Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Cloth nappies (napkins) versus disposable diapers

About one decade or more ago , the most common sight in homes with babies and toddlers was white cloth nappies hung out to dry in the sun after washing. The same cannot be said today. In fact what now seems to be common is used, disposable baby diapers littered in areas they constitute eye sores. In the Nigerian market today are various brands and qualities of disposable diapers which often leave new parents at loss of which to choose. Several factors such as cost, availability and a baby's sensitivity to a particular product help parents make the final decision on which brand to settle for. 
This article focuses not on disposable diapers alone but on disposable diapers and reusable ones commonly called 'Cloth nappies' or 'Napkins'. 

The current economic situation in the country has made the cost of every item in the market to almost triple, cost of diapers inclusive. This makes many mothers who hitherto never looked the way of cloth nappies to reconsider their stance. This article that addresses disposable diapers versus cloth nappies in the Nigerian context is therefore very timely and hopefully will help some mothers make informed decisions on which to settle for.

Cloth nappies or what is popularly called "napkin" is a reusable form of diaper which like all diapers when used right can prevent the leakage of urine and or feces unto cloths. Unlike disposable diapers, cloth nappies are meant to be washed and reused. They are usually made of 100% cotton or whatever combination of cotton and other materials  that produces absorbent materials. They come in different forms, shapes and sizes with the most common form being the square-shaped, white cotton materials which are folded and tied onto a baby's bum backed up by what is commonly referred to as 'napkin pant'. There are also other fancy reusable diapers which come in the shape of disposable diapers. They are usually relatively more expensive than the square-shaped ones and also easier to use. 

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Square-shaped cloth nappies
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Disposable diaper-shaped cloth nappies. 

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Cloth diapers hung out to dry under the sun
Pros of  cloth nappies.
1. They are relatively cheap compared to disposable diapers. The cost of a large packet/carton of many disposable diaper brands can comfortably buy several packs of cloth nappies in Nigeria and unlike disposable diapers you just need to buy a dozen or more for a baby and you are done. All you then need to do is wash, dry and reuse. Considering the fact that you can use the same nappies for baby after baby makes cloth nappies one of the cheapest and most affordable baby care products in the market.

2. They are environmentally friendly. Considering the Nigerian environment and our very poor refuse disposal system, cloth nappies are the best option. All you need to do is rinse off the urine or poo as the case may be, pour the soiled water into your toilet (which it is assumed every home has at least one) and then proceed to wash the nappies with detergent or soap. Waste disposal is so convenient with cloth nappies.

3. They are reusable. Just like pointed out in 1 above, Mums can use same set of nappies for child after child, replacing only when there is a torn one or when there is need to increase the number available.

4. Cloth nappies are usually made of cotton and therefore highly hypoallergenic; that is they do not contain materials your baby could be allergic to as compared to disposable diapers which usually contain more synthetic materials than one can imagine and therefore increases the possibility of eliciting allergic reactions from babies' skins.

Cons of cloth nappies

(1) Using cloth nappies mean you get to handle a lot of baby poo which I believe few mums love (mums love everything about their babies but they often pass poos that question the "everything" part of the statement). But then you also get to handle poo when using wipes to clean their bums whether you use disposable diapers or not. Whatever type you use, you get to handle poo but to varying extents. Using Cloth nappies often mean you get your two hands deep into poo water. Gross right?

(2) If you are not careful, your baby will get rashes. This aspect is easily handled by applying a generous coat of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) on your baby's bum before wearing the nappies. This ensures that urine and feces do not get to cling on your baby's skin as the jelly provides a barrier between the two and therefore ensures your baby has a smooth, rash-free bum. This step is also needed for disposable diapers except for the few brands that come with inbuilt cream.

(3) Washing and drying cloth nappies can be such a chore especially during rainy seasons. Many mothers using cloth nappies complain of using up their stock of nappies while waiting for washed ones to dry during rainy seasons when sunshine is a luxury. This definitely does not apply for mums who have washing and drying machines as well as electricity supply when needed.

(4) Considering that most cloth nappies in Nigeria are white, you need to be a clean mum to be able to use them well. Discolored and dirty nappies are an eyesore to many.

Disposable diapers on the other hand have their own fair share of pros and cons. Apart from the huge convenience of using disposable diapers, many Nigerian mums see their usage as a status symbol and many mums who should rather have used the money for diapers to get something more essential for their babies are often shamed into buying disposable diapers. 

The commonly seen brands of disposable diapers in Nigeria include Pampers, Huggies, and Molfix. 

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Disposable diapers
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Stacks of disposable diapers

Pros of disposable diapers

(1) Convenience. This comes tops among the advantages. Disposable diapers are so convenient to use. It barely takes a minute to change from a soiled diaper to a fresh one as compared to most cloth nappies where you get to spread the nappy liner or pant, fold and spread the nappy itself and then get to tie it round your baby's bum. Disposable diaper makers have upped the ante by making diaper pants for that stage of life when babies get wriggly and therefore challenging to stay still for a diaper change. You just need to pull up the pants, check in between their legs and you are done.

(2) Minimal handling of baby's waste. With disposable diapers you get to handle or touch very little urine or poo. They make handling babies' waste very easy.

(3) Status symbol. This is hardly an advantage but considering the Nigerian culture and society, a mum seen carrying a baby on diapers, more so foreign made ones is viewed either as enlightened, wealthy or someone with good taste. 

(1) Cost. Disposable diapers are expensive to use, more so considering that each used one is discarded. When you get to calculate the amount of money a baby uses for diapers from birth to toilet-training, one can only scream at the cost.

(2) Waste disposal. We have a horrible waste disposal system here. Many owners of farmlands often complain of finding heaps of used diapers in their farmlands and these are not easily biodegradable. Diapers are said to rank second after waterproof bags in littering the Nigerian environment. Many mums have complained of not knowing how to dispose of used diapers from their home. 'Oyibo' that introduced diapers to Nigeria have an almost perfect waste disposal system where wastes are sorted into different containers based on their biodegradability. When we copy things, we are supposed to copy the entire package and not just a section especially when it leaves us worse off than when we started.

(3)Materials used. Disposable diapers are made with diverse synthetic materials which often raise safety concerns. Some of the materials are even rumored to be toxic and/or raise one's chances of getting certain types of cancers.

Basically whichever between cloth nappies and disposable diapers you decide to settle for should be based on informed choices and  which is affordable for you

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Iodine deficiency; what we need to know

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Source: NAFDAC

Iodine is a micronutrient of public health importance. It is an essential component of the hormones produced by the thyroid gland which are essential for mammalian life and thus, Iodine is essential for a healthy, human life. Iodine deficiency leads to a range of disorders known as IDDs (Iodine deficiency disorders) which can affect persons of all ages, including those still in the womb.  It can lead to thyroid enlargement (known as a goiter), impair fetal brain development and can impose on a newborn infant a lifetime intellectual deficit.

Iodine is distributed in the earth’s environment in form of Iodide found mostly in seas and oceans. Iodide undergoes oxidation to form volatile, elemental Iodine which evaporates into the atmosphere and returns to the soil by rain in a process known as “Iodine cycle”. 
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Iodine cycle. Source Fred Zucker, 2015
Human dietary sources of iodine  include seafoods, plants grown where soil contains iodine and the meat of animals whose forage grow in such soils. Breastfeeding babies get their supply of iodine from their mothers’ breasts as the mammary gland concentrates iodine and secretes it into breast milk to provide for the nursing infant.

Iodine deficiency according to the World Health Organization (WHO),  is “  is the world’s most prevalent, yet easily preventable, cause of brain damage”. It can affect a child’s mental health and/or survival; reduce a child’s intellectual capacity and can cause stillbirths in pregnant women. Serious Iodine deficiency in pregnancy can lead to congenital abnormalities such as cretinism; an irreversible form of mental retardation in the child. 
Kul Gautam, a Deputy Executive Director in UNICEF, in 2007 said   IDD is the single greatest cause of preventable mental retardation. Severe deficiencies cause cretinism, stillbirth and miscarriage. But even mild deficiency can significantly affect the learning ability of populations. Scientific evidence shows alarming effects of IDD. Even a moderate deficiency, especially in pregnant women and infants, lowers their intelligence by 10 to 15 IQ points, with incalculable damage to social and economic development of nations and communities….. The mark of a civilized society is how well it takes care of its most vulnerable and deprived communities. If we continue to fail to reach these newborns, we will be consigning them to an inter-generational cycle of poverty and injustice.

The various impacts of Iodine deficiency led to  several acts and regulations by NAFDAC (National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control), and SON (Standard Organization of Nigeria) on salt iodization in Nigeria.

 NAFDAC ACT 1993 (AS AMENDED) Food Grade (Table or Cooking) Salt Regulations 2005
 Stipulates that
·         Any salt used as an ingredient of food for direct use by consumers, food manufactures or as a carrier of food additive shall meet the standard requirement for food grade salt as set out in these regulations among others.
  • ·         Be fortified with iodine using sodium or potassium iodide or iodate at a residue level as specified by the Agency.
  • ·         the name “salt” shall have a prefix of “food grade” or “table”;
  • ·         Salt Iodization shall carry the logo of a green map of Nigeria with black edge and three human figures in white.

The SON standard defines properly iodized salt as  "containing above 50 ppm (parts per million) iodine at port of entry, above 30 ppm iodine at distributor and retail levels  and above  15 ppm iodine at household level" The SON standard also specifies the over-all quality parameters for food grade salt.

While we have little or no control over the iodine content of the seafood and other items we consume, we need to ensure we use only iodized salt in our cooking. It is advisable to buy edible iodized salt in smaller packages as those that come in very big bags are prone to exposure and therefore increases the chances that the iodine has been leached.

 Fred Zucker  (2015) BioLargo's Clean Water Technology Positioned To Save Maritime Operators Billions sourced on  7/10/2017 from

Pearce EN, Leung AM, Blount BC, et al. (2007). Breast milk iodine and perchlorate concentrations in lactating Boston-area women. Journal of  Cliinical and Endocrinoogical Metabolism 92: 1673–77

Essential things to consider before buying a blender in Nigeria

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A blender brand with a plastic pitcher and a separate mill for nuts, seeds and other dry stuff
Blenders can rightly be described as very essential appliances in the kitchen. They can make food preparation easy and convenient. With the various brands and types of blenders in the Nigerian market, making a good choice can be challenging.

 I remember the first time I shopped for a blender, I went to different shops and supermarkets in the city where I resided. One thing that struck me was the large difference in cost of different blenders. Before, and even after then I believed all blenders were basically the same with the only difference being in their brand names and qualities. I likened them to appliances like refrigerators which served the same purpose though some brands are reputed to be better than others. I ended up buying one of the most affordable blenders I found in an electrical/electronics shops then. Now that I know better I would like to share my knowledge in case there is a Nigerian mum out there in need of a blender and not sure which to settle for. So here are essential things to consider before settling for a particular blender.

  Price. The cost of any item you intend buying usually comes tops among other considerations. You are not supposed to let yourself get broke because you need one appliance or the other so aim at a blender you can afford. There are high-end blenders which not everyone can afford and though they have their own advantages, lesser known or more affordable brands of the same quality could also serve same purpose. So before you decide on a particular blender type, you need to determine how much you can afford to spend on this very essential kitchen appliance. 

 Wattage:  This describes the electrical current the blender draws which is directly proportional to the power of the blender’s motor.  I consider the wattage the most important factor to consider when choosing a blender . The wattage of a blender tells you what it is capable of doing. The higher the wattage, the higher the blender’s ability to grind/blend tougher substances. So if all you need your blender for is blending tomatoes and pepper for stews, fruits for smoothies and maybe some other soft food items then most of the moderate wattage blenders  of about 300-350 watts will do. But if you want to use your blender to process cereals and grains for your pap, or even your beans for Akara or Moi-Moi and other somewhat hard grains, then you need those blenders with wattage nearer to or above 1000 watts. These have the power to crush hard grains. Higher wattage blenders actually cost more and are very noisy when in use. The wattage of blenders are usually displayed prominently on their packs.

 Accessories: Different blenders come with different accessories and kinds of blades and jars. Some come with a single jar meant for blending/mashing, others come with additional jugs and blades which they often classify as miller and/or grater. The millers/graters usually have blades that crush dry ingredients while the big pitchers are meant for ingredients which usually require water or other fluids to facilitate the blades' function.  So when you are blending stuff like your Egusi you use either the miller or grater blade and jars while your tomatoes and other watery stuffs will do well with the main pitcher.

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Another blender brand with two extra cups described as mill and grater to serve different purposes.

 Material the jar/pitcher is made of: The most commonly seen blender jar materials in Nigerian markets are glass and plastic. Stainless steel jars also exist but are less common. Blenders with plastic jars are usually cheaper than others but  are prone to scratching, staining and odour retention (you know that smell of food  items like beans can linger on a substance even after washing). Plastics also often contain Bisphenol A (BPA); a chemical said to have negative impacts on health, unless you are buying one labeled BPA-free. Glass jars are expensive, heavy and may break but they do not stain and aren’t prone to scratching and odour retention like plastics.Stainless jars are usually better that glass and plastic jars but cost much more and also have the disadvantage of one not being able to monitor the jar contents unlike plastic and glass jars. Basically, you should choose the material you prefer cos each one has its pros and cons.  

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A Stainless blender pitcher; while it looks classy, you cannot monitor the contents as compared to plastic and glass

 Shop you are buying from. If you are resident in Nigeria, you should already know that fake and substandard products abound in the market. To be on the safe side, appliances like blenders should be bought from reputable shops and should also carry a warranty. Many buyers have bought electrical appliances from the open market and found out that they either aren’t working well or not working at all. Returning it involves avoidable stress which can be avoided upfront by buying from reputable shops with considerate return policies and warranties. 

So if your kitchen needs a blender (as I suppose every one does), these factors discussed in this piece should provide substantial guide towards making the right choice.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Speak out and save the next person

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Hardly does a week go by without one learning of a maternal death in Nigeria. Today the Nigerian media is awash with the news of a certain Chisom Anekwe, her travails at Magodo Specialist Hospital in Lagos, and her eventual death under completely shocking circumstances; going by the version of the story in circulation. Just like in almost every such case, people come out and recall their experiences from similar encounters with health practitioners who handle human lives with laxity and the question one always asks is  "so what did you do?", one almost always gets answers like  "nothing oh, at least I was grateful to have survived " or " reporting the doctor or nurse would have made him/her loose her job and I wouldn't want that" bla bla bla....   Answers which leave so much to be desired. A health practitioner's job and someone's life which should rank higher in importance?

It all boils down to our selfishness. It is always me, my children, my loved ones. We hardly think of the next person.  Selfishness is the main reason why we are where we are today. What happened to altruism? What happened to saving the next person? Magodo Specialist Hospital probably did what they did because they had gotten away with so many such cases, same with every health practitioner that handles human life with laxity. Though laxity permeates almost every sector of the Nigerian society but not all cost human lives.

A woman during childbirth in one of our "prestigious" teaching hospitals was given an episiotomy that cut through her anus and when asked what she did she said "I was thankful for little mercies and didn't want to push it".  You loose someone under questionable circumstances and all you say is " will my action bring back the dead?" or "it is the will of God". What happened to comments like "No one else should be allowed to go through this"?

You may not have the money to seek legal redress but there are authorities you can report to; everyone has a superior even if the superior in question is the regulatory authorities. Do something let it be that nothing came out of your efforts. Today we are lucky to have the internet and social media, use it. Let your voice be heard. Tell your story.  There are media houses that will be very willing to carry the news. Just do something to prevent another occurrence; not just because of yourself but because of the next person. Even if the regulatory bodies end up doing nothing, you would have told the public your story and people would be mindful of such health outfits and experiences. Health and medical practitioners would also be careful because of the consequences and kind of publicity their laxity could generate in the event of the loss of a life. One way or the other,  you would have helped save at least one more person from the consequences of doctors' and nurses' carelessness.

Certainly that hospital in Magodo would never remain the same again, at least not in the nearest future if they survive the current media onslaught. Many other such health outfits will also take precautions. More people now know where not to go to and what not to tolerate.

People get away with so many bad things because we let them to, which led to the vicious circle we find ourselves in today.  It happened to Chisom because the victims before her took it in their strides. Who knows who it will be tomorrow? Please let us stop the culture of licking our wounds in good faith and imbibe one of saving the next person. Let us join hands to ensure preventable deaths are prevented.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Memoirs of a Nigerian Mum: Discretion when buying baby's items in Nigeria

I read your post on expectant mums' checklist and thought  sharing  my experience could help an expectant mum out there.  Being a first-time mum can be quite tasking and if you have no prior experience handling babies you could be in for a lot of mistakes and surprises.

I had my first child last year. When it was time to start buying baby stuff I asked colleagues and friends with experience what I needed to buy and their approximate costs. I was shocked when a colleague told me she spent 120k on baby items, another said she went to market with 100k, spent it all and yet couldn't get all she had in mind. I braced up for the expense when I went to the market. Surprisingly, I bought everything I needed with just a little over 40k. Where did my colleagues' excesses come from?

In the market there are local and foreign versions of almost everything. I saw a local baby bath set of about 3k and a foreign one of about 10k, a local baby cabinet of 5k and foreign one of 16k, imported diapers of 17k a carton and Nigerian Pampers of about 2k for a jumbo pack and so many other items. When I inquired about the differences between the local and foreign versions, they bordered mostly on our love for foreign items. Why buy a foreign bath set when the local one will serve the same purpose  at almost a quarter of the price? Same with baby cabinet (which I didn't even buy as I figured out it wasn't a need) , why will I buy foreign diapers if the local one will be just as good? No be shit and wee-wee my baby wan use am for? I made up my mind to buy just one pack of Nigerian Pampers and watch my baby's reaction to it which would ultimately decide which diaper I would stick to in the long run.

Well, she is almost a year old now and I have found no reason to not use Nigerian Pampers.  I bought one local thermometer with 100 Naira which still serves till date as against one type of digital thermometer that costs above 1k. I bought a set of Cussons Baby toiletries which I have had no reason to regret yet, as against the advice to buy some foreign products which would have cost me like 10 times the amount I spent on the Cussons set. I bought good baby cloths, I looked more at durability and not whether it was foreign or local. I also considered the fact that babies outgrow their cloths so fast and wondered  why I should  spend so much on high-end cloths which my baby wouldn't even notice. The most important thing is to get the baby clothed.

At then end of the day, I spent much less and achieved same. My baby's skin is as beautiful as any baby's can be. At the end of the day, what is noticed is how healthy your baby looks and not which designer or foreign products  she/he is wearing or using. With the current economic situation in the country, I hope mums learn to use their discretion when spending, you do not have to follow the trend, get exactly what you need and that which you can afford.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

After birth comes the postpartum period. Here are things that may happen to a new mum after childbirth

Pregnancy is a beautiful thing but can also mean a lot of stress for you and your body. There is so much information (both good and bad) available about pregnancy and what it may entail.  At the end of pregnancy is what is usually called the Postpartum period filled with its own unique set of challenges. Pregnancy can so mess with your body that you fail to recognize your postpartum self. Some new mums get scared of their new bodies and often go back to their doctors with complaints  about things that often are normal.

Below are few things that could happen to you postpartum

(1) After birth contractions. Contrary to what many mums think, uterine contractions do not end in the labour room with the birth of your baby, it continues as the uterus tries getting back to its pre-pregnancy state. The contractions can get really painful and many mothers report increasingly painful afterbirth contractions with each subsequent child.  You tend to notice it more when you put your newborn to your breasts for feeding because a baby's suck triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin  which causes uterine contraction.   If the contractions get too painful , you could ask your midwife or doctor for some pain relief. But do not be alarmed as it is quite normal.

(2) A weak pelvic floor.  This is said to affect about one third of  new mums who had a vaginal birth. It could cause urine leaks when you cough or sneeze. Do not panic when it happens to you, it usually gets better by the time your postpartum period is over; that is 6 weeks after birth.

(3) Bleeding : Many mums-to-be know women bleed after birth but majority do not know to what extent the bleeding occurs. Woman, you will pass out a good amount of blood that you find yourself changing maternity pads about 5 times the first day . The blood may also come in thick clots, thicker than what most people see monthly as menstrual blood. Don't worry, you aren't hemorrhaging, at least your doctor or midwife would check the color and intensity of your bleeds at intervals the day after delivery and beyond to ensure it is normal. They may also inquire about the number of used pads you've disposed, and so long as they say it's okay then you should relax. The bleeding reduces with each passing day but could last for weeks. You will be needing maternity pads for the first few days after birth after which you can use sanitary pads when the bleeding has reduced to what you feel sanitary pads can handle.

(4). Breastfeeding may be difficult. The image most mums have of breastfeeding a child is that of simply putting the child to your breasts and voilĂ , the baby starts sucking. Well, after delivery you will know it is hard work. Though nature made it a bit easy by equipping new born babies with the 'rooting reflex' that ensures when their cheeks are stroked, they turn towards the direction of the stroke making sucking  motions. But you still have to ensure you get a correct latch else you will end up with sore nipples that make you cringe once it's time to breastfeed. You could ask your midwife to show you how to achieve a correct latch.
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Engorged breasts could also be a huge challenge that you find yourself begging your newborn to suck. When the mature milk finally comes in, you may also grapple with excess supply especially if you are practicing exclusive breastfeeding. Nursing pads can come in handy at such times.

(5) Putting in a diaper correctly could be challenging and could cause tear-jerking accidents. Many mums assume wearing a baby a diaper is easy till they need to do it. A seemingly simple thing could continually ruin your day or night till you learn to do it right. And newborn poo is not a sight you will love on your dress or mattress. If possible, practice putting a diaper on a baby before yours arrive to avoid embarrassing or tear-jerking accidents involving baby poo.

(6) Your belly will be big for a while and could look quite horrible like a deflated, rumpled  balloon. It will also look quite dark. It is not usually a beautiful sight but don't worry it clears gradually. Reversing the effects of a process that took about 9 months does not happen overnight. You should learn to appreciate your postpartum body because it is your warrior scar; a reminder that you partook in the miracle of creating a human like you.

(7) Postpartum blues. Many women expect to feel elated after birth. Well it isn't always the case. Some even report not wanting to hold their babies at first. Relax, the love for your baby isn't always as mushy and immediate as we often imagine it to be, it can come after a while. You may also not feel 100 percent normal and could cry easily without provocation. This can be quite normal and is called Postpartum blues. Get as much help and assistance as you can lest you feel overwhelmed. But if you ever start nursing thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, please seek medical help immediately as it may have gone beyond postpartum blues into postpartum depression which can get really bad when ignored.

(8) If you had a vaginal birth, you will definitely feel so sore below, this could affect hitherto easy practices like pooing and even urinating. But fear not, the pain subsides overtime.

(6) Hemorrhoids. Some women are left with souvenirs of their pregnancy and birth in the form of Hemorrhoids. It is said to occur more in women who birthed quite heavy babies. Well, it disappears with time but if it doesn't, take it as one of the evidences of your partaking in the miracle or creation.

You may also want to read the following
Refuting some myths surrounding Exclusive breastfeeding in Nigeria

Colostrum; baby's first vaccine

Infant gas pain; that great source of distress to newborns and their mums

Some tips on newborn care

Getting your hospital bag ready for childbirth? Here are things you would likely need to take along.

Getting  your bag ready for the hospital can be a very confusing task  especially for first time mums as one may not always be sure of what would be needed in the hospital for birth and the few days after. This can lead one into buying things around the hospital which usually could be more expensive, or to repeated requests for one thing or the other to be brought to the hospital from home. This list is different from what hospitals usually demand for delivery which often includes delivery mat and all that; it contains the items a new mum will need for herself and the baby; it is by no means exhaustive but will hopefully give Nigerian-based mums an idea of what to pack in their hospital bags.


1. A bag or box. This should be something portable which you can grab with ease.  The size should just be enough to contain the needed items; not too big but not too small either. It should be a light-weight bag or box that will not add unneeded weight to the few things you need to throw into it.
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2.Cloths for you the new mother- to-be. If the health outfit where you intend to give birth does not provide clothing for women in labour, you can never go wrong with wearing a loose, free gown to make you covered but also available for checks especially if you are the kind that would not like to walk round the labour room naked. The gown should make it easy for you to be checked for dilation. Some hospitals provide gowns so inquire if yours will. You will also need cloths you will wear during your hospital stay as well as going-home cloths. If you plan breastfeeding (which most Nigerian women do) then wear cloths that will allow you do so. When choosing such cloths, bear in mind that your belly will still have a bump. Two to three cloths will be okay even though one cannot predict exactly how long the hospital stay will last. Trousers or skirts should be soft- rimmed.

(3). Maternity pads. The most common ones in Nigeria come in a pack of 10 pads. It is safest taking two packs of those though one may end up using just one pack depending on how long the hospital stay lasts. The first few days will come with fairly heavy bleeding and you may find yourself changing your pad 5 to 6 times a day.
one of the most common maternity pads in the Nigerian market

(4) Pants for the new mum. 4 to 5 black coloured pants are recommended especially if you will be able to wash and dry used ones.

(5) About 2 nursing bras.  These should be comfortable and not too tight as your breasts may get sore at some point. You need something that could be soothing to your sore breasts. They should allow you breastfeed your newborn with having to unhook the bra.

(6) Breast pads to trap the leaked milk. After colostrum comes the mature  breast milk;  usually by the second day.  This could  leak a lot and  breast pads could come in handy in such cases.
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(7)  Toiletries. These should include a towel,  bathing soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, hair comb, sponge and  make up for the new mum. After birth, you will very likely want to look as good as you can so your make up bag needs to be taken along.

8) Foot wear. You will need something to wear on your feet in the hospital and on your way home. A flip flop will do for the hospital and something free and nice for going home.

(9) Sizeable water flask. You will at some point need hot water for tea, bath or any other thing.

(10) Some snacks. You could get hungry and need something to munch before or after delivery. Whatever snacks and drinks you fancy will do.

(11) Your phone's charger. The number of calls one will likely make or receive after birth can be enough to run your battery down. You may need to put a spare phone charger in your bag as it is one of the most easily forgotten items.

12. Recharge cards. You will need to make a lot of calls and may not have the convenience of someone to send on errands in the hospital.

(13). Camera. This could come in handy if you are picture freak. You may need to capture those first moments. A phone can also play the same role if you have a camera phone.


(1) Baby cloths. The most common ones used in Nigeria are onesies and overalls. Three to four onesies and same number of overalls should do. It is nice to have a variation in  baby cloths sizes as you don't know how big your baby will be.
(2) Baby diapers.  A pack or two will do depending on the number of diapers in each pack. The baby usually passes out tar-like poo at first followed by mustard-like poo. Sometimes frequency could be up to 5 times a day. Since one isn't sure of how long one would end up staying in the hospital, a total of about 20 diapers will do.

(3) A pack of Baby wipes. These should be fragrance-free and suitable for sensitive skin. Some pediatricians suggest using cotton wool and warm water to wipe the baby's sensitive bum the first few days so a pack of cotton wool may be brought in place of wipes.

(4) 2 baby caps. These should be soft-rimmed and not tight on the newborn's head.
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Baby cap
(5) one baby towel for bath or cleaning times. 

(6) One baby flannel. It's advisable to spread your baby's own flannel on the bed before laying your baby down.

(7) Insecticide-treated bed net. You wouldn't want to expose your baby to mosquitoes that early.

(7) Baby oil and petroleum jelly. These usually come in handy when the baby's body is cleaned and needs oiling. They also come in handy when changing diapers. Fragrance free ones are recommended.

For the checklist of what to buy in preparation for baby's arrival in general read this