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C-section hospital bag checklist and tips

Kate Patch | 31 March, 2023

            Ceaseran and Csection hospital bag checklist and packing tips and advice for mums

This is a hospital bag checklist that is just for the C-section birthing mama! Its different from a vaginal birth as your first few days in hospital will look very different.

I do have this in a printable version to make it easier to check and go.

I have had 2 C-sections already plus a vbac and know that the stays in hospital look different. This is my own packing list, but I also add in some comfort food because our hospital has a little bar fridge in every room! But I know that isn't normal so I wont tease you by  adding home cooked food to the list.

Don't forget that I have some tips and a little of what to expect towards the bottom of this page.

I do include items for establishing breastfeeding, this is my own personal packing list so if you have no plans to breastfeed then just ignore them but you also need to add in the extra bottles and things you will need.

Here is the printable version


What to take

~ Nighty or soft dresses (comfort mama)
~ Stretchy soft preferable bamboo pants
~ Feeding bras or feeding singlets. Breast pads if you know your milk comes in straight away
~ Disposable undies ( I haven't tried but will next time)
~ Large water bottle
~ Extra large  phone charging cable (so you don't need to get out of bed)
~ Own pillow, this will help you sleep better
~ Eye pillow and ear plugs or white noise machine
~ Ice pack for over your wound, ask you hospital of get your partner to bring in daily
~ A cardigan, robe or zip jumper. Something warm but easy to have skin on skin and for feeding.
~ A pen!
~ Your camera!
~ Something soft and comfy to leave hospital in.
Supplements or Heath (ask a professional)
~ Arnica
~ Collagen foods, oaty biscuits, lactation foods
~ Trapped gas aids, stool softener, pear juice and prunes
~ Breastfeeding teas and food
~ Nipple cream
~ Lip balm
~ Heavy maternity long pads if your not using disposable underwear
~ All your normal toiletries
For baby
~ Singlets and onesies. One for every day you plan to be in plus an extra.
~ Wraps and blanket
~ Nappies of not provided, wipes
~ Beanie
~ Anything you want to use for an announcement photo if you want to do that while your in the hospital. A Heritage Blanket, a disc, a cute outfit, a name plaque ect. I reuse a calico bag and put everything together ready.
Some other mama bears say that they have worn SRC shorts or belly bands to feel like they were supported around the tummy. While I couldn't bear to have anything touching the wound I did find when I stood up to walk or needed to cough that I would need to hold a pillow against my abdomen so everything felt secure. It's a weird and weak feeling for a while.  You could use a stretchy wrap carrier or something like that to go around your tummy too to feel a bit supported when you try and walk. Ask the nurses on the ward too for other ways to feel better when going for a walk, they will have tips! The recovery bands or shorts I found more helpful when I wasn't so tender.
The first night or two are really hard when baby starts crying or a feed or is fussy. It's really hard to get out of bed, even to reach and lean across and I felt like it was impossible to get baby out of the bassinet and bring to bed to feed or go sit on the couch to feed and then have to get back up to put baby back!
This is a good conversation to have with the hospital before birth. Do they allow for partners to stay in room with you? Our hospital here in Lismore has a big bench seat that is also a  bed if partner wants to stay. It's actually encouraged because it's so much better to have someone to help and easier on staff! But this may not be an option for your hospital. So get a bit of a game plan in your head beforehand.
Of course the nurses will come help if partners can't stay. But maybe you could have a basket or a caddy that could live beside the bed in arms reach or even in bed next to you that could hold some nappies and a clean outfit of blanket. That's one less thing you will need to walk to or bend down to reach.
Because you can't get up and moving as fast as the mothers who have vaginally birthed it means it's hard to get your bowels moving. That, your surgery and the extra drugs and pain killers seem to mean your inclined to have more trouble with constipation. You need to talk to your care provider to get the OK, but consider eating laxative foods or taking gentle stool softeners for the day or two before your birth and continue while in hospital. The pharmacy will be able to give advice too. But then pear juice and prunes will be definitely something you will want to be consuming straight away. So pack them in your bag!
I swear by a really comfy nighty (as opposed to soft pants) for the first day or two at least, if not your whole stay. It means you don't have anything touching your wound area. You will also be given a catheter line when you go to theatre which will normally come back out the first day or two. But while it's in, having a dress style is a lot easier. I really like the comfort mama dresses because they are so soft and have the button down fronts for feeding access and skin on skin. The business itself is really beautiful anyway so it's good one to check out!
Otherwise you will need really high waisted soft pants.
Hospitals are cold, noisy and too bright!
I always have had to have my phone on loud white noise to try and drown out the noise of the hospital so I could catch some sleep. This time I'm taking a sound machine!
An eye mask would be helpful too. You can turn lights off if your in your own room but the monitors have annoying lights so they are hard to get away from. Baby is likely to not be too fussy the first night and maybe even the second so it would be nice to take advantage of that!
A cardigan or soft robe will make you warm and comfy and be easy to feed in too.
Soft cosy socks are a must. And shoes that slip on without bending down.
A large water bottle is good. I don't know what it is but you get so so thirsty. I think it's the night sweats.  And a long phone charger cord because you also don't want to get out of bed for that either.
Everyone's experience is going to be different. But the normal for me is to be really sore and not wanting to get up. But I know that the sooner you do it the less of a mind game it is. I've always waited for Dan to be there while I have my first shower either on the first night/afternoon or the next morning. He can help me get dressed if I need. But also because I don't want to worry about baby waking and needing some love. I do feel it's better to shower the first night. In our hospital we have a private bathroom in every room so I get help putting a shower chair in there shower ready and extra towels in the room I get help getting to that chair then sit down and shower. It's ridiculously hard work but you do feel better for it.  I get help getting back to the bed too. And that's me done feeling totally worn out!
Next attempts will be to the chair or around your room and next maybe down the hall. The nurses will help. But you really do small bit at a time and eventually you will have yourself walking even if it feels impossible. A pillow held around your tummy will help too to feel supported. Getting some sort of movement will help bowel movements too.
After a few days you will be amazed at your progress. It does get easier and you soon can pick up baby more easily. I think a misconception is that you will be out of action for a a few weeks but while maybe that is the case for some, its no the normal. Absolutely take it easy and treat your c-section like the major surgery it is, but at the same time I promise that you will feel good quickly. It soon becomes a thing where you need to tell yourself your doing to much and remind yourself to take it easier.
I hope this has been helpful!
I'm sending you all the best wishes for your birth.
Much love,

Kate xx


C-Section Hospital Bag Checklist and packing tips