Are you trying to work out all the c section recovery must haves to help aid in your recovery?
Then let us help you put together your DIY c section recovery kit with our ultimate list of must haves for c section recovery!
Most mothers wouldn’t select a cesarean section as their first choice for delivery, but 31% of all live births in the United States are c-sections. So, whether you have a planned surgery or end up with one unexpectedly, you want to understand and gather your c-section recovery must-haves.
Recovering from a c-section is different than a vaginal birth. While you have some similarities – you both have a large wound inside your uterus – you also have significant differences.
A lot of things have changed since the invention of the chainsaw for childbirth, so it’s easy to think that a c-section isn’t a huge deal these day, but this is major surgery.
A c-section is considered major abdominal surgery, and most women are awake during the operation. Then, you must heal from surgery while caring for a brand-new baby.
It’s not an easy task!
Taking it easy and resting as much as possible is key to a great recovery and having your necessities ready makes it easier. So, let’s look at some of the c-section recovery must-haves moms say they’re glad they had on hand!
And if you love this guide on c section postpartum must haves, make sure to check out our guides on the best bassinet for c section, what to wear in the hospital after giving birth, what to wear home from hospital after birth, and new mom care package ideas!
This post contains affiliate links. See our full disclosure here
1. Abdominal Binder
It seems as if people forget that a c-section is major abdominal surgery. Despite being childbirth, it is also serious surgery and causes damage to your body. Your belly and incision site needs support and stability during this time to aid in the recovery process.
Many hospitals provide women with a belly binder, and some find it too uncomfortable to use after surgery. However, having an abdominal binder on hand is something you should add to your hospital bag.
A binder provides much-needed counterpressure, which helps you move around more comfortably after delivery.
2. C-Section Recovery Band
Frida Mom creates terrific products for mothers, and one of their newer products is their C-Section Recovery Band. It provides complete front bumper protection that protects your incision from all slides.
You’ll be amazed how often you bump and irritate that area when you want to avoid it at all costs! This recovery band has a soft knit inner layer that cradles your incision area, and the firm outer layer absorbs the bumps.
Another handy feature is that this recovery band has front and back pockets where you can add hot and cold therapy packs.
3. Nursing Pillow
Even if you aren’t breastfeeding, a nursing pillow is a great thing to have when you have a c-section. It provides support for your arms while holding your baby, and it also protects your incision area. This is particularly true if you have toddlers who want to climb onto your lap.
The most popular nursing pillow is the Boppy Pillow. It’s affordable, lasts through multiple kids, and works for tummy time as well. Make sure you have extra Boppy pillow covers because your baby will inevitably mess up the covers with spit-up or diaper explosions.
You may also like this review on My Brest Friend vs Boppy nursing pillows.
4. High-Waisted Leggings
You want to prepare your wardrobe for your postpartum body. You need to protect a sensitive incision area for several weeks while it heals, and you may be breastfeeding.
Grab a few pairs of high-waisted cotton leggings to add to your wardrobe. These are great for the hospital if you don’t like to wear dresses. They are breathable and comfortable, and the high waist stays away from your incision while holding pads in place.
5. Nursing Bras
Breastfeeding mothers need to add a few nursing bras to their wardrobes. When in the hospital, all you need is a sleeping nursing bra or something that is comfortable for you to wear and keep your nursing pads in place.
These Hofish Seamless Nursing Bras are comfortable and affordable – three come in a pack. If you want an affordable sleep bra, consider these Cakye Maternity Sleep Bra; they’re cotton, affordable, and come in a three-pack.
When it comes to maternity bras, your comfort is the up most important! And that's why we love these wirefree nursing bras! They are soft, seamless and super supportive and even come with matching bra extenders to ensure maximum comfort.
These bras offer full courage, and they have removable padded cups for discretion. In addition, the straps have easy drop-down cups that give you easy access for your baby.
6. Nursing Tank Tops
Kick the bra to the side for a while in the hospital and use nursing tank tops instead. Nursing tank tops have a built-in bra and work great for layering under cardigans or non-nursing tops.
Bring one with you to the hospital during your c-section recovery, and then keep them on hand when you go home.
If you prefer an all in one bra and tank top combo then you'll love these! With built-In, molded, double layer cotton this tank top provides the full support of a nursing bra as well a stylish empire waistline for a flattering fit.
Some women enjoy sleeping gowns. This won’t necessarily be part of the c-section recovery must-haves for everyone, but if you don’t mind dresses, they are great for the hospital after a cesarean section.
Your nurses have to check your incision regularly, which is far easier with a gown, and you have to change your pad often. So, wearing a gown makes sense if you feel comfortable in a dress. If not, go for the leggings and baggy tops!
8. Slippers or Socks with Grips
After your surgery, your doctor will want you to walk regularly, starting after your epidural wears off. Typically, within 8-12 hours, you are up moving around. It’s encouraged for mothers to make regular walks around their room or maternity ward.
Not only does walking help your bowels start to move, but it will encourage your doctor to know you are on the road to recovery.
However, you don’t want to walk barefoot. The floors are dirty and cold. The staff will provide you with the grippy socks everyone recognizes from the hospital, but you’ll feel more comfortable wearing a cozy pair of slippers for women.
If slippers aren’t your favorite thing, consider some thicker non-slip socks with grips. These are cozy and warm than the ones the hospital provides.
9. Co-Sleeper Bassinet
Getting out of bed is difficult after a c-section. Sitting up requires a lot of abdominal muscles, which are currently cut and uncomfortable during your recovery. Having a co-sleeper beside your bed means you don’t have to get up completely; it’s a benefit during your recovery process.
You can read more about our top co-sleeps for c section in our best bassinet after c section guide!
Arm's Reach is a well trusted brand in the bassinet industry, creating quality, functional co-sleepers for parents. And the Cambria is no exception!
You can use the Cambria in two modes; a bedside bassinet, attached to the parent bed or stand-alone bassinet, anywhere you would like to put it.
The drop down mesh side makes for easy access to your baby, whilst features such as the the storage pockets as well as a platform enables you to store essentials close by. Perfect for C section and breastfeeding moms!
This bassinet also comes with everything you need including a mattress, fitted sheet, and a nylon strap, plus most importantly a plate to attach to the adult bed for safety.
10. Diaper Caddy
Another good idea when you gather c-section recovery must-haves is to get a diaper caddy. The last thing you want is to search for the diaper caddy essentials you need in the middle of the night. So instead, put a caddy near your bed with diapers, wipes, diaper cream, and extra burp cloths.
You’ll love the convenience in the middle of the night.
You may also like our best diaper caddy guide!
The Parker Baby Diaper Caddy is a large versatile diaper caddy perfect for holding all your baby diaper essentials!
The interior dividers can be removed to make space if you need to store many diapers, and it comes with eight handy exterior pockets for storing diaper creams, pacifiers, little toys, and other small things.
As a big bonus, it's light weight and collapsible, making it very portable.
11. Rolling Cart
After a c-section, you’ll spend a lot of time sitting and recovering. Walking is good, but it’s best to limit your stair time if you have stairs. Instead, grab a rolling cart and fill it with the items you might need from your baby’s nursery, like diapers, wipes, extra clothes, and nursing supplies.
After your baby is older, you can use a rolling cart for craft supplies, books, and other items.
12. A Comfortable Place to Sit
You may not have to buy this, but ensure you have a comfortable place to sit with your baby. A recliner or a reclining couch are two excellent options. If you sit in a rocking chair, ensure it is comfortable on your back and legs; you’ll sit for quite a long time!
This GreenGaurd Gold certified swivel glider has been designed specifically with parent and baby in mind! Not only do you get great lumbar support but the 360-degree swivel allows for a smooth and gentle glide, so you’ll be comfortable no matter how you glide or swivel.
It’s safe for little fingers since the swivel construction is under the chair and not accessible by kids.
And as a plus, you'll also get an ottoman so you can kick your feet up and it comes assembled when it’s delivered!
13. Compression Stockings
Some hospitals provide patients with medical-grade compression socks after surgery. The purpose is to prevent a blood clot – a DVT – after a c-section due to being immobile.
Doctors recommend mothers wear them for up to six weeks after surgery to prevent a blood clot. It’s a good idea to have several pairs available since they will get dirty, so grab a few pairs to keep at home!
During your stay at the hospital, the staff provides you with disposable mesh underwear. Those undies are some of the most comfortable things you will ever wear, and they are high-waisted, perfect for staying clear of your incision site.
Grab these Frida Mom Disposable Postpartum Underwear for your c-section recovery must-haves. They are super stretchy underwear designed to keep pads in place and not irritate your incision. The high waistband won’t roll down over your incision either, and they’re made with breathable, latex-free materials.
You’ll definitely want these on hand!
15. High-Waisted Underwear
After you stop wearing disposable mesh underwear, it’s time to switch to cotton, high-waisted underwear. Your incision needs to be protected, and it’s best to avoid any panties that will rub against the site for several weeks to months.
This set of high-waist underwear by Cauniss is excellent, and the company created them with the postpartum period in mind after a c-section.
16. Peri Bottle
You may think your bottom won’t be sensitive after a c-section, but that assumption is wrong. Your vagina may not have birthed a baby, but you must keep the area clean and dry. It’s the entry point for bacteria to reach the large wound inside your uterus.
Plus, all of the bleeding and wiping will make your bottom area sore. The hospital will provide you with a peri bottle for cleaning, and it’s a great idea to have one at home to use as well.
The most popular choice is the Frida Mom Washer. It’s designed to be easy for mothers to hold and spray water on their bottoms. As a result, staying clean has never been easier.
17. Wound Care Products
While recovering, you have to keep your incision clean and dry. The hospital may not instruct you to use wound pads, but they help prevent rubbing and absorb anything that may leak from your incision.
18. Pain Reliever
Chances are your doctor will send you home with some sort of pain reliever. Most doctors send home two prescriptions: ibuprofen 800mg and Percocets (or some other higher-grade pain reliever). Mothers need to control their pain levels after surgery; it makes it much easier for you to care for yourself and your new baby.
Since you won’t be sure if your doctor will send you home with medication, it’s a good idea to have some pain relievers on hand. Remember, as much as you may want to stay clear of pain relievers, this is significant surgery, and your body is hurting. So it’s okay to take medicine as needed.
19. Stool Softeners
In the hospital, the staff will provide stool softeners to help your bowels return to their regular working order. This is because surgery disrupts all sorts of things in your digestive tract.
Your first bowel movement may not happen in the hospital, and most c-section moms will tell you the first poop after delivery is scary. However, counterpressure is your friend, and your incision will not open, despite what you may think!
Taking stool softeners regularly after a c-section is a great idea. Surgery disrupts your bowels, and taking opioid painkillers tends to cause constipation. It’s not an ideal situation! Colace is a top-rated brand, and it’s gentle on your belly.
20. Heating Pad
You may experience a lot of aches and pains in your back. Not only can a spinal epidural cause back pain but sitting regularly always leads to aches and pains. Plus, you will have afterbirth pains after birth, and a heating pad helps decrease those pains.
Any heating pad will do!
21. Nursing Pads
If you breastfeed, you also want to have nursing pads on hand. Nursing pads go into your nursing bras, absorbing any leakage you might experience. When your milk arrives, and your breasts become engorged, you will leak a lot.
You have two options: reusable or disposable nursing pads. Some mothers prefer both, or they may have a preference.
Disposable nursing pads are thinner and more convenient. You stick them to the inside of your bra, and they typically won’t be visible under your clothing. However, you must keep buying them, which is a drain on your budget, and the plastic feeling isn’t comfortable.
Reusable pads are thicker and softer; they are just as absorbent as disposable. However, you may notice lines through your clothing since they are thicker. Also, reusable nursing pads cost more upfront.
22. Nipple Cream
Nipples take a beating during breastfeeding, so if you plan to nurse your baby, make sure you add some nipple cream to your c-section recovery must-haves.
Nipple cream soothes sore, cracked, and chapped nipples. One of the leading brands is Mama Earth Organic Nipple Butter. It’s a lanolin-free, organic nipple cream that you don’t need to wipe off before nursing your baby. Plus, it smells great!
23. Maxi Postpartum Pads
Not enough women discuss postpartum bleeding after a c-section. However, since you didn’t give birth vaginally, you may assume that you won’t bleed as much.
Unfortunately, you still will have considerably heavy vaginal bleeding. The first week or two will be similar to a heavy period. Over the next few weeks, the lochia will gradually get lighter. Typically, as you exert yourself, you’ll have periods of heavy bleeding again, which is a sign to take it easy.
Make sure you have maxi pads on hand. Honey Pot created these excellent postpartum pads infused with herbs to support your bottom health during postpartum healing. They’re awesome!
24. Reusable Water Bottle
Staying hydrated during your recovery is essential. Not only do you need to replace fluids lost during childbirth, but hydration is essential if you want your milk supply to increase.
Your body needs hydration!
Add a reusable water bottle to your c-section recovery must-haves. It’s a great way to track how much water you drink daily.
25. Plenty of Snacks
Put a basket of snacks near wherever you plan to be most of the time with your baby. Many mothers say they feel the hungriest they’ve ever felt in the weeks after childbirth.
Some snacks you should include are:
You may also like our guide on the best snacks for breastfeeding moms!
26. Scar Salves & Balm
If you want to decrease the visibility of your c-section scar, you’ll find a few products to help you.
The Frida Mom C-Section Scar Patches are great options. They hydrate the skin and help to reduce the visibility of the scar. Each patch is eight inches long and should cover most of your incision.
Another option is the Earth Mama Organic Skin & Scar Balm. This is an herbal blend that decreases c-section scars and stretch marks. The mixture is dermatologist tested and only uses safe ingredients.
27. Prenatal Vitamins
Now is not the time to stop taking your prenatal vitamins. One of the best ways to recover well after surgery is to provide your body with all the nutrients needed, but when you barely remember to eat, that’s tricky.
So, be sure to continue taking your vitamins daily to provide your body with the support needed during recovery.
28. Support from Family & Friends
The last thing you want to have is support from family and friends. So before your surgery, seek help from your loved ones. You will be limited in what you can do, and if you have another child at home, having help with your toddler or with housework is invaluable.
Don’t take your recovery lightly. The last thing you want is an opened incision site or an infection developing. Do yourself and your baby a favor by taking it easy and using these c-section recovery must-haves to your advantage.
We hope this guide has helped you to put together your list of the best items for c section recovery!