Melbourne Doula

Welcome to 'Melbourne Doula', the place where I share what birth work is teaching is me, and what I am learning from the wonderful families who have invited me to share this most special season of their lives. Here you will find information about me and the doula services I provide, birth stories from remarkable women and their loved ones, as well as all kinds of resources to enrich your own journey of discovery. And welcome also to BLISSFUL HERBS, the home of beautiful herbal teas and bath herbs to support wellness through every season of life.

Suggestions for Your Home Birth Kit

Suggestions for Your Home Birth Supplies

One of the nice things about homebirth is you get to do it your way. Gathering your birth kit is part of the fun! You don’t have to have all this stuff, these are just ideas from other mums – you can pick and choose what suits you according to your style.

* Plenty of old, clean towels, ones you do not mind getting stuff on. You can never have too many towels at a homebirth – add 10 more to whatever seems “enough”.

* Two large laundry baskets, cardboard boxes or rubbish bins, lined with rubbish bin liners, one for dirty laundry and one for rubbish

* 2-3 wheat packs or gel packs, for pain relief during labour, and/or for warming baby wraps or clothes.

* A long soft cloth to tie the wheat-heat packs to your body if you wish.

* A rebozo (mexican shawl) - any long shawl will do, for your doula or midwife to do rebozo rocking or sifting on you, if you desire.

* A hot water bottle for warming baby wraps or clothes. Oil column heaters (clean & dust-free) can also be handy for heating these things that will be used to cover the baby soon after birth.

* 3 soft cloths (“bunny rugs”) for covering/wrapping the baby within the first hours after birth. The baby will be laid on you skin-to-skin, but you need some soft cloths to cover you both to keep you both warm.

* Plastic sheeting to protect your carpet, bed, birth mat or mattress, sofa etc. Plastic table cloths work well, you can also get fitted plastic mattress covers.

* Old sheets for covering floors & carpets

* A stack of about 30 soft face washers or small cloths - these have multiple purposes – cold cloths for your face, warm compresses for your perineum, wiping little spills, and of course for baby’s bottom later.

* A little beanie hat, especially if your baby is born in winter. Many parents prefer their baby’s head to be uncovered to appreciate the special baby smell that assists with bonding, but it might pay to have a hat handy in case your baby does start to get cold.

* Plenty of heaters, especially in winter, to keep the newborn baby warm.

* Aromatherapy and/or candles

* Matches for the candles

* Music of your choice

* Inspiration for you – art, quotes, affirmations, prayers, readings etc. These might be in a folder for people to read to you, or decorating the walls etc.

* Camera and/or video, according to your wishes

* Lots of nice things for you to drink, plus sipper bottles, bendy straws or crazy straws. Home-made labour-ade, or sports drinks to keep up your energy and avoid dehydration are ideal

* Easy to munch bites to keep up your strength – favourites have included frozen grapes, juice frozen in ice-cub trays, strawberries and other berries, bite-sized chunks or your favourite fruit, dip with crackers and veg, yoghurt, muesli bars etc.

* Herbal teas for your birth journey - Blissful Herbs offers Birth Tea to support contractions, After Birth Tea for a healthy, safe third stage, No-Bleed Tea to help prevent PPH, After-Pain Ease tea to ease after-pains and Breastfeeding Bliss tea to support an abundant milk supply.

* Herbal Tinctures such as the Birth Boost, No Bleed, Placenta Release and After Pain-ease Tinctures, available HERE

* Massage oil of your choice

* Other massage aids such as balls, rollers etc. Even a frozen can of soft drink can work!

* Oil to go on your perineum, if you wish

* Phone numbers you might need, including your birth support team, friends, family and emergency numbers, near the phone

Birth Pool Things:

Around 4-6 weeks before you expect your baby, you may wish to do a trial run of filling and using and emptying the pool (if you have older children, they’re sure to love this!) Check that you have:

* Foot pump or electric pump for blowing up the pool. Note how long this takes
* Hose and tap fixtures so you can run a hose from the nearest convenient warm water tap
* Would you like more padding under the pool itself? It does have some padding, but if you’d like more, try a foam or rubber mat about 3 inches thick (Clark Rubber might be a good place to shop).
* Do you have an adequate hot water supply? You may wish to obtain a couple of large pots, or a hot water urn, if necessary.
* Bubble wrap to cover the pool to keep water warm
* A plastic strainer for a “pooper scooper”
* Lots of soft towels. You might get in and out of the pool a lot. I know I’ve mentioned this before but it’s *ridiculous* how many towels you go through when you birth at home!
* A torch that works well. This can be very useful if you are birthing in water in a darkened room. (We will be careful not to shine it near the baby’s eyes after the head comes out.)
* A mirror that you don’t mind if it gets wet.
* A large bowl for birthing the placenta into, with a colander and placenta bag if you are planning a lotus birth.
* A couple of buckets. These may come in handy if you need to vomit or if we need to empty out the pool a bit.

Things for the Baby:

* Prepare a changing station. This could be on a bed, or a purpose build changing table, or on top of a chest of drawers or table. Have all the bits you need for nappy changing handy – organization now makes for easier post-natal nappy changes.
* Bucket to drop soiled nappies into
* Bin for disposable rubbish
* Olive oil for baby’s skin
* Nappy cream e.g. Soothing Salve
* Cotton balls to dip into olive oil to gently cleanse sticky meconium
* Soft muslin cloths to dip in a bowl of warm water to cleanse baby’s bottom; or baby wipes.
* Soft cloth to lay on plastic changing surface so it is not too cold against the baby’s skin
* Supply of clean nappies, nappy liners etc within easy reach
* Supply of clean clothing

Things for your post-natal bath and self-care

* Packet of herbs for your bath (available here)
* Two peri-squeeze bottles for gently cleansing the perineum during toileting (I supply these)
* Tea-tree oil if you wish to add a drop to your bath or peri bottles
* Sea salt to add to your bath if you wish
* Candles for your bathroom
* Waterproof pillow or waterproof changing pad to put behind you in the bath so you can lean back …. exhale …. and relax in utter comfort.
* Lots of towels for you and baby
* Plenty of soft toilet paper
* Plenty of maternity pads, disposable or cloth
* Plenty of comfy underpants, you go through a lot in that first week – you continue to lose lochia for a bout 6 weeks afterwards, so it’s like having a 6 weeks period.
* Manuka honey (active) for applying to the healing perineum
* Soft cloths (muslin is nice) to wet in the herbal liquid, then keep in freezer. These can be nice to lay on your perineum when you are resting on your side. You can also use the plastic popsicles and place them inside your pad.
* The blue-backed disposable underpads (available for chemists), or some old towels, for you to lie on during the first day or so.

Things for Breast-Feeding

* Breastfeeding bras or crop tops
* Breast pads – cotton or disposable
* Soft face washers to fold into four and place over your breast pads, under your crop top – if you are super leaky!
* Nipple cream, e.g. Lansinoh or Soothing Salve
* Sipper bottle within reach before you sit/lie down to feed
* Plenty of pillows and cushions as you like
* Tri-pillow or breast-feeding pillow (oh these help so much!)
* Plenty of cloths for spills and mop-ups etc (I used the old fashioned terry-cloth nappies. I never used them on a bub’s bum - they have these cool fitted ones these days! but they were sure handy for everything else. The muslin ones are the best, they’re softer.)
* Breast pump, if you think you might need one
* Nipple shields, if you have flat or inverted nipples, or very tender nipples.
* Bottle and teat, if you want to use one for EMB (expressed breast milk) in an emergency
* Clean bowls for catching EBM, and clean ice-cube trays and plastic bags for freezing EBM
* Breastfeeding tea

Around 6 weeks before you expect your baby, have the following prepared:

* Baby car seat or capsule professionally fitted in your car
* Emergency bag for taking to hospital in the event you needed to transfer

During early labour:
* Prepare food and drink
* Prepare Blissful Birth Tea
* Prepare pool
* Prepare birth mat, birth ball, and other ‘labour stations’ as you wish
* Prepare your bed for when you go to rest there later with you newborn. Make up the bed with fresh sheets and the coverings you like, as well as an extra layer of something washable where you will be lying. Now cover the made-up bed completely with a layer of plastic (fitted plastic mattress covers work a treat). On top of the plastic, lay an old sheet and a few towels. That way, if you should use your bed at all during birth, we can whisk off the top layer of sheets and plastics, and there’s your bed all nicely made up waiting for you. Also have a bunny rug and spit cloth for baby to lie on next to you. Prepare your baby’s sleeping arrangements – in bed with you, the side-car arrangement, or a cot or Moses basket close to the bed.

Here's another handy list: What You Need to Birth at Home


Lisa Barrett said...

Hi Julie, what a comprehensive list. Makes me feel a little inadequate, I'm going to send all my clients here from now on when they ask what do I need? LOL nice work.

treebytheriver said...

Heh heh that's funny Lisa! Did you see the intro by Ani Di Franco (I think it was on the blog of Sage Femme) when she says, "So, I uh, had me a homebirth!" (Crowd roars). "You shoulda seen the list of stuff they had me get together!" And she cracks jokes about all the gear - most of which of course you don't really need! Essentials for homebirth? Vagina. Floor space. (Sez one who gave birth in a breast-feeding cubicle in a shopping mall! Yep I'm the queen of the no-frills birth eh!)
Nice to see you here, Lisa :-)

Anonymous said...

took the words right out of my mouth Lisa. Thanks Julie, will be sending my clients here :)