When I’m attending a birth, I always feel that my most important tools are my heart, my hands, and my voice. That said, I keep a few things in my birth bag to help labor be more comfortable and more supported.
Honey. (Or, as my kids often remind me, bee puke.) It’s wonderful stuff.
Often, when a mother has been working hard for hours, breathing and moving and helping her baby come down as her cervix opens, she can get a bit tired. (That statement should get a kind of “no kidding” response from anyone who’s gone through labor.)
While I always encourage mothers to get some solid nutrition into their systems as soon as they think labor is starting, six or eight hours of good work later, whatever had been eaten has been used. It’s pretty rare for women to feel like eating while preparing to birth, but their systems can be depleted, and their energy flagging usually right when they need it most. It’s a cycle that just isn’t much fun, and it’s why I keep honey in my bag.
There are so many benefits to these lovely little golden sticks:
- Technically, it’s a clear liquid, so most hospitals are o.k. with a laboring mother having some, no matter how strict their policies are regarding food.
- It is a fantastic source of quick energy: “The glucose in honey is absorbed by the body quickly and gives an immediate energy boost, while the fructose is absorbed more slowly providing sustained energy.”
- It does not play havoc with blood sugar levels like juice or soda do: “It is known that honey has also been found to keep levels of blood sugar fairly constant compared to other types of sugar”
- Honey is soothing. Birth can be a very vocal activity, and I’ve had mothers tell me that their throat was sore the next day. Honey has been known for a long time for how soothing it is for a sore throat.
- There is actually some nutrition in honey. “ Besides glucose and fructose, honey contains: All of the B-complex, A, C, D, E, and K, minerals and trace elements: magnesium, sulfur, phosphorus, iron, calcium, chlorine, potassium, iodine, sodium, copper, and manganese.”
Because I want the best for my families, and the most benefit, I pick up my honey sticks from the Snohomish Bee Company , a wonderful local business run by really good people. I can trust that the honey I get from them is pure, raw, and beautiful. And besides, it’s a treat for my kids, too—they know that when I’m buying honey sticks for my birth bag, they will also get to have their taste of bee puke. And they love it.