Have you ever heard of ‘nesting’? No, not the thing that birds presumably do with sticks and fluff and other rubbish. I’m talking about that crazy hormonal thing that happens to pregnant women around the third trimester – that insane urge to organise everything. Nursery? Done. Baby wardrobe? Tick! Kitchen cupboards, linen press, sock collection and weird knick-knack drawer full of junk? You better believe it, it’s organised.
I can attest to the bizarre phenomenon that is nesting, (as can my alphabetised, color co-ordinated bookshelf) and one of the things I became obsessed with during this period was making lists for my hospital bag. I pinterested until odd hours of the morning checking out every packing list out there – and I was surprised to find there were a lack of c-section lists. So now that I’ve been there myself and know exactly what I didn’t need to pack and what I wished I packed, I present to you: the [un]Official List of What To Pack For a C-Section, helpfully divided into relevant sections to satisfy your nesting needs!
- A comfy cardigan and sweater. The key to comfy post-partum dressing is layers. Layers, layers, layers. Your boobs will be huge. Your tummy will still look slightly pregnant. And those hospitals can get chilly! Just make sure if you pack a sweater that it’s a loose, easy-on-off one.
- Stretchy cami tops. You can buy expensive nursing tops, or you can just buy cheap cami’s. I had both, and I pretty much just wore the camis.
- Seamless underwear. On all the lists I read, people said to bring those big, bridget jones style mum pants. ‘You won’t want anything rubbing on the scar’ was the advice. I brought two packs of mum-pants, and I didn’t wear them at all. I found my regular seamless underwear was just fine, and didn’t irritate the incision site at all.
- Belly Binder. This isn’t necessarily essential, but I had one and I found it super helpful. You do feel a bit shaky in the mid-section, and the binder can help to make you feel more secure, as well as shrinking your stomach back quicker.
- Cake Maternity Bras. Unfortunately for me, I discovered these AFTER the fact. I had about 5 different brands of nursing bras that I brought in with me, and only 2 actually fit me when my milk came in. (Nothing can prepare you for the sheer size of those puppies!) I bought a nice brand purely based on how lovely and lacy they looked [lauren you dumbass], but I quickly learned they weren’t comfortable. When you’re sporting giant, rock-hard basketballs on your chest, you want comfort. These nursing bras by Cake are the comfiest bras I’ve ever had the pleasure of wearing, they’re stretchy enough to fit you during pregnancy and breastfeeding and they look cute too. They’re on the pricey side, but they’re SO worth it – and I’m a massive cheap-ass, so I wouldn’t recommend something expensive unless it was absolutely awesome. (Get em here)
- Slippers. After a c-section you are given compression socks to wear, so skip packing socks and just pack some comfy scuffs.
- Stretchy pants. I was in two minds whether to take leggings or harem pants, but you are going to be rocking some seriously large maxi-pads after birth, regardless of your delivery method, so leggings are a no-no unless you want to look like you’re wearing a nappy underneath. I packed some comfy harem trackies in a larger size than I would normally take, so that the waistband wouldn’t irritate me.
- Brauer Calm oral liquid. This one is more for anxiety sufferers like myself. I was horribly anxious in hospital but didn’t want to take any of my prescription sedating medication for fear that it wouldn’t be safe for Lila. This stuff is homoeopathic and safe to take while breastfeeding.
- Hydrogel Breast Discs. I made my mum go out and buy these for me after I got cracked and blistered nipples from attempting to breastfeed. (It’s harder than it looks!) They made a massive difference and were recommended by the midwives.
- TOM organic maternity pads. I was informed via all the packing lists I read that I would be given mesh panties to wear in hospital. My hospital clearly didn’t get the memo because I got nothing of the sort! My sister went out and bought me these, and out of the several brands of maternity pads I tried during the 6 week post-partum stage, these were by far the comfiest and easiest to use. They didn’t come unstuck or bunch around uncomfortably, and were truly like sitting on some kind of sanitary cloud. (Not even joking)
- Pigeon disposable nursing pads. I had both these and the washable kind. The washable kind kept soaking through my tops so I just ended up going with these.
- Travel-sized toiletries. You’ll only be in hospital for 3-5 days, so you really won’t need that huge bottle of pantene. You’ll be showering as soon as they’ll let you (you’ll feel amazing afterwards, trust me) so you will be wanting a nice body wash and shampoo.
- All your usual toiletries and easy makeup. You know the stuff: deodorant, hairbrush, glasses, moisturizer, etc. For makeup I recommend CC cream, cream blush/lippie, mascara and a multipurpose balm that you can use on dry skin, lips, hands and nipples. Dry shampoo will also come in handy, as will a headband for an easy way to keep the hair out of your face if you can’t be bothered with it. Don’t forget any medications, but as for pain relief don’t worry too much, they keep you pretty sorted.
- Baby items! (the fun part :P) My hospital provided things like nappies and baby wipes, but it would be worth checking with yours what they provide and what you will need to bring. I brought several outfits for my bub in different sizes, some beanies, singlets, muslin swaddles and a little fleecy bunny rug. Also you will need a carseat fitted correctly to take your little bundle home. Oh, and pacifiers if you choose to use them. (I did)
- Snacks! I got fed extremely well in hospital and definitely didn’t go hungry, but I wasn’t quite used to having dinner at 5.30pm. You get absolutely ravenous when breastfeeding, so having little snacks on hand is worthwhile. I also brought in my own tea because I knew they wouldn’t have it there, and I am a tea-junkie.
- Camera, chargers, ipods, headphones, kindles. I took in a camera because I wanted to, but obviously phones these days have great cameras so you can decide to have one or both options. I constantly had my phone on charge in the hospital because of the amount of phone-calls and messages you receive when you’ve just welcomed a little one into the world! I did have a laptop with me because I was in hospital prior to my c-section, but I didn’t use it once Lila was born.
- Notebook. This will come in handy for many reasons, but a key one is because baby brain is a REAL THING! You will likely be so bombarded with information, well-wishes, and possibly even flowers/cards/gifts, that having a place to take note of all this is a lifesaver, especially for when you get home and want to write some thank-you cards, or refer back to whatever it was the paediatrician said what not to do.
Things I didn’t need…
Boppy/Breast-friend/Breastfeeding pillow. Would’ve just taken up room and the hospital pillows sufficed.
Jeans. Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking either.
Book/Magazines. Didn’t actually get time to read anything. You do have a fair bit of time where your newborn is sleeping, but you will most likely spend that time sleeping yourself.
Granny panties. Seamless undies didn’t irritate my incision site and looked a whole lot nicer, too.
Robe and towel. I didn’t need a robe because I was either dressed, or in a hospital gown. I also didn’t need a towel because the hospital ones were just fine, but I would recommend taking one if you have doubts about the ones provided.
Pillow/blanket. Same goes for above.
So that’s it, my comprehensive, appropriately sectioned C-Section packing list. Happy birthing!