What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for a C-Section

If you were to do a quick search on the internet, you would come up with TONS of posts about what to pack in your hospital bag–and with those tons of posts, you would find a variety of different opinions. No one is right or wrong. What to pack in your bag is obviously a matter of preference, and before I had my first baby, I found it really helpful to read through several of those posts and then form my own opinion.

I've had all three of my babies by c-section, so I wanted to focus a post specifically on what to pack in a hospital bag for a c-section. There are plenty of posts that will tell you what you should pack in your bag for baby, so I'm only going to address what mom needs in this post.


  • High-waisted underwear. You need something that is going to sit above your incision, or you are going to be in a world of hurt. I also highly recommend getting dark colored undies, because they hide potential stains from all the lovely fluids you'll be leaking. Of course you can skip bringing undies if you prefer–the hospital will provide you with disposable mesh ones, but I find having my own makes me feel a little more human. My favorite postpartum undies are from Kindred Bravely.

  • Soft, wire-free nursing bras. Having a couple really comfortable, stretchy, wire free bras to help shape and give you support while figuring out nursing really come in handy. Don't worry about choosing a nursing bra with a band and cup size yet. Until your milk regulates (about 2 weeks after baby is born), you'll want something that is very flexible size wise, which is why a wire free, stretchy nursing bra fits the bill. Sidenote: I also highly recommend getting fitted by a bra-fitting expert after your milk regulates so can make certain you're wearing the correct size so you don't have your bra causing issues like plugged ducts and mastitis. Check out Bra Fittings By Court–she's an absolute bra wizard!
  • Going home outfit. While in the hospital, I always preferred wearing the actual gown the hospital provided because of all the fluids coming out of my lady parts. I wouldn't want to get my own clothes dirty. Plus, after a c-section it's a lot of effort to get out of bed to change. It's really not worth the energy to try to put on clothing while at the hospital. For a going home outfit, I recommend a dress. Just skip the pants, no matter how baggy. For one reason, your core is going to be absolute garbage after a c-section. It is hecka difficult to lift up your legs to put them into pants. Second, you aren't going to want any sort of waistband anywhere near that incision. My favorite comfy dresses are from Dwell & Slumber.
  • Slippers. When I did finally get up to walk around, I liked having my own, comfy slippers to cushion my feet against the cold hospital floor. Something that is easy to slide into is ideal, because once again, lifting your legs or bending over will require a lot of effort for the next several days. You'll be surprised how uncoordinated the lower half of your body will be for just a bit. 
  • Robe. These days, a lot of moms are concerned with looking nice for photos after delivering a baby. If you don't deliver baby in your own, cute nursing gown, a great alternative it to purchase a pretty robe (which is something you can actually keep using again after delivery!) and put it on over your hospital gown for photos. Plus, hospital rooms can be chilly, so it's nice to have an extra layer you can easily put on. 


The hospital will usually provide you with a small care kit that contains a toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant, chapstick, shampoo, and body wash, but I always prefer to have my own things. Packing a separate, small zipper pouch with travel sizes of your regular toiletries a couple days in advance of your c-section date takes away a lot of the hassle of getting your hospital bag together. 

I always toss my makeup bag in my stuff the morning of my c-sections as well, because I think it's always nice to spend a couple minutes on yourself after having a human torn out of your abdomen. ;)

Other essentials

  • Nursing pillow. A lot of posts out there will tell you to leave the nursing pillow at home, but I found it to be an absolute must for after a c-section. Learning to breastfeed is difficult enough without trying to support baby just right to keep him or her off your very tender incision area. I always say I would rather have something and not need it, than really want it and not have it! If you think you may not end up using it, just leave it in the car and send someone to fetch it if you do end up wanting it. 
  • Belly Bandit or other abdominal binder. A lot of moms will wear these kinds of things to help get back to their pre-pregnancy size more quickly, and while that's nice (and totally works, in my experience of using one with my youngest two, but not with my first!), the best benefit of an abdominal binder after a c-section is that it helps keep your core together and gives you a lot of support while standing and helps greatly reduce back pain after a c-section. I really do like the Classic Belly Bandit, but my all time favorite is Belly Bandit's Mother Tucker Leggings. They really helped me not only feel confident in my body postpartum, but the compression and support on those things is INSANE. I felt so much for comfortable and in much less pain walking around wearing those things than when I didn't wear them. Do yourself a favor and grab a pair or two. I still wear mine regularly, at 9 months postpartum. 
  • High-fiber snacks. Prunes, dates, apples, raspberries, and oranges are great things to munch on after a c-section. You're going to be pretty backed up, and the more you can do to help move things along, the better. I really wish I had skipped the constipation medicine after my last baby and just stuck to the natural way of eating high-fiber foods. One of the potential side effects of laxative medication is diarrhea, and unfortunately I did deal with that after my last baby. Not fun at all when you're trying to care for a newborn who needs to nurse every couple of hours. 
  • The "duh" items. I'm obligated to make sure you remember to pack a photo ID, health insurance cards, phone charger, etc. 

Those are my must haves for after a c-section! What do you pack in your bag for a c-section?

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