There are so many things to spend money on during journey to parenthood — comfort measures for labor shouldn't be one of them. When I started out as a birth doula, I spent a lot of money on a bunch of gadgets and other supposedly magical potions that I never used to help moms stay comfortable during labor and delivery. Yes, it's possible to pack a birth bag without spending a lot of money. You probably use many of these tools and comforts on a regular basis.
So, here are my top labor bag items to bring to the hospital that won't break the bank. (You'll need that extra cash for diapers, trust me!)
Lotion and massage tools
Chances are you already have a favorite body lotion or cream at home or in your purse. It's time to pack it in your labor bag! As for massage tools, if you don't already have one, instead of buying one, pack a tennis ball or small rolling pin — both are great for labor. The best massage tool? Your partner's or doula's hands. A note about lotions: I recommend packing something plain and unscented, even if you love aromatherapy. If suddenly your favorite scent makes you want to vomit during labor (it happens!), you'll want the unscented kind on hand.
A labor playlist
Music is a fantastic tool for labor. Whether you want to relax with a more new age vibe or get groovy or rock it out during contractions, your favorite tunes will be just a click away if you create a playlist on your MP3 player or smartphone. You'll have songs you already love ready to go at a moment's notice, depending what you're in the mood for during labor.
Hairbands or headbands
Moms with long hair, beware. The last thing you'll want to deal with during labor and birth is hair falling in your face over and over again. Be sure to pack a bunch of hairbands or headbands. And keep them at the top of the bag or easily accessible in a pocket so when you need one, your partner won't have to go digging for it.
You'll never know what you'll need until you're actually in labor, and this way if you don't use everything, you won't have wasted any money. Good luck!