I pulled the pair of maternity lounge shorts that I’d bought specifically for this out of my hospital bag, glad I had something that worked this time.
But when I pulled them on, the band that had been so comfortable during pregnancy, suddenly felt tight against my fresh C-section incision.
In the days to come, I abandoned those shorts, finding other items that worked better against that newly sensitive area.
Sometimes it seems no matter how hard we plan, we can’t anticipate what will work in those after-baby moments. In the first days after my second C-section, I was surprised at how sensitive my lower belly was (and it wasn’t my first time).
If you find yourself stuck on what to pack for your hospital stay after a C-section, I’ve got the list for you. From hospital gowns to underwear, I’ve got everything that will help those moments feel less frustrating, especially for new moms.
The Best Hospital Pajamas After a C-section
Quick Shop: Pajamas After a C-section
- Kindred Bravely Universal Labor and Delivery Gown (Buy on Amazon)
- Ekouaer Women’s Nightshirt
- Kindred Bravely Clea Bamboo Classic Long Sleeve Sleep Shirt (Buy on Amazon)
- Ekouaer Women’s Maternity Sleeveless Nightgown for Breastfeeding
- Kindred Bravely Clea Bamboo Classic Robe
- HATCH Nesting Robe
- Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Lite Waffle Cocoon Cardi
- Ekouaer Maternity Nursing Pajama Set
- Old Navy Extra High-Waisted Jogger Sweatpants
- Old Navy Extra High-Waisted VIntage Straight Sweatpants
- HATCH Indoor/Outdoor Jogger
- BLVB Women’s Sweat Shorts
- DAISITY Nursing Tank
- Kindred Bravely Bamboo Lounge Around Nursing Tank
- Ekouaer Women’s T-Shirt Nightgown
- Kindred Bravely Sublime Hands-Free Pumping & Nursing Bra (Buy from Amazon)
- Always Discreet Boutique Postpartum Underwear
- Kindred Bravely High-Waisted Postpartum Recovery Panties (Buy from Amazon)
The Essentials of C-Section Pajamas
A C-section is a major surgery and you won’t feel great when you get into recovery. The most important thing is focusing on recovery (see my tips on recovering from a C-section). You’ll likely be more worried about feeling comfortable than cute at this point.
Here are some things to consider.
After your C-section, you’ll have a bikini line incision and your belly will be sensitive from your belly button-down. Your incision site will be uncovered after the first day or so. Anything that ends in that area (typical pants and underwear) won’t work.
Look for pants and underwear that have a rise to your belly button. And avoid anything tight over your lower belly.
After a few days, your hips and legs will begin to swell. So much so that you may not be able to fit into fitted pants that you wore during your pregnancy.
Your belly will also feel soft and like everything’s going to spill out. Loose-fitting clothes are essential.
Here are a few of the best options I’ve found based on my own experiences and those of other C-section mamas.
Read more about what to expect after your C-section.
The Best Nightgowns
Most C-section moms will tell you gowns are the way to go after surgery. Even the slightest pressure on your lower abdomen is painful. These gowns offer nursing access and easy access to check on postpartum bleeding.
After your baby is born, most hospitals will put you in a postpartum hospital gown that looks similar to the Kindred Bravely Universal Labor and Delivery Gown, only 3 sizes too big. Bring your gown instead (in the correct size) and have them put you in this. There’s something nice at this stage about wearing a properly fitted gown. These gowns are a great choice at this point because they snap down completely up for skin-to-skin contact with Baby.
The Ekouaer Women’s Nightshirt is a simple, button-down t-shirt that’s the perfect simple option for your hospital stay. It has short sleeves so add a robe or sweater to keep warm and you’re set.
Kindred Bravely’s bamboo fabric is ultra soft and this sleep shirt is high quality. In comes in breathable fabrics that stay soft after washings and are thick enough, with long sleeves, to keep you warm, but not hot. One of the things I love about the Kindred Bravely Clea Bamboo Classic Long Sleeve Sleep Shirt over others is that it’s a little longer. A little more modest for walking around hospitals.
The Ekouaer Women’s Maternity Sleeveless Nightgown is great if you don’t want to deal with lots of snaps or buttons. Two quick snaps on the shoulder are all you’ll need to breastfeed. The neckline is high enough to cover your nursing bra if you wear one.
Cover-Ups That Have You Covered
Hospitals are cold and sometimes visitors pop in. These cover-ups are great for taking your post-cesarean walks, cold rooms, and covered breastfeeding for when your Dad comes to visit.
There’s something about the Kindred Bravely Clea Bamboo Classic Robe that makes it extra special. I’ve used a lot of different robes and these are just nicer. They have stretchy fabric, don’t pill after a few washes, and they’re extra soft. This is my all-time favorite lightweight robe.
If you’re looking for a warmer robe that’s just as soft, try the HATCH Nesting Robe. Made specifically for the 4th trimester, this robe will keep you and your new baby warm and cozy in the cold hospital.
Hate the idea of postpartum robes? Try a cozy sweater instead. The Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Lite Waffle Cocoon Cardi is the ultimate luxury loungewear sweater. Known for their softness, the cocoon cadi is large enough to bundle up in postpartum. It’s a great option to keep you warm and cozy at the hospital.
If you’re like me, you might gravitate towards postpartum pajamas over nightgowns. Unfortunately, many aren’t made for C-section moms and include tight or poorly placed waisted bands.
This Ekouaer Maternity Nursing Pajama Set includes an adjustable elastic waistband that sits around the belly button. Along with a nursing-friendly top. These might be the best postpartum pajamas that will work after a C-section. Plus, it comes in lots of different colors and has a shorts option for warmer weather or a long pants option if it’s cooler.
Comfy Pants/Shorts Options
Pants and shorts tend to be less comfortable than gowns and dresses after a C-section. But if you have to have pants (like me), look for bottoms that are loose and high-waisted. Stay away from anything tight-fitting.
These Old Navy Extra High-Waisted Jogger Sweatpants are perfect if you want cozy sweatpants that look more structured but still has a relaxed fit. The ultra-high waist keeps the band far away from any sensitivity. Plus, they’re great for walking around cold hospitals.
The Old Navy Extra High-Waisted VIntage Straight Sweatpants are my favorite option after a C-section. With a squishy belly and swollen legs, I just wanted something that felt cozy and hid everything. These were the first pants I felt comfortable in and great as postpartum loungewear.
The HATCH Indoor/Outdoor Jogger is made for after baby. These have a maternity band that comes up a little higher, they’re super soft, and they’ll make you look like you’ve got this postpartum thing figured out.
Try these BLVB Women’s Sweat Shorts if your C-section is in the summertime. They’re high-waisted and casual enough to throw on comfortably.
Nursing Accessible Tops
If you’re nursing, you need quick access to breastfeed. These tops all offer that and comfort along with it. Since your belly will feel squishy, these tops offer looser fabric around that area.
The DAISITY Nursing Tank is priced right and offers soft fabric that’s loose around the belly, with easy breastfeeding access. Wear these with a pair of sweats and a cardigan. These have a built-in shelf bra.
This Kindred Bravely Bamboo Lounge Around Nursing Tank is perfect for sleeping and lounging around the hospital. It has easy nursing access, super soft fabric, and is loose around the belly. Plus, it includes breast pads for modesty and a straight neckline for more coverage.
This Ekouaer Women’s T-Shirt Nightgown is a nightgown but can work as an oversized shirt. Many C-section moms said they felt most comfortable wearing sweats and their husband’s t-shirts after their surgery. This oversized shirt has a lighter fabric and a v-neck to make lifting and shifting for breastfeeding easier than a typical t-shirt.
The Best Underwear
The right underwear after a C-section is important. Look for high-waisted panties that offer enough coverage for bulky pads. And bras that can work for breastfeeding and pumping.
The Kindred Bravely Sublime Hands-Free Pumping & Nursing Bra is essential for C-section moms. If you need to pump in the hospital, this bra will be a lifesaver. If you don’t, you still have a great nursing bra.
Read more about what to expect from breastfeeding in my article on breastfeeding after a C-section.
The hospital will give you a setup of mesh underwear with bulky pads, so this underwear is optional. I found the mesh undies to work well for the first day or so, but once I showered, I preferred these Always Discreet Boutique Postpartum Underwear. They’re disposable, so yes, you’re wearing a diaper. But these catch all of the fluids coming out of you (from your postpartum period and your incision), they’re high-waisted, and they give your waistband some extra padding if you opted out of the nightgown option.
These Kindred Bravely High-Waisted Postpartum Recovery Panties are my favorite postpartum panties. If you want to wear regular underwear in the hospital, these will make you feel a little more normal. They’re high-waisted, full coverage, and have a lace waistband that makes them a little sexy (and, more importantly, keeps them from digging into your postpartum belly).
I hope this list helps make your hospital stay less frustrating after your C-section. And remember, your hospital stay may last 2-5 days, so pack accordingly.
Want More Help Navigating Your C-section?
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