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What you should pack in your hospital bag and what you won’t need

Readers Lounge By Esther Muchene
Write a checklist of what you'll need for the hospital (Photo: Shutterstock)

That exciting, panicky moment is finally here and you have to start heading to the hospital or birthing center.

The main thing you need is your hospital bag, which you should have had on standby to avoid forgetting essentials at home. It’s a little nerve wracking because there’s a million things you think you need. And by the time you’re done packing, you’ll have packed your entire house too.

Start by confirming what will be provided for you at the hospital so that you can avoid carrying extra things. Here’s what you need to know.

What you will need

  1. Important documents

The first thing you have to pack is your identification card, receipts, insurance information, copies of your birth plan if you have one and any important documents you’ll need. This will prevent any confusion at the hospital because some facilities can actually deny you access without the correct documents.

  1. Comfortable clothes for you and your baby

A baby blanket, one or two outfits and a pair of socks should be enough. For you, pack loose fitting clothes that won’t make you uncomfortable as you go home, nursing bras, a couple of panties that’ll be suitable for maternity pads, two loose fitting nightgowns, socks and a jumper. When it comes to shoes, you can opt to go in comfy sandals that aren’t tight and leave with the same pair.

  1. Toiletries

Some hospitals will give you some toiletries but you can also carry baby wipes, a small pack of pocket tissues, a few maternity pads, lotion, deodorant, hairbands if you have long hair, toothpaste and toothbrush, hairbrush, soap and nursing pads.

  1. Your relaxation/meditation items

Keep it simple with this one because once those contractions kick in, you won’t want to read that novel or play the board game you carried. Try download eBooks, audio books and relaxation apps so you can minimize on entertainment items to carry. Don’t forget your headphones/earphones. These can come in very handy.

Ensure to carry only the essentials and avoid overpacking (Photo: Shutterstock)
  1. Chargers and/or power bank

This one goes without saying. You’ll be so disappointed when your phone or camera die just when you’re trying to capture those amazing moments. Better safe than sorry. Don’t assume your fully charged battery will be sufficient when you could stay in hospital longer.

  1. A few snacks and water

You might starve so a few light snacks won’t hurt not unless you’ve been instructed not to eat, and maybe your partner or anyone who’s accompanying you will be hungry at some point as well.

  1. Extras

You can also carry your own pillow, slippers, delivery gown and bath towel if you’re not comfortable with the ones that’ll be provided and a small bag in case you need some extra room to carry your things back home.

What you won’t need

  1. Fancy clothes

Don’t think of carrying your cute pre-pregnancy clothes in your hospital bag. They’ll be very uncomfortable and they’ll take up a lot of space in your bag.

  1. Your entire makeup set

Maybe you can carry essentials like lip balm and that’s it really. Or if you want to look nice in pictures you can have one or two basics. Otherwise, anything besides lip balm isn’t that necessary because when it’s time to check out, there won’t be any time for a face-beat or photoshoot. Let’s be real here.

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