My son is almost one-year-old, and I have often thanked my lucky stars that in the first year of his life, or even while I was expecting, that we were not faced with any sort of disaster or potentially world-ending scenario. Even as prepared as my family is, the prospect of having to be prepared for everything my little child needs seemed daunting. However, it is necessary that if you are expecting or have a young one you prepare for whatever could lie ahead.
Prepping for a baby is different than prepping for other members of your family. The changes that a little baby will go over in just the first year require a variety of sizes, resources, and foods; it requires a much different mindset than just preparing for a year in the life of an older aged human, who likely won’t outgrow their clothes or have to change their diet. That is why taking the time to prepare for baby in a disaster is just as important a step as getting your nursery ready.
If you are Expecting or Trying to get Pregnant
Preparing for your baby’s arrival is an exciting process, one that should and can easily include preparing for potential disaster situations. Make it part of your nesting process- include plans for future scenarios, the last thing you will want to be without in a disaster situation is the essentials you need for your little one.
If you are still expecting, you may want to add some basic first aid supplies to aid you in the event of an emergency birth. Extra blankets, surgical scissors, antiseptic cleaner, etc. should all become part of your emergency supplies, just in case you can’t get to a hospital. You may want to speak with a doctor or a midwife regarding guidance on how to deliver your baby unassisted should an emergency arise. There are also a number of books and websites on this you may consider reading. Much like taking a birthing class, knowing how to get through the birth unassisted could be the key in helping your baby be safely ushered into this world. Besides, arming yourself with knowledge is never a bad idea for any prepper.
You should also consider post-partum care, having feminine pads, squirt bottles for cleaning, medicated pads, ibuprofen, and other things to help ease recovery after birth. Don’t forget prenatal vitamins too. As long as you are breastfeeding, you will want to have these on hand.
The majority of people agree that breastfeeding is best, and in a disaster scenario, there is no better way to have the food you need for your child with you. But that does not mean that breast milk alone will do the trick if it is TEOTWAWKI. Especially if you are still expecting, there are numerous factors that can arise in any mother’s life inhibiting her ability to produce the needed milk for her young child. Especially in disaster scenarios, your milk supply can be affected by stress or lack of nutrition and the last thing you need is to be unable to feed that hungry baby. That is why no matter how you feel about breast milk versus formula, having some powdered formula for your stockpile may be a wise idea. Remember you will still need a source of clean, filtered water to mix your formula.
A baby quickly changes, and in just a few short months after being born they begin to need solid food, fruits and vegetables and other nutritious meals. At this point they will be able to begin eating some of the same food that is already in your stockpile, but it might be wise to stock up some special food that is just for baby. Baby food jars have relatively long shelf lives, but you can also make you own food and pack it in food saver bags for long term storage. For the most part though, the foods you eat will be the foods they eat.
Diapering presents perhaps the biggest challenge in preparing with a baby. Depending on how many diapers your baby goes through in a day, stockpiling enough to get them through a year, let alone two or three, is not only a huge space killer, but it would also cost a pretty penny upfront.
Even with the possibility that the grid could go down, and you’d be left without a powered washing machine, cloth diapers are the way to go. Now many people already use cloth diapers on a regular basis, but even the fans of disposable models should grab a stash of cloth diapers. These will work over and over again are easy to keep stockpiled. Don’t forget the diaper pins too. Remember to get diapers in enough sizes to cover the first two years of your child’s life.
You can also invest in diaper covers, which give you a little extra protection and extend the life of your cloth diapers. These come in more universal sizes, so you won’t have to stock up on as many of them as the diapers themselves. They are also more reusable than the diapers themselves and can often be used through several changings.
Wipes are also important, and again cumbersome and wasteful in the disposable models. Still you will likely want to have several packs of baby wipes to stockpile, but I would also collect some other sort of soft cotton that you can wash and reuse, possible an old plain t-shirt.
Clothing for kids is a lot smaller, thank goodness, because they grow out of it fast. I try to keep at least two years of clothes collected for my boy, which is fairly easy to do with hand-me-downs, secondhand stores and end of season sales. I often go to the name brand kids stores for their year-end clearance. Just recently this spring I bought my son the raincoats and winter coats he will need for the next two years, and at a steal too.
Make sure you plan for the climate you live in, but ensure you have the sort of gear you may need to get through any particular scenario. In other words, you may live in a desert, but having a rain coat for your child is still a good idea as you never know what could happen. Don’t forget shoes, hats and especially the socks.
As your child grows out of their clothing, they can often become good barter items or just good hand me downs to share with a neighbor in need.
Sleeping for Baby
The baby need a safe place to lay to get rest. While you can rest your head on a rock if you need to, the baby need to be kept clean and safe from the elements. For our son, we have a co-sleeper which doubled as a portable baby bed. While we didn’t have to use it for an emergency when our son was really young, we did use it several times for travel and in hotel rooms. Our co-sleeper folded up for easy storage, but there are also larger models that fold up smaller as well. Many people like to use playpens, which often come with a bassinet attachment to safely cradle the sleeping baby.
You will also want to pack some bedding comforts for baby. While it is not safe for the younger kids to sleep with blankets you may want to pack away some sleep sacks that could keep baby warm if there is a lack of heat. You could also use swaddle blankets for the little ones.
Medicine Cabinet for Baby
There are a variety of medicines and remedies that could come in handy if your child is sick or just has some usual childhood maladies.
- Teething Tablets– Teething tablets are a great general medicine to help babies with general pain and discomfort. Their gentle formula often includes natural ingredients to calm baby and therefore they can be used in a variety of applications.
- Anti-Fungal Cream/Diaper Rash Cream – All babies get diaper rashes at some point. Be prepared to cure this common ailment.
- Baby Cough Syrup/Cold Medicine – A little medicine could help a sick baby or be a great barter item as well.
- Thermometer – If baby is sick, you will need to be able to monitor their temperature. If you’ve got a digital model, consider packing up back up batteries.
- Vaseline – Vaseline can be used in a variety of applications, both for baby and for the rest of the family.
- Baby Safe Sun Block and Bug Repellent – Don’t forget to include these important items to keep your baby safe outdoors.
- Corn Starch – An alternative to baby powder, cornstarch can easily clear up a wet rash when sprinkled on an affected area.
Each baby is different, and your baby may have more specific needs than others. Be sure to prepare properly for the medical needs of your child that may arise. You may also educate yourself in homemade remedies and homeopathic medicine as well, that way if necessary you can learn to grow herbs and plants to create your own remedies to keep your family healthy and safe.
Cleaning for Baby
Baby safe shampoo is a necessity in my life. While a baby can use most of the items you use for hygiene, they make tear free products for a reason. The best thing, these items are easy to stockpile because a baby simply does not need that much soap. It takes me about 5 months to go through just one bottle of the all over wash that I use with my son, meaning just a few bottles will keep you stocked for years.
Remember to keep other items to help you will baby hygiene like a baby bath, q-tips and cotton balls, baby fingernail clippers, extra towels just for baby, baby lotion, and any other items that will come in handy to keep baby happy and clean.
A must-have item in many situations is a strap-on baby carrier. Strollers, car seats and other bulky child toting methods will not be as adaptable to a certain situation as a wearable baby carrier can be. Having a hands-free way to keep baby safe could be invaluable. There are a variety of different styles of carriers. We had a simply front and back carry on for our son, but now we are purchasing a backpack carrier designed for hiking for future use. Not only will it be great in any SHTF scenario, it will be great for camping and recreation too.
Don’t Forget Fun
When disaster strikes, fun is often the last thing you think of but babies don’t know the difference. Babies need stimulation and play to have a full day and develop fully. Consider items you have already that can double as toys, pots and pans have made great drums for years, for instance. But also keep a few creature comforts, a few stuffed animals or simple blocks can comfort and provide hours of entertainment.
The Baby Bug-Out-Bag
Now that you’ve prepared for the first two years, or more, of your child’s life, now it’s time to create your baby bug out bag, in case you need to get out quickly and safely.
I always keep 24 hours’ worth of whatever I need in my baby’s standard diaper bag. That way if we get separated for our home or from our bug out bag, we still have what we need to get us through the first crucial day. However, I also keep a 72-hour bug out bag with our other supplies, and these are the items that I have in my baby bug out bag:
- A pack of disposable diapers in the size my child currently wears. I rotate these out as he moves into bigger sizes.
- A pack of baby wipes
- Hand sanitizer
Garbage bags – One to throw old diapers and other trash in, one for dirty clothes.
- 5 set of clothes – Don’t forget socks and shoes and make it a variety of weather appropriate clothes to cover a range of temperatures and situations. And don’t forget to prepare for those inevitable diaper blowouts.
- 2 Warm Baby Blankets
- 3-4 Burp Cloths or Rags
- 3 Days’ Worth of Food – Age appropriate, formula if needed, and/or canned baby food. Little snacks for the older babies is also a good idea. Include spoons or other utensils if needed.
- Bottles – I keep two bottles for formula, and a bottle of purified water in case I cannot find a water source.
- 3 Bibs
- First Aid Kit – Think items like what was included in the medication section earlier.
- A Few Toys
Having a baby, or getting ready to have one is already a lesson in being prepared. Taking a few extra steps and precautions to make sure you and your little family will always be safe is easy and is something important for any prepping family to do.