Sharon Muza, BS, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE
For many parts of the world and for a variety of cultures and religions, December is a time to celebrate and many of these celebrations involve gift giving. Doulas, just like everyone else, love receiving presents that are both fun and useful. This post is directed to the families and friends of doulas who are looking for just the right gift to give to the special doula in their life. Using this guide makes gift giving easy this season. Consider some of the suggestions below.
Both Birth and Postpartum Doulas
Vacuum insulated bottle for cold and hot beverages – Every doula would appreciate a good quality bottle that will keep their coffee or tea hot for hours, or their sports drink cool and energizing through the longest births or most difficult postpartum overnights. Secure and leak-proof means that it can be tossed in any bag and pulled out at any time to provide a comforting warm beverage or a still icy cool drink. Get a fun color that matches the doula’s color scheme for website, logo and business cards.
Neck pillow – There is nothing worse than trying to grab a quick nap in the uncomfortable wooden hospital rocking chair while sitting next to your sleeping client. The room is dark, the partner is sleeping in the only semi-comfortable place in the entire room, and you could do with a quick nap while your client sleeps too. Having a neck pillow to pull out and use can make the difference between a sore neck the day after a birth or a short, comfortable catnap with full neck support. Postpartum doulas can use these for overnight shifts while hanging by a sleeping baby as the night hours pass.
Lightweight travel blanket – Am I the only one who gets cold and chilly between the hours of four and six AM? Summer or winter, right before the sun comes up, my body seems to really want some warmth. A lightweight travel blanket is just the thing to toss over my shoulders on a break or during a short nap. Easy to carry, goes anywhere, comfortable and useful at the same time, all doulas could use a good quality travel blanket to have on hand.
Healthy, shelf-stable meals and snacks – There is nothing worse than scavenging in the hospital “nourishment” room or a client’s kitchen for something satisfying that you can eat quickly while doing a birth or postpartum shift. A collection of teas, protein bars, dried fruit, nut butters, instant soups, squeeze packs, protein drinks and other treats can provide the energy the doula needs to see the birth or the postpartum shift through to the end. My pro-tip: check the camping food section of your local outdoor and camping store for some new and tasty ideas.
Massage gift certificate – Recovering from missed sleep or the physical labor of supporting a birthing person or carrying a new baby for long hours wreaks havoc on a doula’s body. Everyone would love to have a gift certificate for a replenishing massage to work the knots out of their backs and help release tension. You simply cannot go wrong with this idea.
DONA branded products – Consider purchasing a t-shirt or water bottle from the DONA International store. The newest product is a t-shirt with a quote from DONA founder Penny Simkin on it – “How will she remember this?” There are also branded pens, key chains and lanyards. Help your favorite doula be #DONAProud.
A handmade rebozo – Used to help progress labor and reduce pain for a laboring person, a rebozo is one of the most consistent tools that a doula may use at a birth. Consider getting the doula a rebozo to have at hand in the birth bag.
Labor Progress Handbook – This long-standing birth doula favorite is the perfect book to have when the doula is simply out of ideas. The best reference book ever, it provides lots of ideas on how to handle every labor scenario. Written by Penny Simkin, it is long recognized as a must have item.
Spinning Babies Quick Reference Booklet – This handy booklet can assist the doula in remembering helpful positions to correct a malpositioned or asynclitic baby. You can purchase a digital copy or buy the booklet. Very useful for the doula to keep in their birth bag.
Hand cream – Washing hands happens very frequently when postpartum doulas help families care for a new baby. Hands can quickly get dried out and chapped. Having a nice hand cream to moisturize and soothe chapped hands is a lifesaver. Choosing a package that can go in their work bag would be great.
Doulas – what else would you like to receive as a gift this season? Let us know in the comments below. And consider sharing this blog post with your friends and family, so they can show their support for your chosen profession and get you a great doula gift.