My Hospital Bag + Postpartum Must Haves

My Hospital Bag & Postpartum Must Haves (For C-Section)

If you’re following along on Instagram or Facebook, or you subscribe to my newsletter, you probably saw that we welcomed our baby boy into the world last week. Benjamin Allen came into this world on Sunday, November 5th. I’ll share a more formal introduction to his arrival later on, but today I wanted to share what I packed in my hospital bag and also some of my favorite postpartum items as I recover from my C-section.

As I was working on blog content for this month, I totally planned to share this post before our baby’s arrival. I researched both hospital bag and postpartum essentials based on other women’s experiences and also what I read in books about natural birth. Then we found out our baby boy was breech, and that I would need to schedule a cesarean.

I had to start over a bit in my research since recovery from vaginal birth is different than recovering from a c-section surgery. I reworked what I planned to pack in my bag. I spent the Saturday before our planned surgery cleaning the house and getting everything at home squared away. I planned to pack my hospital bag that Sunday and finish writing this blog post to share last week.

Then my water broke on Sunday morning.

Oops. 🙂 Luckily, I knew what I wanted to have in my bag and I was able to throw everything in at the last moment. Not ideal, but it worked and I ended up having just what I needed for the hospital.

The typical hospital stay for a c-section is three nights, but we ended up staying only two.


My Hospital Bag

Comfortable Clothing

I packed soft yoga pants, nursing tanks, and a robe to wear during our hospital stay. I packed some sleep-time nursing bras, but I didn’t end up wearing them. I recommend packing one pair of comfortable pants and one nursing camisole for each night you’ll be in the hospital. I felt comfortable and modest and I was able to nurse in the tanks easily by opening my robe. Make sure whatever pants you bring are soft, stretchy, and will hit above your incision.

I know some people like to bring slippers, but hospital germs ick me out. Staff walk in and out of lots of rooms, stuck with wearing hospital socks, which I left behind when we went home.

As far as undies go, I recommend just sticking to what they give you at the hospital. I even brought some extra home for the first few days back home. They’re the granniest panties you’ll ever see, but they get the job done. My husband said, “Those are grannie panties that any grandma with standards would say, ‘no thank you’ to.” 🙂

I wore yoga pants and a loose tunic for the ride home.

Nursing Supplies

So, I already mentioned under clothing that I brought nursing camisoles. The hospital we delivered at had nursing pads and lanolin– which is a total must-have for beginning breastfeeding. I just kept asking for more of the supplies if I ran low, and even brought some extra home with me.

(FYI: The best tip a nurse gave me for feeling sore was to apply lanolin cream to both the nursing pad and to the nipple for healing between feedings. The lanolin also works to moisturize baby’s lips, which can get chapped from nursing.)

The other must-have I brought for nursing was our Boppy pillow. I’ve also heard great things about My Brest Friend nursing pillow, but we went with the Boppy.


When it comes to toiletries, it’s really a personal preference. I kept things pretty simple. I packed my own travel sized shampoo and conditioner. I also brought dry shampoo, hand/body lotion (my hands are still dry from the hospital environment), a razor, toothbrush, paste, a hairbrush, deodorant, face wipes, and facial lotion. One thing I forgot in my rush to pack our bag was lip balm. Luckily, a nurse brought me tube of Vaseline for my lips. Hospitals are seriously so dry- I wouldn’t have survived without it.

I also wanted to feel somewhat normal greeting visitors, etc. so I packed a few makeup essentials like eye concealer and mascara- but that’s about it.


I also packed an extra-long phone charging cord and our camera (which we didn’t actually use, though we should have). I meant to bring my journal, but forgot it in the rush. It would have been nice to write in during our stay.

We were fortunate enough to be delivering at a hospital with a baby-friendly designation, meaning things like immediate skin-to-skin, rooming in, etc. are all taken care of, and since I was having a c-section, I didn’t really bring a birth plan. I was sure to bring my driver’s license and insurance card. I also brought a copy of my advanced directives (if you don’t have an advance directive- you need to make one!!).

Postpartum Care

I was all set to bring postpartum care items for after a natural/vaginal birth (witch hazel, tucks pads, comfy undies, and toilet paper from home- seriously, I read it somewhere), but then I had to reevaluate a bit with our change in plans to a c-section.

My OB suggested bringing high-waisted underwear and said they’d provide the rest. I meant to stop at Target before our scheduled c-section, but my water broke before I could get there! I wore extra hospital undies for the first few days at home, and we made a trip to Target within the first week. They’re not sexy, but these briefs have been great. They hit way above my incision and help control my tummy. I bought two 3-packs from Target. It felt wonderful to put on real underwear.

I also took extra hospital pads home with me, but after a few days I switched to these pads. I recommend having pads at home in case your water breaks, because you’ll need them! I was surprised at how much fluid there was.

Most of my maternity clothing had been under-the belly style leggings and inset-panel denim, so I was a little panicked I wouldn’t have much to wear that would come above my incision, and I didn’t want to buy more maternity clothes. I ended up purchasing these maternity ponte pants from Target. They fit like leggings, but they have pockets in the back and look like ponte pants. The waistband can also fold down.

I also ordered these postpartum support leggings from Blanqi which I HIGHLY recommend. No matter how you deliver, these are amazing. They’re actually 50% off right now. I ordered one pair and after a day and a half of wearing them, went online and ordered a second pair. They’re perfect for nursing in too because of  the high waist.

Once I got home and started to wear more normal clothing, I appreciated having reusable nursing pads. They’re less bulky and more discreet than disposables. I like these organic ones.

I’ve continued to wear these nursing camisoles at home. I also like this one from Old Navy which is a little more fitted. During the day I’ve been wearing a nursing bra with the camisole for extra support, and I have been wearing these same bras to bed at night. I haven’t purchased a real bra for nursing yet, because I wanted to be sure of ordering the right size.

I’ve mostly been wearing leggings, camisoles with cardigans, and other easy to nurse in tops. I don’t have many ‘nursing’ pieces, but I do love this cute nursing sweater from Old Navy which I have in the neutral color.


What’s in Baby’s Hospital Bag

Just the basics for our little guy. We’ve got a going home outfit, the softest newborn cap, and a onesie. In case he’s huge, I’m bringing an extra onesie and sleeper in the next size up. I’ve also got a swaddle blanket and a nail file in the bag. Other than that, I’m bringing the Boppy pillow for nursing and we’ll be sure the car seat is in the car.

What’s in Dad’s Hospital Bag

Last, but never least, wanted to make sure Mathew had what he needed. He brought snacks, comfortable clothing, and pj’s. He probably would have liked to have a pillow from home, but we didn’t bring it. I told him he would need deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, and mints- because if he was going to be close to my face in the delivery room, he was going to want fresh breath for both our sake. I also told him he’ll want his phone charger, headphones, possibly his iPad, and cash/ change for the vending machine in case he’s hungry, out of snacks, and the cafeteria is closed.


Did I forgetting anything? Have you done this a time or two- what is good to bring or leave behind? Are you expecting? What’s in your hospital bag? When did you have everything packed and ready to go?



PS – My third-trimester update and five things to do before baby arrives.