MUNDE: Preparing for baby's delivery: Flask, NHIF card and other items you should carry in a hospital bag

MUNDE: Preparing for baby's delivery: Flask, NHIF card and other items you should carry in a hospital bag

An expectant woman. /iSTOCKPHOTO

  • The jury's still out on whether to have a written birth plan.


When it comes to packing a hospital bag when preparing for delivery, many mothers ask themselves: what is a must have versus what is a ‘nice to have’ item?

Well, while opinions vary, there are a number of items that many agree are useful, while others, not so much.

Here are some items to consider carrying to hospital:

1.     ID, NHIF and private insurance card: These are important documents you’ll need before admission so have them on hand as well as your admission letter. Even if you don’t have a private insurance cover, you’ll need your NHIF card.

2.     The bag: obviously you need the bag or suitcase to carry the items in in the first place. Mothers can get caught up in preparations and fatigue and pain during the last few weeks of a pregnancy that they get everything else except the bag, so don’t forget this.

3.     Diapers: both for your hospital bag and for when you get home, these are essential. Depending on which hospital a mother chooses to deliver in, the facility may or may not give diapers (they are not free though either way, it’s listed in the bill). The issue with the diapers given by the hospital is that they are sometimes not a mother’s preferred brand. For first time mums, you can only depend on recommendations as you can’t know what will or will not work for your baby. Even for a mother with other children, what worked for the first born may not work for the second born ie, while one brand gave one baby diaper rash, the same brand may work fine for another child. To deal with this, buy just one pack of diapers enough for a week so that in case they don’t work, you can easily do away with them.

4.     Petroleum jelly: This is important for helping prevent diaper rash. After every change, apply a generous amount of petroleum jelly or baby cream on your baby’s bottom.

5.     Cotton or wipes: The choice is yours. While wipes are convenient – you just pick one, wipe and discard, they can be costlier than good old cotton. However, with cotton, you need some water on standby, which can be cumbersome so you can have both – wipes for when you’ll leave the house with baby and cotton for when you’re in the house.

6.     Disposable pants or pads: Delivery is no joke and you will need either disposable pants or good absorption pads.

7.     Toothbrush and toothpaste: Again, depending on which hospital you deliver in, these may or may not be provided, but to be sure, carry your own.

8.     3 sets of clothes for your baby: Some hospitals dress babies in their gowns while the mother is still admitted, while others require a parent to carry their own clothes for their baby. Carry your own just in case. In any case, you will need a set of clothes to take your baby home in when you’re discharged

9.     A set of comfortable clothes for you: As a mother, we sometimes forget ourselves as we take care of our loved ones. Don’t forget your going home clothes – something comfy. Desist from trying to slay straight out of delivery as I have mentioned before, your uterus takes a while to shrink back so you’ll still look pregnant when carrying your bundle of joy.

10.  Nursing or free fitting sports bra: You need to be as comfortable as possible and you will probably not be wearing a bra for the better part of your stay at the hospital, but when you do wear one, like during discharge, you’ll want a comfortable nursing bra that can easily be snapped to breastfeed your baby or a sports bra. Make sure the sports bra is not a tight one.

11.  A portable flask: I have mentioned in previous articles that hot or warm water are your friend after delivery. They help move things along. So carry a flask that nurses can keep refilling for you.

12.  A towel: for you and baby. Towels are usually provided, but it’s a good idea to have yours on hand.

13.  Phone charger: whether you’ll be using your phone to keep your family updated on goings on or to listen to music or take note of important information the nurses or obstetrician tells you, you need your phone charged.

14.  Written birth plan: I’m not a follower of the birth plan route and many mothers who had one say that things can happen so quickly in the ward that you, nurses and doctors don’t have time to refer to the plan. So you can have a general idea of how you would like things to go, but keep in mind that life happens… pun intended.

What items did you find useful and not so useful when preparing your hospital bag? Share on


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