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Doula Bag Basics

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

Whenever a doula asks what to pack in their doula bag, I always tell them that packing for births is incredibly personal. When I was a new doula, this is what was in my doula bag based on my doula training and what other doulas told me I should have: These were the items intended for my clients:

  1. Honey sticks

  2. Chapstick

  3. Dissolvable vitamin packets

  4. Battery operated tea lights

  5. 20 different Essential oils

  6. 20 different homeopathy remedies

  7. Hot pack

  8. Cold pack

  9. Massage oil

  10. Plastic massage tools

  11. Eye mask to sleep

This is what I packed for myself:

  1. Power bars

  2. Deodorant

  3. Toothbrush

  4. Advil

  5. Aunt Flow items

  6. A change of clothes

  7. A book on labor

Many years and a few hundred births later, this is what my bag turned into: For Clients:

  1. TENS machine (I have this one.)

  2. Rebozo (I believe several of my clients have been spared surgery because of this tool).

  3. Three Essential Oils: Peppermint (for nausea or a couple drops in the toilet to pee),** Lavender** (for relaxation), Grapefruit (for energy during pushing)

  4. Homeopathy: Nux Vomica 30c ( for nausea) and Arnica 30c (before and after pushing to decrease swelling)

  5. Battery operated tea lights

For myself:

  1. Deoderant

  2. Facewash

  3. Lotion

  4. All of my medications/supplements

  5. Toothbrush/floss

  6. 3 changes of clothes

  7. Aunt flow gear

  8. IPad (to watch movies during long stretches of sleeping clients)

  9. Fresh Food - No power bars or other sugary meals (I get processed food hangovers).

  10. An assortment of tea bags (there is no better balm to the emotions than a hot cup of tea during a long, stressful birth)

  11. Massage ball (to roll the knots out of my back)

My bag has morphed a lot throughout the years. While there are a few key items you’ll always need (like a toothbrush), the bag you create when you are new will not be the bag you bring 100 births later, so don’t put too much weight into what your bag does or doesn’t have. You’ll figure it out. Sometimes it’s a hard lesson - like when you are starving at 3 am and there is no decent food around. I found that the number of items I needed for my clients decreased, while my self-care items grew. I came to understand that my hands, voice and presence were all I needed most of the time to lower a mama’s pain or help her find her rhythm. In fact, the more experienced I got, the more my doula bag sat in the corner, unopened.


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