It’s one thing to prepare for a major storm: There’s so much to remember and include on your list, in terms of supplies to stock around the house or pack in an emergency bag. But it’s quite another to ready yourself for a severe weather situation when you have a new baby in tow.
In addition to the usual items included in a basic disaster supplies kit -- which, if you’re not familiar with those, check out this list here -- here are a few considerations to keep in mind if there’s an infant in your family.
-- Stock up on batteries -- lots and lots of batteries.
Maybe the baby naps or hangs out in some type of rocker that you usually plug in to a wall. You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of batteries, in case your home loses power. Or if you’re nursing and sometimes use a breast pump, you’ll want to check to see if your pump can take batteries instead of plugging in to an electrical outlet. Obviously, whether you’re a new parent or not, you’d want to make sure you have a way to charge your phone. Luckily, there are battery packs for that. Anyway, we can think of about a million reasons why you’d want to stockpile batteries, especially as a new parent, so take our word for it.
-- Speaking of nursing and pumping: If that’s something you’re doing, great!
Feeding the baby directly is wonderful in case of a power outage, because you don’t have to worry about preparing formula, or keeping expressed breast milk properly stored and refrigerated. Just keep yourself fed and hydrated, keep that baby close, and the experts say you shouldn't worry about making enough milk for your son or daughter. The body will do what it's supposed to do. If you’re pumping, it might be smart to snag a manual pump, as well, or know how to hand-express your milk. And perhaps grab a cooler for it, too, so that you'll be able to bottle and store that liquid gold.
Oh, and even if you’ve bought batteries, sometimes those pumps burn through them way faster than you’d imagine. Expect the unexpected and keep a manual pump on hand, just to play it safe. You don’t want to get in a bind if baby’s fast asleep for the night and you need to relieve some pressure.
-- And if you’re formula feeding, that’s great, too. Just make sure you have everything you need.
Experts recommend ready-to-feed formula, as clean water might not be available for mixing with powdered formula or for cleaning bottles and bottle nipples. Unused formula cannot be refrigerated during a power outage, so small containers work best.
-- Another “better safe than sorry” note: You might as well buy an insane number of diapers, along with plenty of baby wipes and food.
So, this means buying formula if you’re going that route, or solids if you’ve introduced those yet -- and remember: grab nonperishables -- meaning, food that doesn’t need to be heated up or stored in the fridge. Keep that in mind when it comes to feeding yourself and any other family members, as well. Again, play it safe: Count on NOT having electricity. And stock plenty of water! Getting back to the original note here on baby items: according to published reports, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream and formula are some of the items that take the longest to get restocked at stores. You don’t want to stress out about that sort of thing. Go buy more than enough; and just know that future self will thank your current self, later down the line.
-- Some other general notes: for anyone, really, regardless of whether you have a baby.
If electricity is out, then you typically can’t pump gas. Make sure you have a full tank in your vehicle, along with a can or two to fuel a generator, if you have one. A generator will save your cold or frozen breast milk, by the way. In the days leading up to a storm, you might want to swing by an ATM, in case those are down in the wake of a major weather event. And one blog online even offered this helpful tip: if you have to clean bottles (or any other medical equipment that requires sanitation), and you have a safe way to boil water on the BBQ, then perhaps that’s an avenue worth exploring. You’d want to buy propane or charcoal, but maybe that saves you if you’re exclusively pumping, for example, and you need clean parts and storage containers to keep your milk.
The Get Ready campaign suggested these items as well, for your preparedness kit:
• A thermometer • Antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer • Dish soap • Something to use as a safe sleeping environment, such as a portable crib • Extra baby clothes and shoes for an older infant • A baby sling or carrier, as you might not be able to use a stroller if you leave the house • Medications and infant pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Finally, if you need to evacuate, know where the nearest shelter is and how to get there safely. If you’re pregnant, know the location of other places to have your baby, in case you cannot get to the hospital or birthing center of your choice. Get familiar with the signs of labor. And if you’re close to your due date, talk to your health care provider about what to do in case of an emergency.