Today I want to share about my hospital bag essentials for a c-section delivery and extended hospital stay postpartum. I was so happy I took the advice I was given to pack my hospital bags well in advance of my due date since I delivered two weeks early. I started laying things out at around 35 weeks pregnant and finally packed it all up at 37 weeks. Little did I know I’d need my bags just a few days later!
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The first time we went to the hospital we were uncertain whether we’d deliver that day. I had originally packed my bags with a vaginal delivery and 2-3 day hospital stay in mind. I’d only had about an hour’s notice of a possible impending c-section and had thrown in a few extra things at the last moment. Fortunately, I didn’t end up needing to deliver that day and had a few days to tweak my bag with a c-section recovery and extended hospital stay in mind.
I packed two bags with everything my husband, Don, and I would need for our five day stay at the hospital as well as our baby’s going home outfit and accessories. I packed my Vera Bradley Disney Dreaming Vera Tote with things for us to use during our time spent in the Labor and Delivery ward. We left the rest of our things in the car since we weren’t sure whether we’d be delivering at that time or not.
I packed my wallet, laptop and phone, Don’s iPad and Kindle, and all of our chargers to keep our electronics together and readily accessible in the case of long waits. I decided to purchase 10′ Charging Cords in blue and green as I’d heard that it can be hard to find a close outlet in the hospital rooms. We didn’t end up needing the length due to how our room was set up, but there truly weren’t many available outlets so I can see how this would come in handy in other room arrangements.
I threw in the book I’m reading currently, Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story by Jewel. This ended up being a great distraction for me during downtime in the delivery ward, although I didn’t end up picking it up at all after the baby was born. Don’s iPad and Kindle came in super handy to keep him entertained throughout the duration of our stay. I enjoyed having my journal with me to document my delivery experience.
I had put together a labor and delivery kit using a Henri Bendel Signature Stripe Canvas Small Dopp Kit. I had packed this with a vaginal delivery in mind although it did serve me well post c-section. I included a travel size pack of my favorite Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes, a cloth headband, hair ties, a hair clip, and a mini hair brush, a small pair of scissors, a mini deodorant, and my favorite lip balm, the Rosebud Perfume Co. Rosebud Salve in a Tube. I kept this kit on my bedside tray table throughout my hospital stay for easy access. The lip balm and deodorant were essential to have within close reach.
Everything else we needed for our stay in the Mother and Baby ward fit nicely into my Vera Bradley Midnight with Mickey Large Duffle Bag. I packed for all three of us using Eagle Creek Pack-It Cubes to keep our things separate and organized. I made sure that Don had enough clean t-shirts, underwear, and socks for each day of our hospital stay. I also packed two pairs of mesh shorts and one pair of pajama pants for him (he only ended up wearing one pair of the shorts). He had also brought a sweatshirt with him, which came in handy as it can get pretty chilly in the hospital. One thing I didn’t pack that my in-laws ended up bringing for us were Don’s flip flops. It was easier for him to have slide-on footwear for quick runs to the water machine and cafeteria.
I brought the bare necessities in terms of toiletries for the both of us all packed up in my beautiful leather travel case by Cuyana. Our basics included toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash, combs, deodorant, travel sizes of shampoo, conditioner, and a mini bar of soap, my face wash, toner, and moisturizer, and my supplements. Both Don and I showered each day we were at the hospital, which was a great way to feel fresh after being stuck in the same room all day. Showers have never felt so good before!
My most used items that I packed for myself were those that assisted me in breastfeeding. I was so happy I popped my Boppy Feeding & Support Pillow in the car with our bags, as it came in super handy as I learned how to breastfeed my Little One while protecting my incision at the same time. I’m still using and loving it for the support and comfort it provides for both of us.
I also decided to bring my own water bottle, the Bubba 32 oz Envy Mug, as I’d heard that breastfeeding can make you really thirsty and I’m pretty particular about what I drink out of. Don refilled my bottle countless times a day. It’s a small thing, but every comfort counts when you’re away from home and staying hydrated is super important especially during the early stages of recovery.
My other breastfeeding must-haves during those first few days were things I didn’t actually think to pack ahead of time, but once again Don’s folks came to the rescue and brought them for me when they visited. I struggled a lot with getting the latch right in the beginning (it’s still a work in progress 3 weeks later) and my nipples certainly paid the price for it. The hospital provided lanolin cream, which I used for a couple of days, but I didn’t feel like it helped me much. I prefer the Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter. I also enjoyed the instant relief I got from Lanisoh Soothies Gel Pads, which were a suggestion from one of the nurses on staff. I definitely recommend bringing some of your own nipple care products in the event that you need something different from what the hospital provides.
I enjoyed wearing my own nightshirts post-op as opposed to the rather flimsy hospital gowns provided. I picked up a couple of Ralph Lauren ones especially with recovery in mind, including a lighter knit jersey one and a warmer cotton flannel one. Wearing a nightshirt made it easy for the nurses and doctors to check my incision multiple times a day and the button down design provided easy access for breastfeeding. I’m still enjoying wearing these at night almost three weeks postpartum.
Having a robe and slippers was also really handy as I was encouraged to walk around the ward several times a day to help with healing. I packed a very cozy set from Victoria’s Secret and in retrospect wish I had brought something a bit lighter weight as I ran on the warmer side during my hospital stay. If I were to pack my bag again, I would choose something like this cotton robe by Ralph Lauren. I’d also bring Crocs instead of fuzzy slippers, which one of my friends opted to do, as they’re easy to slip on, are breathable, and can we worn in the shower. I also brought a couple pairs of of my favorite slipper socks by Earth Therapeutics which I wore at night when it was cooler in the room.
The only other clothing I needed was an outfit to go home in. I picked out something very loose and light so I could be as comfortable as possible during our journey home. I decided to bring a pair of my maternity black pajama pants from A Pea in the Pod and a flowy nursing top from PinkBlush Maternity. As for undergarments, I stuck with the mesh underwear that the hospital provided as it was by far the most comfortable post-op. In fact, I recommend taking as many pairs of these as possible home with you. I wore mine for another week at home and kept them clean by hand washing them. If you’re breastfeeding then bringing a comfortable nursing bra to go home in is essential. I chose the Bravado Designs Womens’ Body Silk Seamless Yoga Bra, which is one of my current favorites.
Lastly, I packed up a few items for our baby. I knew I wouldn’t need much for her, as the hospital provided everything she needed from diapers and wipes to the little shirts, hats, and blankets she wore throughout our stay. I brought our own nail buffer, the ZoLi Buzz B. Nail Trimmer. I’d read great things about this super gentle device from MintArrow, one of my favorite blogs for baby gear recs and sale alerts. This little tool is perfect for gently buffing down those razor sharp newborn nails!
I also brought a couple of options for her going home outfit as well as two different kinds of blankets to cover her up in after strapping her safely into the infant carrier (we bought a Nuna Pipa, if you’re curious). I packed the Baby Gap Favorite Footed One-Piece in both a newborn and 3 month size, since I had no idea how big she’d be. She was pretty tiny (6 lb, 6 oz at birth and 5 lb, 15 ounces on the day we checked out), so the newborn size ended up being the winner. I had also popped a Baby Gap Favorite Pink Knot Hat into the bag to keep her noggin warm during transit. Her tiny head swam in the newborn size, but it played its part in keeping her warm for our journey home.
As for the blankets, I wasn’t sure what our weather would be like on the day we were discharged since we’d been experiencing variable temperatures all month, so I packed a light option (an Aden & Anais muslin swaddle blanket) and something a bit warmer. Winter finally decided to make an appearance while we were at the hospital, so I opted for the latter, a Pottery Barn Kids Stripe & Dot Chamois Stroller Blanket. This kept her nice and warm on the way home from the hospital.
Additionally, I made sure to bring one of our pillows from home and a cozy chenille blanket for Don to use during our stay. His makeshift bed was unfortunately not very comfortable. Having a few comforts from home for both you and your birth partner can make a big difference in the hospital! I also packed a fold-up reusable shopping tote, as I’d heard that the hospital sends you home with lots of products, like diapers and such. Our hospital actually provided us with a tote bag for these things, so I used the tote for our dirty laundry instead.
All in all I felt as if I was well prepared for our hospital stay. I was happy to discover that I managed to not overpack! Our family was more than happy to bring along the few items we ended up needing after delivery. You can’t pack your family, but their support during this new transition is invaluable. I don’t know what I would have done without Don there especially. He was and continues to be my rock and he’s totally rocking this fatherhood business!
I share a closer look at the items I packed in this video:
I hope that this look at what I packed in our hospital bags was helpful to you in some way. I’d love to know what some of your post-delivery hospital stay must haves are if you care to share!
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