By Caroline Vencil, Contributing Writer
So, you’re having a homebirth!
Yay! I love knowing that there are so many other women choosing to have their babies at home! I’ve had 2 homebirths (actually, 2 HBACs to be more specific), and each was better than the last. But not necessarily the labors, but the actual preparation.
With my first homebirth, I was at the mercy of the internet to guide me in what to prepare for my homebirth kit. And, as you might know, the internet isn’t always a kind place to find information about homebirthing!
I was a deer in headlights. I wound up under prepared with some supplies that I really needed, and over prepared with supplies I never used. I made sure not to make the same mistake with my second homebirth and I was very well prepared!
This is my ultimate list for everything that you need for your homebirth as told by a 2-time-HBAC-er.
Sit back, it’s long!
The Ultimate List of Everything You Need in Your Homebirth Kit
I love shopping second hand, and the thought of paying good money on a towel that was literally just to clean up bodily fluids made me cringe. So the only logical thing to do for me was to go to the Goodwill and buy up all of their softest, cleanest towels on half price. I got them all in dark colors (browns, reds, grays…) to hide any colors that might have thrown me off (or made my squeamish husband pass out). And after the birth is done, you might even be able to keep them and use the towels as rags!
The same principle applies here. Go and buy second-hand sheets. Buy a few of them. One set for your bed, one for the couch, and one to go on top of the plastic floor coverings so it doesn’t stick to your feet when you’re pacing through the house. Get a few extras, too. You never know if you’ll need them. Dark colors are preferable, for obvious reasons. If you’re lucky, you’ll wind up with some extra sheets.
This is the official birth pool of Amazon. If you read the reviews they are almost 100% for birth pools! It’s hilarious! I LOVE this birth pool. The floor is cushioned so there’s no kneeling on hard or cold floors for the length of your labor. And it’s deep enough to fit you in almost any position that you need to be in. This pool was so helpful for me! Especially in transition in my own homebirth.
The birth ball (aka – the yoga ball) is a great thing to have on hand. The ball helps you to change positions and move during labor while still having full range of motion. It also helps to use in the weeks leading up to labor to open up your pelvis and to get the baby in the right position for birth.
Plastic Painters Sheets
You will want, no… need these plastic sheets. And a lot of them. I got 5 and I felt like that wasn’t enough. It was, but we used them all up. The plain, cheap ones are great for covering things like the floor or rugs. But you will want to get the slightly thicker ones for the bed, sofa, and any other soft surface you might sit on in labor, as well as for the liner in the birth pool!
All the snacks! You need to eat and drink when you’re in labor! My favorite thing in the world when I was in labor was my homemade Laboraide that helped keep me hydrated and nourished. Coconut water, nuts, red raspberry leaf tea, fruits, kombucha, and any other nutrient-rich snack that will fuel your body through the toughest work ever. Talk to your midwife about her recommendations for snacks and make sure that you have your house stocked in the weeks leading up to your due date. It helps to overstock the fridge so that your birth team has food too!
Hair Ties and Headbands
Fun fact: I use the same hair tie every day. It usually falls apart after 6 months or so, so I didn’t think anything about it when I was stocking my birth bag. Until my hair tie snapped in the middle of labor. And I couldn’t tell my husband where they were in between contractions. My midwife gave me hers, but after that, I remembered to stock my bag with a few extras. I add some headbands, too. Labor is hard work! My hair being in my face doesn’t need to be a concern to me in transition!
Why a fleece blanket? Because it doesn’t stain, absorb water, or feel sterile. Have a few fleece blankets on hand, always in a dark color, for when you go back and forth from sweating like crazy to being freezing.
The same principles about the fleece blanket hold true for the fleece bathrobe. It’s great for staying warm, but it also helps if you need to have your midwife check you quickly. It’s better than a hospital gown, for sure!
Hydrogen peroxide works better than bleach at cleaning up blood and fluids. You will absolutely want a few bottles of hydrogen peroxide. You might even want to set one of the bottles up with a clean sprayer nozzle to spray spots that may have been left. Throw any bloody sheets, towels, clothes, etc. into the washer with a cup or more of hydrogen peroxide and it’s like the stains never happened.
A Big Bowl
You’ll need a big bowl of some kind for catching the placenta. Whether or not you actually save your placenta, you’ll need a bowl for the midwife to catch the placenta to check it for missing pieces or abnormalities. You can use a big mixing bowl or (if your husband is like my husband and was weirded out by the idea of using a dish used to collect an organ) you can buy an inexpensive one from the dollarstore without a problem.
Essential Oils or Candles
I love essential oils and they really helped me when I was in labor. I love the smell of lavender, it really helps to keep me calm. I bought an essential oil diffuser and I used that stinker for the entire time I was in labor. There are even some essential oils that you can use during pregnancy to help get ready for labor.
Not a fan of essential oils? Make sure that you have your favorite candles on hand. Aromatherapy has a very powerful effect on the mood. It’s very important to stay relaxed!
You will need lots of Chux pads! Get some in the large and in the small sizes so that you have a variety to meet your needs. You will put these on your favorite chair, bed, sofa, and birth ball before labor in case your water breaks. You will also use these to sit on for the next 2-6 weeks after the baby is born to prevent leaking. My midwife even uses them as pads for the first 48 hours after birth when the bleeding is very heavy.
I kept a ton of birth affirmations on my phone to look at when I was in labor. Once I could no longer focus on them, I had my midwife read them to me when I was feeling discouraged. You can find these on Pinterest or Instagram.
Having extra gloves helps your midwife if she needs to get there quickly and ran out the door without her gloves.
Heavy Duty Pads
I’ve used Always heaviest duty overnight pads without a problem in the past without a problem. Get at least one pack of the heaviest duty pads you can find and then get the next step down for when you finally stop bleeding heavily.
Even if you plan on cloth diapering, you’ll want disposable diapers for the first week until the meconium passes.
Outfit for Baby
You’ll need something to put your baby in once he’s cleaned and weighed. Plus, how cute is this organic Joey onesie?!
Lots of them! I also got a lot of swaddling blankets to have on hand right after the baby is cleaned off.
Your midwife will likely have a place to get these for less than you can get them anywhere else.
Or a bulb syringe. For cleaning out the nose and mouth right after birth.
2 Peri Bottles
Fill one peri bottle with olive oil for massaging the perineum before birth (as well as in the weeks before birth to help prevent tearing), and for using on your new baby’s bum to help keep the meconium from sticking to their skin and making their first diaper changes very traumatic for the both of you. And you will need the second peri bottle to help use the bathroom postpartum.
And you will need the second peri bottle to help use the bathroom postpartum. Putting a drop of peppermint and a drop of lavender helps stimulate you to use the bathroom as well as helps soothe the soreness.
Motherlove Sitz Bath Spray
Trust me when I say that this Motherlove Sitz Bath Spray was one of the best investments I made in my birth kit. You will be sore down there, and this helped so much with the pain and discomfort. It’s a sitz bath in a bottle, basically!
Whew! You made it through the most extensive list of homebirth supplies!
Talk with your midwife about anything she might also recommend that you have on hand as well. The best thing to remember is to put anything into your homebirth kit that will keep you calm and relaxed. Homebirth is all about you being comfortable in your surroundings.
What makes you happy? What calms you down? What motivates you? Put it in your homebirth kit! You’ll be glad you did!
What did you pack in your homebirth kit that you couldn’t live without?
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