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What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag When Having A C-Section

For the most part, the majority of women do not want to have a cesarean section. It’s major surgery and recovery is much longer than a traditional vaginal birth.

What Is A Cesarean?

By definition: A Cesarean section is surgery to deliver a baby. During this procedure, the baby is delivered through surgical incisions made in the abdomen and the uterus. In the United States, almost one in three women delivers their babies this way. Some C-sections are planned, but many are done when unexpected problems happen during delivery.

So with those stats in mind, whether you’re going in for a planned c-section or are hoping for a vaginal birth, this ‘what to pack in your hospital bag when having a c-section’ list is a good thing to keep in mind since many mothers end up delivering this way. (You can read more about what to expect with a c-section birth here.)

What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About C-Sections

Why Would A Women End Up Having A C-Section

A cesarean section, also called a C-section, is a surgical procedure performed when a vaginal delivery is not possible or safe, or when the health of the mother or the baby is at risk. While more rare, there are some doctors who also allow for an elective c-section where surgery isn’t necessarily needed but more of a preference of the mother.

Why I Make A List

I like to be prepared and have become a list maker over the years. Making a list helps ensure that nothing gets forgotten and helps me stay on task. (So if you haven’t been a list maker in the past, give it a try! I find I’m much more productive when I have a to-do list at hand.) Call it pregnancy brain, placenta brain, or whatever else, but ever since I was pregnant with our oldest, I NEED lists to survive. So with the upcoming arrival of baby #6, of course, I’m making my list for what to pack in your hospital bag when having a c-section.

Unfortunately, our births haven’t gone according to plan. You can read more about why we will have a 7 year space between our current youngest and this new baby on the way here. While I desired to have ‘one good hospital birth’ so I could then move on to home births, it just wasn’t meant to be. Instead, 4 out of 5 of our kiddos have been born by c-section since our VBAC with baby #2 did not go well. That means, baby #6 will also arrive by a scheduled cesarean section.

What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About C-Sections

What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag When Having A C-Section

Over the years, I’ve really cut back on what I bring with to the hospital. With baby #1, I definitely OVER-PACKED. That meant dragging heavy bags TO the hospital and then back home again. Not only was it a pain but recovering from major abdominal surgery and unpacking all that stuff wasn’t fun. So I’m here to share what you REALLY need to pack in your hospital bag when having a c-section (but this list would also go well with a vaginal birth delivery too).

What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag When Having A C-Section

Hospital Bag Must Haves

Cell Phone + Charger

Even if you don’t plan to call or text anyone the day of the birth, you’ll most likely want to snap dozens of photos of your bundle of joy. So be sure to bring along your cell phone and a charger.

NOTE: Please let your family and close friends know all is well and provide the baby announcement news to them directly, either by call or text, as opposed to letting them find out over a social media post. (This could be a job for your significant other to do. As a matter of fact, creating a list ahead of time of who needs this special personal announcement is wise so you don’t forget anyone in the moment.)

Nursing Bra + Accessories:

If you plan to nurse, having a comfortable nursing bra is a MUST! My favorites tend to be the ‘sleep’ nursing bras because they allow you to just pull the fabric down and up as needed without any clasps, snaps, or fuss. To me, this is essential when first learning (or re-learning) how to breastfeed. (Not only that, I’ve found that this style bra is best for preventing clogs and issues!) For accessories, be sure to also pack some nursing pads (in case your milk comes in quick) as well as cream for your nipples. <—I highly recommend Bamboobies reusable pads! They’ve been my favorite for years as they wash well and are super soft and comfortable.

pregnant mom on bed - Kindred Bravely - Organic Cotton Nursing & Sleep Bra

The Kindred Bravely Organic Cotton Nursing & Sleep Bra is a great choice whether you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, recovering from a surgery like a mastectomy, or concerned about skin sensitivities, this sustainably sourced, GOTS and OEKO-TEX certified nursing bra is the perfect choice for you and the planet. It’s carefully manufactured in a chemical-free environment at a Fair Trade certified factory, which means you won’t have to worry about skin irritants. This bra has pull-aside nursing access, no underwire, and openings in the inner layer for you to insert nursing pads if needed. Plus, the simple crossover front and sturdy fabric provide gentle support, making it the ideal go-to when a structured bra would be too much.

NOTE: I’ve nursed all five of our kiddos and the beginning week or so is always an adjustment. IT WILL HURT! But give it a little time and baby will stop feeling like a piranha and your breasts will get used to doing their new job.

Belly Binder:

This is optional but highly recommended as it helps with pain management and mobility. There is nothing worse than having to sneeze after a c-section and a Keababies binder can help support your incision to minimize the pain.

woman in binder belt - Revive 3-in-1 Postpartum Recovery Support Belt (Midnight Black, One Size)

Your wonderful body just carried a little one for nine months, enduring massive transformations throughout. After giving birth, your stretched and strained body will appreciate the support and pampering a recovery belt can provide during recovery.


After a c-section and once you have feeling back in your legs, it’s best to get up and moving as soon as possible. While not the most comfortable or easiest thing to do, start walking because this will aid in a quicker, more efficient recovery. Hospitals won’t allow you to go in the halls barefoot so pack along a comfy pair of slippers or flip flops for these short excursions.

NOTE: The hospital WILL provide you with their (usually quite ugly and uncomfortable) non-slip socks. So if you are a true minimalist, you wouldn’t NEED to bring your own pair of slippers or flip flops, however I highly recommend it.

Thin Robe

Since you’ll be donning a drafty hospital gown for a day or two, having a thin, comfortable robe to keep you covered when you’re up and about is a must unless you enjoy mooning others.

pregnant mom hugging belly - Emmaline Robe

The Emmaline Robe is a must-have for every stage of motherhood, including pregnancy to postpartum. Specially designed for moms; this cozy and stylish robe has two places to tie the belt, offering an empire or traditional waist. The ultra-soft fabric will keep you comfy and the satin collar and trim add a subtle, feminine touch.

Plus, extra-deep pockets provide storage for anything you need to have on hand while you’re breastfeeding or carrying your little one from room to room which means you’ll continue using this gorgeous robe for years to come.

Dart Blaster/ Dart Gun:

Now hear me out on this one! My husband sleeps like a ROCK! Nothing short of a kick to the shin tends to wake him up but post-surgery, there’s no way I can reach him. Throwing a pillow may seem like a good idea but I tend to miss and the motion pulls on my incision. So the best way to wake sleeping daddy in the middle of the night when I need help getting the baby or going to the bathroom is to (gently and lovingly) shoot a dart at him!

Boppy Pillow:

Not just for nursing mamas! I bring an original Boppy with to the hospital because my husband loves using it to support his arm as he holds baby. Over time, I’ve begun to appreciate the prop as well. Plus, they’re a great tool to help kiddo visitors safely hold and support baby.

mom nursing baby - Original Pillow, Newborn Lounger, & Hybrid Baby Carrier

Going Home Outfit For Baby:

Pack a cute newborn outfit to bring baby home in. MOST babies will need a newborn size right after birth so take that into consideration. Skip shoes and other ‘extras’ for this day as they’ll be too big right now anyway.

Feltman Brothers Going Home Baby outfit (1)

This Ribbed Knit Gift Set from Feltman Brothers is a great choice as well as their Baby Neutral White Pointelle Wrap Set with Hat.

  • Ribbed Knit Gift Set: This thoughtful gift set is bound to be a favorite, with its matching ribbed knit romper, hat, and blanket wrapped up with a bow – all tied up in an adorable knit gift bag. Available in three color options, choose from: Vintage Blue, Ecru, or Mauve.
  • Baby Neutral White Pointelle Wrap Set: The Pointelle Wrap Set with Hat is beautifully made of the highest quality materials.  It’s a timeless, vintage style knit set for your baby which features a classic pointelle design for an heirloom style – great as a take-me-home outfit, gift set, or for special occasions.

NOTE: While in the hospital, they will provide a t-shirt, onesie, or gown as well as blankets and even a sleepsack for baby. So no need to worry about the full days you’ll be in the hospital. Just bring something weather appropriate for take-home day.

Going Home Blanket/ Weather Appropriate Cover:

Depending on what time of year baby is born as well as where you live, you’ll either need a lightweight blanket (think muslin swaddle), mid-weight blanket, or something as warm as a carseat cover.

Stephen Joseph Swaddle Blankets

A carseat cover is something that is easily overlooked when packing and in the hospital since you’re in climate controlled comfort, so be sure to get this in your bag if you’re delivering in Fall or Winter. Even if you enter the hospital with gorgeous weather, you may leave to a surprise snowstorm or cold front.

JJ Cole Car Seat Cover (1)

Post-Partum Friendly Clothing:

Personally, I bring along my own pair of (breastfeeding friendly) pajamas to wear in the hospital on day 2 and then I get dressed on day 3. (Use the hospital’s gowns for day one as everything is pretty messy with your surgery, bleeding, etc.)

pregnant mom sitting on bed.  Davy Nursing & Maternity Pajama Set

This Davy Nursing & Maternity Pajama Set is a great choice as it’s both bump, post bump, and nursing friendly. Very few moms leave the hospital looking like they did pre-pregnancy. It took nine months to grow that belly and it’s not going to disappear overnight. So these spacious and stretchy pajamas are great for accommodating your post-birth body.

You’ll also need a post-partum, c-section friendly outfit to go home in. This should include comfortable pants, perhaps with a drawstring waist as well as a loose-fitting top that won’t pull on your incision, breasts, or anywhere else you may be aching.

pregnant mom - Everyday Lounge Joggers

The Everyday Lounge Joggers from Kindred Bravely are a great ‘going home’ pants as they are lightweight, stretchy, and super-soft. They will quickly become a favorite for years to come!

Post-Partum Panties:

Along with your post-partum clothing is the essential c-section friendly panty. While in the hospital, I highly suggest you take advantage of the mesh undies and giant pads. However, on the day you head home, be sure to pack some underwear that will be gentle on your healing scar.

High-Waisted Postpartum Recovery Panties (5-Pack)

Packing these High-Waisted Postpartum Recovery Panties means you won’t have to sacrifice comfort and style. Ideal for vaginal delivery, post-op, and ongoing C-section recovery, this full-coverage underwear is made of ultra-stretchy fabric that sits above your waist (or C-section incision) and naturally conforms to your changing body. A perfect transition from your mesh hospital underwear, these panties offer plenty of room for pads, and the wide, lace waist won’t rub or dig in. 


While not something you’ll be packing ‘in your bag’, be sure to have a non-expired infant or convertible carseat to bring baby home safely in. Most hospitals will actually watch you buckle baby in, walk you out to the vehicle, and check carseat placement in car before allowing you to leave the premises with your new bundle of joy.


For my hospital bag, I actually double up my TWELVElittle Peek-A-Boo Vegan Leather Satchel Diaper Bag as my travel bag. Equal parts stylish and spacious, it offers enough space for me to pack what I need and then I switch over to diaper bag mode after we’re home from the hospital with baby!

What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag When Having A C-Section

The Maybe List

Depending on your hospital, so check ahead of time, it may be a good idea to bring some snacks and/or money for food for dad. Mom’s food should all be included and my local hospital will even provide snacks in between meals if requested. (So be sure to ask your nurse for some food if you’re hungry before sending dad to the vending machine for you!) Some hospitals even have a mini fridge in the room so bring your own beverages for dad too.

NOTE: You should always be able to get water for free so if dad’s okay with H2O, skip bringing in extra beverages since those tend to be heavy to lug back home if any are left over.

What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag When Having A C-Section

Check out these necessities that you'll want to pack along in your hospital bag when having a baby.


It’s easy to over-pack. I had a cousin who even purchased a ton of things, only to find out the hospital provided them all! So here’s a short list of things to leave at home, don’t purchase for the hospital stay, and avoid dragging along.

  • Breast Pump: You’ll just have colostrum those first few days anyway and if, for some reason, you DO need a pump, the hospital will have one on hand for you to use during your stay.
  • Jewelry: I know you want to look nice but the last thing you’ll need is to get dolled up with jewelry. Plus, they make you take it all off for the c-section anyway and then you have to worry about it getting lost.
  • Extra Baby Clothes: You truly only need that one take-home outfit as you can change baby right before packing up into the carseat to come home. Leave the extras behind and take all the cute photos once you’re home and a bit more recovered from surgery.
  • Pads For You/Mom: As mentioned above, the hospital will provide you with mesh (throw-away) undies as well as all the pads you’ll need during your stay. Don’t waste money or space in your bag bringing extas.
  • Diapers: Hospitals will also provide baby with diapers, vaseline, etc. so no need to pack those either. As a matter of fact, if there are any left in the bag when you leave, they send them home with you!
  • Activities/Things To Do: Trust me, you won’t be bored! After major surgery, you’ll be extra tired those first couple days so when baby is asleep, you most likely will be too. When you’re awake, you’ll be tending to baby, feeding and changing baby, and snapping those photos! There truly won’t be any ‘down time’ where you’ll need activities to keep you occupied.

Amber Ludwig

Tuesday 14th of December 2021

I heard a belly binder can actually be beneficial for a vaginal delivery too!! I think I will consider one with baby #3!! Thanks for sharing one you like!

Dana Rodriguez

Friday 10th of December 2021

Great ideas. I love the Peek-A-Boo Vegan Leather Diaper Bag Satchel in Black!

Mia Rose

Friday 10th of December 2021

How helpful having a list to look through would be for anyone going in for a C-section. Also, a great idea to include a list of what to leave at home. Knowing all this is a good way to feel less stressed.

Amber Ludwig

Thursday 9th of December 2021

Love the dart gun suggestion lol!! I swear mine spent the whole time sleeping or on his phone! I would've LOVED to have that handy!