For some of us, being prepared for the possibility of a disaster striking means having baby essentials in mind on top of everything else. If you have little ones, or are expecting to have any in the near future, it’s important to think of what you’ll need for that precious little one as well.
Preparing For An Unassisted Birth
First of all, if you are currently expecting, or think that pregnancy could be a possibility in the near future, I would highly recommend you adding some basic birthing supplies to your emergency checklist. If, for whatever reason (and there are any number of them!), you are unable to make it to a hospital when labor begins, it is incredibly important to know how to deliver a baby unassisted.
I wrote a post a while back chronicling my home birthing story in which I included a list of items the midwives wanted me to have on hand. You can check out that supplies list, along with information on where to purchase a birthing kit HERE. I’d also suggest you read the list of items I found necessary postpartum– these are things I will definitely have on hand next time around! You should also find a good book on natural child birth and delivery. Where There Is No Doctor has a nice section on labor, delivery, and Family Planning; Where There Is No Midwife by Sarah Pinto also comes highly recommended.
Having some knowledge of a local midwife is always a plus as well!!
Okay, so now that you are covered in the birthing department (just in case!), let’s move on to what you’ll need once that precious child is in your arms…
This is obviously the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when prepping for baby. If you aren’t already cloth diapering, and don’t want to deal with cloth diapering on a daily basis, at least get a stash of cloth diapers on hand for emergencies. You can get very inexpensive prefolds and diaper pins at most super stores or online. I’d have at least 15-20 of these stashed away.
You’ll also need diaper covers. You can buy cheap Gerber waterproof pants, though the problem with them is that you would need several in different sizes. What I would suggest instead is investing in 4-5 one size diaper covers. You only need a handful of these because they dry very quickly and can be used several times a day before needing to be washed. bumGenius has really good one-size covers which fit from newborn through potty training years. They are a bit pricey (approx. $10-$12), so be looking for used ones to buy on Craigslist or ebay. Whatever you get, avoid anything with Velcro if you can help it. It clings to everything, and loses its ability to stick after a while.
Don’t forget cloth wipes. You can cut up an old t-shirt to use for this, or buy several packs of inexpensive baby wipes. I would not suggest stocking up on a bunch of wet wipes as these dry out over time; plus, even the most “gentle” baby wipes can bring on a horrible diaper rash. Do have a couple of packs of unopened wet wipes in your bug-out-bag though, for times when you may not have access to ample clean water.
Keep a trash bag in your 72-hr emergency kit for storing soiled diapers and wipes.
Even if you are nursing your newborn, it would be wise to have a stash of formula in your bug-out-bag… just in case. A mother’s milk production can be effected by stressful situations and a lack of calories, and you definitely don’t want to dry up with nothing else on hand to feed that hungry baby. Plus, you never know if you and baby will be separated. Powdered formula is the best choice as it lasts longer than liquid. Don’t forget a bottle or two, plus water to mix it with.
You’ll also need to think about solid food for baby as he/she grows, so add a few jars of baby food to your pack. Don’t forget to rotate these as your baby progresses in food stages from pureed to more chunky stuff.
For general long-term food storage though, you don’t really need to worry about having a stash of baby food jars. Your little one will be fine eating whatever you eat, mashed or pureed with a little milk or water. Plus, if you are nursing and have adequate milk, you can nurse your baby exclusively for an entire year before introducing any solids.
Be sure to stock up on sizes your child will need to grow into. I would prepare to have clothing for at least the next three years on hand. Pay close attention to having socks, sturdy shoes or boots, winter coats, hats and mittens along with other warm clothing in different sizes. If you plan on having more than one child, try to buy gender neutral basics so you aren’t stuck putting your little boy in his big sister’s pink jacket. If you come across these items at a yard sale or thrift store for cheap, pick them up. Even if you never end up needing them, you might know of somebody else who will, or you can use them for bartering.
If an emergency arises, and you have to get out of your house fast, it would be wise to have a portable baby bed to take along with you. This can be something as simple as a few thick blankets, to a travel crib. I have a Leachco Nap ‘N Pack (approx. $50), which I love. It folds up very easily and carries like a bag. It’s lightweight and compact, as opposed to a bulky pack ‘n play. It doubles as a comfy diaper changing station, or play mat, as well. I use it all the time for trips to grandma’s house, but it would be perfect for bugging out as well.
Sleep sacks are great to have for babies who aren’t yet big enough to stand on their own. They’ll keep your little one snug and warm through the night, without the worry of being smothered by a thick blanket.
Definitely plan on having baby/children’s meds on hand. Infant Tylenol and/or Motrin is a must. I’d also suggest you keep…
- Hyland’s Teething Gel (I have the tablets and love them, but unfortunately I just found out they’ve been recalled for accusations I suspect are more in the interest of the FDA.)
- Hyland’s Earache drops
- baby chest rub
- a humidifier for at home use
- a nasal aspirator
- saline drops
- a thermometer
- anti-fungal cream (for diaper rash)
- baby safe bug repellant
- baby safe sunblock
- liquid baby vitamins
- baby medicine dropper
- gas relief drops
… along with any other baby medicine you prefer, or prescriptions your child may require. I’ve included an otoscope in my stash as my children tend to be prone to ear infections as babies. Don’t forget band-aids, non-stinging wipes, and an antibiotic cream or natural equivalent such as tea tree oil. Put together a travel first aid kit just for baby, to keep in your bug-out-bag.
For longer term preparedness, consider buying a few herbal remedies books and medicinal plant seeds. Learn to make your own homemade healing tinctures, salves and teas from plants you can grow yourself.
Although you could use your own shampoo and soap on baby, it would be better to have something that is “tear free” and made just for children. It only takes a very little bit of wash to thoroughly cleanse a baby; one bottle will last you a very long time, so don’t feel like you need 20 bottles of baby wash stashed away.
You’ll also need a few tubes of fluoride-free infant toothpaste. You can use a washcloth in place of a toothbrush, if you don’t have one.
Don’t forget a few other essentials like baby oil, lotion, brush, nail clippers, diaper cream, and pure cornstarch for baby powder.
A baby carrier is a must. It doesn’t matter what you get really, as long as you have some comfortable method of carrying baby hands-free. I have a Baby Bjorn front carrier, and a Maya Wrap- both of which I like for different situations. A backpack carrier would be really nice to have for hiking or camping. Just keep in mind that using a stroller may not always be a possibility.
I don’t even want to imagine what a nightmare it would be to lose my child in the midst of chaos. When you have a child who is too young to say who they are and who they belong to, you’d be wise to have some form of identification on them. There are a variety of products on the market you may want to consider: identification temporary tattoos, shoe tags, disposable identification bracelets as well as Velcro ID bracelets.
72-hour/ Baby Bug-Out-Bag
I’ve already mentioned a few things I think you should have in Baby’s Bug-Out-Bag, but let me break it down for you in a nice checklist. Keep in mind this is for short term emergencies. It’s just what you’ll need for a couple of days until help arrives or you are able to get to more supplies.
- A pack of disposable diapers. Start with size 1 diapers if you are expecting or have a newborn. Rotate these out with larger sized diapers as your child grows.
- A pack of fragrance free baby wipes.
- Hand sanitizing wipes.
- A plastic garbage bag for throwing these things away in.
- 4-6 outfit changes. If you have a diaper blowout, or baby unexpectedly erupts, you’ll be glad to have extra clothing on hand. Try to have clothes with crotch snaps so you don’t have to undress baby to change a diaper. Again, rotate these out for seasons and as baby grows. Don’t forget socks, onesies, and winter accessories if it’s cold; and a hat to protect baby from the sun in hot weather.
- A bag to put soiled clothes in.
- 2-3 warm baby blankets
- 2-3 Burp cloths (prefold diapers work great for this)
- Pacifier- if your baby needs one
- Formula and bottle; or baby food and spoon
- Sippy Cup and little bottles of Gerber juice (if age appropriate)
- Water- for mixing formula and drinking
- A wipeable bib- not cloth
- Vaseline- travel size; for protecting cheeks from the cold, and for baby’s bottom
- First Aid Kit- (See medicine/first aid section above for recommendations)
- ID tags/tattoos
- A couple of baby toys
- Baby toothpaste (though you could just use a wet rag to wipe teeth)
Hopefully this list will get you well on your way to being prepared for the possibility of handling an emergency situation with a baby in tow. As you can see, a lot goes into caring for small children no matter what the situation is! If you are a grandparent or have a loved one with an infant, consider having some of these things on hand for them as well.
I’ve tried to be as thorough as possible, but if you can think of anything I’ve missed definitely share your suggestions!! I look forward to hearing what you would add to your baby preparedness stash!
Guest post by Kendra, New Life on a Homestead blog