A reader emailed me and asked me to provide a list on what to pack for a scheduled C-Section. I asked around, scoured the internet, and surprisingly found out a lot about C-Sections! Read about the items you’ll most likely want with you below:
1. Insurance card/ID/Medical Papers – All your identification papers (your insurance card) and any other documentation you may need at the hospital for insurance.
2. Toiletries including facial wipes– It is important to pack a few toiletries for your personal hygiene. Bring toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, hair ties, chap stick or lip balm, and some gentle body lotion. Most hospitals provide a body wash, shampoo, and soap. Having moisturizer and facial wipes for your face, and some basic makeup will help you feel a little more clean, fresh and presentable—if desired. Note that many hospitals don’t provide conditioner.
3. Comfortable robe, pajamas, or extra outfits – Many have found that a robe that opens from the front, is thin enough to sleep in comfortably, and is short enough not to be in the way is a must-have. I personally love this one. Once you have your baby you will be examined often. Having a front opening robe is very helpful so that you don’t have to ungown each time they want to look at your abdomen and redress the incision. Further, when/if you breastfeed it is much easier to do with a front opening robe. Stretchy cotton yoga pants with a large comfortable stretchy panel would be nice to wear so as to not put too much pressure on the incision. And/or pajamas that have a loose elastic waist that sits higher than the hip may be great as well. This will ensure that the pants do not irritate the surgery scar.
4. Step Stool- Many post-C-Section moms have said that getting in and out of the hospital beds was very painful without a step stool. Maybe call the hospital and ask if they have one, if not, bring one with.
5. C-Section scar treatment strips– These really help the scar to fade during the recovery process. I have personal experience using these types of strips on different surgery scars. They won’t fade the scar entirely but they do help considerably with how noticeable they are.
6. Gas X strips– Most likely during your C-Section your belly will be pumped full of gas and air. After surgery, you’ll need to pass that gas. These Gas X strips that you simply place on your tongue are a life saver in relieving gas. Note- The sooner you can get up and walking and moving the sooner you will pass that gas and the less pain you’ll be in.
7. Suppositories or Laxatives- A C-Section (anesthesia and pain killers) can lead to constipation. Also, if you have hemorrhoids from pregnancy, having a bowel movement is most likely going to scare you. Hemorrhoids and straining from constipation can be very painful post-surgery. If you use suppositories or a laxative (even prune juice) it will help immensely.
8. Shoes. Rubber Flip Flops for taking showers (if desired) and slippers for getting around are nice to have on hand. Remember you are there for a minimum of three days, so you will have to shower there at some point. Comfy slippers are nice to walk with (non slip slippers are best).
9. Nipple covers like these (I can’t tell you how much these helped me breast feed!). Sometimes breastfeeding isn’t the easiest thing for mother and baby. I had multiple lactation consultants and it wasn’t until they suggested I use these that I was able to get my son to latch. They are great for flat, inverted, or sore nipples. They create a latching shape by wearing them in your bra or under a tight shirt (not while breastfeeding). When you take them off the baby can easily latch on to feed. They are also just great for airing out, drying, and not having your nipples sitting against a pad that can be wet or scratchy. When I would wear them regularly, they helped prevent me from getting sore. Another nipple shield that helps a lot of people are these ones. You wear them while the baby is nursing. For my four tips on a successful breastfeeding experience click here.
10. Portable Fan – A lot of women report being extremely hot after coming out of the recovery room to the point where they need a fan to lower their temperature quickly.
11. Nursing or Supportive Bras and Breast pads and a nursing cover– Whether or not you choose to breastfeed, your breasts are likely to be tender and swollen when your milk comes in, which can happen anytime during the first several days after delivery. A good bra can provide some comfort, and breast pads can be added to help absorb leaks. If you are expecting a lot of guests who may stay for awhile, having a nursing cover on hand is helpful.
12. Breast or nipple cream- Lanolin most hospitals can get you lanolin but (in my experience) it has to go through the pharmacy. To avoid the pharmacy charge I just brought my own. This is for your nipples chapping, cracking, and bleeding (fun!) when breastfeeding. If you are allergic to wool don’t use Lanolin. Here is a non-lanolin cream. You could also you can use vitamin E oil as suggested by a reader.
13. Breast pump (my favorite found here). If you don’t know how to use it, I highly recommend taking your own in with you. This is because the lactation consultants may want to help you use it for your first time. I REALLY wished I had taken mine in for my first baby to make sure I was doing everything properly and so they could confirm that I had the right size horns for my breasts.
14. Maternity/C-Section underpants and sanitary pads – Some new mothers love the mesh underpants offered at the hospital (they are loose and stretchy) while others are not really fond of them. Some love wearing depends which are also loose and stretchy and avoid the need to wear a pad. Many love these CPanty’s which are underwear designed for C-Section moms.
The hospital provides you with sanitary pads, which are a requirement after the C-section. Ensure that you leave a larger supply of heavy duty sanitary pads at home (or wear depends). Most women who have had a C-Section will bleed for about the same time frame as a vaginal birth. It is very heavy the first week and gets progressively lighter. Bleeding lasts anywhere from 3-9 weeks.
15. Abdominal Binder – Helps your body to recover faster and possibly avoid that dreaded “overhang” of belly fat that so many women get over their incisions after healing from a C-section. It also keeps things nice and tight so you don’t feel like you have to grab a pillow to put pressure on your abdomen every time you cough or sneeze. Also it can help prevent the stitches from snagging on anything.
I bought this Bellefit girdle. It helps with getting your stomach back to its normal pre-baby shape and is highly rated for those who have had c-sections. The girdle also helps with back strain, with carrying the baby, nursing, and with posture. But mostly I bought it for vanity reasons. It will make you look about 10-20 pounds thinner. My family was commenting on how great I was getting around and looking just 5 days postpartum… little did they know it was due to the Bellefit. It is very very durable I can say this without reservation because it has held up well even after daily use for over a year! If you want to read my review of its pros and cons you can here.
Overall I gave it 4 stars on Amazon. Could they improve it a little? Yes. Do I wish they were cheaper? You bet! But I can honestly say I will always own a Bellefit as long as I’m giving and recovery from giving birth (or wanting to look thinner). They have proved themselves over the past two babies I’ve had as the top and best postpartum girdle (or girdle for anyone who wants to look slimmer) to me hands down.
16. Electronics and DVDs – Make sure you bring your cell phone, laptop, tablet, or whatever you normally use. Not only will you need it for communicating with family, it will be your lifeline and entertainment for those 3-4-5 days. (That is, when you’re not nursing or sleeping!) Don’t forget your chargers.
17. Pillow and Pillow case – Hospitals provide pillows and blankets. If you are the kind of person who cannot sleep on any pillow, it is a good idea to bring your own. Many women have said having an extra soft pillow (or two) to hold against the incision when coughing, laughing, sneezing, or going from sitting to standing, and from preventing rolling over onto the incision have helped immensely as well.
18. Nursing Pillow – I just used regular pillows but if you prefer nursing pillows bring one. For many who have C-Sections its tough to get comfortable nursing. Try the football hold or make sure to put a soft barrier between your baby and incision for the constant nursing!
19. A going home outfit for you and baby – Bring something comfortable and easy to get into (believe it or not, you’ll probably still look 5 or 6 months pregnant) like a maternity dress and a pair of comfortable, flat shoes (or just wear your slippers or flip flops). If you’re going to wear pants, make sure the waistband is loose and won’t press on your incision. It’s also really nice to have something super cute for your baby to wear for newborn and going home pics.
20. Tucks wipes for hemorrhoids. Many women get hemorrhoids in the third trimester or in labor (yes even if you have a C-Section—although it is less common). They are extremely painful. Tucks help with the pain. A reader said she got Tucks spray which I never knew existed, it is kind of hard to find in stores but you can find it here on Amazon. While I was looking at the spray I also found an ointment you can use as well.
The hospital did provide me with witch hazel (generic of Tucks) pads but only enough for my recovery there. So I used my own for about 2 or 3 weeks following labor. My OB said it is common for hemorrhoids to get worse with each pregnancy (although they are more rare with C-Sections). They also take a little longer to go away with each subsequent pregnancy as well—so keep that in mind if this isn’t your first, you may need more Tucks than the last time.
21. Finally, don’t forget the car seat for your baby!
Here is the list of EVERYTHING I packed in my labor bag for my entire family when I had my daughter. I had everything I needed and wanted. Some people in the comments of other posts have said that I way over packed. But everything fit into one large sized suitcase. It really didn’t look ridiculous to have one suitcase. We also had the car seat which he brought in later.
Are you more of a minimalist? If yes, this post is for you.
Having a vaginal birth? Don’t miss this list!
Oh and here is most next most popular pregnancy article on how I saved over $10,500 on my son’s first year.
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Chelsea @ Life With My Littles says
This is such a great post! It’s interesting to see what to include that is specific for a C-section. Hopefully I never have to have one, but at least now I’m prepared! Thanks, Anita!
Anita Fowler says
You’re welcome. Yes I was very surprised as well. C-sections are a different experience for sure!
This was really helpful. I’m about to have my second c-section and I was not at all prepared for the hospital like I thought I was. Thanks!
Anita Fowler says
You’re welcome! I’m so glad you found it helpful. Good luck with everything!
The only thing that truly worked for my post-Cesarean constipation was warm prune juice–it helps with the gas and the constipation. Many hospitals have it, but it wouldn’t hurt to bring your own bottle and have the nurses heat it up for you. Thanks for a great list!