“I didn’t get to pack a bag with my first baby as I was admitted to the hospital at 8 .5 months with high blood pressure. I had a c-section and the baby was premature. The hospital sent me home 5 days later. I had to make do with piecemeal bits that Sathish remembered to bring each time he went home for fresh clothes, for me and later for baby Anira. Life would have been much easier if only I packed early!”
When Should I Pack My Maternity Bag?
The ideal time to pack your bags is between 32 – 35 weeks as you can go into labour – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childbirth any time after 8 months. You should pack two bags, one for yourself with things you need before and after delivery and one for the baby.
Make sure to have all your bags in the same room, preferably closer to the door in case of an emergency and you need to load the bags to the taxi by yourself, it has happened to many mothers.
What Should I Pack?
“Would the hospital give me a checklist of things I need?” is a frequently asked question by new mothers. Most hospitals in Sri Lanka do not issue such lists but will be able to produce a rather dated list of things on request. The best option is to ask a friend, who had just had a baby, what she needed and then compile your own hospital bag checklist.
If you have a normal delivery you will not need to stay too long in the hospital, maybe a day at the most. On the other hand, if you know you are having a c-section – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesarean_section, then pack enough clothes for a couple of days.
Here are some suggestions on what to add to your hospital bag checklist:
Items For The Mother
- Clothes – maternity blouses, sarongs, loose underwear, nursing bras, and slippers
- Face cream
- Pillows case and sheet, is optional
- Toiletries such as shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, body cream and sanitary napkins –
- Cellphone and charger
- Extra pillow
- Going-home clothes
Items For The Baby
- A few nappies and pampers
- Blankets – and a cot sheet
- Baby pillows and roll pillows
- Baby shirts
- Bath sheet
- One pair socks or booties
- Baby soap
- Baby powder
- Carry cot or car seat
- Small clothes rack, for stays more than 2 days
Things For The Father
- Change of clothes
It is more than likely that your spouse will be able to go back home and look after himself but it never hurts to be prepared.
Important Documents You Need To Bring
- Pregnancy records
- National Identity card or any form of identification
- Hospital paperwork
- Pediatrician info
- Insurance card
Other than this list there could be other things you will need in your maternity bag in Sri Lanka that are less important but can’t do without, for instance the brand of your shampoo or soap.
What You Should Not Bring
Do not bring valuables as it can be stolen or lost in a hospital. Often the staff becomes prime suspects. You don’t need unnecessary drama, avoid it. Leave the following items at home,
- Credit cards and wallet
Where Do I Start?
First start by buying a bag for the baby, there are no specific maternity bags – in Sri Lanka, so you will have to settle with an ordinary insulated baby bag that can hold nappies and bottles. You can work your way down from there and pack what you need. If you are missing some items, stick a post-it on the bag with what is missing.
What If I Forget Something
Unlike in other countries, hospitals in Sri Lanka do not have a baby store in the hospital. These stores are stocked with paraphernalia and essentials that every new mum and bub need.
If you do forget some important things, you can
- Ask a friend for help
- Send your spouse back to the house or shop
- Ask a relative to bring them
- Borrow from a friend or relative close to the hospital if you live far away
- Order online so that you get it delivered within the day
What About Other Siblings In The Home
If you have other children, pack an emergency bag for them as well. You don’t have to run around getting things together for them if they have to spend the night at ‘achchi’s’ or ‘athama’s’ place.
Your departure to the hospital will not be as dramatic as a Hollywood soap opera, but it is good to be prepared beforehand and pack your hospital bag, as soon as you find out your date of delivery.
You can also have a lot of fun doing this!
Lastly, do not forget to pack something for the hospital staff and nurses or make sure to order a fruit basket or a cake, just before you leave to show them your appreciation and say ‘Thank You’!
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