The Ultimate Home Birth Kit: Everything You’ll Need (and Want)

home birth kit
Image via Flickr/ Robin Sommer

You've made the decision to have a home birth, but now you're wondering what all exactly do you need for this. When you have a baby in the hospital, every little thing is provided for you, but at home, you'll have to prepare your own list for the home birth kit. What should be included varies somewhat from mother-to-mother. But here's a general overview of things to consider for your home birth kit.

The Bare Essentials

These are the things that are likely to be provided for you if you're having a midwife-attended birth. Most midwives will give you a home birth kit to keep at home 4-6 weeks out from your expected due date so you'll be ready in case baby decides to come early. While every practitioner may have their preference on what they want at the ready during a birth, here's a list of what's usually included:

  • Bulb syringe
  • Chux pads of all different sizes
  • Large bath towels
  • Hand towels
  • Washcloths
  • Receiving blankets
  • Sterile gloves
  • Large bowl (for the placenta)
  • Doppler or fetoscope
  • Thermometer
  • A few pairs of mesh underwear
  • Cord clamp
  • Oil or lubricant
  • Newborn hat and diapers

Some midwives provide the home birth kit for free as part of the service you're already paying for. Others may add an extra fee. Something to keep in mind: If you're planning an unassisted birth you'll have to gather these supplies on your own, often via an online supplier. 

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Nice to Haves

You will want these extra things on hand, but they aren't absolutely essential, to a safe, sanitary birth.

  • More towels and washcloths (seriously, the more the better)
  • An extra set of sheets and a shower curtain to protect the mattress
  • Lanolin (if you're planning on breastfeeding)
  • Peri bottles
  • Trash bags for dirty laundry
  • Disposable plates, cups, and silverware (you won't want to be worrying about dishes during this time)
  • Hose off the tub if you're planning a water birth
  • Tennis balls in case of back labor
  • Exercise ball
  • Hot and cold packs
  • Hand mirror
  • Quick, easy, and healthy snacks (think cheese and crackers or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches)

Extra Luxuries

Are you one of those people who needs to be absolutely certain you have everything you could ever need or want for a birth? This list is for you.

  • Herbal sitz baths (your midwife may have a certain blend she can make for you, but these are also available online)
  • Baby scale to ease anxieties about how much your baby is eating or gaining (hospitals and private lactation consultant sometimes have these for rent if you don't want to buy)
  • Playlist of your favorite music
  • Makeup and hair essentials kit
  • Birth photographer/videographer (even if you're not sure you want photo evidence now, you won't regret it later)
  • Favorite herbal teas (check with your midwife about what's safe if you're planning on nursing)

Keep in mind that any birth — no matter where it takes place — is a very personal and individual experience. But it's also always a good idea to ask your midwife and been-there-done-that moms for suggestions of things to add to your home birth kit. 

{ MORE: Tips for Finding the Right OB/GYN for You }

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The Ultimate Home Birth Kit: Everything You’ll Need (and Want)

Katelynne has been trying to get the hang of this raising kids thing since 2007 but spends most of her time wondering who stole her copy of Parenting 101. When she’s not playing referee for her two children or writing all the words, she fantasizes about a full night’s sleep, uninterrupted showers, and triple venti caramel macchiatos with coconut milk. ... More

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