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I remember when I took my first doula training there was a burning question in the room. We all wanted to know… What’s in a doula’s birth bag? We could not wait for the part of the course when our trainers would show us all of the secret tools and tricks an experienced doula kept inside her mysterious “Doula Bag”.

Through my subsequent training organization I learned something new. A labor doula is still a labor doula without a birth bag. If I was called to a last minute clients birth and did not have my bag with me, could I still support the client effectively? You bet your butt I could! ProDoula taught me that #Iamenough. So if a doula doesn’t need to fill a bag with tools and tricks, what is in the doula’s bag?

 I just finished going over my birth bag to make sure it is ready for a client who’s baby might be getting prepared to be born. The idea for this post came over me as I looked back at it hanging from a chair in my kitchen, and my “work” clothes stacked neatly on the chair. When the phone rings and my client tells me she is ready for me to join her in her labor space, I will throw on those clothes, make a cup of instant coffee, kiss my family good bye, grab the birth bag and be on my way. It dawned on me how different the contents of that bag are from what I thought they would be, before I became a doula. ​

A Baby Wrap

The first thing you’ll see when you look inside my doula bag is a Storchenweige Baby Wrap which initially may not make sense since I will be going to support a person through childbirth and not baby wearing. The baby carrier is multi-purposed in that I can use it like a rebozo to comfort my client, and it makes a great blanket if I find myself sent to sleep in the hallway while my client is resting during a long labor. My children are all too old for babywearing and this was my first “real” (as in not homemade by me) baby wrap. I love that it gets to live a new life full of purpose.

Food!

I bring several bottles of water, a lunch and snacks. I don’t want to go hungry but I also want to provide continuous support to my laboring client. I try to make sure I only bring food that isnt too noisy and doesnt have any strong odors. I also do not bring food that contains nuts.  Having healthy food choices available means I can stay at my best for my clients.

A Change of Clothes

You just never know when you might need a change of clothes as a labor doula. Birthy fluids, offering physical support during a water birth or hydrotherapy, and even a mishap on the way to the birth location, trying to scarf down a cheeseburger can create a doula wardrobe malfunction.

My Un-makeup Case

Inside my birth bag I have a large makeup case that I keep the little things in. Some are toiletries and items for me and others I share with clients. My tooth brush and toothpaste, my chap-stick, a new and in the box chap-stick in case a client needs it, a package of hair elastics, organic lollipops, honey sticks, gum, hand lotion, business cards, a pen, and sometimes battery operated votive candles and  pretty holders. I also tuck my wallet into this little case to ensure I have ID, change for vending machines, my credit card for parking, or a taxi if I rode to the hospital with the client.

Technology

I always have my phone, a charger and a power bank. Access to online evidence based resources to assist clients in making decisions regarding their labor and birth is always at my fingertips. I bring a portable speaker in case the client would like some music. I recommend The Rhythm Within and have it on my phone to help laboring clients get into the zone.

And that’s it.

Are you surprised by any of the items I bring or do not bring?

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