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The Best Hospital Bag Checklist for a C Section

The Best Hospital Bag Checklist for a C Section

What to Pack in Hospital Bag for a C-Section

Packing for a scheduled cesarean section isn’t much different than packing for a v-bac delivery but there are a few crucial items that you won’t want to forget.

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Having your bag packed by 37 weeks is pretty standard. That way if you are scheduled for a c-section at 39 weeks but your water breaks early then you’re ready!

My bag is usually packed by 35 weeks because I won’t stop thinking about it so I just do it and have it done. It’s a personal preference but don’t wait past 37 weeks (unless you like living life on the edge ;))

If you haven’t taken a prenatal class yet, you can sign up for this one for FREE. I recommend it to all new moms because the woman who created it has been an OB nurse since 2001.

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure at the bottom of the page.

C-Section Maternity Bag Checklist

  • Socks/slippers
  • Small pillow to hug against your incision
  • Comfy sweater or cardigan
  • Nursing pillow to keep baby off your incision
  • High waisted underwear
  • Slip on shoes to avoid bending over
  • Loose fitting pants that sit over your incision
  • Clothing for 3-4 days
  • Toiletries
  • Lip balm
  • Snacks for birth partner
  • Nursing bra
  • Nursing pads
  • Water bottle
  • Nipple cream
  • Pillow from home
  • Phone/charger
  • Birth plan
  • Newborn diapers
  • Wipes
  • Swaddling/recieving blankets
  • Newborn outfits
  • Baby moisturizer

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

There are a few things you want to keep in mind for your hospital bag(s):

  • Being comfortable
  • Emergencies
  • What you genuinely NEED
  • What would be nice to have
  • Baby essentials
  • Things for your partner

RELATED: Third Trimester To Do List (with a free printable)

C-Section Hospital Bag For Mom

Socks or Slippers

The hospital floor is gross. Your feet may get cold. You’ll want something for your feet, whether is comfy slippers or just a pair of socks. Or super cozy slipper socks!

You may want backless slippers if you plan on wearing them after your c-section. That way you won’t have to worry about bending over 🙂

Small Pillow

“Keep a pillow next to you. If you need to cough, sneeze or laugh, hug that pillow tight against your incision to help you get through.” – Amanda, 4x c-section momma

These baby pillows would be perfect.

RELATED: Labor and Birth Guide (with free checklists and planners)

Cozy Sweater or Cardigan

You’ll really want something warm, comforting and easy to slip on and off. The temperature fluctuations in the hospital can be insane. One minute you’ll be roasting in your nursing tank and the next you’ll be wondering why you didn’t pack your parka!

These chunky knit cardigans are ridiculously cozy and soft.

RELATED: No Fluff Breastfeeding Must Haves (you don’t need much)

Nursing Pillow to Keep Baby Off Your Incision

Breastfeeding is a hell of a learning curve on its own, let alone breastfeeding after a c-section. A nursing pillow can really help with the learning curve.

Get one that is sturdy enough to hold your baby at the right height so you don’t hurt your shoulders.

You can snag a free nursing pillow from here using the code NEWMOMMA20 but just be warned that they aren’t as good quality.

This one actually has an adjustable strap to hold it in place and works wonders!

If you haven’t taken a breastfeeding course yet, Milkology is available online. It was created by a lactation consultant and mom of 2 <3

High Waisted Underwear

Grab some high waisted granny panties to avoid an elastic band rubbing on your incision.

These ones are high waisted, soft and have an extra layer of fabric. Plus over 1400 four star reviews 🙂

Slip On Shoes

Bring a pair of shoes you can easily slip on when leaving the hospital so you don’t have to bend over with your incision.

Clothing for 3-4 Days

A c section recovery stay lasts about 3-4 days in the hospital. You may be able to leave sooner if both you and baby are well but pack enough for 3-4 days.

Your body just went through a major surgery so make sure to pack-

“Soft and loose waist pants, or better yet, dresses / clothing without waistbands at all.” – Amanda, 4x c section mom

Some c-section moms swear by really stretchy yoga pants and others seemed to really like nursing gowns the best.


This can be different everyone. I read lists that told me to pack a curling iron AND a flat iron- like, heck no, is that a joke?

Pack whatever is comfortable for you. Are you going to want conditioner? Pack it! Do you straighten your hair religiously every day? Then, by all means, pack your straightener.

The things you will for sure want/need are:

  • Toothbrush and travel size toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Minimal makeup
  • Hair ties- you may really need one during surgery

RELATED: How To Create A Birth Plan (+ a free pdf birth plan)

Lip Balm

It may not seem important, but it is!

If this is your first baby, trust me- you want lip balm in the hospital! It’s so incredibly dry in there.

This brand has amazing flavors.

RELATED: Realistic Breastfeeding Tips For Success!


Check to see what is offered at the hospital you’re going to. The one in our city had meals for mom and an area with snacks available but those were not for the support person.

So you may need to bring snacks for your birth partner! Or yourself if you have some favorites.

I always loved bringing some fresh fruit with me like apples and bananas.

Nursing Bra

Pack a nursing bra that is super comfy and forgiving. Your milk is going to come in and it is gonna be crazy town. I searched high and low for a nursing bra that I loved and this is the only one I recommend– it’s comfortable, supportive and holds up well to the never ending washing!

RELATED: How To Heal FAST Postpartum

Water Bottle

Bring your own water bottle! It’s way easier to drink out of opposed to a hospital cup. These Contigo water bottles with the spout– seriously the BEST.

Nursing Pads

Grab some disposable nursing pads to use in the hospital. It’s easier than keeping the reusables to wash when you get home. These will help save you from having to change your shirt or nursing bra every feed.

RELATED: 15 Really Weird Signs of Labor Starting

Nipple Cream

Start using this right away, even if it seems like they aren’t going to hurt that bad- trust me, they will.

This usually doesn’t last too long as your body gets used to breastfeeding. But I find if you just start applying it right after the first feed, it doesn’t get as bad.

I’ve used the same cream with every baby, it’s from Earth Mama Baby Angel. It smells like chocolate and is totally safe for your baby to taste.

Pillow From Home

I forgot my pillow with my third baby and just about cried. There is something so comforting about using the pillow that you’re used to and smells like your house. You may actually have a chance of getting some sleep if you bring it!

RELATED: The No B.S. Truth About Postpartum Recovery

Your Phone

I know you won’t forget this one but just in case you need a reminder.

A Charger

Don’t get stuck with dead electronics! It suuuucckkkkss. If you do forget it, you can always grab one from the hospital gift shop so don’t worry too much.

A Birth Plan

Although I did NOT have a birth plan- many moms are more comfortable having one. They can be your guiding star when everything goes to shit and you’re wondering what the heck happened.

You can grab a free birth plan template here.

What to Pack For Baby

Newborn Diapers

The hospital does supply diapers. Sometimes you run out in the middle of the night and you really don’t feel like calling the nurse. So I like to bring a small pack of my own just in case!


You can look into what your hospital will supply. For ours, it was wetting down a huge cloth in the sink and using that for a wipe. I didn’t really care for that since a pack of wipes is much easier to work with and it’s relatively small and easy to pack.

Definitely get baby wipes that are NOT scented and have minimal ingredients for your newborn baby- their skin is SO sensitive so the less harsh things you put on their skin- the better!

RELATED: How To Induce Labor (fast and from home!)

Receiving Blankets

These are probably one of the most used things with a baby. I use receiving blankets for swaddling in a pinch, wiping up spit up or as a nursing cover. They’re really multi-purpose! Bring a few with you for all those reasons.

Swaddling Blankets

What is the difference between receiving blankets and swaddling blankets, you ask? The swaddling blankets are quite a bit bigger and usually use a more breathable material, like muslim, to keep your baby’s temperature regulated. aden+anais are my favorite brand, they’re huge and perfect for keeping your baby the right temperature!

Again, they will probably supply these in the hospital but they are hospital material. I liked having my lighter and easier to work with swaddling blankets.


Bring some sleeveless onesies and some full sleepers. Your baby just needs to be warm, comfortable and safe. These newborn gowns are perfect for brand new babies and make changing diapers really simply.

If it’s winter, bring a newborn toque to keep their head warm. They’re used to being warm and cozy tucked in your belly so keep them that way!

Bum Cream

This is important. Your poor baby isn’t used to being wiped clean and then having their sensitive skin dry out. Find a low ingredient, super sensitive one that’s good for newborns. I like to make my own Healing Balm or if I’m out of time for that, The Honest Company has a diaper rash cream that’s really nice.

Baby Moisturizer

Seriously, the hospital air is incredibly dry. It really isn’t nice for anyone’s skin- let alone a brand new baby.

Bring some cream with minimal ingredients and no scents in case your baby has very dry skin. I trust everything Earth Mama puts out- they don’t use artificial fragrances or any harsh ingredients. Their calming baby lotion is organic and free of all the crap you don’t want on your baby’s skin!

What to Pack For Your Support Partner

Clothing for 3-4 Days

Depending on how far you are from home, your partner may be with you the full 3 or 4 days so make sure they have enough clothing for that.


Again, check with your hospital about what they offer for birth/support partners. You may want to pack some of your favorite snacks anyway since hospital food isn’t always great.

Water Bottle

Dads get thirsty too and he may not have a chance to leave during the surgery.


Dads- you’re on snack duty, parking duty and whatever else your lovely baby mama might need during this crazy time! Do NOT forget your wallet!


Just don’t forget these 🙂


A pillow for your partner is a good idea. Every time we go in to have a baby, my husband ends up sleeping in the craziest places. And though he says he’s fine, it looks like a pillow might be pretty helpful!

RELATED: Hospital Checklist For Dad/Birth Partner


Realistic C Section Hospital Bag

There may be things not included on this list that you really want to bring- bring whatever that may be! Packing can be generalized but there’s a lot that is personal preference.

The ‘less is more’ approach is great because you need to think of:

  1. Getting there- it sucks lugging all this crap that you’re not going to use, especially if you’re in a hurry or have to park far away.
  2. Leaving- going home is even worse because you now you’ve had major surgery and also have a precious newborn baby in a heavy car seat, plus all the stuff you brought! Make it easy on yourself. Only bring what you need!

Printable C-Section Hospital Bag Checklist


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Epidurals-Should You Get One?

Leave a comment letting me know something you can’t go without on your c section date ❤

scheduled c section hospital bag checklist/what to pack for a c section hospital bag


Davea Franklin

Monday 9th of November 2020

This Mimi (Grandma) is so giddy & excited!! Helping my amazingly awesome daughter-in-law with the c-section hospital bag checklist; she is 30 weeks today!! Woohoo!

Jenni Madsen

Monday 9th of November 2020

Hey Davea-

That warms my heart! Congratulations and good luck to your daughter-in-law!