There is a lot of excitement when packing your C section hospital bag. It’s that little reminder that your baby is going to be here soon. Packing your bag is a great activity to satisfying the inner nesting desires before the big day. A c section recovery will require a few different necessities to help you care for your post op surgical scar and your added time in the hospital. Most moms will spend 3-5 days in the hospital versus 1-2 days with a vaginal delivery.
Although I have not personally had a c section before I have polled several c section moms to get their go to c section hospital bag must haves.
Why You Want to Be Prepared?
Even if you have a scheduled c section things don’t always go as planned. You could go into labor early or other symptoms may require you to have to bump up your scheduled date. My advice is pack that bag at about 37 weeks so you can be prepared whenever your baby decides to make their entrance into the world.
What not to pack in your C section hospital bag
If you are having a hospital delivery, the hospital will often provide most of the items you will need. To avoid overpacking you will want to leave these items off of your c section hospital bag checklist, as it will just end up sitting in your bag and taking up precious space. Some hospital rooms can be small so only packing the things that you need can improve your overall experience in the hospital.
What you don’t need:
- mesh underwear
- abdominal binder
- large menstrual pads
- peri bottle
- water Bottle
- baby clothes
Ultimate C Section Hospital Bag Checklist
Heading into your c section you will need a few essentials to start with. A good birth plan can effectively communicate your desires prior to your c section to your care team to improve your overall hospital experience. This includes things like skin to skin, baby feeding, and partner support. This can inform your providers of your specific goals and preferences for surgery and the immediate recovery period.
You also need to bring with you a folder to hold all the paperwork you will receive during your stay. You will receive a lot of education and instruction while in the hospital. It is unlikely you will remember it all so hold onto all your papers.
Bring a notebook to write down all the names of medical providers that took care of you or your newborn. You will receive many hospital bills postpartum. This detailed will ensure you are being billed appropriately, so you can quickly settle any issues with your insurance provider.
A notebook can be a great place to write down questions you have during your stay. When your OBGYN, Pediatrician, or other medical staff do their rounds you can remember all the questions you might have had earlier in the day.
Mom’s Must Haves
It is so nice to have your own clothing while in the hospital. A good labor and nursing gown is a great option to wear after you get to your room postoperatively. It has easy access options for assessment of your incision, evaluating bleeding, and it will allow you to breastfeed.
After the first day or two you may want to get out of the gown and into more comfortable clothing. I suggest a comfy PJ set or sweats set that is high waisted and will not sit on top of your incision. Ensure the top has easy breastfeeding access as you will be feeding every 2-3 hours to help establish your milk supply.
A lightweight robe the first few days is also a great option in the hospital and great to have at home during the postpartum period.
Packing a nice warm open front sweater or cardigan is essential as most hospital rooms are quite cold. A warm blanket should also be on your list to help you stay warm and help you get some restful sleep.
An important part of your c section recovery will be walking. You want to have some slippers that you can slip on without bending over or some non slip socks so you can get up and moving. I personally don’t mind the hospital issued socks, because I don’t want to take home any of the germs from the hospital floor. Do what works for you.
A few nursing bras and tanks are important to have if you plan on breastfeeding. Those first few days in the hospital are difficult for any breastfeeding mom no matter how many children you have had. Establishing a good milk supply, getting a good latch, positioning to avoid pain, and preventing cracked nipples are some of the challenges you will face. I like to have some nipple cream and a few breast pads on hand just in case I need them.
A nursing pillow can be very handy to help hold the baby in good breastfeeding position so you don’t have to support them on your own. Many moms love the boppy pillow or my brest friend nursing pillow.
You don’t need to bring your breast pump, because the hospital will easily be able to supply one. If you have questions about how to use it or would be more comfortable using your own then go ahead and pack it.
C Section Recovery Items
If you want to know more about what to expect during your c section recovery read more in my post here. For the most part the hospital will have all the necessary items to care for your c section scar.
I would highly recommend you get a small weighted pillow to squeeze when you need to cough, or sneeze to brace your incision. The pillow linked can be heated in the microwave to provide heat later in your recovery. It is also a cute animal that can be passed onto your little one when they get older.
You can purchase an abdominal binder but the hospital will typically supply you with one. If they don’t just ask and a nurse will be able to get one for you. The abdominal binder just adds some extra support to your incision especially as you are getting up and moving to support your recovery.
What to Wear Going Home
You have a few options when it comes to what to wear home. Some people prefer something loose that is far from their skin and other prefer a more supportive feel. A loose fitting dress is a great option especially during warmer months. Loose fitting high waisted joggers is another great option if you want a nice loose fit. Pair it will a comfortable t-shirt or sweatshirt.
Others who prefer a more fitter feel I would recommend a nice pair of high waisted maternity or non maternity leggings with a an oversized top.
Just remind yourself that you just had a baby and comfort is more important than style. You will likely just be going home so don’t stress too much about what to pack.
Don’t forget to bring some soft high waisted underwear. The higher the better. Again this is to avoid any bands resting on your incision.
As a friendly reminder, when you leave the hospital you will still look like you are about 6-9 months pregnant. Maternity clothing might be your best option to provide the comfort that you need. Your body took 9 months to create this life and it will take a good amount of time to return to a pre-baby size.
What To Pack for Baby
There is really very little that you need to pack for your baby. Most hospitals will provide really everything you need including: onesies, diapers, wipes, bathing supplies, hats, pacifiers, creams, and swaddles.
You will most likely want to pack a cute outfit and announcement sign for pictures to send home to friends and family.
Pack a cute outfit to wear home with a hat to keep them warm. You may want to bring your own swaddle blanket to also help keep them warm, but don’t worry about bringing a ton of outfits. Skin to skin is really important in those first few days and the hospital can truly supply all the outfits your newborn will need while in the hospital.
Frequently Asked Questions
What one mom needs versus another will vary. It’s hard to plan for every scenario. Remember that your spouse or a family member can always go home and bring you what you need if something unexpected happens. This checklist was built from the real experiences of c section moms to give you a c section hospital bag checklist of things you actually need to bring while avoiding all the things the hospital provides for you. Feel free to add any other items that might be specific to your circumstances.
Jess is a registered nurse with over 6+ years of critical care experience for patients young and old and is the mother of two small children. After having her own children she felt inspired to provide mothers with real actionable guidance and education to make informed decisions throughout their pregnancy and postpartum experience.