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Essentials for Your C-Section Hospital Bag: Pack Smart, Recover Faster!

I originally wrote this for a friend so it’s not super polished but it has all my suggestions based on my two c-sections so I thought it might help others too – here it goes!

For more tips on preparing for a C-section, be sure to take a look at this blog post!

List of Essential Items

  • Birth plan – It may be easy to think that you don’t a birth plan for a c-section but a c-section can be so different depending on your requests. I was so lucky with the surgeon and all the staff that did my second c-section. The midwife in my pre-op appointment told me I couldn’t do skin to skin straight after having a c-section, but Sebby was literally put on me as soon as he came out and latched on straight away. It was a million miles away from the c-section where Theo was taken away for 45 minutes as soon as he was born. You can’t guarantee anything and of course things don’t always go to plan but ensuring that everyone knows what you would like, will maximise the chances of it going your way ❤
  • Phone and charger – No explanation needed!
  • Lip balm and hand cream – There is nothing worse than being somewhere and having dried lips and no lip balm or having dry hands. I had a little bag that was big enough for lip balm, hand cream, snacks, earphones, everything that I may need that I kept at arms length.
  • Toiletries and wash bag – Including a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, hairbands, perfume, and moisturiser and any other face bits. I didn’t do much when it came to my appearance while in hospital but I did really appreciate the things I did do.
  • Hairbrush – You may not have too much time (or inclination!) to style your hair while you are in the hospital, but of course, you will need to brush it to prevent it from becoming tangled. I love this Wet Brush and take it with me everywhere, its lightweight and ideal for brushing you hair after a c-section.
  • Pouch to put an jewellery in – to avoid things getting lost while you are having your op.
  • Baby wipes – You might not want to shower straight after your c-section so since you will have the baby wipes with you anyway, you may as well use them to freshen up!
  • Nursing bras – If you hope to breastfeed, this is super important. I started with ‘proper’ nursing bras but very quickly I realised, for me, I don’t have time for silly little clips 😂 so I switched to nursing crops like this and they are honestly so much better. If your boobs are on the larger side (bigger than a D-ish), this may not work so well but for a D and below it works well.
  • Big knickers – Some people suggest buys a pack of big high waisted pants but in my experience disposable pants like this are actually far more comfortable postpartum. After your c-section, you will need pants that will come up over your waist to cover your c-section wound.
  • Breast pads – Another essential item for your c-section hospital bag is a pack of breast pads. Breast pads will help to catch leakages through your nursing bra and ensure that moisture is drawn away from your skin. I personally loved these reusable ones. But for the hospital stay I would recommend disposable ones because the reusable ones need to be washed after each use which isn’t ideal if you end up being in hospital for a few days.
  • Maternity padsMaternity pads are not just for vaginal deliveries and are a must-have item to pack in your c-section hospital bag. Bringing along enough pads to last you around two to four days.
  • Flip- flops or slip-on shoes – Bending down to tie shoelaces is not ideal (or even possible!) when you are recovering from a c-section, so it is important to plan ahead and pack shoes that you can simply slip on, I loved my Birkenstocks.
  • Button down dresses – I cannot recommend this highly enough – when I went in to hospital to have Theo I had no idea a) how big my tummy was going to be even after Theo had been born b) I wasn’t planning on having a c-section so hadn’t really been thinking about things rubbing on a scar so the outfits I had were totally unsuitable so my lovely sisters ran out to the shop and bought me a few loose button down dresses. After having the c-section, pyjamas/trousers are a no-go immediately after your c-section, because of your tummy, your scar but also because of the catheter that you will have fitted for up to 12 hours following the operation. I found button down dresses were the most practical to wear in hospital
  • Snacks – Since you won’t be able to eat before your C-section, it’s a good idea to pack some snacks in your hospital bag. That way, you’ll have something convenient to nibble on whenever you are feeling a bit peckish on the postnatal ward.
  • Going home outfit – I wore a button down dress as my going home outfit which work well.
  • Water bottle with straw – staying hydrated when giving birth is so important and I literally cannot recommend this enough! A bottle with a straw will see you through your time in hospital, through your breastfeeding journey and endless days out as your little one grows up. I love my Frank Green one. I generally drink a lot of water and found it so difficult not drinking water the morning of my section, I was lying on the table soooooo thirsty, they literally handed me a wet flannel and let me suck it 😂

List of Items to Consider Packing

  • Fan – I don’t know about how hospitals are in the US, but if you are giving birth in the summer months in the UK and its meant to be warm, I recommend taking a little USB fan. Plus it will be useful going forwards with your little one. This fan has become a firm favourite in our household.
  • Blanket – And if you are having a winter baby, consider a cosy blanket from home, there is nothing like a piece of home!
  • Bluetooth speaker – I have the older version of this, all hospitals are different so its worth checking at your pre-op appointment but I took this speaker into my c-section and had a Spotify playlist ready.
  • Breastfeeding pillow – Sitting in the right position can make all the difference when you are breastfeeding and this is even more true when you have had a c-section. I had one like this. I didn’t take one when I had Theo, its totally fine not having one, but its a lot easier having one!
  • Extra pillows – This is worth taking if you don’t have a breastfeeding pillow but I wouldn’t say they are both necessary.
  • Games – We took Dobble to play while we were waiting for our turn. When I had Sebby, we were really lucky to be top of the queue but I know others had to wait a while.
  • Lightweight laptop – It was probably extenuating circumstances because of Covid but I did take my lightweight laptop in to hospital but I was in for 5 days while Theo had preventative antibiotics and I watched a lot Friends, its was ideal because doctors and nurses were constantly coming in and out and I could just zone in and out to Friends as needed.

Items for The Baby Bag

  • Baby hat
  • Sleepsuits – ones like this one with a zip and built in socks and scratch mittens like this one are the best, plus they grow with your baby.
  • Vests
  • An outfit for going home in
  • Snowsuit or star wrap if the weather is cold.
  • Newborn nappies
  • Cotton wool or wipes – we loved our reusable wipes and a spray water bottle but I defo just recommend wipes or cotton wool while you are in hospital.
  • Muslin squares – 3 is probably sufficient.
  • Car seat for the trip home. We had a car seat that was fixed in the car so we also took a sling for them to discharge Theo but check this.
  • A blanket or extra large muslin.

List of Items to Take into the C-Section

These bits are mentioned in the list above but are things you will want to take with you for the actual op.

  • Baby hat – for as soon as your baby is born. Some people also recommend mittens but I don’t recommend them because they just fall off!
  • Phone to take photos and for the playlist
  • Speaker

It’s best to pack enough clothes, pads, snacks, and baby essentials for 36 hours. With any luck, you’ll be home before then. If you end up needing to stay longer, someone can always bring you additional items.

I hope you have found this list useful. I hope all goes well with your c-section and just remember, no sweat mama – you’ve got this <3

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