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.  Most of these items need to be packed in your c section hospital bag and are also needed for anyone preparing a vaginal delivery hospital bag.

You don’t need an ultimate 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

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.

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.  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. 

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.

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.

  • Shower shoes
  • Set of comfortable clothes for overnight. Hospitals provide blankets and pillows.
  • Toiletries

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 
  • 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.

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.  Lots of mommas like to bring their nursing pillow. 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


Please for the love of all things wonderful do not bring an entertainment device to hookup to the hospital’s t.v. Dad doesn’t need this, he has 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 a kindle would be a better option.  Phone charger, battery 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 or a comfortable lounge outfit as mentioned, that won’t irritate your incision and allows you to move freely.

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 have food ready, heat and eat and have the area you will spend the most time in with baby setup with everything you may need.

C-Section Hospital Stay

Most c section hospital stays are 3 days long.

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 baby such as going home outfit and clothes for newborn photos if you decide to do them.

Do they give you a catheter during 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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