Today’s post is written by one of my favorite bloggers – Loriel, of Naturally Loriel. Loriel has very recently had her second baby, at home, and is writing from experience when it comes to packing a naturally-minded birth bag!
At 35 weeks when I was on the floor with intense stomach pains at 11pm, we thought we were in labor. My husband quickly scrounged together random baby things and stuffed them in a tote bag, called his parents to pick up our 4 year old, and rushed to the hospital.
We were completely unprepared.
I thought because I was having a home birth I didn’t need to worry about packing a hospital bag — Boy was I wrong!
We forgot things like chapstick, socks, clothes for me, my ID, and high quality protein bars; we managed to pack a couple diapers, wipes, clothes for the baby, and two coconut waters.
Thankfully, it was just a scare and the contractions ended up dying down at around 3am. The next day I made sure to pack some essentials and keep them in a bag just in case we were to deal with that again. Not only that, but I made sure to get all my home birth supplies together.
We ended up having our home birth three days after my due date. My waters broke at 7:30am followed by no contractions. This meant I was on a time crunch — I had 24 hours to have my baby or I’d have to be transferred to the hospital to be induced. I did everything under the sun to induce labor naturally, aside from the castor oil. I really, really wanted that to be my last resort.
12 hours later, I began having intense contractions and everything quickly escalated from there. Two hours later, our little girl was born in the water. Again, because everything was so rushed and we all (meaning my husband and I) had no idea what we were doing, I forgot to tell my husband where I kept all the home birth supplies and the emergency hospital bag.
This meant I had incredibly chapped lips, I became dehydrated (this resulted in IV fluids on my bed), and no one knew were the towels were. When you’re in the midst of laboring, there’s not much you can do other than labor. After you deliver, there’s not much you can do other than lay there with your newborn. Giving birth is a lot of work and you want to be able to just point to a bag full of the essentials instead of having people constantly ask you where things are.
When I woke up at 3am with intense hunger pains, I was incredibly thankful to have prepared a “beside basket” (diapers, wipes, extra clothes) with two protein bars. I have never been so hungry in my life. Those bars saved me from getting up out of bed or having to wake up my husband.
I feel like a good naturally minded hospital/home birth bag has more for mom than it does for baby. In all honestly, baby doesn’t need much — other than a couple pairs of clothes, diapers/wipes and mama’s love.
Here are some essentials I packed, and some other things I wish I packed for my birth.
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- Comfortable robe
- Nursing tank top (I like these)
- Comfortable nursing bra (I like this one)
- High-quality protein bars (4-6) and a few real food snacks (nursing makes you ravenously hungry)
- Coconut water or labor aid electrolyte drink
- Loose pajama pants
- Copy of birth plan, if you have one*
- Water bottle — one that you can drink while laying down (like this)
- Herbal Perineum Tea and a peri-bottle
- Natural nipple balm, optional**
- Heating pad for after-birth pains
- Lavender or clary sage essential oil in a personal inhaler to help during labor (find organic, fair trade essential oils here)
*I thought I didn’t need a birth plan because I was going into it very open. I figured things would happen the way they would happen. That being said, I should have had a paper that outlined the things I wanted during/after birth like coconut water to sip on while laboring and a raw placenta smoothie (which I believe would have helped my post-birth experience); all of which I forgot to tell my doula about because labor hit me like a freight train.
**The reason I say this is optional is because sometimes less is more. When I was in the midst of having incredibly cracked, blistered, and bleeding nipples, my lactation specialist recommended soaking my nipples in warm sea salt water and airing them out. She believes the “extras” aren’t necessary as you need to let your nipples breathe. Cracked, blistered, and bleeding nipples may be an indication of a bad latch and/or tongue/lip tie. For us, it ended up being a shallow latch due to a posterior tongue tie. Once we had the tie revised (6 days old), my nipples were able to heal and I was completely pain-free. Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt.
Loriel is on a journey to a more natural life and hopes to inspire those around her by writing about her stories on her blog, Naturally Loriel. She lives an abundant life with her husband Scott, toddler Andrew, a crazy little Lilly cat and a flock of 12 chickens. She’s a dreamer of self-sufficiency, a lover of all things sweet, and has a knack for story-telling.
Loriel has recently launched a new business,Naturally Free, which specializes in making Handcrafted Spice Blends! All of these blends, which include French Onion Dip, Italian Seasoning, Real Food Ranch, and Taco Seasoning, have been created with fresh, delicious, organic, non-irradiated spices, and of course — lots of love.
Check out the Naturally Free Online Store HERE!