clean towels (did not sterilize)
sterilized scissors and shoelaces
baby diapers (disposable at night at first, so I could get some rest, cloth rest of time)
cloth and disposable pads for me
Clean towels: Lots and lots.
Basically I just laid towels down over some cushions. I don't have the most messy births, though. For people who tend to produce lots of fluid and blood, I can see that a plastic sheet of some kind would be nice. Plastic tarps and drop cloths can be found in the hardware section and are pretty cheap and are available in various thicknesses. If it was for a bed, though, I would just get a cheap plastic mattress cover because if it's not secured it's going to move around under the sheet (which would annoy me.) I really didn't consider birthing in the bed, or I probably would have gotten one.
I sterilized my hair-cutting scissors (my sharpest one) and some white baby shoelaces for tying the cord, although you wouldn't need that of course if you planned to do a lotus birth or wait a day or two to cut the cord. I cut the cord both times well before that, it was cold and limp but not completely closed off yet, hence the shoelaces to clamp. (The placental side does not need to be clamped if it's already come out.)
I didn't gather any special baby supplies this time, like bulb syringe or thermometer. I guess I'm just really skeptical that suctioning ever actually helps, and it's just so invasive. How must that feel to the baby? I would worry that it could interfere with the breastfeeding instinct too. The thermometer just seems unnecessary. I don't believe a healthy baby has to have its temperature checked to make sure it's warm enough -- if it's with mama, it is. And I know what a sick baby look like, so knowing the internal temperature would be irrelevant. I'm sure there are other reasons... shoot, putting a thermometer up someone's anus is invasive too!
I had my husband fetch a big bowl from the kitchen when I started feeling like I was ready for the placenta to come out.
Baby coverings: I kept the baby close to me with just a diaper on and a receiving blanket covering her. No hat until much later. It didn't even occur to me, and later I thought, well, you know how a newborn's head smells? I think it smells that way for a reason, namely that it is part of the bonding process. My first two babies were capped immediately after birth, and I never developed the swoon
on smelling their heads that I did with my uncapped babies. Also, there has been some talk recently on a midwife's list about the idea, pretty firmly entrenched in our culture, that to keep the baby's head uncovered is dangerous because it allows too much heat loss, and that maybe just maybe this was something of a myth. One midwife pointed to studies showing benefits of cooler temperatures (maybe Pamamidwife could elaborate on this,) and conjectured that maybe we have been overheating our babies. After all, for most of human history babies did not wear hats after birth, and not only that, but they were also outside,
not in a nice warm house! Wouldn't nature have put a big mop of hair on every baby if it was so important to prevent that heat loss?
I normally use cloth pads when menstruating, but oddly I had an allergic reaction to the ones I was using this time postpartum. Still not sure what that was about. Anyway, I switched to disposables (unscented of course) and as long as I replaced them frequently, they didn't bother me.