Written May 2012, updated April 2015. I've tried a variety of bags over the years, from diaper bags to standard backpacks to rolling suitcases to camera backpacks. Every doula has to find the right fit for her and that may take time, and that's okay! You can read my older post about my very first doula bag here, see the suitcase option here, or keep reading here for the updated version. It's lot shorter. Sometimes I don't pull most of these things out (except the camera) and that's okay. Knowing that I have them ready to help if needed is enough, and the longer I doula the less I find I really need.
After trying a variety of options I keep coming back to this photo backpack. The dividers let me see everything quickly and easily, it's designed to be worn during photoshoots so it's got lots of padding to be worn comfortably (not that you are wearing it during a birth!) It's inexpensive, and it's great. I got mine on Amazon here, but if you search for "photo backpack" you'll see lots of options.
* paper & pen to write birth timeline & copy of their birth time plan (or I have these on my phone)
* massager (I love these.
* birth affirmation & scripture cards
* cotton pads (for essential oils, easy to toss if they end up not liking the scent)
* Colgate Wisp (disposable toothbrush for mom or dad) & mints
* essential oils on my keychain
* battery operated mini-fan (for transition, moms get hot)
* hot water bottle (for lower back)
* mini-cooler (to hold ice water for dippings wash cloths for mom in transition)
* camera equipment: Canon 60D, bounce flash, 35mm lens, 50mm lens, back up batteries, charger, spare memory cards
* step stool (for pictures after the birth because I am short)
Personal stuff for me in the doula bag:
* wallet & change purse
* toiletries: toothbrush & paste, chapstick, lotion, hand sanitizer, mini-deodorant
* mini first aid kit & meds, feminine hygiene stuff
* jacket (those hospitals can be COLD)
STUFF IN CAR:
change clothes (If things go long or I get messy - it happens!)
peanut ball (I grab it if mom decides to stay in bed and rest or if she gets the epidural.)