Basic must haves
- A waterproof mat – this can be a blanket over the top of tarpaulin or a plastic drop cloth, a waterproof backed picnic blanket, a birth mat (instructions on how to make one here), etc.
- Two buckets – one lined with a plastic bag for rubbish and one in case you need to vomit.
- A laundry basket lined with a plastic bag or similar to put soiled/wet laundry into.
- Old towels.
- A container for the placenta.
- A cord tie, muka or items for lotus birth/umbilical non-severance.
- Baby blankets.
- Comfortable clothing such as a towel robe.
- Healthy snacks
- Drinks such as water, coconut water, red raspberry leaf tea (can also be pre-frozen into ice cubes to suck), etc.
- A source of heat if it’s cold.
- Support people who love you.
Optional extras you may want to consider
Waterproof absorbent pads (get before labour from midwife).
- A method for warming hot towels, such as a slow cooker/crock pot, boiling water and container, etc. and thick rubber gloves to handle them. Alternately hot water bottles or wheat packs.
- A container with cold or frozen face cloths
- Decorations such as affirmations, photos of loved ones and special memories, fairy lights, candles, birth flags/pennants, birth beads, etc.
- Hand held fan
- Acupressure items including acupressure point info, a comb to squeeze during contractions (acupressure points).
- A TENS machine
- Homoeopathic remedies such as arnica or a homoeopathic birth kit.
- Flower essences such as Rescue Remedy or Stress Med Spray
- Essential oils such as Tea tree oil, a birth mix and carrier oils (if not premixed) and/or an oil burner.
- Camera, charger, spare batteries, memory space, etc. or a birth photographer.
After the birth
- Baby blankets, wraps and optionally baby clothes.
- Nappies or EC (Elimination Communication) potty and clothing.
- Comfortable underwear and clothing for yourself.
- Maternity pads and/or disposable underwear such as Tena for the first day or two (usually bottom shelf of the sanitary goods aisle in the supermarket).
- Perineum healing mix/spray.
- Homoeopathic remedies such as Arnica, Weleda Chamomilla/Nicotiana Comp (for afterpains), etc.
- Fresh made bed for sinking into with baby – nice fresh sheets and comfortable protective underlayer and everything you need nearby (e.g. lamp/ torch, water, snacks, nappies/potty, wipes, wraps, etc.).
- A message on your answering machine asking people to call back later/leave a message/send a text or email instead.
- A list on the fridge of things visitors can do when they ask “what can I do to help?” Ideas include: laundry, vacuuming, dishes, reading stories to children, taking the dog for a walk, taking out the compost, etc. It can be hard to ask for help, or hard to think of what needs to be done. If people can choose a task they will probably enjoy it more, and everyone likes to help.
- A sign for the door or gate to say mum and baby are sleeping, or express your wishes around visiting for friends and family calling by.
- Lots of easy-to-make frozen meals in the freezer or organise friends and family to make meals each night for a week or two.
- See our article here: What you need for home water birth
- Your home birth | Home Birth Aotearoa
- A basket for birth | Home Birth Matters Magazine
- How to make a birth mat | Nurf Adventure Trails
- Placenta challenges and options | Birth Matters
- Umbilical Cord Clamping Options | Oxytocin Space