PACKING YOUR BIRTH BAG IS A RITUAL OF MODERN PREGNANCY
Maybe you’re the type of person who packs your bag weeks in advance – you like to feel prepared, with lots of time to spare. Or maybe you’re the type to pack your bag during early labor – a practical, busy job to keep you distracted during those first crampy contractions.
No matter when or how you pack your bag, you’ll likely have researched what to put in it. There are many sample lists available online (some of them pages long!) and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
We’d like to simplify things for you
Here are our recommendations for three essential items you won’t want to forget:
Item #1: Lip Balm - Calgary is known for its dry air. Then the hospital ventilation system somehow takes that dry air and makes it drier. Add in all that deep labor breathing you’ll be doing and your lips can start to feel as dry and cracked as the Sahara.
You will breathe a sigh of relief each time you apply your lip balm during labour. It will soothe your lips and allow you to focus on more important things, like coping with your contractions.
Pro tip: make sure your partner knows EXACTLY where in your birth bag you’ve stashed your balm. You really don’t want to be yelling “NO! The OTHER left pocket!” while contracting away, desperate for soft, supple lips.
Item #2: Hair elastics – We’re not going to lie, sometimes labour can be messy. You might be hopping in and out of the shower, you will likely get sweaty, and there’s a good chance you’re going to throw up at some point.
Get your hair out of the way by making sure you have hair elastics handy. Whether you put your hair up into a ponytail, a messy bun, or a braid, you’ll appreciate having these available.
While a rubber band will do in a pinch, they can be awfully painful to get out of your hair (especially if wet or tangled from all your hard labour work). We recommend investing in some Goody Ouchless No Metal Elastics (they can be found at just about any drug store or supermarket).
Pro tip: One of Christine’s favorite things to do, if you have an epidural, is to french braid your hair. It’s a lovely, soothing ritual that keeps your hair out of your face while you’re busy giving birth PLUS it looks adorable in those post birth photos of you and your new little squish.
Item #3: Snacks - Labour requires a great deal of physical energy. Not everyone has an appetite in labour (especially during active labour), but if you do get hungry, or your energy starts to flag, you’ll want to make sure to have snacks available.
Think light, carb-y, easy to eat foods. Some suggestions: honey packets or sticks, crackers, granola bars, cut fruit, applesauce, yogurt, etc.
Pro tip: Your partner should pack some snacks also. Depending on how your labour progresses, they may or may not have time to run out for a meal. The last thing your partner will want to be dealing with as you’re birthing your baby is low blood sugar.
Of course, we assume you’ll be bringing along your doula as well. And the best part about that? If you do forget anything, your doula is a creative, problem-solving machine. She’ll MacGyver together whatever you need, right on the spot.
What did you find essential during labour? Is there anything you would change on our list?
Rachel is a DONA International Certified Birth Doula, Birthing From Within mentor, and mother of three. She is passionate about helping women and their partners discover their own inner strength and wisdom so that they can begin their parenting journey with confidence. With a focus on supporting her clients as they determine what their own priorities and preferences are for their birth while giving them the tools they need to realize those priorities, she feels fortunate to witness her clients come into their own and become their own best advocates.