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Having a C-section? Here’s how to pack your C-section hospital bag so you are ready! We’ve even included items to pack for dad and baby, as well as the items you can go ahead and leave at home. Grab the free printable so you’re to pack everything you need!
As I was preparing for my due date and going through my pregnancy checklist, I had skipped over everything I came across about C-sections. Surely I wasn’t going to have one. Well, after 30+ hours of labor I ended up having a C-section and Evelyn’s birth story was my first reminder that as a mom I am rarely in control.
Luckily, I came plenty prepared and fared just fine in the hospital. Here is how I would recommend packing your C-section hospital bag and how I will pack my C-section hospital bag the next time around!
When Should I Pack My Hospital Bag for My C-Section?
If you’re having a scheduled C-section, then you know exactly when to head to the hospital. It’s a good idea to have your hospital bag packed by the time you are 36 weeks or about 8 months pregnant. You never know if baby will try to come sooner, so it’s always good to be prepared. Plus, you’ll continue to grow and become more and more uncomfortable the closer you get to your due date.
After you pack your bag, keep it in the car or by the door so it’s ready once it’s go time!
What Do I Need in My Hospital Bag for A C-Section?
Not every mom will need ALL of these items. When you are packing your hospital bag, be realistic about what you think you might need and use.
Do you like to have all the amenities just in case? Or are you more of a minimalist pack-the-basics kind-of-girl? Use this packing list as a guide to decide what you will pack in your hospital bag for your C-section and go from there.
- Driver’s license and insurance card. Always good to have these.
- C-section birth plan. You can still have a say in your delivery preferences, even with a C-section. I love the free printable that Kindred Bravely provides!
- Bathrobe. The hospital or birth center will provide you with a hospital gown but it’s nice to get into something a little prettier and more comfortable. Choose dark colors and be aware that it could get stained with blood or fluids. (I wasn’t expecting so much bleeding with a C-section, so there you go.)
- Cardigan. Throw on an open front sweater when people are visiting or when you walk the halls. This helps you cover up a bit and gives you a little more privacy.
- Nursing bras. You’ll be feeding around the clock those first few days, so bring a supportive nursing bra that you can live in.
- Nursing pads. If your milk comes in right away you may need these to help with leaking.
- Journal and pen. I jotted down notes from Evelyn’s birth story as it happened. You can also keep track of feedings and any important questions you have for doctors and lactation consultants. (Hello new mom brain!)
- An outfit for you to wear home. Bring something comfortable and loose fitting. It will probably hurt to wear anything against your incision. I recommend a loose maxi skirt or loose drawstring pants. I lived in the same maxi skirt for about 2 weeks after Evelyn was born!
- Chapstick or lip balm: I never go anywhere without mine!
- Toiletries: toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, hair brush, headband, hair ties, dry shampoo, and makeup wipes. Bring some makeup if you can’t live without it. I barely even took a shower while I was in the hospital though, let alone put on makeup.
- Cell phone and charger. There will be so many precious moments to capture and lots of congratulatory messages coming in!
- Slip on shoes. After a C-section, the nurses encourage you to walk around. Slip some comfortable shoes or slippers on so you can walk the halls. Bending over post C section will not be an option. My feet were so swollen that they didn’t even fit in flip flops. Next time I’ll bring an easy slip on shoe.
- Flip flops or shoes that can get wet for the shower.
- Magazines. Just in case you have any down time and feel like flipping through something other than social media.
- Your own pillow. The hospital beds are fine, but it’s always nice to have your own pillow. Make sure it has a unique pattern or colored pillowcase so you can distinguish it from the hospital pillows and don’t leave it behind.
- Nursing pillow. Some women like to have this, but I didn’t need it while I was in the hospital. This is one of those items you can leave in the car just in case you need it.
Download the Free Printable Hospital Bag Checklist
What to Pack for Baby
Don’t forget to pack a few essentials for your baby so you are ready to go home as soon as you are discharged. You really don’t need a lot for baby as the hospital should provide most things. Here are a few things to include in your bag for baby.
- Baby swaddle to match mom’s robe. Okay, this is so not essential and might be a little extra of me, but you can buy matching mommy robes with baby swaddles and I think it’s the cutest thing ever!
- Going home outfits. Bringing baby home is a special moment to document! You’ll want a cute going home outfit! We packed a newborn outfit as well as a 0–3 outfit since we weren’t sure how big our baby would be.
- Car seat and base. Gotta keep baby safe!
What Your Partner Should Pack in their Bag
Don’t forget about your partner’s bag. Make sure they have everything they need so they can fully support you and baby during your hospital stay.
- Several changes of clothes. If you have a C-section, you will be there at least a few days.
- Toiletries. Include a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, and any other grooming items dad needs.
- Snacks and money for the vending machine. The hospital will provide mom with meals, but not for dad.
- Books or magazines. Just in case there is any down time.
- Medicine. Make sure you include any over the counter medicine, such as ibuprofen. My husband got a bad headache and the hospital couldn’t give him anything since he wasn’t a patient.
- Pillow and blanket: The hospital should have some, but it’s always nice to have comforts from home.
Things you Don’t Need to Pack in Your C-section hospital bag
Don’t even worry about including these items in your C-section hospital bag! The hospital will provide you with plenty of the following. You can check with the hospital before hand to make sure they will have these essentials if you want to be extra cautious. Do keep these items fully stocked and ready for you at home for your postpartum recovery, because that’s when you will need them!
- Underwear. Just rep those mesh undies that the hospital provides. I found them to be loose enough so they didn’t bother my incision. If you don’t like the mesh undies, pack some high-waisted underwear.
- Pads. The hospital will provide these too. Make sure you have a stack at home waiting for you though. (Childbirth is so fun and beautiful, amirite?)
- Diapers and wipes. The hospital will give you as many diapers and wipes as you need. Save your stash because you’ll be buying diapers for awhile, unless you cloth diaper.
- Bottles: If you plan to formula feed, the hospital should provide you with a bottle and formula to feed baby.
- Medication. Again, the hospital will provide everything mom and baby need, including OTC medicine like stool softeners and acetaminophen.
- Clothes for baby. You’ll do a ton of skin-to-skin contact and be feeding baby a ton so there’s really no point in dressing baby daily. The hospital will provide swaddles but you can bring your own if you want a specific pattern or fabric. Besides a going home outfit, you don’t need additional clothes for baby.
A few Additional Tips When You’re Packing Your Hospital Bag for A C-Section
- Hospital rooms are fairly small. You don’t want big pieces of luggage taking up valuable space. Pack the essentials and leave items you aren’t sure you’ll need in the car. Your partner can always grab them in a pinch.
- If you forget something and decide you really need it, ask a friend or family member to bring it when they come and visit you and baby. People are always happy to help a new mom!
- My husband also found the linen closet at our hospital and helped himself to extra pillows and blankets since he didn’t pack any.
Final Advice for What to Pack in your C Section Hospital Bag
I read so many hospital bag checklists when I was pregnant and I packed ALL of the things. My C-section was not planned and Evelyn’s birth was such a whirlwind. You know how much I actually opened up my perfectly packed hospital bag? Probably to grab my toothbrush and then when it was time to go home. Pack the essentials and don’t stress it too much, because the hospital will take care of you and your baby. If you forget to pack something, it will be okay!
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