If you are preparedness minded and a new parent, chances are you have already provided your infant with a 72 hour kit, including clothes and extra blankets. In fact, you have most likely stressed over preparing for your little bundle of joy. Here are a few other preps you may not have thought of yet for baby preparedness.
Whether you are snowed in or in the middle of a hurricane evacuation, the last thing you want to do is worry about your baby’s health. The second to last thing you want to do is try to pick up things your child needs during such a time. That’s why medical preparedness is a must when you have a baby.
I know, as I write this, the flu shot has only been 23% effective this year, but at the same time, measles has been spiraling out of a well known theme park. While there are some immunizations I would want more information on, there are others that, in my opinion, have proven they are worth getting.
This has become a highly controversial and emotional issue and each family will have to do their own research and make the decision to vaccinate or not.
If you do choose to vaccinate, keep track of which immunizations are given and when. Keep those records, or copies of them, for future reference.
Dosing Information For Infant Medication
You may be stocking up on over the counter medications. You even may have stocked up on infant medications. If you read the back of these bottles or boxes, you may discover that they don’t provide the proper dosage for your young child. For children under two, most OTC medicine simply instruct you to “consult in your pediatrician.” This advice also applies to herbal medicines and remedies.
If your child takes prescription medications (including occasional use items like epi pens and asthma inhalers), check with your insurance to see if they will cover a longer supply than your child normally takes. Some companies cover three months worth of medication at a time.
Analog Medical Equipment
Have at least one non-digital thermometer, in case you run out of batteries. You don’t even have to resort to storing a mercury thermometer anymore. Inexpensive non-mercury oral thermometers and single-use disposable thermometers are widely available.
One note about the single-use (tempa-dot) thermometers based on Amazon comments: Don’t order the single-use mail order when it is hot outside. If they are exposed to temps over 98 degrees in transit, they may essentially be already “used” before you even get them.
You may also want to get a pediatric size blood pressure cuff, a humidifier, and a nasal aspirator, if you don’t already have them. While the humidifier linked here will not create nearly as humid an environment as the regular electric humidifiers you can pick up almost anywhere, it should help keep a smaller area (like the baby’s room) from getting super dry.
Boiling water to create steam is a simple way to quickly create some humidity. Sitting in a bathroom with a steaming hot shower is a fairly standard recommendation when little ones need a very humid environment.
Over the counter medications
Babies need a few over the counter medications on hand that adults don’t. Make sure you have your cream of choice of diaper rash cream, or simply learn to make your own and keep the ingredients on hand. You may also need teething tablets (or, again, make your own) and a remedy for tummy gas, such as probiotics.
Even if you are breastfeeding, you need a contingency plan for your child’s nutrition. You never know if you will be separated from your baby due to weather or travel delays for longer than your pumped supply lasts. You don’t know if your milk production will decrease at a very inconvenient time or if, at some point, you might need to take a medication that isn’t nursing friendly. You need to be prepared.
If you are worried that you little one won’t get all the vitamins they need, you can always store an infant liquid vitamin for them. Each dosage can be added to a bottle, mixed in with food to mask the taste (when they are a little bigger), or given by itself.
The wonder of formula is that any caregiver that can make a bottle can feed your child. It’s important that any sitter and older children know where you keep your stash of formula, or stored breast milk, in case you are out when its mealtime. Remember to store extra water for formula reconstitution, not to mention mama’s extra need for hydration.
Baby Food Making Equipment
If your little one is old enough to eat pureed food, you may want to consider storing a manual food processor instead of baby food. You can grind oatmeal into a fine enough ingredient to use for a baby. You can also grind fruit and vegetables suitable for your new eater. And you can use the food processor to make salsa and other tasty treats for the bigger family members!
You could keep a case of commercial baby food in your storage, but if you find your baby food storage runs out sooner than you planned, a food processor and canister of oatmeal is a nice back up. Freeze dried vegetables and fruit are excellent as baby foods when rehydrated and processed until smooth.
Now that you are prepared both medically and nutritionally for your child’s needs, there are a couple more items that you may be of use to you.
A Body Carrier
I have to be honest: I don’t like lugging around a baby car seat carrier when there isn’t an emergency. I don’t want to think how much less fun it would be in the middle of one!
The are bulky, heavy and their handle are only ideal for twisting my wrists into unnatural shapes. A baby carrier – a wrap, or a more “modern” style – works much better for me. I can carry my child hands free! I don’t need to worry about where to place the car seat or keeping a hold of my older child, and it is so much lighter and easier to clean than the car seat carrier.
Disposable diapers take up a great deal of storage space. Instead, you could invest in cloth diapers and a hand cranked washing machine or Scrubba. Keep a bucket around to soak soiled diapers. When you wash them, pour the soaking water in the toilet.
Cloth diapers are also good for new parents with tight budgets. You may decide to use disposable diapers instead – no judgment here! But I find it comforting to know that if our budget just can’t support disposables one month, or we can’t get out to buy more for some reason, we still have our child covered…literally.
Keep copies of all your immunization, allergy, and prescription records (in short, your basic medical file) together, in one easily accessible spot. In an emergency/disaster, you don’t want to find yourselves or your baby getting extra shots because you don’t have proof you are up to date and you have ended up in an emergency shelter that requires it. You also don’t want to end up either in trouble for having prescription medication someone doesn’t believe you need (or believes that you stole from someone else) or being unable to get something you do need because you don’t have proof you need it.
If your baby (or any other family member) has any truly serious health problems, make sure you have all the medical files – including films, labs, etc. – to ensure docs who have never seen you and who can’t access your regular files can help you. Keeping digital files on a thumb drive isn’t a bad idea, especially if you have a lot of files.
Resources mentioned in this article:
- Baby Formula Dispenser
- Boba Baby Wrap
- Classic Baby Carrier
- Disposable Thermometers
- Herbal Healing for Children by Demetria Clark
- Infant Liquid Vitamins
- Infant’s Probiotics
- Manual Food Processor
- Manual Mini Washing Machine
- Nasal Aspirator
- Non-Mercury Oral Thermometer
- Pediatric Blood Pressure Cuff
- The Survival Medicine Handbook by Joe and Amy Alton
- Teething Tablets