I've been a doula for 4 years now, and with time my doula bag has gotten smaller and smaller. As a new doula, I had every gadget and goody possible. It helped me to feel secure. But the more births witnessed the more my confidence as a doula grew. And I quickly realized that the stuff I had is not what made me a great doula. It was my experience, compassion, kindness and awesomeness that made me a great doula! There are some birth that I go to where I don't take a single thing out of my bag! Other times I am glad that I have some essentials with me.
Personal Care Items- You know how on an airplane you are instructed to apply your own oxygen mask before assisting others? This same principle applies to being a doula. Although it can be difficult to remember to take care of myself, most of the "must haves" in my doula bag are about self-care. I bring and will often use eye drops, my contact case, lip chap, a hair brush, a headband, deodorant, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. I always have extra feminine hygiene products on hand in case I get any surprises. I try my best to live up to my "crunchy doula" status by stocking super granola cloth pads. And when I was still breastfeeding a made sure to bring plenty of nursing pads...because nothing causes a bigger milk letdown than the cries of a newborn baby!
Phone Charger- Because I never know how long I'll be away at a birth. And I never want to be out of touch with my other clients!
Food and/or Money- Childbirth can take time, and I need to eat! I usually pack easy to grab snacks like nuts, apples, or bananas on my way out the door. But I never eat while in the birthing room because some labouring moms have super sensitive noses. I also bring money to buy meals at the hospital or nearby restaurants, but that's only because I really hate cooking.
Extra Clothes- Birth brings with it a lot of sweat (usually my own), tears, blood and other bodily fluids. So I pack a few extras just in case.
Rice Bag- At some point my clients almost always get a sore back, and a warm rice bag is a lifesaver! I use one with a washable cover to that I can use it with more than one client.
Massage Tools- I think I've pulled out a massage tool or two at 90% of the births I've attended. They feel great and they save my hands. The Reflexology Ball is my fave!
Electric Tea Lights- Personally I use electric candles so much to add a little ambiance to the room, or help the environment be a calmer one.
Combs for Acupressure- These combs can be gripped by a labouring mom during contractions to help ease pain by releasing endorphins.
Straws- Bendy straws come in handy at home before heading to the hospital, or at a home birth. Sometimes mom needs a bit of assistance with her water intake, and a straw is the easiest way for mom to drink.
Gloves- When I am helping clean up at a home birth, I like to wear gloves. And I hate asking the midwife to use some so I just bring my own.
Aromatherapy- My go-to aromatherapy tools are my Clary Sage EO (a dab on the inner ankle to help with contractions) or my Anti-Nausea Aromatherapy Inhaler.
Deck of Cards- For distraction in early labour, or when a labouring mom has an epidural and doesn't want to sleep.
ID Badge- An ID badge is not required at Met hospital, but for some reason it adds legitimacy to my presence. There have been a few times where the nurse was like "Show me your credentials", I whipped out my badge and they were like "Awesome, welcome to the team". Hey, whatever works!
The Labor Progress Handbook- Basically the Bible for doulas and midwives!
Kiss-ass doula, pretty okay-ish mom, spreadsheet enthusiast, punctuality freak, ice cream addict.