Does anything really get you ready for having a baby? You can have the nursery decorated and hospital bags packed but the whirlwind of having a baby- a real life baby (!!) in your home is crazysauce. And I’ve done it 3 times already. Having everything ready does put my mind at ease so I am glad I prepared because even though I had a scheduled C-Section, baby decided to come on her own! But, that’s a story for another day.
I started writing this post before I even packed my bags because I had my list ready. And then I revised it once I had my bag packed. And now I am revising it again because my stay after this baby was a lot different than my stay with my first C-Section. I noticed a difference in things I needed in the hospital when I had a vaginal birth vs. a c-section one. First of all, it is a longer stay. Some people like to go home as soon as they can. Not me. I like to stay and have time to just take care of baby and me and recover. Yes, the nurses wake you up for testing and whatnot but for some reason I can deal with that. What I cannot deal with well is the anxiety of being home and being responsible for yourself, baby plus your family and knowing all the stuff that needs to be done. I am lucky (super super blessed!) to have my Mom come and stay with me for a little while until I can get around and adjust to life again. So while she helps take care of my family, I take care of baby and myself. My Mom does, however, do a fantastic job taking care of me, too.
I digress- my point is the hospital stay can be longer when you have a c-section: 3-5 days depending on the hospital. Make sure to check with your doctor the typical stay because in Utah my stay was 4 days while in Seattle it is only 2! My list is based on staying that amount of time. I think it is better to over pack than under pack because I just like to be prepared for different scenarios. So here we go- this is what I packed for my hospital bag:
Hospital Bag c/o BabyMoov- This bag is super spacious. I like that it has 3 large compartments so I can organize my, my husband’s and baby’s things accordingly, plus lots of little ones inside for smaller items. I hate having to dig through stuff so if I divide things into compartments it will stay nice and tidy. It is actually a baby bag but looks so chic and unisex it can be used as a travel bag. My husband loves it for himself to use as a weekend bag!
Slippers (similar)(1 pair) /Flip Flops/Socks (1-2 pairs)- When you have a c-section, it will be hard to bend so I recommend backless slippers because they are easy to put on and take off. However, when you are lying in bed you may get cold (I sure did!) so some nice fuzzy socks with grips on the bottom will do the trick. You can have someone help you slip those on. I know the hospital gives you socks but mine were always too big and I just like the fuzzy ones. *Update: after birth your hormones are crazy and I got hot flashes and the leg compressors only made me hotter. I didn’t use socks or slippers during this hospital stay but I did use slippers at my last one.
Robe c/0 Belabumbum (1-2)- I was always cold after my hot flashes in the hospital and liked to warm up with a robe. Bring an extra in case you get spit up on (you will) or puke on yourself (the Percocet didn’t agree with my body unfortunately). I know the hospital gives you those gowns but mine always fell off the shoulder and were so thin you could see through it. A pretty robe won’t make the pain go away but mentally it may make you feel up to getting up and about- you know to show it off- and this one from PinkBlush Maternity is so soft, warm and pretty I will wear it on a regular basis.
Nursing Nightgown c/o Belabumbum(1-2)- You’ll want to get out of the hospital gown at some point- maybe that evening or maybe the day after. I felt more comfortable changing out of the gown into something softer, comfier and more presentable. You know you’ll be getting visitors and flashing one of them really isn’t something I want to do to them. This nightgown is perfect because it is so soft, comfortable, loose and nursing friendly. For those that wear garments (sacred underwear for the LDS religion), this has sleeves!! Sleeves! Sleeves! Plus you could wear it to go home in.
Nursing Bra (1) c/o Belabumbum+ Nursing Pads– A sleeping bra is a must once your milk comes in. Or even before when you’re still tender. I personally hate underwire bras and this bra is great for sleeping and during the day. It is loose enough to pull down to nurse- or used as a human pacifier-but sturdy enough to keep everything snugly in place so you aren’t in more discomfort. Plus, come on, cute polka dot bra but make sure to go up a size. I also really like these for during the day but I went up a size with this one, too.
Some people use disposable nursing pads and I have but I prefer these thin bamboo ones. I seriously love them. They are softer on the nipple (those that have nursed know the pain of the tender nipple!) and super absorbent as in I have never leaked through my shirt or bra. When it is time to change, I just threw them in the wash instead of buying and throwing away more and more junk.
Nursing Pillow– I didn’t actually bring this to the hospital but I wish I did. Getting the hang of nursing as it is is a bit complicated- even if you’ve done it before. Every child latches on differently or has his own quirk. Holding on to that baby and trying not to strain your abdominal muscles is a little tricky and painful. A nursing pillow will be your best friend. So will a good chair- but the pillow lets you accommodate and get situated with baby using 2 hands. Of course you always need to hold onto baby so he doesn’t roll off. I used to have Boppys but got this one instead. I love it- much sturdier than the Boppy I think. And it has little pockets to put a binky or a handy nipple shield in.
Carseat– You can’t leave the hospital without one! It has to be properly secured and not expired (that’s a given, right?). We used the Chicco with our 3 other kids but it has expired so we had to dish out for another carseat. It is very sturdy and a bit heavy but it is super safe.
Carseat Cover/Nursing Cover c/o Covered Goods- The carseat cover is to give baby privacy, block out wind, and block out potential germs. If you haven’t seen this cover yet- you need to know about it. I am all about multi-purpose items. I thrive on it because I want to own less but still be able to do as much. This cover is not only a car seat cover, it is also a nursing cover and an infinity scarf. No room in the diaper bag, just wrap it around your neck to add a little pop to your outfit, or put it over the carseat and later use it to nurse the baby. Such a simple concept but oh so practical! And the patterns are on trend. Love it- these would be awesome baby shower gifts people.
Going Home Outfit c/o PinkBlush Maternity- You could just go home in the clothes you came in with. OR you could bring something awesome because YEP- you just delivered a baby who you have been growing and nurturing inside you for the past 10 months! Treat yourself a little! I’d go with a dress because no fuss about lifting your legs (that requires abdominal muscle usage). Just slip it on over your head or slip your arms through in a wrap dress. Trust me- dresses are simple yet always give you a put together look. It’s like, I want to feel beautiful because I just had a freakin’ baby- a baby- a miracle! PinkBlush Maternity has been my go-to for maternity wear and now nursing wear. They seriously have cute maternity dresses that can also be worn as non-maternity. The dresses are perfect for in between as well because let’s face it- normal women don’t just go back to their pre-baby bodies. It takes a while to get back there and a dress leaves room for those extra pounds.
C-Section Panty/Girdle– I didn’t have one for my last delivery but I truly wish I had known about this back then! I brought this but was recommended by the nurse not to use it just yet because the pressure would exacerbate my abdominal pain. Perhaps because I wasn’t taking strong enough medications she didn’t want me to be in any more pain? I have heard from others though that it helped them. This isn’t for vanity’s sake- it is for pain’s sake! I remember the nurses telling me that if I had to laugh or cough or (heaven forbid) sneeze, to hold a pillow over my stomach. I was freaking out the first time I chuckled because I was sure I had just torn my stitches. Your abdomen is not going to look the same after your c-section. It will be flabby, discolored and oh so tender. As much as a love the mesh panties (really I do) I think these are great in not only tucking everything back in but gives you that extra support so you don’t feel like a horror movie waiting to happen if you cough.
Toiletry Bag– toothbrush c/0 Baby Buddy(super soft circular brush that is perfect for sensitive gums!), shampoo and conditioner, brush, hair tie/headband, deodorant, toothpaste. You may want to bring makeup since you can’t wear anything while in surgery: moisturizer, concealer, lip balm, cheek stain, mascara
Camera (charged!!) – don’t forget your charger just in case
SD card double and triple check that it is in there. I’ve heard some sad stories!
Phone + charger
Wallet– ID, insurance card, money/credit card for your spouse’s meals
Going home outfit, onesies (the hospital strongly encouraged skin to skin so they didn’t provide anything but a blanket!), blanket (love this one, this one, and this one) bibs, moccasins (don’t need and won’t fit tiny feet but cute photo opp!)
I really hope this list helps and if you have any questions or worries about your upcoming c-section please ask! I’d love to help where I can. It is a scary thing going into it but it is all worth it for your sweet bundle of joy. Trust me, I have had to keep telling myself that as I recovered (because it is a long one!) and now that I look back it doesn’t seem too bad. It’s ok to cry- I did! I still do!- but know there is help available if you need it. Make sure to talk to your doctor and don’t be shy about asking a million questions. Do what you need to do to be well informed and take care of yourself mama!