My bag seems small. I know. Some doula’s like to bring everything AND the kitchen sink to births, but like to keep my bag simple. Why? I believe mom has the ability to get through labor on her own and/or with reminders and guidance from her support people. We don’t need a bunch of tricks and tools to help mom, BUT the few items I do bring can help relieve the strain on myself and mom’s partner/support team so we can be present for her. I bring items that allows us to make our job easier. I know that sounds selfish. But really! Try doing a double-hip squeeze for just 30-seconds… it can be brutal! Why strain ourselves when we can bring mom relief AND not tire ourselves out?
In the green tote, I carry my personal items. Change of clothes, brush, toothbrush/paste, hair ties and headbands, daily meds/vitamins, etc.
My backpack, aka doula bag, contains the items listed below. I also bring, but leave in my car, two birth balls (65 cm & 75 cm) along with my peanut ball. Most of the time I don’t need them since most hospitals keep them handy, but for those ‘in-case’ moments or if I’m meeting clients at home.
1. Hair clips & ties – If mom forgot or needs an extra one
2. Bendy straws – so much easier to drink from than a straight straw
3. Flame-less candles – creates ambiance without having to use flames (hospitals frown against that)
4. Hand-held fan w/extra batteries – it gets warm!
5. High protein snacks – snacks to keep my energy up
6. Business cards – You never know who you may run into on a labor/delivery floor 😉
7. Hospital ID – for one local hospital, allows doulas access through some doors and to not be counted as a support person, including assessment/triage.
8. Phone charger – have you ever seen how quickly an iPhone dies??
9. Ice bag – for mom
10. Massage tools – great ways to provide comfort to mom while relieving tension on our hands
11. Ball pump – for my own as well as the hospital balls. Don’t want to have to wait on staff
12. Rebozo’s – do I really need to explain these wonderful items?? genakirby.com
13. Reusable water bottle – I don’t drink much, but do need some hydration!
14. Eye glasses case
15. Client paperwork – I place all birth plans and DONA paperwork into my bag with any clients due within the same time frame as well as any clients I’m serving back-up to
16. Notepad – I take timeline notes in this instead of pulling out sheets of paper each time
17. Honey Sticks – nice calorie but still a ‘clear liquid’
18. Birth Partner Book – nice reference for my clients
19. Peanut ball – When mom needs to rest or is unable to move around
My bag since this post, has turned into mostly food for me, extra sets of clothes, and rebozos.