This week a discussion came up on our Facebook page about Baby and Toddler preparedness kits. Both Kevin and myself had quite a few things today, but one of our Facebook fans Melissa H. Posted a great article that she wrote about baby preparedness and I wanted to share that with you today.
Preparedness with Babies
Supplies in the home
Teaching and practicing (empty so far)
We’ll discuss vital supplies for the home, bare-basic supplies to take along in case there’s a need to evacuate, luxuries to make his little life easier in a rough situation, and training you can do as a family.
Supplies in the Home
Even if your baby is exclusively breastfed, you need some formula. What will Baby eat if Mommy’s milk dries up in a crisis, or if she’s too sick/injured to breastfeed, or if she’s dead? Some formula belongs in your pantry at all times.
My son, who was formula-fed, went through about two large-sized cans a week. That means you’ll need eight cans to have about a month’s worth of formula on hand. If your baby eats formula, great — just buy ahead, and rotate.
If your baby is breast-fed, that may not be the right choice. It doesn’t keep forever, so you’d need to replace it every so often, and that would be wasteful since you aren’t actually using it. In that case, consider canned ready-to-drink formula instead. It keeps for-freakin‘-ever, and if you buy it now it’ll still be good to drink when your baby is weaned. At that time you can introduce it as a milk alternative, just like juice or whatever, in order to use it up.
If you have a shelter-in-place room, you might want to keep some canned formula in there even if your main supplies are of the powdered variety. Don’t forget to stick at least one bottle in there as well. And a manual can opener.
Canned formula is expensive, so it’d be quite costly to have an entire month’s supply on hand. If you can’t reasonably afford that, you may want to store canned cow’s milk as well and decide that the little tyke will have to drink a hybrid. It’s suboptimal nutrition, but it won’t kill him. And it’s better to have imperfect preparations than to delay preparing because you aren’t rich enough to buy everything in sight.
I believe that a month’s worth is enough. If it turns out not to be, the non-breastfed baby will simply have to be weaned in a hurry. It isn’t practical to pre-purchase enough formula for your child’s entire infancy, so a month’s worth will have to do.
Babies can live entirely on breast milk or formula even after most of them have started eating solids, so this isn’t as vital as with an older child. But some solids will stick to his ribs, and will give him something to do. Are any of his favorites nonperishable, or can they be packaged in such a way as to help them last longer? For instance, you can vacuum-pack Cheerios to increase their shelf life. Be careful not to crush them. Then rotate.
If you use paper diapers, have some cloth ones as well. If you use cloth diapers, have some paper ones as well. Seriously.
If you are normally a paper user, all well and good. But you don’t really want to keep 30 days’ worth of paper diapers around in case of a supply problem, do you? And even if you have the space, what happens if the supply problem lasts longer? You aren’t really prepared unless you have some cloth diapers.
If it’s absolutely necessary and you’re scrupulous about washing quickly, you can probably get by with as few as ten cloth diapers. You’ll be washing diapers constantly, but there’s probably a limit on how much you want to spend on supplies which you may well never use at all.
The makers of cloth diapers give elaborate washing instructions. This is great if you have the leisure. If you don’t, just scrape the poop off of poopy diapers and wash them all like regular laundry. If that’s no longer possible, wash them in the sink with some dish soap and hang them up in a sunny/breezy area to dry. They’ll be all right.
For possible long-term use I suggest not getting all-in-ones which require no cover — you want the sturdiest ones possible — so don’t forget to get a cover as well. Since these are only for emergency backup use, you can probably get some used ones on eBay that will do fine. Look for ones that say well-used rather than like-new, since they will be cheaper.
One brand name to look for is Motherease. It’s almost impossible to wear those things out. Another advantage is that their system of snap fasteners makes them reversible, so if it’s dirty and you don’t have the leisure to fully clean it you can put it back on inside-out. The cover is vital, though, since they’re not the most absorbent brand.
If you’re normally a cloth user, you’re all set in that department. But what if the emergency in question includes no water service? Or what if you’re so ill, so injured, or so busy with other survival needs that you just don’t have time to screw around washing diapers? You need a couple of packages of El Cheapo paper diapers stuck in a storage room somewhere. If you have a shelter-in-place room, that’s an ideal spot. Don’t forget some paper/disposable diaper wipes, with the original container placed in a freezer bag to extend their shelf life.
Your baby can’t walk, so he needs to ride. If the family needs to evacuate on foot, you need a convenient way to carry him. If he can still ride in his Snuggli, great. If not, you need a toddler backpack. I discuss this at some length on the Preparedness with Toddlers page. (Coming in next week’s newsletter)
The makers of toddler backpacks say that you shouldn’t use them unless the child can sit up by himself. They’re actually fine once the child can sit with support, though. The safety straps provide a good deal of support for the child.
I advise against relying on a sling. Even if your child is happy being in it for prolonged periods of time, it doesn’t distribute his weight properly. For a lengthy trek, you need something which holds him securely and distributes his weight properly.
Evacuation supplies for babies
Your baby needs at least one complete change of clothes, preferably more than one. At least one size too big is best. You can always roll up too-big clothes, but too-small clothes are a disaster if he hits a growth spurt at just the wrong time. When he grows into those clothes, you’ll just add them to his regular wardrobe and put some more too-big clothes into his evacuation kit.
He needs diapers, some paper and at least two cloth (if worst comes to worst, the cloth can just be air-dried in order to be reused). I carried only eight paper diapers when my son was an infant, but I was foolish and should have tucked in two cloth diapers as well. Don’t forget some diaper wipes in a freezer bag.
He needs some formula even if he’s usually breast-fed. I used powdered formula double-bagged in two freezer bags, with the little measuring scoop enclosed. This is lighter than cans, and I was able to rotate it periodically since my son ate formula anyway. I carried only enough to make four bottles, since our selected destination is only a day’s hike away.
He needs a bottle for that formula. An El Cheapo bottle from the grocery store will do fine.
He needs some water to mix with that formula. I carried two 16-oz bottles of sealed pre-bottled water from the grocery store.
Even if he normally eats solids, he may well refuse in a stressful situation. But you might want to have some dried fruit or other long-lasting munchies along, in case he does want them.
He also needs a nasal aspirator. Colds are more likely in crummy living situations, and the aspirator will also be useful in a situation where you have to hold his mouth closed to keep him from making noise.
If you have the luxury of evacuating by car, you’ll be able to take a bit more gear. Bring your pre-filled packs, in case you have to abandon the car and hoof it. But also have a sack or two filled with more items, so that you can live a little better if you do get to stick with the car.
Do you have one of those collapsible playpens? Most of us do. They make good porta-cribs as well as jails for a child who simply can’t be allowed to roam right now. To make it into a crib, fold a full-size or queen-sized blanket into quarters and place on the playpen pad. Now take a full-sized unfitted sheet (unfolded) and place it over the folded blanket, tucking the large amount of loose material down under the playpen pad. This is a fine emergency crib, soft enough to let him sleep through the night. So if you can, bring the collapsible playpen and a blanket and a sheet.
Bring more changes of clothes, more diapers, more formula, and an extra bottle.
Have a couple of toys and stuffed animals in that evacuation bag as well. These can be things that he likes pretty well but which aren’t particular favorites (so that he won’t miss them in his daily life). And when you periodically swap them out for other toys, he’ll discover them all over again.
Consider extra copies of his two or three favorite books. If he has beaten up his favorite books, get new copies and put the beat-up copies in the evacuation bag.
This bag will normally live in your shelter-in-place room, where its contents will also be handy if you ever have to shelter there. When it’s time to go and you can take the car, just toss this bag into the trunk along with the family’s packs.
– Melissa H
So On Being More Kid Prepared…
I want to thank Melissa for letting us repost her baby Prepared Article, Next week we will bring your her thoughts on Todler Prepareness…
But on both of those we had a good facebook discussion this week on the matter which you can view here.
I wanted to add a few other tips that myself and Kevin came up with and a link that my wife has recommended which is A new “Prepper” mom preparing (on a budget) for whatever may come. Click here.
Make a baby get home bag (72 hour kit),
2-4 packages of diapers, store disposables even if you cloth diaper because after a disaster the ability to wash those cloth diapers is going to be diminished.
When storing diapers, store the current size and the next size, who knows when disaster strikes, when the baby gets close to growing out of the current size go back to the baby bag and get all the packs of the current size out and replace them with the next biggest size.
Store extra formula, preferably organic but go with your own choice, even if your family breastfeeds, what if something happens to mommy? Will daddy have what he needs to take care of baby while mom recovers, And if you don’t need it you can share with someone who might, speaking of breast feeding,a good hand operated pump would be a good idea, store extra milk if you can make it in the freezer it should stay for a while when the power goes out. As long as it stays at the safe temp. On clothes, again 2 sizes current and next, and don’t forget extra blankets…
Also I recommend if you have little ones to have a couple good thermometer in your first aid kit, we have some nice disposables my NextTemp at the preparedness center that you can pick up.
A carrier that let’s you wear your baby would be hand in a disaster. My wife says you can make a simple no-sew sling carrier for smaller babies from a t-shirt Watch the video here , and you can also use a sheet for a “wrap-type” carrier, perfect for big dads like myself Check out this how to video.
Make sure to have some chewies and binkies, as an emergency shelter is NOT a great place to be putting things in your mouth. Remember, toddlers and older children will be more sensitive to what’s going on than infants, so make sure to pack extra distraction. For Those 7-12 year olds I might even suggest putting a Gameboy (yes the older ones) in your kit, since they used AA batteries. In addition to taking their minds off things, make sure their basic physical and emotional needs are met, encourage them to play safely with other children and find healthy ways of expressing their feelings (perhaps through talking, music, or art).
Articles for Additional Reading
Check that First Aid Kit!!
Having the RIGHT supplies!
Some of you may have noticed this week that I was out of the store, we took a family vacation to a water park up in Washington. It was wonderful and the kids had a great time.
As expected it was not without a hitch; we nearly blew a tire, and the first time we stepped foot in the pool my son managed to slip and split his chin with hischinbone (mental tubercle), surprisingly this is not the first time has done this.
So after a minor panic, we went up to the hotel room to get to my first aid kit and I realized a few things.
1. We had used quite a bit of our bandage supplies on various other occasions.
2. I did not actually have what I needed for this type of injury or situation.
What I actually needed in this situation was a skin glue, and waterproof bandage. Had I taken my son to the hospital, they simply would have glued the wound shut, stitches were not required. So rather than risking additional infection at the hospital we thoroughly cleaned the wound with peroxide and closed it with the one of the two waterproof bandages I had left.
Hurt and tired, my boy fell asleep, he was a real trooper.
Once he was sleeping I got thinking about my kit. I have a fairly extensive kit, capable of major emergencies and minor ones..
Nexcare Waterproof Clear Bandage Assorted Sizes
Nexcare Waterproof Clear Bandage, Knee and Elbow
Nexcare Tegaderm Transparent Dressing 4 Inch X 4 3/4 Inch
New-Skin Liquid Bandage, First Aid Liquid Antiseptic
Portland Preparedness Center
7202 NE Glisan St
Portland, Oregon 97213