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?
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.
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.
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?