We’re gonna hop in a little time machine here and go back to the frantic days leading up to THE BIG DAY. Everyone was telling me the “must haves” I needed for the c-section. But some of them just sounded downright silly. Like, who is actually going to need to bring their make-up bag nonetheless have time to apply it? The answer is no one, by the way. No one has time to be model pretty and if they say they do, they are either lying or some kind of future alien thing. So as if I didn’t have enough things on my mind – is the house ready? will the baby like the nursery? what if I fart during the c-section??? – I had yet to do anything that even closely resembled packing. Time management isn’t really my “thing.”
So, without further ado, because my rambling and tangents could theoretically go on forever, here is a (mostly) foolproof packing checklist for your c-section and hospital stay:
For Just You:
- Pajama type or loose fitting dresses. Having a tight waistband pressing on your incision is Guantanamo-level torture
- Some hospitals will provide socks with little grippy things on the bottom, some will not. If they don’t, I highly suggest bringing a pair or two, because slipping on a cold hospital floor after major surgery isn’t super fun
- Maternity bras (plus nursing pads) and really comfy undies. Some ladies like to go the low-cut route (so it doesn’t touch the incision) some like high-waisted undies (because it feels like it keeps everything “in”). It’s dealers choice
- Your own pillow(s) and blanket(s). Not only are hospital pillows flat and oddly noisy, but hospital blankets are thinner than truck stop bathroom toilet paper. And that’s saying something
- If you’re breastfeeding, bring your own pillow and cover and other paraphernalia because most hospitals will only provide a hospital-grade pump
- LOTS OF HEADBANDS. Between puking, sweating, tossing and turning in bed, and other things, you do not want to deal with hair in your face
- This is a big one! The hospital room I was in had a shower with washcloths and towels, but no shampoo or soap. Also, even if you’re not going to breastfeed, your body will still be producing colostrum (aka liquid gold) AND your baby needs to smell you, pheromones and all. So BRING YOUR OWN SOAP. Use something unscented and gentle so as not to confuse your baby’s Basset Hound-like scent receptors. Oh, and Q-tips. Bring Q-tips because water in the ear is super annoying.
For the Baby:
- Note: Thankfully you won’t actually need to bring much for your baby during your hospital stay. In between hospital staff and visitors, there will be an ample supply of diapers, beanies, bottles, formula, and everything else for your little one
- Going-home outfit. It’s up to you if you esteem fashion over ease, but remember that your baby is floppy, fragile, and impatient
- Receiving/swaddling blankets. ASK FOR TIPS from your nurse on how to make a nice little baby burrito because swaddling is not as easy as it looks
- Mittens are a must because babies just love trying to scratch themselves and simultaneously gouge their eyes out with their tiny, angry fingernails
- Grooming kit type things and pacifiers are optional again based on what your local hospital will/won’t provide
For your Partner:
- Note: Your partner’s sole job is to hold on to and take care of all the things you don’t have time for, just being honest. With that said, the following items are less about things to keep your partner comfy and more about keeping your life stress-free
- Facial toner. This was a Godsend because I didn’t have the time/energy to wash my face yet I still felt like I had spent 13 hours over a fast-food fryer. The toner not only let me feel refreshed but I didn’t even have to get out of bed!
- IDs, insurance cards, and any other paperwork your hospital or doctors require
- Camera (or SmartPhone) for all the necessary pictures you need to take. I don’t care if people say all newborns look the same, I want pictures, gosh darnit!
- Chargers and batteries! This one CANNOT be stressed enough, people
- Cash for vending machines, valet, or any other services that don’t accept cards (which, surprisingly, is a lot!)
- Here’s one I didn’t think would be important but I’m so glad I brought – BAGS. Bags for dirty laundry, supplies the hospital gives you to take home, gifts visitors bring, paperwork from your doctor/nurse, and everything else that will come your way. Believe me, you will leave for the hospital thinking you are fully packed but then you will go home looking like a Canadian experiencing Disney for the first time. No offense.
Hope this checklist helps or at least gives you a guideline for packing! Up next is a post about all the “wonderful” things they don’t tell you about getting a c-section! Hang in there, though, ladies; you can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel (insert vaginal birth jokes).