Self-Reliance

Building a Baby Bug Out Bag: Be Prepared Beforehand

It is exciting news.  You are about to be a parent in a few months.  With a new addition to the family comes all the joys of parenthood.  You also get all the added responsibilities.  If you are a diehard prepper or want to be the best parent possible, this new responsibility will include building a baby bug out bag.

Ideally, you will start planning for baby weeks or months before the expected arrival.  Unfortunately, catastrophic events and disasters won’t wait on your doctor’s predicted event date.  In fact, if Murphy has anything to do with it, the disaster may have you bugging-out at the worst possible time.  A little preplanning is in order.

Having that bugout bag for your baby ready before the big day arrives ensures that you will be ready from day one.  If you wait until baby is home, the new schedule, routines, and responsibilities may make finding the time to build that bugout bag almost impossible.  Now is a great time to think about and put together baby’s bugout bag.

Start with The Basics – Water, Food and Hygiene

The first considerations should always be the basics.  Once you have those covered, you can think about the extras or add-ins that round out the bugout bag and will, if the need comes, make life a little more pleasant for baby and everyone else as well.

Water – The Most Important Thing

Baby drinking water

You must plan for water.  Water is the foundation of health, especially for an infant.  Consider all ways water is essential for good health.

  • Hydration – The adage that a human can go 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food is a mainstay in the survival world.  It is even more critical for an infant.  Infants and suffer from dehydration more rapidly than adults.  Infants get most of their water through the milk or formula they ingest.
  • Mixing Formula – Even if mom plans on breastfeeding, you need to have a backup plan.  Stress can do funny things to the human body and reducing milk flow in mothers is not unknown.  You will need a ready supply of clean, fresh water to mix baby formula. 
  • Hygiene – Keeping clean is an issue that many preppers forget.  Your health links to your hygiene.  Good hygiene can not only help keep you healthy.  Hygiene can affect your mental state as well.   Keeping baby clean is equally important for good health and happiness. 

The problem with packing water is bulk and weight.  Fortunately, water in most places is abundant if you have the proper equipment to make it drinkable.  That is why I always suggest that, rather than try to pack enough water to last three days, you chose a portable water purification device to put into your bugout bag.  Don’t forget to include one in baby’s bugout bag.

Mothers Milk is Best – But Don’t Count on It

I believe strongly in breastfeeding.  However, there are instances and times when it just isn’t possible.  A bugout situation may be one of those times.  Any situation that requires you to leave you home unexpectedly and deal with a crisis deals an incredible amount of stress to you.   Stress can cause unexpected changes and the loss of breastmilk can be one of them.

You must prepare to feed baby on formula at times.  For a bugout bag, the ideal choice is a powdered formula.  Powdered formula is much lighter and easier to pack than liquid concentrate.  There is also no need to refrigerate the powdered formula after opening.

There are other things you need to consider apart from the baby formula you will choose.

  • The formula’s brand is important – Don’t just buy the cheapest can of formula powder in the store and toss it into your bag.  For baby’s sake, try them out with different formulas and find the one that the baby seems to like best.  Remember that even dry formula has a best by date.  Rotate the formula out of your bag regularly.
  • Bottles and Nipples – Your baby bugout bag should have at least one extra bottle and nipple.  Even one may not be enough.  Avoid glass bottles.  They break.  Plastic bottles are somewhat better but need washing and sterilizing after each use.  The best choice is bottles that use plastic liners.  You can pack a lot of plastic liners.  If you are on the move, this eliminates stops to wash and sterilize bottles.  Nipples may still be a problem but having several extras in a plastic bag is one possible solution.
  • Hygiene, again – Pack the supplies you will need to sterilize and clean bottles or at least nipples.  You can find yourself in places that are not the healthiest.  The outdoors is not my concern but imagine trying to maintain a healthy environment in a crowded evacuation facility.

Hygiene – Healthy and Happy

Keeping you and baby healthy and happy is a high priority.  Basic hygiene must be part of your plan.  Even your mental state can be affected by your hygiene.  Maintaining the basic level of personal hygiene adds a sense of normalcy to your life and certainly makes life around you better. 

It is even more important for baby.  When you consider the basic hygiene needs of baby, think about these.

  • Washing and bathing – Your baby needs to be kept clean and fresh.  Even a quick rub down once a day with a wet wipe is better than nothing.  You should also pack small quantities of baby shampoos and body wash.  Having these products in your bag allows you to take advantage of any opportunity to give baby a proper bath.
  • Toiletries – Yes, baby needs to have his or her toiletries.  Small amounts of baby oil, skin creams, and diaper rash ointments will come in handy.  Wet wipes are essential in any bugout bag and especially in a baby bugout bag.  They will get used for everything.  Pack more than you think you need.

More on the Basics – the Other Essential Addition

There is one other essential addition that you must consider when building your baby bug out bag.  Diapers are, without a doubt, a priority item in the bag.  Without it, life for everyone is going to be miserable. 

Today’s parents have the luxury of disposable diapers.  Open a box, and diaper changes are almost a breeze.  Remove the soiled diaper, clean baby, apply a clean diaper with the velcro fasteners or adhesive strips.  A diaper change can be almost that quick.

Disposable diapers are great.  No doubt.  But how many can you pack in a bugout bag and make it reasonably portable?  Better to look at an alternative from the past. 

Cloth diapers are an option.  Many parents still use cloth diapers for varied reasons.  In a bugout situation, cloth diapers have several advantages.

  • Reusable – Obviously, this is a huge advantage.  Good quality cloth diapers can last almost forever.  You need only pack enough cloth diapers to use between opportunities to wash the soiled diapers. 
  • Cost – Disposable diapers are expensive in the long run.  Expense is one reason many families chose to use cloth diapers all the time instead of disposable diapers.  A dozen good cloth diapers in your bugout bag are relatively inexpensive compared to the long-range cost of disposable diapers.
  • Waste – Disposable diapers create a huge waste problem.  In an emergency, waste disposal can be a major problem, especially if you are in a cramped and crowded evacuation center. 

However, cloth diapers do have some disadvantages you must consider. 

  • Washing and drying – Cloth diapers do depend on being able to wash and dry the diapers regularly.   If you are on the move, this may pose a problem.  In a crowded shelter situation, this may also be an issue. 
  • Using cloth diapers requires practice – Don’t stuff a dozen cloth diapers in your bugout bag and forget them.   Get them out and practice.  Folding and using cloth diapers is much more skill-based than you might think.  Learning how to fold and use a cloth diaper properly will make you much happier and your baby more comfortable when it comes to using them.
  • Don’t forget all the accessories – Make sure your baby bugout bag has an ample supply of diaper pins.  You may also want to add a small box of diaper liners as well.  Diaper liners can make cleaning baby and the cloth diapers a much less demanding chore. 

Filling in the Spaces – Other Things to Add to Your Baby Bug Out Bag

With the basics covered, it is time to think about what else you may want to include in your baby bugout bag.  Like you, baby will appreciate some extras to add at least some normalcy level to the routine. 

Extra Clothing – Everyone Wants to be Stylish

beautiful-baby-clothes

Pack several changes of clothing for your baby.  Babies are messy creatures and can quickly soil clothing.  You won’t have the opportunity to run to the laundromat or toss a load of clothing into the washer.  These are my recommendations for packing baby clothing in a bugout bag.

  • Pack the essentials – One-piece outfits a preferable to separates.  Onesies, footed pajamas, and multiple pairs of socks are the best. 
  • Pack Bigger – Pack clothing that is two sizes bigger than baby.   Larger clothing is easier to get baby in and out of in any situation.  Larger clothing also allows baby room to grow, which is inevitable.
  • Pack for the season – Chose clothing that fits the season.  You should repack your baby bugout bag at least twice a year.  Changing the clothing in the bag to fir the conditions is important.  Repacking also allows you to check best by dates on products in your bag and replace those about to expire. 
  • Have enough – Plan for at least ten clothing changes between opportunities to wash clothes. 
  • Pack separately – Put each item of clothing in a plastic bag and seal it tightly.  Packing in plastic bags will help keep the clothing fresh and sanitary.  Having each clothing article in a plastic bag also gives you a place to put the clothing if it is soiled heavily.  You don’t want to stuff a bad-smelling onesie into your backpack without a plastic bag.

Don’t Forget Playtime

Don’t forget that babies are on a steep learning curve.  Playtime for a baby is a constant need.  Babies need the stimulation of toys and activities to keep them entertained and happy.  You should plan on making room in your baby bugout bag for a few of these essentials.

  • Age-appropriate toys. – Pack a small assortment of age-appropriate toys.  These can include such things as rattles, manipulation toys, stuffed animals, etc.  Don’t forget to update the toys in your bugout bag as baby grows.  Keep the toys in the bag appropriate to your baby’s development.
  • Pacifiers and teething – Depending on your baby’s age, teething may be an issue.  Make sure you have toys designed for a teething baby.  Include several pacifiers in this part of your bugout bag.  Not only will baby appreciate it, but a pacifier can also be a godsend in situations where keeping baby quiet is required.
  • Books – Include a few books to read to your baby.  Even the youngest child needs stimulation from hearing someone read a book.  Not only does this help the baby, but it can be a relaxing and calming time for parents as well.

Last but Not Least – Creature Comfort

If you have room, some things that can add to creature comfort are worth considering.

Beautiful Baby Blanket
  • A blanket and burp rags – A blanket can make things much more comfortable for everyone.  Being able to swaddle a young baby can help keep the sense of safety and security.  Some extra burp rags are also a good idea to protect mom and dad’s clothing from the inevitable accident.  Toss in a few extra cloth diapers to use as burp rags.  They can do double duty.
  • Handwarmers – The environment may not assist you in keeping your baby comfortable.  In extreme weather, keeping a baby warm is critical.   A handwarmer, wrapped in a cloth diaper and swaddled with baby in a blanket can help maintain body temperature. 
  • More Wet Wipes – If you still have room in baby’s bugout bag, toss in a few more packages of wet wipes.  I suspect that you will appreciate having them if you have to bugout with baby.

Make it Your Own, or Baby’s Own

These are my suggestions for the basics for a baby bugout bag.  You should consider your situation, concerns, and baby’s needs when planning and building a baby bugout bag.  Covering the essentials is the most important part. 

I hope that this article helps you plan for expanding your family and the need to prepare differently with your new role as a parent.  If you have questions, comments, or would like to share experiences, please use the comment section below.  We always like to hear from our readers.  Oh, and before we forget.  Congratulations!

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