I’m not going to lie.
Taking care of a baby is hard work.
As a single father of a one-year-old baby girl, I have to admit I wasn’t prepared for the difficulty of raising a child alone.
And while it’s hard enough to raise a child in normal situations, it’s even more difficult in a survival situation such as a serious natural disaster or economic collapse, especially if you’re not well prepared.
Fortunately, you can become well prepared by stocking up on certain essential items for your infant or toddler.
But what exactly are these so-called essential prepping items?
Diapers, wipes, formula, food, water, clothes, baby bed, blankets, medicine, baby soap, and baby shampoo are all great items to have in a survival situation.
But before I go into detail discussing these essential prepping items, let me first teach you a few helpful tips for taking care of a baby when SHTF.
Baby Prepping Tips
Here are some of the most important tips for taking care of a baby during a disaster situation.
Avoid Bugging Out On-Foot If Possible
Bugging out with a baby should always be your last resort.
Not because bugging out on foot is dangerous, but because babies tend to make a lot of noise and attract attention. That attention can and make you an easy target and easily get you killed.
An infant or toddler will also increase the difficulty of bugging out in a variety of other ways as well.
Besides having to carry that extra weight, you also have to keep them fed, changed, and entertained.
And trust me.. You want to keep your baby entertained.
For the reasons above, it’s simply easier (and safer) to bug in if you have a baby.
Create a Baby EDC or Bug Out Bag
A bug-out bag — also known as a 72-hour kit, emergency bag, go bag, GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) bag, e.t.c. — is typically used by adults only, but people are starting to build them for their children as well.
In my opinion, bug-out bags are even more important for babies than older children, as you can even use them as your EDC (Everyday Carry) to make your day-to-day life easier.
If you’re worried about your baby EDC being too heavy, then simply set aside some of the items specifically used for bugging out in another (smaller) bag that you can either attach to your bag ( via Molle webbing) or dump into the EDC bag.Here are some of the best items to carry in a baby EDC or BOB.
Here are some of the best items to carry in a baby EDC or BOB.
- Disposable diaper bags
- Baby wipes
- Face wipes
- Diaper rash cream
- Baby formula (Single-serve packs are nice for bugging out)
- Baby bottle
- Pre-Sterilized Disposable Bottle Liners
- Bottled water
- Sawyer mini filtration system
- Baby bib
- Teething toy
- Ice pack
- Hand sanitizer
- Change of clothes (or more)
- Two pairs of socks (or more)
- Space blanket
- Hand warmers
- Infant sunblock
I would also carry some baby medication such as infant Tylenol or Ibuprofen that could be useful in survival situations.
Bring Pacifier for Noise Reduction
The reason I recommend packing a pacifier in your baby bug-out bag is because of its ability to keep your baby preoccupied and from making too much noise.
Since crying and screaming can be detrimental to your bug-out plan, a pacifier can mean the difference between success and failure. Or possibly life and death depending on the severity of the disaster you’re currently experiencing.
Be Aware of the Effects of Stress and Dehydration
If you’re the mother of an infant or newborn then you must be aware of the effects that too much stress and dehydration can have on your body.
Too much stress can actually cause a mother to stop producing milk altogether, which is unfortunate as any situation that causes you to bug in or bug out is bound to be highly stressful. Dehydration (or simply not drinking enough water) can affect the milk supply as well, so it’s important to drink lots of water to stay properly hydrated.
You should also make sure to carry some baby formula on you (or have it nearby) at all times in case you do lose your ability to breastfeed.
Below are more essential prepping items for taking care of a baby in a SHTF situation.
Create a Plan For Sterilizing Your Bottles
If you have an infant then you need to figure out how to sterilize your bottles and nipples before SHTF and you find yourself without running water and electricity.
Now if your infant is under 3 months old (or your baby is premature) then it’s even more important to figure out how to sterilize your bottles as you will have to do so on a daily basis.
The easiest way to sterilize baby bottles without using a dishwasher is to disassemble your bottles and put them in boiling water for 5 minutes.
You can boil water using a pot and a small propane stove such as this one.
I also recommend buying a few pre-sterilized bottles for your baby BOB or when you’re simply on the go.
Dress Your Child In Layers When It’s Cold
Dressing your child in multiple layers is the easiest way to keep them comfortable when it’s cold outside.
Depending on how cold the weather is outside, you could start by dressing their upper half in 3 separate layers: a regular t-shirt, a long sleeve t-shirt, and a hoodie or sweater. For the bottom half of their body, you can dress them in Long Johns, jeans, and either sweatpants or joggers.
You also don’t want to forget the important clothing accessories such as gloves, beanies (or trapper hats), and thick socks. After all, the most important parts of your body to keep warm are often your hands, ears, and toes.
Essential Prepping Items for Babies
Listed below are the most important items needed for a newborn or toddler in a survival situation.
Depending on if the survival situation is short-term or long-term will determine how many of each item is needed and how thorough your baby survival checklist should be.
Regular & Cloth Diapers
The first baby products you need to stock up on to prep for a SHTF scenario are regular and cloth diapers. Or you can think of them as disposable and reusable diapers.
Since the average baby uses about 10 diapers a day, you’ll typically need around 300 disposable diapers per month. Or you can switch between disposable and reusable diapers and lower that number dramatically.
However, if you do want to use cloth diapers (even as a backup) then you’ll have to thoroughly clean those diapers after every use. This means using clean water, laundry detergent, and either a washing machine or some form of non-elctric alternative (link to non-electric washing machine on Amazon.com).
If you do plan on using cloth diapers then you’ll also need to invest in diaper-approved safety pins and sealable plastic bags to place them in if you’re bugging out.
While it may be easy to estimate how many diapers you’ll need per month, estimating how many wipes you’ll need per month is a whole different story.
Sometimes you may only need to use one wipe to change your child, but sometimes you may need to use two or three.
This is why I recommend shopping for your baby wipes in bulk so you get a better deal and save some money. The best stores for shopping in bulk are wholesale clubs such as Sam’s Club and Costco. These wholesale clubs (also known as warehouse stores) require a yearly membership to enter, but I believe it’s well worth it if you’re into prepping and want to save money.
You may also want to stock up on some Boogie Wipes for when you want to be able to wipe their face on the go. The ingredients in regular baby wipes may actually irritate their skin if used to clean their face.
Diaper Rash Cream
Not only do you need to stock up on diapers and wipes to change your baby, but you also need to stock up on rash relief medicine as well.
Failure to do so could lead to some nasty rashes forming on your baby and this is a giant No-No in any situation, especially a SHTF one. And yes I said No=No.
I think all this talking about babies is starting to get to me..
Now before you go and order a bunch of diaper rash medicine on Amazon, I first recommend you find out the best diaper rash cream for your particular baby. I would recommend giving Balmex or Boudreaux’s Butt Paste a test-run first as they both worked great for me.
As far as natural alternatives go, I would recommend stocking up on a large tub of coconut oil in case you ever run out of your supply of diaper rash cream. Coconut oil has many other practical uses as well, including being a great source of fat for survival situations.
Here are some clever ways to make your own diaper rash medicine if that’s more your style.
Breastfeeding may be the optimal way to feed a newborn baby, but you never know what could happen that may prevent the mother (or you) from breastfeeding the child.
Some of the common reasons a mother may not be able to breastfeed include stress, dehydration, and separation. These three reasons alone should be enough to convince any mother to stock up on baby formula if they’re prepping for S to HTF.
Before you go out and buy a box or two of baby formula though, make sure that your child enjoys drinking that particular formula and has no problem digesting it. I had to go through a few baby formulas myself before I could find one that my daughter liked the taste of and could digest properly.
Once your infant begins to eat solid foods then you can start to cut back on expensive baby formula (if you’re not breastfeeding) and save some money in the process.
I would begin to introduce a small amount of food into your infant’s diet around the time they’re 5-6 months old. Baby cereal made out of rice or oatmeal is what I would typically start with, although you can also introduce your infant to pureed food such as fruit and vegetables at the same time. Soon after you can try introducing your child to pureed meat, beans, e.t.c. and see how they like that.
I recommend feeding your baby a large variety of different foods when they first begin to eat to get an idea of what kind of food they prefer and what they don’t like. Buy more of the food they love and exclude the food they hate.
Simple as that.
If you’re the mother (or the mom is in the picture) then postnatal vitamins are a great item to have in a survival situation.
The reason being is that postnatal vitamins provide a wide variety of health benefits that could prove to be useful when SHTF. Some of these health benefits include improved brain function (eliminating “baby brain”), improved mood (reducing postpartum depression), increased energy, and better nutrition for the baby (good for the baby’s immune system).
You’re going to need lots of water if you plan on being able to make baby formula, bathe your child, and sterilize your bottles.
Just make sure to NEVER give water to an infant under 6 months old.
Drinking plain water at such a young age can lead to hyponatremia (water intoxication) in infants and possibly cause a seizure or coma. Hyponatremia is the result of an excessive amount of water diluting the concentration of sodium in the body which upsets the electrolyte balance and causes tissues to swell.
Now the water that you use for bathing and sterilization doesn’t need to be the same water that’s used to mix with your formula. Since the water you mix with your formula is used for drinking, it needs to be purified through a filter (I recommend the Big Berkey) to remove any chemicals or contaminants that may be in your water supply.
However, the water you use for bathing and sterilizing your bottles and nipples only needs to be boiled to remove any bacteria or viruses that may be present.
Failure to properly sterilize your baby bottles can result in acute sickness and even diarrhea.
Baby Soap and Shampoo
Stocking up on lots of baby soap and shampoo is always a good idea.
This is because the skin of a newborn or infant is highly sensitive and doesn’t respond well to regular bar soap, body wash, or shower gel. These kinds of soap can irritate your baby’s skin and likely leave it dry, red, and splotchy.
Baby shampoo is another must-have cleaning product as regular shampoo can be bad for your baby’s skin. Baby shampoo also comes with tear-free ingredients so it won’t bother your child’s eye when they inevitably get shampoo on them.
So do your child a favor and stock up on some baby soap and shampoo.
You can never go wrong stocking up on clothes if you have an infant or toddler.
Babies literally move up a clothing size around every 3 months or so until they reach 1 and a 1/2 years old. This essentially means you have to buy a whole new wardrobe every 3 months, or you could do what I did and go to your local thrift store and buy enough clothes for the next 2 – 3 years and call it a day.
Make sure to buy clothes for summer, winter, nighttime, playtime, swimming, and even when it rains. Head coverings are recommended as well to protect against the sun or cold.
A baby carrier is a must-have item if you have a baby and you’re prepping for SHTF.
Even if you plan on bugging in instead of bugging out, you never know when you may be forced from your home and have to carry your baby on the go.
Fortunately, most baby carriers are extremely affordable (here’s the one I own on Amazon.com) so you won’t have to worry about it breaking the bank. Of course, there are better baby carriers available at a higher price tag, but if it’s worth the extra money or not is up to you.
I know a lot of these answers may seem like obvious items for taking care of an infant or toddler, but I simply want to make sure you have every single item your baby needs if the S ever does HTF.
And if you plan on bugging out via your vehicle, then you must get a car seat for your little one. I recommend investing in a high-quality car seat like this one here from Amazon.com.
After all, if you’re going to spend so much time and money on prepping gear to take care of your family, why would you try to cheap out on one of the most important items used to protect your child?
However, if your current money situation could use some improvement (like most Americans could) then simply do the best you can do. Just make sure the car seat comes with latches and is rear-facing.
If you’re buying used then try to find a car with a base so you don’t have to remove the latches every time you want to remove the car seat from the car.
Trust me on this one..
While a baby carrier is a great way to travel with your baby on difficult terrain, a stroller is a little more practical when traveling long distances or on relatively smooth terrain.
I recommend you get a baby stroller with large all-terrain tires that way you can easily traverse on all different types of terrains such as grass, dirt, rocks, e.t.c. This way you’ll have no problem trying to bug out with your baby stroller.
I also recommend you consider buying a jogging stroller as you never know when you may need to jog (or possibly run) at some point when you’re bugging out on foot. Depending on what type of natural or man-made disaster happened, it may be unsafe to walk the entire time you’re bugging out.
Portable Baby Bed
Babies have to sleep some time or another.
So why not give them a portable bed so they can sleep anywhere on the go?
Some of the best portable baby beds available are travel bassinets, inflatable travel mattresses, and travel baby cribs. Or you can give your infant or toddler their own sleeping tent such as this baby tent on Amazon.com.
Don’t forget to pack some bedding comforts for your infant or toddler as well so they can stay nice and warm while they sleep! Swaddle blankets are particularly useful for keeping a baby warm and comfortable.
Stocking up on baby medication is an absolute must if you want to be prepared for SHTF.
The most popular baby medicine includes:
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Antibiotic ointment
- Teething medication
- Saline nasal drops
- Gas relief medication
- Infant acetaminophen
- Infant Ibuprofen
- Baby cold medicine
- Baby sunscreen
- Baby insect repellent
You should also invest in a bulb syringe so you can clear their nasal passageways and a baby oral syringe to give them liquid medication.
Items used for entertainment may technically be considered non-essential, but if you’ve ever had a child of your own then you know that’s not true. Unless you want to be responsible for constantly entertaining your child, then you may want to find some type of toy or product that can do it for you.
Here’s a great list of toys for babies 0-6 months old (and older) that can be used for entertainment. Teething products are particularly useful for infants as they can be used for both entertainment and teething issues.
I always keep a book on me as well so I can read to my child whenever it’s time to go to sleep.