I just love packing my labor kit and hospital bag in each pregnancy! There is something very exciting about preparing for the day I’ll see my sweet baby’s face for the first time.
Each time around, I have noticed my packing list get shorter and shorter. It makes sense, really, because you know I am all about simplifying! So after birthing three babies in three-and-a-half years, I’ve been able to narrow the list down to my absolute favorites… the items that really serve and help me during delivery.
Could I survive with even less? For sure. (I’m confident women have had successful labors without bringing tennis balls along!!) But I would consciously miss having these things if I didn’t bring them, and that makes them the “essentials” in my mind.
So let’s get packing…
My Natural Labor Kit Essentials
1. Raw Honey sticks.
My friends, raw honey sticks are my TOP item to pack. Honey works pure magic. (I use these. They are raw, sourced in the US, and all packaging is recyclable.)
Many times in labor, mamas will be restricted from eating or drinking anything but ice chips. This is especially true in most hospitals. And even if eating isn’t restricted, there comes a point in labor when food will no longer be of interest to her at all.
But childbirth can be mentally and physically exhausting! Sucking down a tube of raw honey in those weary moments gives an instant spike of energy and stabilizes blood sugars without actually having to eat or drink anything.
I can vividly remember the first time I used one in labor. I felt weak and shaky. Within in a minute or two of scarfing some honey down, my body felt re-energized and my mind felt clear and ready to focus again.
2. Snacks for Papa Bear.
Yeah… food is really important to us. We usually pack some combination of Lara Bars, Nut butter pouches, and/or olive pouches (Trader Joe’s has a good option). I’m not a fan of all the single use packaging, but these snacks are all shelf stable, mess-free, healthy, and good sources of fat, protein, and calories to keep my Papa Bear going.
So why are my HUSBAND’S snacks at the top of MY list?? Well, two reasons:
(1) He won’t have to leave me to get food if my labor drags on. My first baby was premature, and I was in active labor for almost 5 days while doctors tried to stop it. My contractions were 2 minutes apart for most of that time! So every time Chris left to get food, it stressed us both out a bit.
(2) The coach needs fuel too! Chris has been my birth coach for each delivery. (We use our own version of the Bradley Method for natural childbirth.) Using that system, a birth coach is an essential piece to the puzzle. He needs energy and clarity of mind to do his job properly.
3. My DIY Labor Potion + Accessories
I love using essential oils in labor, but have found that the most efficient and helpful way to do that is to pre-make a blend that I can use in all stages of my labor. I shared my recipe here.
This blend can be used to make cloth compresses, to diffuse, or as a topical application when mixed with coconut oil. The recipe post goes into more detail on how to easily use it. In addition to the potion, I also pack…
- Coconut Oil Pouches for massage and topical use
- My cold steam diffuser for diffusing
- Wash cloths to make compresses
4. Spa Music
This is a pretty easy one as we already have Spotify Premium on our phones and devices. We just pre-select a couple play lists that we like and download them. That way if our wifi or mobile service doesn’t work for some reason, we can play the music directly from a device.
5. Tennis Balls
*Queue heavenly music here.* Tennis balls are AMAZING in hard labor, my friends! They are the perfect size and firmness to put pressure on sore muscles without being too rough or deep. They saved me big time when Chris used them on my lower back during contractions in hard labor!
You can use the tennis balls over clothing, or put each of them in a sock and then touch the socks directly onto the skin. I bought the cheapest tennis ball pack possible from Amazon Prime, but I’ve see them for less at local stores, including Goodwill.
6. Yoga Mat
Have you seen my pregnancy exercises for easier childbirth? I am a strong believer in them!
I have also found one of those exercises, Pelvic Rocks, to be incredibly helpful in hard labor!
If you don’t already have a Yoga mat, get one right away and start the daily pregnancy exercises! And then use your yoga mat in labor along with Pelvic Rocks to relieve pressure off of your uterus, and to soothe back pain.
7. Bradley Books
We like to use our own DIY version of the Bradley Method for Natural Childbirth. We bring the following two books for reference:
Both of ours are completely marked up and dog-eared as we refer to them so much throughout our pregnancy.
8. Phone/Camera & Accessories
We like to bring our “real” camera to the hospital with us as well as both of our smart phones. That way we have great high res pictures, as well as quick ones we can take to text out to the family or post on social media. (Because Facebook is waiting, people! ;))
I am a repeat offender when it comes to dead batteries or forgetting memory cards, so as straight-forward as it may sound, I had to add each of these things to my packing list.
- Our phones
- A phone charger
- Our DSLR camera (we have this one)
- Camera charger (or we charge the battery ahead of time)
- Memory card
9. (Optional) Toiletry Refreshers
Generally people pack their toiletries in an overnight hospital bag, so having these during labor is really just an added bonus. I personally have found that putting chapstick and toothbrushes in the labor kit goes a long way though. I also have appreciated using a facial mist before (I use organic rose water) as it has a cooling effect that can be awesome in hard labor. I honestly wouldn’t recommend going out to buy some if it isn’t already part of your beauty arsenal though! It’s a bonus. Not a necessity.
What I don’t Pack:
- Robe/pajamas/slippers etc. I know the hospital gown isn’t cute. Oh well. They provide it and it is so practical throughout the entire hospital experience. And considering the things that leak out of me during my stay…. yeah. Let’s just say I’m glad to leave that laundry behind for them.
- Extra pillows. The hospital has lots of pillows and they can find you extras if you need them, trust me.
- Birthing ball. Each of the three hospitals I have delivered in provided birthing balls as well as some other natural aids. Inquire before buying and bringing your own!
- Games, extra devices, or activities. We try not to go to the hospital until I’m further along than the game playing stage…
- Other massage equipment. I mean it when I say that those tennis balls are golden. They are all we have ever needed.
- Postpartum supplies. I do like to make my own natural remedies and soothing things to use at home during the postpartum stage. But when I am at the hospital, I use their sprays, plastic bottles, and disposable pads without second thought. Yes, I am all about avoiding medications and chemicals when possible. And yes, of course I want to be more low waste and eco friendly. But in the first few hours after birth, I want to focus on spending those special moments with my baby without distraction or stressing about the extras.
So there you have it, my Natural Labor Kit Essentials. What do you pack in yours?