What To Pack In Your C-Section Hospital Bag – Checklist & Tips

What should I pack in my C-section hospital bag

Article by Jessica Pierce – Registered Nurse & Nationally Registered Paramedic

Whether you’re a first-time mom or a veteran baby mama, the idea of packing for a several-day stay at the hospital might seem daunting after nine exhausting months of pregnancy.

Things can get even more complicated when you’re preparing for a C-section. In this article, we’re going to walk you through a complete list of anything and everything you’ll need in your C-section hospital bag to keep you and your family comfortable until it’s time to bring baby home.

This article is not a substitute for medical advice.

What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag For A Scheduled C-Section

The most important consideration for packing a C-section hospital bag is to stay organized! This will minimize the frustration of digging all the way to the bottom of a giant suitcase looking for something for you or your baby.

With this in mind, we’ve broken down your ultimate packing list into three separate components: what to pack for yourself, for your baby, and for your partner or support person.

Things To Pack In Your Hospital Bag For Yourself

Here’s a list of things every mom to be should pack in her hospital bag for a scheduled C-section:

1. All Necessary Documents

You’ll want to bring your ID, a copy of your insurance card, and any special paperwork or instructions from your doctor. If you’ve received any pre procedure instructions for a scheduled c-section, toss those in the hospital bag to make sure you don’t forget anything.

2. Tech Supplies

Don’t forget to pack your cell phone and a phone charger. C-sections are a major surgery, so chances are you won’t want to be running around your hospital room looking for an outlet right away. It’s a great idea to bring a charger with an extra long cord.

3. Underwear

Choose underwear that doesn’t dig into your incision area. You’ll want several pairs that are snug enough to feel secure without rubbing on your skin, but also loose enough to avoid excessive compression or friction across your healing incision.

It may be a good idea to opt for high waisted underwear so that the waist band doesn’t rub against the incision. High waisted underwear can also provide an extra layer of protection over any bandages in place, preventing them from being peeled off.

Here’s a pro tip: most hospitals carry mesh underwear in their unit stock rooms. These mesh panties are lightweight and reported to be very comfortable, so consider asking your labor and delivery nurse for a few pairs!

4. Nursing Bras & Pads

Bring several comfortable and well fitting nursing bras. Keep in mind that milk leakage is a thing, so depending on how many pairs you own, you might also want to pack a few pairs of nursing pads to keep your bras from getting soaked through.

5. Toiletries

In your own bag, bring all the basic toiletries you’d pack for a regular trip, plus a few extra comfort items such as lip balm, hair ties, dry shampoo, and a stool softener.

Since a C-section is a major abdominal surgery, you definitely won’t want to be straining to go to the bathroom as this can put unnecessary pressure on your incision area and cause increased pain.

In case you forget, however, stool softeners are stocked in nearly all hospital medication rooms. Don’t be afraid to pull your nurse aside and ask for some if you’re feeling stopped up!

Packing Hospital Bag for Scheduled C-Section

6. Sanitary Pads

Although a C-section birth is quite different from a vaginal birth, you’ll still have a fair amount of bleeding and/or discharge after your planned C-section. Pack some sanitary napkins in your hospital bag to keep your undies clean and your mind at ease.

Maternity pads are also one of the key essentials that you will need during your C-section recovery.

7. Mouth Fresheners

A great idea to include in your C-section hospital bag in case you end up feeling sick.

8. Towel, Robe, Cozy Loungewear & Post-Surgery Hospital Gown

While you’ll need to wear a hospital gown in preparation for a scheduled C-section, a nursing-friendly robe from home will be far more comfortable after giving birth via C-section.

You’ll also want to pack easy to wear clothing such as maternity pants, loose drawstring pants and tank top that will not dig into your incision and give you easy access to your breast for feeding or pumping.

After the C-section pajamas set may not be the best option but you can wear your own gown that looks similar to the hospital one (make sure to choose one that you can easily unbutton in the front and back – for nursing or checkups).

If you’re unsure which nightwear is most comfortable after cesarean birth, check my full list of clothes to wear after C-section, including those first few days in the hospital.

By the way, Kindred Bravely is my absolute favorite brand for mom-approved loungewear and maternity clothes!

9. Your Own Pillows

While your hospital room should come with its own supply of linens, you might want to bring some of your own. Hospital pillows have a tendency to run on the flat side and many women prefer to bring their own pillow for better sleep.

In addition to your own pillow, you’ll probably want to pack a nursing pillow or breastfeeding pillow. It can be difficult to get good sleep in the hospital setting, especially after having surgery. Having your favorite memory foam pillow from home can make all the difference!

10. Ear Plugs

If you’re a light sleeper ear plugs will be extremely useful for those nights at the hospital – especially before your scheduled C-section surgery.

11. Comfy Footwear & Socks

Easy to wear footwear such as a pair of flip flops or slip ons are essential to pack in your hospital bag. Although your pregnancy belly will shrink a lot after your C-section, you won’t want to be bending over to put shoes on!

Consider treating yourself with a new pair of aloe infused fuzzy socks to wear post C-section. Your tired feet will certainly thank you!

12. Going Home Outfit

While we’re talking about clothes, make sure you pack something both cute and comfortable to travel home from your hospital stay in.

Have a favorite at home outfit you just couldn’t get enough of? Save it for your discharge date, so you can climb out of that hospital bed for the last time both feeling and looking great.

13. Nipple Cream

This is just one of a few essentials you’ll need if you’re planning to breastfeed your baby. Check out this list of the best natural nipple cream for our recommendations!

14. Belly Band

This is another comfort item that I can’t recommend strongly enough. C-sections are no joke – so a belly band is definitely a post surgery must have!

15. Night Light

Hospital lighting can be really harsh, so bring a soft, warm night light for night time feedings.

16. Breast Pump

This is definitely a must have if you can’t or don’t want to breastfeed but still want your little one to enjoy your precious breastmilk! Feeding your newborn with previously pumped milk is a great way for their other parent to bond with baby as well as give you a bit of a break.

What do new moms need in the hospital for C-section

Packing List For Your C-Section Hospital Bag For Your Baby

Here are some must haves for your diaper bag to make sure your sweet newborn has everything they need, right from the start:

1. Breastfeeding Pillow

Breastfeeding can be tricky to figure out, especially the first time around. Having a comfy nursing pillow can really make the difference and eliminate some frustration while you and your little one figure it all out.

2. Newborn Clothes & Diapers

Pack a going home outfit for your baby (or two, just in case an *accident* happens!). Make sure you have enough diapers for a few days, and a hat to keep baby’s head warm. Depending on the weather, you may want to include several warming layers in your hospital bag just to be safe.

Check out our recommendations for best outfits for summer babies going home from hospital.

3. Swaddle & Burp Cloths

As they say, “poop” happens…and so does spit up. Make sure you have spit up rags readily available as well as some baby sized swaddle blankets to keep everyone warm and cozy during breastfeeding or skin to skin time.

4. Baby Wipes & Diaper Cream

Ensure you have everything you need to keep your newest family member clean and dry. Wipes and diaper cream are essential. You might also want to bring some antibiotic cream to clean your newborn’s umbilical cord with as well.

5. “BBG”

This stands for “baby booger getter,” in case you were wondering. This is the little suction bulb you can use to safely remove excess snot from your newborn’s nose.

6. Appropriately Sized Car Seat

This might be the most important item to pack in your hospital bag for baby! Technically speaking, you can’t actually leave the hospital without it.

Pro tip: practice installing and uninstalling the car seat in your car a few times to make sure you’ve got the hang of it.

7. Pacifier Or Two

If you’re planning to use pacifiers with your little one, toss a few in the diaper bag as well as a pacifier clip to make sure they don’t end up on the dirty floor!

Checklist For Your Partner

Whether your partner or a family member is accompanying you to the hospital, it’s important that they be prepared too. Bonus points if they pack their own things, but it’s still a great idea to send this list their way.

What to pack in C-section hospital bag for my husband

1. C-Section Hospital Bag Of Their Own

It’s probably a good idea for your support person to keep their things in a separate bag from yours for the sake of efficiency. The less stuff you have to dig through to find what you’re looking for, the better!

2. Bedding Of Their Choice

Hospital beds aren’t really built for two. If your partner is planning to stay with you overnight, they’ll likely end up on a pull out sofa or recliner in the room with you. They’ll need to bring pillows and blankets for themselves so you can both get a good night’s sleep.

3. Toiletries And Clothing

Have your partner pack their bag with their standard toiletries and clothing for a few days. They might be able to run home to grab more if needed, so this isn’t necessarily a huge deal; however, they may not want to leave your side so it’s best to be prepared.

4. Something For Spare Time

Your partner will probably want something to keep them occupied while you’re in surgery…or sleeping off the post C-section exhaustion. Have them toss a book, their laptop, or portable gaming system into their bag.

5. Snacks

It’s a good idea to pack some snacks in your hospital bag for your partner. (And for you too! Depending on your hospital, and your condition, you may be able to have some snacks during labor).

When Should I Pack My Hospital Bag For A C-Section?

It’s a good idea to pack your hospital bag a few weeks before your due date, or the date of your surgery for a scheduled C-section. Labor can occur early and unpredictably, so there’s some chance that you could be headed to the hospital earlier than intended.

Consider printing out your hospital bag checklist a month or so before your C-section, and adding things to the bag as you get them. This way, you won’t be missing your hair ties or dry shampoo after an unexpected rush to the hospital!

Things You Don’t Need To Pack In Your C-Section Hospital Bag

While it is important to be prepared, there are a few things that you could probably leave off of your C-section packing list. Here’s a short listing of what can be left at home:

Too Many Outfits

Options are good, but overpacking isn’t the way to go! The last thing you’ll want to do after a C-section is haul a bunch of luggage out to your car. Stick to the things you know you won’t be able to do without.

Lots Of Expensive Items

It’s probably a good idea to leave the fancy jewelry at home. A standard part of surgery prep is removing all of your own clothing and accessories, and while the hospital can keep your wedding ring in its safe, leaving your expensive things at home will bring more peace of mind.

Shoes For Baby

Your little one will be fine leaving the hospital in warm socks!

Check Your Insurance Plan

Some insurance plans cover a few essential baby supplies that will be provided free of charge at the hospital. However, this can vary based on the type of plan that you have, so make sure to double check what is or is not covered!

When Should I Pack My Hospital Bag For A C-Section

Useful Tips For Packing For Your Hospital Stay After C-Section

Here are some helpful tips for getting the most out of your C-section hospital bag:

  • If you have time, pull this list back out the day before you head to the hospital for your planned C-section to ensure that you have everything you need.
  • If you accidentally pack too much, consider asking family or visitors to take unneeded items home for you. This will make packing everything up to go home that much easier!
  • Have some friends come up to your room to help you carry everything out once you’re discharged. If this isn’t an option, consider packing everything in a rolling suitcase so you don’t have to carry anything except your beautiful new baby.

Article By Jessica Pierce, RN

Jessica Pierce is Registered Nurse, Nationally Registered Paramedic, writer, and contemporary dance artist based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She holds two undergraduate degrees from Oral Roberts University – a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (2018) and a Bachelor’s of Art in Dance Performance (2019).

The purpose of this article is informative. It’s not a substitute for professional medical advice or medical care. Remember: safety first! Consult your doctor/pediatrician in case of any doubts. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.








About Me - Zooey BarnettHello Moms! I am Zooey. I am a wife and a mother of three amazing kids: almost 5-year-old Haley and 2-year-old twins Jesse and Matthew. I am a jogger, cooker and blogger.

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