Create an Infant 72-hour Kit. Start Before the Birth So You Will Be Prepared for it when Emergency Strikes. Put the Baby’s Bug Out Bag in a Separate Bag or Make It a Part of Your Family 72-hour Kit.
Now that Baby #5 has arrived it’s time to expand my 72-hour kit! Besides its time to rotate my supplies. For those of you who are wondering, what on earth do I pack for a 72-hour kit for my baby? I understand you may be looking at your current diaper bag and thinking that tiny bundle will have a pack as big as your own!
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Fear not, let me walk you through putting together your baby’s first emergency kit.
An Infant 72-Hour Kit should be added to your family 72-hour kit at the beginning of the first trimester, but no later than the beginning of the third trimester. You do not want to be caught without it, plus once the baby gets here, it will completely slip your mind.
Be prepared to breastfeed, even if this isn’t your first choice – it is the safest food for your baby in a disaster. Even if you are using bottled water and washing and boiling all the supplies, nothing beats the built in sanitation of breastfeeding, not to mention the antibodies that are passed to the infant during breastfeeding.
This will be invaluable in disaster situations.
Consider These Items While Planning a Basic 72 Hour Kit for Infants or Newborns:
- 96 oz of water (can cover a baby drinking up to 32 oz a day)
- Formula –POWDERED ONLY – be sure you have at least 48 scoops worth (also pick a formula that goes well with your little angel – if you know that he or she gets fussy after a particular formula, get a brand that’s designed for sensitive babies)
- Powdered goat milk – if for some reason you cannot breastfeed and formula is worth its price in gold in your area, switch to plan B: powdered goat milk. Yes, infants can survive on goat milk and even thrive as this milk is jam-packed with nutrients, antioxidants and contains no antibiotics unlike your regular cow’s milk;
- Baby food and snacks such as mashed apples, pears, or bananas in soft plastic containers. Steer clear of baby food in glass jars as they have a higher risk of spilling or breaking while on the road; You can also dehydrate baby food and pack it into small pouches but you’ll need some extra water to re-hydrate it and a source of heat;
- 2-5 bottles and spare nipples (the more you have the less you have to boil and wash them); don’t skimp on quality when buying these and field test them before making up your mind on a particular brand;
- Infant feeding tube and a syringe to feed the baby if he or she refuses the bottle or cannot be breastfed;
- Small bottle of gripe water. You can add gripe water on a pacifier and have give a colicky baby instant relief. Look for a fast acting formula such as Little Remedies.
- Three days’ worth of diapers (around 18-20) and diaper tape; to save room in your baby’s 72-hour kit, make sure that you vacuum seal the diapers (it is best to put just a few of them in a bag because once opened, there’s no vacuum sealer around);
- Cloth diapers (around 3-5) + waterproof diaper cover (without it, cloth diapers will leak) + diapper pins or snappis to hold the diapers together. This is the insurance policy in case the emergency lasts longer than 72 hours. Just put all these things together in a separate bag so that you don’t have to look for them with a screaming baby in the background when it finally hits the fan;
- 2 packs (72 count each) of Diaper wipes – they can be used for cleaning as well as diaper changes. These are essential. Get as many as you can and don’t skimp on quality. Buy the best that you can get, preferably designed for sensitive skin and with added aloe vera. Quality wipes won’t irritate the baby’s skin, while the wrong wipes can wreak havoc on its already irritated skin and your sanity.
- Clothes- pack 2 sizes too big. It’s much easier to put babies into something that’s too big, than too small. To save space, vacuum seal the non-essentials before throwing them in your infant’s 72-hour kit. Baby clothes should be kept in a hardy dry bag.
- 5 onesies
- 5 footie pajamas
- 2-3 pairs of pants
- 6-10 pairs of socks – they can double as mittens for keeping hands warm too
- Several burp rags or smaller blanket -my kids were talented pukers and a burp rag was never big enough
- 2 emergency blankets, which retain more heat and can be used as an additional layer over a comfortable receiving blanket
- The baby’s favorite blanket or simply a fluffy clean blanket in which your little one feels comfortable and safe;
- Baby’s favorite toys – you want to keep him or her distracted and happy;
- Hand warmers;
- A tried-and-tested nipple cream (breastfeeding moms should not leave without), like the Motherlove Nipple Cream;
- Manual breast pump. If you run out of formula or powdered milk, you can use this to induce lactation. What’s more, in extremely stressful situations, you might need a pump to properly nurse the baby;
- Thermos (acts like a mini fridge or can keep formula warmer longer)
- A couple rolls of toilet paper
- Teething tablets or gel (for older infants you can add this later)
- Pedialyte or singles equivalent – it quickly restores the baby’s electrolyte balance if severely dehydrated. Baby have a higher risk of dehydration because of diarrhea and the scenario is not that far fetched when you’re on the go and most water sources are unsafe;
- 1-2 boxes of nursing pads (if disposable, reusable will require laundry and bleach daily);
- Sunblock – there are special formulas for babies with a SPF50+ and without all the nasty chemicals you would normally find in formulas for adults;
- Hand sanitizer: look for foam free hand sanitizer for babies (they put their hands in their mouths quite a lot). Make sure that is alcohol free so it doesn’t sting;
- Baby wash, shampoo, and a good baby lotion (travel size);
- Tissues (as much for you as them);
- 2 pacifiers (even if you don’t plan on using them pack them. Desperation may change your mind and nipple confusion is more likely to happen if the pacifier is introduced later);
- Infant Tylenol and Motrin (which is best for teething). Be sure and rotate this.
- Bulb syringe aka baby nasal aspirator: this one is a great prop for when your baby’s nose or ears get congested. Make sure that you buy a quality aspirator as the cheaper one simply don’t work or fall apart;
- Baby powder;
- Diaper rash cream. Get a brand that actually calms down the irritation and speeds up healing. Some diaper rash ointments that are really great are the Bag Balm (you can find it at Walmart) or Eucerin Aquaphor (travel size);
- 2-3 receiving blankets;
- Ziplock baggies (gallon size) for stashing dirty clothes and diapers
- If you haven’t nursed before than pack a nursing guide from the la leche league
- Consider packing a small camp stove for boiling water for sanitizing
- Learn first aid techniques for infants
- Baby’s first-aid kit, which should contain band aids, Neosporin, a pair of blunt scissors, nail clippers, cotton balls, thermometer, medicine dropper, nasal aspirator, medicines, toothbrush, and so on.
- Quality baby wrap. When in an emergency, you might need to carry your baby and have both hands free. A baby wrap can be easily turned into a hammock or even blanket in times of need.
The most important tool in your kit is a Baby Wrap Carrier (like this one found at Amazon). An infant reacts to trauma as well and will have an increased need to be held, this also mimics the womb for a newborn and is very comforting all while freeing your hands for other things. Think Sacajawea!
Packing your Infant 72 Hour Kit
There are plenty of methods for packing it all up. Which one you choose should be determined by your situation. A regular backpack will work in any situation, just remember that you only have 2 hands and one will be carrying a baby and you’ll still have your kit and the baby’s kit.
Working moms should use the backpack method, especially if you have a sitter at your home while you’re working. It’s easy to grab and go.
If you’re a stay at home mom I strongly recommend the suitcase method we discussed in Emergency Preparedness While Pregnant. Since you and baby will most likely be together, having both your kits in one combined case makes for an easier get-a-way.
You should review and rotate your child’s clothes every 3-6 months or make sure you are always keeping the next two sizes in your infant 72-hour kit. You don’t want to be caught without proper clothing. You might even consider rotating winter/summer clothes. Put it on the calendar and make it a priority.
Also, make sure that you stock up on baby formula and other baby supplies BEFORE disaster strikes. In areas hit by natural disasters, baby supplies are the first things that fly off stores’ shelves.
I recommended powdered baby formula because it has the longest shelf life. Check out baby food’s expiration date too as baby food tends to spoil rather fast due to the lack of additives and preservatives.
Goat’s milk is also a great alternative to formula and often a lot cheaper. Goat’s milk is more similar to human milk than cow’s milk (most baby formulas are based on cow milk proteins.) In addition, many babies that are allergic to cow’s milk or soy milk have no problem with goat’s milk.
Goat milk protein is also easier to digest by a baby’s nascent digestive system than cow milk proteins. But if you decide to switch to goat milk, boil it before giving it to a baby as it might contain nasty bacteria known as brucellosis if the animal is sick with it.
Also, supplement your little angel’s diet with folate and vitamin 12, which you’ll only find in formula or human breast milk. Even though in the U.S., infants are not normally fed with goat’s milk, there are many countries that do so and for a very long time.
In a crisis scenario, though, it is best to switch to breastfeeding as it requires less things to wash and sanitize, it offers the baby all the nutrients he or she needs, and it is the most convenient to do while on the go.
My list is not exhaustive. I might have missed something or added a few things that you won’t find to be the best match for your and your baby’s needs and routine. Feel free to improvise, test, and come up with the best 72-hour kit for you.
You can rest assured that you are prepared for anything nature can throw at you. Now if only that bundle of joy would let you sleep!
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