What's in my Doula Bag?
I've been meaning to re-organize my birth bag (it always turns into a jumbled mess when I leave a birth and shove everything in there in my happy haze). So today seemed like the perfect opportunity to give you a tour of my birth bag as I clean it out & reorganize! Here's what's in it:
I have a beautiful Rebozo sourced from Mexico that I often show partners how to use in labor to do hip squeezes and belly sifting. The Rebozo is a beautiful & long-standing Mexican tradition used to help mothers relax and decrease pain. For more information about the Rebozo, see this article from Evidence Based Birth.
LED tea lights
I have about ten small LED tea lights that I like to set around the room and bathroom to help create a warm and cozy environment, particularly in the hospital.
A change of clothes & toiletries
I always have a change of clothes for myself & toiletries. Sometimes changing clothes and brushing my teeth gives me a new burst of energy & is just what I need during a long labor.
Laminated Birth Affirmations and Labor Positions
I usually tape the Labor positions handout on the wall & will put up the affirmations if the laboring woman is interested. The Labor Positions worksheet can be a good resource for partners and mamas if they're needing ideas about what position to try next. And the affirmations serve as a reminder to the laboring woman that she is strong & capable.
I have a small electric fan. Often, women will become over-heated in the later stages of labor, and this can be a nice tool to help calm mama down.
I always bring my boyfriend's fancy camera to births for the mamas that are interested in me taking pictures of the labor & birth.
Essential Oils & Diffuser
I keep several essential oils on hand to use in labor, including lavender, sweet orange, lemon, ginger, peppermint, eucalyptus, and geranium rose. I also have a diffuser for mamas who want to fill the room with a certain scent. My most-used scents are peppermint to help with nausea and lavender to help with relaxation. As I am not a trained aromatherapist, I never apply these oils to my clients' skin, I just put them on a cotton ball or in the diffuser.
Gum, mints, and breath spray
I usually set these out in the birth room so that anyone can grab a mint when they need one. The last thing a laboring woman needs is stinky breath in her face! These can also be used after mama vomits to help get the taste out of her mouth.
I keep a few local honey sticks in my birth bag. Particularly right before the pushing stage of labor, moms may feel tired & nervous about where they'll find the energy to continue. A shot of sugar can sometimes help.
Tennis Balls & Vibrating Massage tool
There are usually a lot of massages in labor. These tools can help relieve tired hands or offer a new sensation to focus on.
Arnica massage oil & lotion
I most often use the massage oil when a woman is laboring in the tub, because I find it helps to smooth out the massage rather than feeling fingers skidding across wet skin. Same goes for the lotion. Arnica oil is known to be particularly healing to treat bruises & inflammation.
Hair Ties & Lip Balm
Moms often lose their hair ties in the process of labor & need their hair out of their face. Similarly, I have lip balm on-hand just in case mama's lips seem chapped and she doesn't have any chapstick of her own.
I always bring a lot of snacks for myself because, for some unknown reason, I seem to always seem to be way hungrier while I'm at births than in my everyday life. I usually keep Clif Bars, Some instant Starbucks Coffee mix, and instant macaroni and cheese (I love some comfort food while I'm at a birth).
Probably doesn't need much explanation, huh? :)
That's everything I have in my birth bag for now! Other things on my list to get in the future include portable speakers & heating packs. Any other ideas for what might be helpful to keep in my bag?