As the gift giving season is fast approaching, I wanted to put together some great gift ideas that any childbirth educator would love to receive this holiday season. Stocking a childbirth education classroom with useful items can be expensive and even overwhelming for the educator just starting out. Here are some must-have items that any childbirth educator would appreciate now or anytime during the year. Childbirth educators – what might be on your list that I did not included here? And, go ahead and print this list out or share online with friends and family, so you can receive a CBE gift to warm your heart and that demonstrates how much your efforts to help families have a safe and healthy birth are appreciated.
A pelvic model
Having a pelvis on hand to demonstrate how the baby moves through the pelvis, rotating and descending during labor is a key part of any childbirth class. Your favorite CBE will appreciate having one to use and they are often an expensive purchase. I like this one for both it’s price, quick delivery and excellent reviews. This is one of my most valuable teaching aids.
A knitted uterus
Having a knitted uterus is helpful for demonstrating how the cervix thins and opens during labor and birth. A knitted uterus can be purchased through various stores that sell childbirth teaching aids, or even on Amazon.com and often come with special features like detachable vagina and zippered uterine opening to represent a cesarean incision. If you are in any way crafty, you could consider knitting your own, using one of the many patterns that are available on line and customize it using the childbirth educator’s favorite colors.
Having a fetal model to fit into the uterus and move through the pelvis makes for a great visual aid. Childbirth Graphics sells one that fits through the standard model pelvis and holds up well through years of use. You can also look around at some of the other sites listed below for comparison.
I am always grateful for my small, portable but powerful rechargeable bluetooth speaker that I can connect to my phone, my tablet or my laptop for quick and easy sound projection. I have had a few over the years and am currently thrilled with the Jam Classic in a color to match my classroom. I previously owned this one until my teen daughters snatched them away. Buy your favorite, just make sure they are lightweight, rechargeable and work over bluetooth.
A subscription to “Up to Date”
I would love to be gifted a subscription to the research website “Up to Date” which provides current evidence based information and practice guidelines at your fingertips. When a childbirth educator wants quick and easy access to all the most current information on treatments, protocols and recommendations for maternity care, s/he can quickly access this highly current resource. While we are not clinicians, it is so helpful to be able to see the most current research as it is made available. This gift would thrill me to no end.
Your favorite childbirth educator would love to have his or her Lamaze membership paid for! S/he will get all the benefits of being a Lamaze member, including significant Kinkos/FedEx discounts, a year long subscription to the Journal of Perinatal Education, access to community boards on the Lamaze website and so much more.
Peanut and/or birth ball
No childbirth class is complete without a peanut or regular birth ball for the educator and students to use during classroom demonstrations and practice. Lots of different sizes to choose from, but I recommend the 45 CM peanut ball and the 65 CM birth ball, likely to be the best size for many of the students. Make sure the ball you buy is burst resistant. You can get them on Amazon or at local sporting goods shops as well. Here is some information on using the peanut ball during labor.
Unscented massage lotion or oil
Hand massage is often taught in childbirth classes as a form of relaxation. Keep your favorite childbirth educator well supplied with a large bottle of a quality unscented lotion or oil. Consider adding in some small plastic or glass bottles that s/he can fill an handout during practice time and you will have a sure winner!
It is always fun to have a collection of newborn dolls to hand out when talking about life with a newborn, to practice swaddles with or to use during breastfeeding practice. My favorite doll is the soft dolls available at at Ikea. They are lightweight, about the right size, and at $10/each, very affordable, so I can purchase enough for every family to have one to practice on. I also like that they have different races, so my dolls can reflect my class members.
I like to teach engaging and interactive childbirth classes and many of my activities involve cards as part of the learning. I love having my own laminator so I can whip up new teaching tools and ideas right in my own home. This affordable laminator has been a reliable workhorse for me for several years now without fail and I love making professional looking materials to use in my childbirth class. I like to have two size lamination sheets – full page and quarter page.
Astrobrights colored paper
My handouts and laminated activity cards look fantastic on this super bright, super fun colored paper. I love having a ream around the house for all my signs, projects and creative ideas. I also find the heavier cardstock useful at times too.
All kinds of markers, crayons and pens
There is nothing so sad as having a box of faded out, washed out permanent or low scent dry erase markers in my teaching supply box. I love when the markers are bold and the dry erase/white board markers are strong and vibrant. I always appreciate having a new supply on hand of both kinds of markers. I also use crayons in my classes and they get broken and used up! A huge box of crayons would be super. Even a jumbo box of pens – as students are always asking to borrow them and I never get them back.
If the childbirth educator on your list also teaches breastfeeding , she will want to have a nice collection of knitted breasts on hand for her classes. This model is nice but rather expensive, It is nice to have one for each family. Here is a pattern if you have the skills to make them yourself. Or you can often find them on Etsy Remember, breasts can come in many different skin tones and all kinds of nipple, areola and breast sizes.
Swaddling blankets, cloth diaper samples, baby carriers
These may be things you have access to from your children as they have grown out of them, or you can take up a collection of used items from friends and family or even hit up the thrift shops. Get a whole bunch together and gift them to the childbirth educator to use in class. S/he will appreciate the variety and feel confident that s/he has enough for everyone in class to try some.
If you are not sure what your childbirth educator needs – consider a gift certificate to one of the companies that sells teaching aids and instructional materials, and let the educator decide for him or herself what they can use.