So you’re going to have a homebirth. The last weeks are so exciting; there’s so much left to do! One of the most important things is to have all the supplies needed for the birth, ready and in place. This list looks long but mostly these are items we have around the house.
You’ll want to check with your own midwife but this is a general list of what most midwives will ask that you have ready and stored away in a closet by week 36 of your pregnancy. A laundry basket holds all the items conveniently together and then doubles back to hold the soiled laundry after baby arrives. So, get a new or clean laundry basket and begin gathering –
- Two sets of sheets. Fitted, top and pillow cases– make one set your oldest least treasured just in case there happens to be some staining. Wash and dry both sets in very hot temperature. Fold each set and store separately into one of the pillow cases so that you have instant access to each clean set. Place both sets together, into a taped shut paper bag marked, “SHEETS” and into the laundry basket. Now don’t use until the labor begins.
- Tall draw-string plastic garbage bags equal to the number of pillows on your bed. These are for using under your pillowcase to protect your pillows during the birth *or* use plastic pillow covers if you happen to have those.
- Six towels and six washcloths. Old towels are just fine, they’re usually softest. Again, wash and dry in very hot temperatures. Fold and place into a taped shut paper bag marked “TOWELS and CLOTHS”. Place bag into the laundry basket.
- Four receiving blankets. Baby booties/socks and newborn cap. Wash/Dry on hot temperatures and fold. Place into a paper bag taped shut and marked, “BABY” and store in the laundry basket.
- One plastic mattress protector. This can be an inexpensive brand but be sure it fits your mattress. Moving and box supply companies sell these as well as Walmart and K-Mart Stores. I’ve even seen them in Dollar discount stores.
- Two rice socks. If you don’t already have these, you can easily and inexpensively make them Use a clean tube sock, pour in a bag of uncooked rice, tie a knot in the end. (These are used for warm or cold during labor.)
- One bright flashlight with new batteries. This is in the unlikely event of a power outage and can also be used to help with extra lighting if the midwife needs.
- Two good sized mixing bowls. These can be inexpensive “Dollar Store” models. One is for your placenta to be examined and the other is for use in case of nausea during labor.
- A brand new roll of paper towels equal to the number of sinks in your home. The birth team will want to use them to dry their hands after washing throughout the labor rather than use the family towels. Store these under or nearby each sink.
- A new bar or pump bottle of unscented soap for each sink. Store these nearby or under each sink.
- Two plastic trash bags and two boxes or waste baskets or hampers for tossing used pads and other items during the labor and birth. The bags go into the box or wastebasket Make sure the bags fit the boxes or whatever you use.
- One large bottle hydrogen peroxide. Any brand. Put it into the laundry basket. This is for stain removal and postpartum laundry.
- One new oral thermometer. Digital thermometers are fine. Be sure it is in working order.
- One 4 ounce unopened bottle of olive oil. Put it into the laundry basket. This is for perineal massage and for baby’s bottom. If you put a bit of oil on baby’s bottom right away, the first bowel movements (meconium) easily wipe away. Otherwise, that meconium is so thick and sticky it’s hard to get off.
- Two 1 gallon size ziplock storage bags.
- One set of newborn size diapers. Cloth or disposable, your choice.
- One new container of unscented baby wipes
- Plenty of fluids such as drinking water, orange juice, white grape juice, herbal pregnancy tea or red raspberry leaf tea, and/or your favorite sports drink.
- Power foods for the mother. Honey, yogurt, frozen juice cubes, soups, bananas. Whatever you desire.
- A bag of chipped ice. This is used for hydration of mom but also for ice compress if needed.
- Food prepared ahead for the birth team. Fruit, nuts, cheeses, sandwiches, hummus, veggies, caffeine and unflavored bottled water. Whatever whole food your family has on hand is typically fine. Ask your midwife about any diet restrictions.
- Two Large boxes of “heavy flow” sanitary pads. Store these wherever you typically keep your pads.
- Two of something comfortable. This can be a night gown or other bed clothes choice to wear after the baby arrives. Button down for nursing ease is best. Also light in fabric because postpartum mothers tend to feel very warm and perspire a good amount the first 48 hours or so.
- A car seat *in place* in the family car.
- A “hospital transfer bag” packed with overnight items for mother. Keep this out of sight in the closet (just in case).
Optional items and ideas to help celebrate your Birthing Day: Camera, your favorite music choices, flowers, candles, aromatherapy, birth pool, birth ball, herbal sitz bath/tub tea, postpartum comfort foods or Birthday Cake.
In addition to the above items you will need a Birth Kit. Every midwife has her own style, your midwife will tell you where she prefers to buy. This kit will be full of items for the actual birth that your midwife will use. Underpads, sterile gloves, lubricating gel, gauze, peri rinse bottle, bulb syringe, cord clamp and more.