What’s in My Doula Bag?
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017
I’m preparing for a client’s birth in October and last week I stopped by Target to grab a few things for my doula bag. And by a few things I mean ALL of the things. I thought to myself “holy moly Dana, this bag is going to weigh a hundred pounds!!” and it kind of did. But I carefully thought about what I packed, and I think it’d be so helpful for clients to know what I have with me at their birth. So, here we go!
- Rice sock heating pad– find some long socks (the ones I got are SO cute) and fill with rice. Stick it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes and you’re ready to go!
- Gum and mints– okay so… little tip for you labor supporters out there: keep your breath smelling nice. Mamas in labor have heightened senses and some minty freshness can go a long way for some people.
- Tennis balls– I’ll use these for counter pressure, especially in the situation where someone is experiencing back labor.
- LED candles and twinkle lights– Get that oxytocin flowing, y’all! These candles can help create a cozier, calmer, more romantic birth environment, especially at night.
- Snacks– Anyone who knows me knows I love snacks. Haha! Seriously though, studies have shown that it’s safe (and beneficial) to eat and drink throughout labor (see this article from evidencebasedbirth.com). I have snacks such as raw almonds, different kinds of granola and protein bars, and individual packs of trail mix to bring protein and energy to a labor mama, her partner, and myself.
- Vitamin water and plain water– This seems self explanatory; hydration is SO important during labor. I love vitamin water too because it has electrolytes and it’s refreshing and can shake things up if the mama is sick of plain water and needs some flavor.
- Travel sized deodorant– Again, heightened senses.
- Extra hair ties
- A wrap to use as a rebozo– a rebozo is a long piece of fabric that is used for belly sifting (have a mama on all fours and place the rebozo under her belly. Lift up slightly and wiggle the rebozo back and forth gently to encourage baby into an optimal position and to take some of the weight off of mama’s abdomen), as well as some other techniques your doula can show you. 😉
- Essential oils and small diffuser– Sometimes a drop of peppermint oil on a cool washcloth on the back of the neck can help with nausea or diffusing lavender can have a calming effect. Other times a laboring mama won’t want any extra smells; again: heightened senses. We communicate together and do whatever she likes, and I will only use essential oils with consent of the laboring mama and/or her partner.
- A pack of unopened Burt’s Bees chapstick– Many laboring mamas are breathing through their mouth for significant periods of time; it’s important to pay attention to and take care of her lips. If you forget yours I’ve got you covered!
- Disposable chux pads– Helpful to have on hand if a mama is laboring on a surface that she wishes to protect (couch, car seat) because birth gets messy.
- An extra iPhone charger
- Battery operated fan– labor hormones can cause a woman to feel hot one moment then cold the next. A small fan to be able to sit next to her can definitely come in handy!
- Drinking straws
So there you have it. I’m sure I’ll add/take away/change what’s in my bag as I go, but I’m happy with my current doula gear! Of course, the most important things to bring to a birth are an open heart and hands willing to serve.
Feel free to leave a comment with different ideas, questions, suggestions, etc! It’s always great to hear others’ perspectives!