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What's in a Doula's Birth Bag?

Rachel O'Reilly

By Aaryn Leineke

I’m often asked what I bring to a birth. Below are a few things that I always make sure to pack in my birth doula bag, both to help myself stay energized and to ensure the laboring mother stays energized and comfortable.  

  • Extra toothbrush and toothpaste - It helps to rest, wash your face, change your clothes and even brush your teeth to stay energized while attending a longer birth.

  • Battery operated candles - Most hospitals and some birth centers don’t allow an open flame. The battery operated candles help keep a highly desired, calming low-lit atmosphere.

  • Hot water bottle - If the mother is cold it helps bring warmth to her bed. Also, the hot water bottle can help soothe and alleviate a laboring mother’s pain on the lower back and hips during surges.

  • Lavender spray (lavender oil diluted in water) - I like to spray a little of this on a cold cloth that’s used to wipe the laboring mother’s hard-working sweat from her forehead, chest and neck. The smell of the oils can help relax the mother.

  • Other essential oils: Peppermint (for nausea), lavender (relaxation), eucalyptus (anti-inflammatory, decongestant, etc).

  • Two tennis balls in one sock - I use this to apply massage-like pressure on legs, hips and lower back during or between surges.

  • Snacks for laboring mother and me to stay energized - Honey sticks, chocolate, coconut water, nuts, fresh fruit (packed day-of) and water.

  • Extra change of clothes (underwear, socks, shirt and leggings) - For long-term support or in the possibility of getting dirty or wet.

  • Knee pad - For kneeling down while supporting a mother laboring in a tub.

For my personal doula bag, I use a Strawfoot custom wax canvas bag, but any lightweight duffel, backpack or purse will work. Check out some of our favorite diaper bags that don't suck (which double as the perfect doula bag!) here.