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

August 12, 2020

When Ivy Jean arrived via emergency c-section at 34 weeks, I didn’t even have my hospital bag packed much less did I have any idea what c-section recovery was like. Starting in the NICU unprepared for major surgery isn’t something I’d wish on anyone! This time around, thankfully I am more mentally and physically prepared AND have a bag packed. In hopes of helping, today I am sharing what to pack in your hospital bag for a c-section.

I do want to start by saying that if you go into labor early or don’t have anything on the list below, no worries! The hospital has all the essentials you need. I am attest. 😉 This is my exhaustive list of anything and everything you might need or want. If you’re an over packer like me, you might want it all. A minimalist? Just the essentials.

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

Nursing Bras

I am packing two nursing bras to wear under whatever I might have on if not my nursing gown mentioned below. I preferred the soft, no wire at the beginning. Shopbop actually has a really great selection of nursing bras beyond just the soft cup. It is where I bought my Calvin Klein one pictured on Instagram here. I really like it!

Nursing Gowns & Robes

Honestly when I had Ivy Jean, nursing gowns are what I found myself using more than anything. I would wear a gown only to make it easy to nurse and add a robe for coverage when needed. Combined, these were more comfortable than anything with a waist and made for the easiest nursing in my experience.

Slip on Shoes

Bending over to put on or tie shoes after a c-section is hard! I recommend packing a slip on shoe in your bag that you can just wear the whole time. I found my feet and ankles temporarily more swollen than they were while pregnant as the medicine and fluid flushed out of my system, so don’t pack anything tight. I plan on bringing my Birkenstocks and possibly my Sam Edelman slides to wear home!

Phone & Charger

This is a no brainer but a very important part of the list!

Postpartum High Waisted Underwear

When considering what to pack in your hospital bag for a c-section, you might want some postpartum high waisted underwear to wear home. The hospital will provide you with disposable, loose underwear. I bought these and packed them. I ended up going home in the disposable hospital underwear, but I wore them soon after at home in the days to follow delivery. I have also heard good things about the Rosie Pope line.

At the hospital, they can give you an abdominal wrap. This was essential for me. I would wrap it around my waist and velcro it as tightly as was comfortable. Eventually this got loose, and I wanted something similar at home. I ordered the Belly Bandit wrap. I wore this for weeks, and it really helped my stomach and incision feel more secure. Though you don’t have to bring this to the hospital, I would high recommend one!

Going Home Outfit

I really think loose, flowy dresses are the way to go when it comes to a going home outfit. Not only do they not bother your incision, but they are more flattering to a postpartum tummy. You could also consider your maternity leggings and a loose t-shirt.

Nursing Friendly Pjs

I ordered some button front pjs that will be easy to nurse in, look cute, and help me feel put together. They are also super soft! I am linking them below.


Don’t forget all your basic toiletries in your hospital bag! Depending on your personal plans for the hospital you may also want makeup.

Have you ever wondered what to pack in your hospital bag for a c-section? I have you covered with this hospital packing list, details on why you might need these, and options to purchase if needed!

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

Slippers, Non-Stick Socks, and/or Shower Shoes

While at the hospital you don’t want to put your bare feet on the ground. When we unexpectedly went to the NICU, I wore slippers from my room there. I was also grateful to them to slip on for bathroom trips, etc. Depending on your recovery and length of stay, you may want to take a shower and will want shower shoes.

Pillow & Nursing Pillow

I don’t know about you, but I hate sleeping away from home without my pillow! You’ll want to pack your pillow in a patterned case so that it will not get mistaken for a hospital pillow. It’s also really nice to have your nursing pillow or boppie for nursing support with your incision.

Electronics – Camera, Entertainment, Music

Depending on your personality, you might want to pack a book, magazine, preloaded movie on an iPad, or pre-made playlist. This can be handy during waiting time or the days that follow delivery while still at the hospital.

Though we have our phones, we also plan to pack our good camera since we won’t be able to have a photographer come to the hospital.

Coordinated Outfits for Photos

I am looking forward to getting one family photo in the robe I purchased to match our daughter’s onesie. They comes in all different combos and include options for sibling matching too. Shop them all here. Those in the moment and posed photos in the hospital can be so special!

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  • Reply Lizzie August 17, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    Such great items! Those slippers look so comfortable!


  • Reply Biana August 17, 2020 at 10:25 am

    When I did my hospital bag the first time I almost forgot nursing tanks LOL. Great post with so many important things to bring! xo, Biana BlovedBoston

  • Reply Lovely August 15, 2020 at 8:10 am

    Congratulations hun! Such great news!



  • Reply Midlife and Beyond August 13, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    This will be so helpful to a lot of mothers to be, especially with their first baby! I can’t remember if I had a bag packed or not all of those years ago – I remember my second baby coming in a hurry – he’s never changed! haha. I wish you all the very best Amy.
    Alison xx

  • Reply Grace August 12, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    Great advice and congratulations on the new addition to your family!

  • Reply Laura Bambrick August 12, 2020 at 8:30 pm

    I didn’t have a c-section but the belly bandit helped so much after my two children! Your ab muscles are so stretched out it’s hard for them to support you and that really helped!

  • Reply Lucy Bertoldi August 12, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    Congratulations!! Best wishes and God Bless your beautiful family xx

  • Reply Cheryl Shops August 12, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    Con gratulations! Can’t wait to hear more about the birth!
    Cheryl Shops | http://www.cherylshops.net

  • Reply jess jannenga August 12, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    Congratulations and saw the pics on IG, best wishes to you Amy and your family. This sounds like a great list for moms.
    jess xx

  • Reply Meagan Brandon August 12, 2020 at 8:30 am

    This is such an informative post – definitely referring to this in the future if needed. I hope you are feeling well since your surgery!


  • Reply Jill August 12, 2020 at 7:54 am

    This will be so helpful for expectant parents! Congratulations again!

    Jill – Doused in Pink

  • Reply Melody Jacob August 12, 2020 at 6:25 am

    You made a very important article. People in general do not know what to take along but this will help enlighten them all.

  • Reply Shelbee on the Edge August 12, 2020 at 6:01 am

    I had my first son at 35 weeks and when my water broke at home (thankfully I was at home), I didn’t have a bag packed either! It was like a mad scramble. Haha. Then when son #2 stayed in there past 35 weeks, I was like, “What in the holy hell is this misery? Get this baby out!” He came at 38 weeks, thankfully, but I did have my bag packed that time! Great post. Super helpful for all expectant parents! I wish you a very smooth, easy, and healthy delivery!


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