With the date booked for my C Section, the time has come to think about packing my hospital bag. Some of the things you pack when going for a C Section are the same as you would for a natural birth, whereas others are very different, as a planned C Section is obviously a different experience.
There are of course tonnes of sources online for hospital bag checklists which are all so so handy, but I don’t think they cover everything. With the benefit of going through this experience once before I am hoping that this time I will pack everything I need. So here is my list for what to pack in a hospital bag for a C Section, including some things you may not have
A Big Loose nightshirt. Post C Section, when you are moved to the ward but are still catheterised and bed bound it is nice to have a nightshirt you can use to cover your modesty a little, preferably short sleeves to help with your drip and a button down front to allow for breastfeeding. Mine is a really unglamourous cheap nightshirt as this is the only time I ever use it!
Pyjamas. I hate my legs so once I am starting to get up and about I like to wear PJs, it makes me feel more like myself again for one thing. They are maternity pjs with a top suitable for nursing. You will probably need help getting the PJ bottoms on as you can’t bend downto do it yourself easily.
Granny Pants. Really cheap unsexy high waisted pants that will go up and over your scar and that you don’t care about if they get horribly dirty. A good few pairs of these for those first days.
Maternity Pads. To go inside the lovely granny pants as you still have the bleeding, or Lochia that you would get from a natural delivery. A couple of packs of these. I bought loads last time and have still got a couple of packs which I am taking in with me this time.
Nursing bras. I am taking a nursing sleep bra too as my boobs get too big to be unsupported at night time but it’s good to have easy access for all that feeding.
Open backed slippers. Once you are moving around it will be good to have things on your feet, but bending down will be incredibly difficult so ones you can slip on will make life much easier!
Going home outfit. Something really loose and comfy. I have a huge pair of linen maternity trousers that are seriously big but they are so loose that they don’t squeeze my scar at all and then I will just take a loose maternity top as there will still be a mummy tummy and will be easy for nursing. For me comfort is the biggest thing about this outfit, I am not going to try and look like Kate Middleton, I just want to be vaguely presentable and as comfortable as can be!
A box of tissues. This is something I never see on any hospital bag checklists but was one of the first things I packed this time. After birth your hormones can be crazy and the whole thing can be seriously overwhelming. Post C Section you can be in some considerable pain and stuck to your bed for a while, making it pretty difficult to nip off and grab a tissue. As one of my worst memories of my last time in hospital was sitting in bed crying in the early hours of the morning with snot running down my face, an unfortunately busy and unhelpful midwife eventually coming to help get Monkey to feed, and no sign of tissues anywhere…. I am going prepared this time! Hopefully I won’t need them but it will be very good to have them just in case!
Breast Pads. I personally found the Johnson (this is an affiliate link, thank you for your support) disposable breast pads by far the best last time. So many other brands left me with clammy and sticky boobs but these just soak the leaked milk without leaving me feeling clammy. I would definitely recommend them and will be using them again this time.
Lip balm. The air can be surprisingly hot and dry on hospital wards so it is nice to have some available
Toiletries. When you are finally able to get up and have a shower it is nice to feel more human again. It is not the easiest shower of your life but it is good to have some products that make you feel more normal. So I have decanted some of my favourite lemon shower gel, and my shampoo and conditioner into little plastic bottles. Toothbrush and toothpaste are also essential along with a hairbrush, deodorant and towel!
Phone charger. My phone is a bit of a lifeline and thankfully we were able to use them on the hospital ward. Don’t forget your charger!
Wipes. As you won’t be able to get out bed straight away it is nice to able to keep yourself a little clean!
Snacks and drinks for the husband. Before the C Section you can’t eat anything, and after the C Section you are a patient so generally have meals etc provided, not so for the husband though. Bless my husband last time as he barely ate or drank a thing last time. He didn’t want to leave my side and I needed him there to help with the baby. There are of course places to eat within the hospital but they can be expensive and they are not generally in the ward, so this time we are taking some drinks and snacks for him to keep his strength up!
We struggled with feeding Monkey while we were in hospital. I won’t go into too much detail as I have written more on the subject here, but it made the time in hospital quite traumatic. As a result, this time we are probably going in over prepared but as we really don’t want a repeat of that scenario, here are some of the extra bits we will be taking with us in my hospital bag.
Nipple Shields. I found the first days and weeks of breastfeeding really painful. First I was told that it shouldn’t hurt if they are latched on correctly, then I was told that of course it hurts, you’ve never done it before. The latter seemed more accurate to me as even when Monkey was feeding correctly it was painful, but also he struggled to latch on a lot of the time. We eventually tried nipple shields and they made a world of difference on both counts. I hope I won’t need them this time but I am taking them in case I do. Anything to minimise the stress of those first days!
Breast pump and bottle. As we struggled with Monkey latching on last time we were given a pump to use and then told to feed Monkey my milk using a plastic syringe. Then when the time came to go home the midwives were hugely reluctant to let us leave and implied that we would not feed him when we got home. Thankfully my community midwife came to our aid and told us to ask for a bottle to feed him with as if we could prove he was eating from a bottle they would let us go home. It was still a bit of a fight as we had to convince them that we had a pump and bottle ready at home before they would let us leave. This time we are taking the pump and bottle with us to the hospital so that even if we struggle with latching on, we can get baby to feed from a bottle.
I know many women find the help they receive in hospital helps them with learning to breastfeed and a longer stay can be beneficial for mum and baby. All I can say is that last time this was not the case for me. I was desperate to get home to have my husband able to help 24/7 (rather than having to leave me to manage alone every night) and feeding came so much more naturally once we were home and calm and using nipple shields! Hopefully this time will be less traumatic but we want to be as prepared as we can
Bits for the baby
I won’t go into too much detail here (as this post is long enough already!) but we are also taking the changing bag completely stocked with lots of newborn nappies, nappy bags, hand sanitiser, baby vests, baby grows, lots of muslin cloths, socks, hats and scratch mits for the baby. The one more specific tip I would give is that instead of using cotton wool balls for those first nappy changes, take Cotton wool pads, the kind you use to take off your make up. They just wipe the boo away more easily and don’t get quite so stuck tot heir bottoms. The first poos are especially sticky but honestly until you can use wipes, cotton pads are just much easier to use than balls!
I think that is pretty much everything! Getting that bag packed is an exciting step and reminds me that baby will be here in a little over 2 weeks. Eeek!
What essentials did you pack in your hospital bag? What did you not take with you that you wish you had? I would love to know!
Ooh, good luck lovely! It looks like you have a great list there, personally I’d throw in a magazine or two, and an eye mask for those short periods you may get to sleep to ensure you’re properly rested! I also missed not having yummy socks too. Can’t wait to see piccies! (of the baby of course!)
thanks so much for linking to #AllAboutYou xx
Good plan on the eye masks, worth trying to get as much sleep as possible! haha I am sure there will be plenty of piccies when she arrives! xx
Now that is some serious preparation. Good luck, I hope it all goes well!x
What an amazingly informative post. Some great tips there and you’re right about a natural delivery being a different experience from an elective section so it’s always good to be prepared. All the very best for yours! Thanks for linking up. #MMWBH x
Thanks lovely, definitely orth being prepared! xx
I had an elective C Section when it turned out I was in labour and baby was breach. I was told I could go home and needed to take the bandage off so they could check my wound and then that big pants were needed. I didn’t have any so I texted my mum and asked her to get me some big pants. She knew exactly what I meant When I said granny pants! The big granny pants are still in use at 14 weeks postpartum because my normal pants sometimes cut into my scar and they hurt a little. I’m also still in my maternity trousers so the waist band doesn’t rub against the scar. Take an extension lead if you can. The plug socket nearest to my bed was still too far away for me to reach. Because I was still catheterised (and even when I wasn’t!) I couldn’t get myself out of bed. Thankfully the lady who came to do the hearing test asked if she could do anything for me and I asked her very nicely if she could plug my phone in for me as my husband wasn’t due back for like another 2 or 3 hours.
Ooh interesting about the extension lead, I had not thought of that but definitely a good idea as can be so hard to reach plug sockets etc when you can barely move! Big pants are so needed and I was in maternity wear for a while for the same reason! xx
I agree with everything – especially the nightshirt for those first few hours post C section. Niccer to wear than a hospital gown.
Good luck, hope it all goes well! #MMWBH
Thank you! xx
Great list! I’ve had two elective c-sections and one thing I would recommend is a lightweight dressing gown, along with the open back slippers you mentioned this was an essential for shuffling to the bathroom. Magazines and food (for husband!) essential for the waiting time before c-section. We arrived at 7am but were second on the list so didn’t go down until after 11am, time really dragged!
Good luck with everything!!
Oh I know, the waiting! Hubs will I know be reading on his phone but we are definitely taking food and sustenance for him!! Thanks, hopefully all will be well 🙂 xx
Both my sections have been emergencies so I didn’t get to pack anything in advance and relied on hubby to pick the correct stuff (not always advisable, especially with the 8 day stay I had with my third!- seriously how do they manage to choose items that don’t go together and you haven’t worn for years?!)
I think for me my c-section must have was my u-shaped pillow. It allowed me to feed baby (both breast and bottle) without having her leaning on my wound.
Hope it all goes well for you! I found my second section recovery was so much easier than my first as you know how to move and what to avoid doing so the pain never gets as bad. And remember, pain killers are your friend! Second time around I didn’t attempt to cut down until I was up and moving around.
Lol I know exactly what you mean, am so glad I don’t need to let hubs loose on outfit choices! Ooh yes the pillow is a fab idea, I’ve actually ordered one which I hope will arrive in time! I didn’t have one first time but it may come in handy. Glad to hear your recovery was better 2nd time around! xx
A great checklist, and definitely things I wouldn’t think of as there are definite differences depending on birth. It must be so exciting having it all packed!
Thanks and yes, definitely very different experiences. It does feel good to be organised, though I almost don;t trust myself not to have forgotten something! xx
Thanks for putting this together! A friend’s scheduled for a C-section soon, and as a bit lost. This will be most helpful.
And all the best for your delivery! Look forward to hearing from you on the other side 🙂
Oh lovely well I hope it helps her! Thank you, won;t be long now! xx
Thanks for this- I need to run out and get a big t shirt or nightie for after the section!! I remember hating being in the gown previously!! x x x
What to put in your hospital bag | Pregnancy | Emma’s Diary
Vaseline is also a winner for putting on newborns bum so the sticky poo slides off 🙂
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