Sustainable LunchBox: Built Bag and BentGO Box (Review)

I learned quite quickly the importance of self-care as a doula. If you are not well-rested and properly nourished, it becomes difficult to support families for an extended period of time. With that knowledge came the need for a convenient, and sustainable, way of carrying nutritious snacks to births. Enter the Built Bag and BentoGo.  

My wife and I recently threw away all of our old tupperware in the hopes that it would force us to use only metal or glass food storage containers. Unfortunately, I have yet to find the perfect metal/glass container to hold my meals (I may be on to something, will let you know).  In the meantime, my BentGo All-in-One Stackable Lunch/Bento Box in purple has been incredibly useful, not to mention, adorable. My BentGo contains two levels and three compartments for food. I'm still learning how to make quick healthy meals in small quantities (to fit into the box), but it's been fun to prepare food for it thus far. The main downside is the smell of plastic but after baking in the sun for 24 hours, it seems to have dissipated. 

My Built Bag, officially named "Gourmet Getaway Mini Snack Tote" holds my matching BentGo box. It's made of neoprene which means it can expand to hold a substantial amount of food and folds into a smaller size when not in use. It's also machine washable which is great for sanitizing after each birth. I purchased this Built Bag at a cute gift store in Park Slope, Brooklyn, but they can easily be found on Amazon or on the built store for around $15.   

To complete the lunch bag, I throw in the amazing Klean Kanteen I've been using for 4 years now.  

I hope this helps you find a more sustainable solution for bringing food to your next birth!  Stay tuned for another post on what to pack inside your BentGO box. 

5 Things About Your Doula

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There are always meme's going around on social media sites and, while I almost never fill them out, this one caught my interest: It asked you to share 5 things about yourself in various categories. I thought I would switch it up a bit and make it doula focused. Here it goes. 

Five things I need on a daily basis to be a great doula: 1. My phone to receive my clients calls/emails and connect with my doula mentor; 2. My Klean Kanteen water bottle to stay hydrated no matter where I am; 3. A warm nice shower or bubble bath to keep me relaxed and ready for anything; 4. Kisses from my dog, Joplin in the morning; 5. And loving words from my partner to inspire me throughout the day. 

Five birth books I recommend to others: 1. The Birth Partner; 2. Spiritual Midwivery; 3. Breastfeeding Made Simple; 4. Birth Stories; 5. The Midwife of Hope River. 

Five adjectives that describe me as a doula:  Patient. Compassionate. Grounded. Nonjudgemental. Intelligent. 

My five favorite foods to eat before a birth: 1. Miso Soup (with loads of fresh veggies) and Gluten Free Crackers; 2. Roasted Cauliflower with Organic Cheese; 3. Rice, Bean and Veggie Burrito; 4. Egg and Soliders; 5. A Fruit Smoothie. 

Five life instructions I want to share with you: 1. Trust in yourself. You are stronger than you know; 2. Have patience in the process; 3. Tell your family and friends that you love them every single day; 4. Don't be afraid to take risks; 5. Laugh a lot. 

Doulaing The Doula: On Self-Care

Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.
— Lucille Ball

A birth doula's main role is making sure expectant parents have the information, resources and physical support they need to have a wonderful birth experience. For a doula, that usually means traveling to prenatal meetings, being on call for 4-6 clients a month, staying with a family throughout the labor and birth of their child and meeting them in the postpartum period. 

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It is truly an honor to do this work, and it takes a lot of emotional, mental and physical strength. In order to be fully present, it is important that doula's also take care of ourselves. I've come up with my own self-care routines that I thought I would share for others. 


Scheduling and Routines
I try to keep up a routine as much as possible when I am not at a birth. That means waking up and having breakfast with my partner, walking the dog, following up on email and then meetings, etc. 

I really try to make sure that I am at least in bed by 11pm. If I get an early morning call from a mom in labor, I can easily put on some fresh clothes, grab my doula bag and hop into a taxi feeling ready to go. 

Clean Home and Healthy Food 
When coming back from a long birth, it's nice to have a space that truly feels like home. For me, this means having a clean apartment, fresh flowers and a refrigerator stocked with healthy but easy to prepare food. I've personally given up going grocery shopping and started ordering local/organic food from Fresh Direct. It makes me happy and saves a lot of time. 

Working Out 
I try to work out at least 3 times a week. Plus, it's an added bonus that I go to the same gym as de Blasio - makes for fun 'celebrity' sighting. 

Friends and Family Days
I always schedule one day a week to do something new and interesting with my partner and our dog, Joplin. I'm also lucky to live a few train stops away from my mother and a few blocks away from all of my oldest friends. Whenever I need motherly love or want to hang out, I give them a call.  


I don't have the best self-care practices when I'm at a birth. I usually only eat luna bars and have a hard time taking naps, both of which I don't recommend. I do, however, drink a lot of water, wear comfortable clothes and dansko clogs, and try to get at least a few minutes of fresh air. 


Keeping A Routine 
It's so important to have a routine that keeps you happy and healthy when you come home from a birth. No matter the time of day, I always put away my doula bag, hop into a nice warm bath or shower and put on comfortable clothes. If I am coming home in the late morning or afternoon, I will continue with all the meetings I had scheduled and then go to bed early. If I come home in the middle of the evening/morning, I will sleep until my usual wake-up time and then continue with the day. I don't like to take too long of a nap or else I find that my schedule gets wacky.

I am fortunate enough to have a partner who is a. Always attentive to how I am feeling emotionally and physically and b. Becoming an Acupuncturist/Herbalist. If I ever feel any aches or pains after a long birth, my partner is there to give me an acupuncture/massage session for free! 

Take a Vacation
As a professional whose main job is to be available and present for others, we want to schedule in a lot of births but, it's important to also take a break. Doula's can't just take a weekend off or go a few hours outside the city when we are on call, so give yourself at least month off every year to simply relax. 

What do you do to take care of yourselves before, during and after a birth? Please share your suggestions so that more doula's can take care of themselves in the way that they deserve!