, a birth-day party, if you will. But no. We were temporarily placed in the hallway and greeted by a handful of unfriendly nurses who could have been a little more helpful and informative about what the heck a new mother is supposed to do – how to breastfeed, how to take care of the umbilical cord, etc. The other non-welcoming party was the cafeteria. It felt like high school all over again with cliques at the different tables – mostly determined by what language you speak. And the food was nothin’ to write home about – large chunks of cucumber for breakfast, smaller cubes of cucumber for lunch, and cucumber pie for dinner. So, as you can imagine, I was more than eager to leave the hospital when the time came and head over to the Hadassah Baby Hotel. (By the way, Molly wanted me to let you know that she was on the rooming-in floor in the hospital and had a great experience.)

Hadassah Baby Hotel

The Hadassah Baby Hotel was just up the elevator, up the stairs, down the hall, down the escalator, and down another elevator away from the hospital, but it was a whole different world. When I arrived to the hotel’s special baby floor, the nurses smiled, sat with me as if they had all the time in the world, and listened to all my questions.  To top it off, the hotel rooms were complete with a changing table, diapers, a nursing pillow, and other baby items. They also had a 24 hour nursery so that you can run up to the delicious buffet and eat, or run to the bathroom, or do whatever it is you need to run to do and know that someone is watching the baby and will call you when they are crying and need to eat. The nursery also offers to give your baby formula at night so that you can sleep a few more hours and speed up your recuperation. Also, a doctor comes every day to check on your baby and tells you if there’s anything you should be concerned about. From Sunday to Wednesday, the hotel offers a workshop each day for a few hours on baby development, nutrition, breastfeeding, and baby massage. I thought the workshops were a nice way of meeting the other mamas on the floor, and asking an expert any questions I had.

Since there is a floor of the hotel dedicated to babies and mamas, you can imagine my surprise when I walked back to my room after feeding my daughter, the lights dimmed low at 1am, only to bump into a Greek Orthodox priest in his jammies praying next to my door. I guess they ran out of rooms on the other floors of the hotel. Maybe he was praying to move to a different floor so he wouldn’t have to hear crying babies. In the morning, I awoke to find the same priest and 5 of his priest friends now fully dressed in long black robes, hats, and larger than life jeweled cross necklaces heading to the elevator. We stepped into the elevator together, 6 priests and a nursing mother, trying not to make eye contact, eager to get to the breakfast buffet.

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Where to shop for Maternity Clothes in Israel

You’d think that with Israel’s relatively high birthrate, and every woman you pass on the street being pregnant (doesn’t it seem that way?) there would be far more choices of maternity clothes in Israel than there are. As my belly, and most noticeably, my belly button, start to protrude, the hunt is on for nice maternity clothes in Israel that aren’t too expensive. Ha! As it turns out, this is a contradictory request, right up there with other things in Israel that are  totally overpriced like cottage cheese, organic milk (only in health food stores), decent sheets, and deodorant. Here is a review of the maternity wear that I’ve come across.

What I learned along the way

My first piece of advice would be to ask all your friends for maternity clothes.

My second piece of advice is to invest in long tank tops or the belly band to keep your  belly covered, especially for tall ladies like me.

If you have the opportunity to go to the United States or can have someone bring you clothes, I recommend ordering from Motherhood MaternityTarget, and Old Navy (sign up for the email and get discounts).

Note about sizes: I thought that as my belly grew I’d start wearing bigger and bigger sizes. But apparently that’s not true and you’re supposed to get your regular size when ordering from a maternity selection. I ordered a pair of pants from Old Navy that I thought would be my size but they were huge! Try ordering one size lower than you normally are if you’re ordering from Old Navy, their stuff runs big!

Warning about stretchy pants: I think it may be hard to go back to regular pants. I don’t know yet, but I am lovin’ me the stretchy pants, stretchy skirts, stretchy everything and will be very tempted to continue wearing my maternity jeans after giving birth.

Here’s my review of maternity clothes in Israel:

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Ramilee: Probably the  most well-known maternity shop in Israel, they have ok clothes, nothing special or trendy, and the prices are moderate to high. I did splurge on a really awesome pair of jeans from Ramilee. List of Ramilee stores in Israel

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Fox – Mom-to-be line Often compared to the Gap, Fox conveniently started carrying a small maternity line, just as I became pregnant! What are the chances?! i found a cute shirt and some long tank tops, but the selection is pretty small. List of Fox stores in Israel. Call first to see if they carry the mom-to-be line.

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H&M Mama line. The excitement has finally calmed down, and you no longer have to wait in line to get into the store or a dressing room at H&M in Israel. I wasn’t so impressed with their maternity clothes, but did notice that they had some good basics like nursing t-shirts and nursing tank tops. All 3 branches (Malcha Mall Jerusalem, Azrieli Mall Tel Aviv, and Grand Canyon Mall, Haifa) carry the Mama line. List of H&M stores in Israel

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Tamnoon Although they don’t officially have maternity clothes, I have found regular clothes that are very flattering on a pregnant belly, at really good prices. Almost all the clothing in the store is under 100 shekels and the quality is pretty decent. They have good deals on long tanks tops. Here are pictures of 2 things I  got from there: stretchy skirt and flowy top – each under 70 shekels. The Tamnoon stores tend to be tiny with all the shirts stacked to the ceilings so you can’t actually see anything and feel bad asking somebody to get on a ladder for you. However, a new branch opened in Jerusalem’s Hadar Mall in Talpiot which is the biggest and roomiest branch I’ve seen yet. Tamnoon is in just about every mall, but you can check out their website to see the full listing of stores.
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Avishag is a high end, designer maternity store. The truth is that I haven’t been inside because I’m afraid I’ll like something and it’ll cost me a month’s rent. store listing

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Matimli features larger sizes and a maternity line, for2. Their clothes are very Israeli style. i took a peek but couldn’t find anything I liked.

Jerusalem
If you live in Jerusalem, there are  a few cheap clothing stores in Talpiot that have some pants with stretchy waistbands – Big Shop (on HaOman) and World of Fashion (on Hatnufa across from Kanyon Ahim Yisrael in Talpiot).

You can also try the hippie-type stores like Autenti on Yaffo St in downtown Jerusalem for stretchy skirts and dresses.

Also, there are some stores in the religious neighborhood of Mea Shearim area but I didn’t exactly think they’d have my style so I didn’t venture over there. Here’s the listing in the yellow pages.


Leave comments about where you’ve been successful in finding maternity clothes in Israel. Thanks!