Realistic C Section Hospital Bag

Realistic c section hospital bag
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A realistic c section hospital bag. I took a poll from some of my fellow nurse friends to be sure I wouldn’t forget anything, realizing we all have different needs, I wanted to try my best not to leave anything out.  

You will only stay in the hospital for 3-4 days after a c section and 2 days after a vaginal delivery.  It’s unnecessary to bring everything you can possibly think of to the hospital, most of which you may not even use.  These items are perfect for your hospital bag for cesarean section as well as anyone preparing a hospital bag for labor.

You don’t need an ultimate c section hospital bag checklist; you need a realistic one because hospitals provide almost everything for you.

As always, I like to stick with the essentials!  Ok, here’s my list of a realistic c section hospital bag.

Realistic Hospital Bag Checklist

  1. Identification card/Passport/Green card
  2. Insurance card
  3. A folder for all the paperwork you will receive
  4. Toiletries
  5. Clothing for mom
  6. Clothing for your partner
  7. Clothing for baby
  8. Car seat
  9. Limited Breastfeeding items
  10. Electronics
  11. Belly band
  12. Cheap Shower shoes/flip flops
  13. Slippers
  14. Snacks for your partner
  15. Face masks

The good thing about preparing for a c section is you can take your time packing a hospital bag for your c section.

Before leaving home make sure you’ve packed your identification card, insurance cards and your birth plan if you have one.

What the hospital provides

Hospitals provide all medications including tucks medicated pads and dermoplast. All outside medication will need to be approved. They also provide sanitary pads (they are not long), ice pads, peri-bottle, mom’s underwear, although many women prefer to purchase Depends to bring to the hospital, save your money. 

For baby the hospital provides diapers, baby wipes, baby shampoo, baby comb and brush, pacifiers, bottles and nipples, baby crib, onesies with buttons at the bottom and formula. Some other items provided are non-skid socks, hospital gown, sheets, blankets, pillows, somewhere for your partner to sleep, meals for mom, towels and washcloths, toilet paper, water jug with a straw, t.v and a telephone.

Tip: Take a hospital tour, see the rooms and learn what the hospital offer. You’ll be able to view rooms if space is available and get some of your questions regarding your stay answered.  This will help determine what you need to bring as well.

What Should You Not Pack In Your Hospital Bag?

You shouldn’t bring to the hospital jewelry or a purse.  Instead, bring a small wallet or cardholder.  Don’t bring anything that might start a fire like candles or your entire house, meaning don’t bring everything you can possibly think of to the hospital.

Must Have C Section Hospital Bag

These duffel bags are great options for a c section hospital bag, a weekender bag, or a travel bag for extended stays. Each one provides more than enough room for your belongings, babies, and some for dad.

What to pack in a hospital bag for a c section. Let’s start with the basics.

C-Section Hospital Bag Checklist

Toiletries For Your C Section Hospital Bag

Some hygiene items you will need are soap/shower gel, shampoo, deodorant, travel toothpaste, and a toothbrush (hospitals usually have these two items for you), contact lens, glasses, comb & brush, hair ties, and make-up.  But let’s talk about make-up. It is recommended not to wear makeup during a surgical procedure, but you may want to bring make-up with you for photos afterward. 

Don’t forget lip balm.  Whether you are having a c section or a vaginal delivery, it’s a necessity. 

Hospital Bag For C Section Mom

Loose pajamas, a set that won’t be bothersome to your incision site, robe, the cheapest shower shoes you can find, slippers, a few nursing tanks, and nursing bras for after delivery.  Be sure to pack a comfortable outfit to go home in. Underwear as mentioned above the hospital provides. They truly are very comfortable.  If you decide to bring your own, be sure to purchase a set that won’t irritate your incision site.  Like these Kindred Bravely postpartum & c section recovery comfort panties. They come in a pack of 5. Or Wirarpa 4 pack high-waisted full brief for less. Wirarpa high-waisted underwear are of great quality.  They were actually one of my favorite pairs of underwear after my c section.  

They fit nice and snug around the belly area and provide full coverage, which was great when it’s time to stop wearing mesh underwear.

At a minimum, bring a single pair for discharge day. 

If you are anything like me and have a favorite blanket, you take everywhere you go, bring it.   I did not bring both my pillow and a blanket.  It was one or the other for me, so I brought my favorite blanket.  Because remember, you don’t need to bring everything you own.

You can wear a hospital gown your entire stay, but it’s nice once you’re up on your own and showered to wear your own clothing. 

Some moms like to bring their own hospital gowns, and that’s ok too.  This is a great hospital gown for vaginal deliveries and for c section mamas to put on after surgery. Another good option is a sleep shirt, which allows for easy access if you are breastfeeding, or a pajama set that works great for pregnancy and beyond.

Belly BandI hesitate to add this item for your c section hospital bag. It is, however, listed in the C Section Recovery Kit must-have postpartum items.  Every hospital I have worked in has provided belly bands while in the hospital.  They are a mess by the end of your stay, but another item I don’t think you need to bring to the hospital.  It is definitely a needed postpartum item, though.

Related: Gifts For Expecting Moms

What To Pack In A Hospital Bag For Dad

This solely depends on whether your partner will stay in the hospital with you the entire time or go home to shower and change clothes.  But I will list all items for a continued stay with mom.

Related: Best Gifts For expecting Dads

Realistic Hospital Bag Checklist For Baby

There is truly not much you need to bring to the hospital for a baby.  I know it’s hard to resist the cute little outfits and pretty bows, but save them for a later date.

  • Baby blanket 
  • Going home clothes for baby. You can do an onesie or a “new to the crew” two-piece outfit.
  • Newborn outfit if you plan on doing newborn photos, but even with newborn photos most are done with a swaddle blanket, and maybe a bow. 😉
  • Car seat

The car seat.  Don’t leave home without this because you can’t leave the hospital without it.  Yes, you can always have someone go back and get it but it is 100% necessary to have the manual read, car seat, and base installed in your car and you’ve taken the time to learn your car seat system.  It’s important!

The last note on baby items: these all can be packed in mom’s c section hospital bag or your partner’s bag.  I promise you don’t need to bring the diaper bag unless you want.

Nursing Accessories

It’s ok to keep this list of items simple.  Most hospitals will have a breast pump and supplies to use if you actually need one while in the hospital.  You really shouldn’t need nursing pads until home when your milk comes in and you actually start leaking milk.  The first few days will be colostrum only. 

Most hospitals also will provide small sizes of nipple ointment, but some may not.  Lots of mamas like to bring their nursing pillows. You don’t have to. If you are trying to limit what you bring to the hospital.  While in the hospital you can use pillows, they will serve the same purpose.

Related: Breastfeeding Station

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How Dads Can Support Breastfeeding

Q&A- Black Women Breastfeeding


Please for the love of all things wonderful do not bring an entertainment device to hookup to the hospital’s t.v. Your partner doesn’t need this, they have work to do like being your emotional support and being right there for your every need.  Yes, your nurse is there too, but he or she won’t be in the room with you the entire time.

Unless you need to do work, I would certainly leave the laptop behind.  Try to limit bringing more expensive items to the hospitals.  Things get lost or forgotten.  Something smaller like an Amazon Fire would be a better option.  Phone charger, portable charger, music playlist, camera

My husband created a playlist and my provider let us play music in the operating room.  I’m pretty sure we didn’t listen to music for the rest of our stay because we were busy with our new baby and exhausted.


You will need to check with your provider on how soon you can eat after delivery, but for dad having some snacks on hand is nice.  

What should I wear home from the hospital after the c section?

Comfortable clothing such as leggings. If you have a pair of regular Spanx or maternity Spanx, they will hold things up and give you that nice snug fit.  

A comfortable lounge outfit, or a dress, that won’t irritate your incision and allows you to move freely. This button-down top from Old Navy is long sleeve, gives you room to breathe, and easy access for breastfeeding. Their mid-rise joggers are another option for comfort.  

What to have ready when you get home

Two of the best things you can do to make the transition from hospital to home easier is having food ready, heat and eat and have the area you will spend the most time in with the baby set up with everything you may need.

C-Section Hospital Stay

Most c section hospital stays are 3 days long.

Bonus Prep For C Section 

For the mamas who may not have the time on their hands to put together a hospital bag.

Pre Packed Maternity Bag

Hospital or Birth Center Bag

What’s Included:

  • Duffle bag
  • Pajamas
  • Toiletries
  • Hospital or birth center checklist
  • Facial wipes
  • Hair tie
  • Envelope for documents

To add an eye mask, baby items, slippers or a robe is an additional charge.

Birth Goodies

What’s Included:

  • Tote bag
  • Shower towel
  • Water jug
  • Hair ties
  • White noise machine
  • Pacifier
  • Baby onesie
  • Nipple pads
  • Nursing/ car seat cover
  • Swaddle
  • Toiletry kit
  • Muslin blanket
  • Non-slip socks

Sunflower Mother Deluxe C-Section Recovery Box– Have this setup and ready to go once home. Having everything you need set up in a bathroom you will use the most is a lifesaver.

If you are a planned/scheduled c-section this is a really good aftercare c section kit. If the plan was to attempt a vaginal delivery but you deliver by c section this kit will be great for you too. 😉

What’s Included:

  • c-section recovery panty
  • abdominal heat/cool pack
  • post pregnancy panties
  • stool softener
  • perineal cleansing bottle
  • Epsom bath soak
  • witch hazel pads
  • stretch mark/incision oil
  • candle

I hope you find this hospital bag checklist for a c section helpful and remember to only bring the essentials!  

Come back to this packing list for a scheduled c section as much as you need to.

Congratulations mama, you got this!

C Section Hospital Bag FAQs

When should I pack my hospital bag for a c section?

You want to give yourself enough time to have your hospital bag ready for the “just in case”. It’s a good idea to pack your c-section or vaginal birth hospital bag around 32 weeks.  Starting a little early vs last minute will also allow you to add things as you go if you have forgotten something initially.

What do I need in a hospital bag for c section?

In your hospital bag for c section, you will need any important paperwork, ID and insurance card, clothing, and hygiene essentials for you and your partner.  You will also need some items for the baby such as going home outfits and clothes for newborn photos if you decide to do them.

Do they give you a catheter during the C section?


Can I wear socks during c section?

Lots of hospitals will put non-skid socks on you prior to your c section.  If you bring your own, be sure they are a pair, you don’t mind throwing away later.

Should I shave before my c section?

You can do it yourself or your nurse will take care of the shaving to get you ready.

Should I bring my breastfeeding pillow to the hospital?

You certainly can bring your nursing pillow to the hospital if you prefer, but you can also use pillows the hospital provides to assist you with breastfeeding.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.

Note: This post is not intended to provide medical advice, it is for informational purposes only.

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