What’s In Your Doula’s Bag?
So you are hiring a doula. You know the purpose of your doula is to help you have your best birth. You know she brings some incredible relational support, comfort skills, basic knowledge about labor and birth, a personality you love and belief in your ability to birth your baby. But did you know that doulas also bring a bag of tricks to help you, your partner, and them through the birth?
Here is a sneak peak into what might be in your doula’s bag.
The Rebozo or Birth Scarf
One of the most important things to carry in the bag for many doulas is their rebozo or birth scarf. Coming in a variety of shapes and sizes, colors and designs, the birth scarf is an incredible tool. It can be used as an extension of the doula’s hands. It can help comfort the mother while conserving the energy of the doula.
A birth scarf can bring feelings of safety and closeness. They are truly beautiful. There is so much that can be done with a simple birth scarf.
The picture below of Cameo Sherman’s birth scarf shows just how loved and gorgeous this doula bag addition is.
Food and snacks-
It is difficult for the birthing mom, her partner, and her doula to make it through the demands of labor without some calories.
Another staple in every doula bag is snacks. Often these are for the doula- who isn’t usually fed while at a birth, like the mother is, but they are also for the mom and her partner.
Nobody needs sustenance more than the birthing mother, of course. Honey sticks, like those pictured below, are a clear liquid that is easy to eat and keep down but they provide lots of energy for labor.
The Bendy Straw-
The mild mannered, humble bendy straw is a staple in many a doula bag. When a woman is doing the hard work of labor, there is nothing more annoying than having to tip your head back and drink something. It sounds like a little thing, but the bendy straw is appreciated during a birth!
Next to the bendy straw is a scalp massager. Oh, it just feels so good to have your scalp massaged. Yummy.
Many doulas carry these or various other massage tools in their doula bags.
It almost makes it tempting to have a baby, doesn’t it?!
Even something as simple as a tennis ball can be used as a massage tool in relieving back labor while saving energy for your doula so that she can last through your birth.
Earplugs or earbuds are a common find in doula bags. The ear plugs can help block out excess noise so mom can concentrate on the task at hand or sleep if she needs to.
Ear buds make it possible for mom to plug in her phone and listen to relaxing music so that she can create her own special birthing environment, no matter where she is.
Self Care Products-
Sometimes something as simple as hair in your face can just drive you bonkers when you are trying to labor away. The pack of brand new hair bands in your doula’s bag can make her fee 100% worth it.
Not only does sweaty hair on your face make you crazy, but the work of labor and relaxed breathing often makes your lips a little chapped. Some fresh lip balm is a staple in the doula bag.
The Whole Picture-
Our sweet Canadian doula, Laurie, was wonderful enough to lay out her entire doula bag. You can see all that goes into it, and hopefully sense the concern and love that a great doula puts into her job. They truly care about their clients!
The Stuff That Doesn’t Fit in a Doula Bag-
When talking to doulas about the most important thing they bring to a birth, they do often mention the items in their doula bag. But more than that, when talking about what helps the most, they mention their hands and their voices.
Just hearing your doula’s voice can comfort, calm, and reassure you no matter what happens. This is a gift far greater than anything that can be zipped into a bag.
The comforting and skilled touch of a great doula can provide relief throughout labor. From easing back labor, to helping you get into your birth tub, you will be so grateful for you doula’s comfort skills.
A great doula is so much more than just the items in her bag. She builds a relationship with her clients, she knows how to comfort them with word and with her hands. A doula can’t make a birth perfect, but she can help make it a joyful memory.
Our many thanks for the doulas who contributed their pictures and ideas to this post! Laurie McGowan is a doula in Calgary, Alberta, Kristi Keen is a doula in Houston, TX, Brooke Harralson is a doula in Keller, TX, Cameo Sherman is a doula in Bowie and Annapolis, Maryland. Thanks ladies!