Like most first time mothers, I am fortunate to say that I had the luxury of prenatal care and the vast availability and surplus of supplies after my son was born. We were able to take our time transitioning from disposable diapers to cloth diapers and when my breast milk did not come in as quickly as he would have liked, we had the availability of formula. Imagine the compounding stress a first time mother would experience with limited prenatal care, no mentors with breastfeeding knowledge and nowhere for miles around with supplies to care for a newborn. Most people would say, you would manage or die trying. Or that, “a mother’s inner instinct would kick in and she would just know”. Sometimes the motherly instinct is just not enough, a possible reason why formula fed babies are just as prominent as breastfed babies. If you are planning to have children in the future, now would be the time to prepare your mind and your shelves for the possibility of having to do it all on your own.
If I had not read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding [Book] by Diane Wiessinger, La Leche League International I would not have turned to their web site for more support. Picture this, it is the middle of the night the whole house is asleep and your newborn starts violently screaming and crying while nursing. He is popping on and off the breast and this has never happened before. You as the mother have also never had friends that nursed their children so you have no one to call. I reached for my computer and started reading online. What I found was my breasts were in oversupply and there were specific things I needed to do in the following days to get them back to a regular flow. There were also different positions to feed the baby in to help him deal with the oversupply. So you understand, oversupply would resemble someone sticking a hose in your mouth and turning it on. Seems like just a little too much at once, right? I’m not sure what I would have done without the resources, knowledge and expertise I received from the La Leche League online. (www.llli.org) But if a breakdown situation were to occur and new mothers are unable to reference resources online, having the book at your fingertips will be a life saver. With readily accessible knowledge and practical experience in pregnancy, birthing, breastfeeding and child rearing, La Leche League is a group to reference. Even if you are years away from even thinking about little ones this book will help you get through the toughest times of learning to breastfeed your first born. And honestly in an emergency situation your breast milk is the safest and most reliable source of food for your baby or your young children. Although every child is different, after the first you will at least be able to identify situations and know how to rectify them. I.e., oversupply, thrush, breastfeeding a preemie, not latching, growth spurts, cleft lip. The list goes on and on.
We all know babies yearn to be held and to be close to their mother. Trust me ladies, your arms will get tired and you need your hands to get other important survival functions accomplished, whatever those tasks may be. (Gardening, hiking to your cache in the woods, transporting water, preparing food) You will want to have some form of a baby carrier. The two I will name are the two I use frequently and that I am most familiar with. In my opinion having any type of carrier, even if it was a piece of cloth and a sling ring would be better than nothing. The Ergo carrier (www.ergobabycarrier.com ) and the Moby sling (www.mobywrap.com ) are my two preferred carriers. The Ergo allows you to front, side and back carry while the Moby can snug up a newborn close to your heart where your little one feels most safe and calm. The worst thing to have in the midst of chaos is a baby in distress. Both of these carriers also give you the option to breastfeed while carrying which gives you more security in difficult situations. Having the baby close to you and in the carrier while feeding will keep the baby calm while also making the feeding easier to accomplish. Babies are not an exact science but from experience these carriers can help calm a child when nothing else will.
You can expect to perform over 6,000 diapers changes in the first two years for your young one. At a current cost of $0.25 per disposable, diapering is expensive and can quickly become extremely problematic when resources are limited, and the sad truth is, as gas prices continue to spike there could be an immediate limit on all kinds of resources we take for granted. And what makes you think baby items would not be one of them? If you live in a warm climate diapering may not be necessary. Babies all over the country go without diapers. But for me, living in the Midwest and having to get through the winter months year after year, diapers are an absolute necessity. When layering clothing and staying warm means life or death, you are going to want a diaper system that works. All-in-one cloth diapers seem expensive to stock pile, a cost one may not be able to justify with or without children. But what is not as expensive is ultra-absorbent fabrics and pins to fasten the diapers. The fabric could be used for many other things around the house/homestead/retreat as well. Fabric is a very useful and versatile resource. If you can find it, you will want to use fabrics without dyes and organic is best although not necessary. Most absorbent types include but are not limited to; wool, hemp, micro fleece, fleece, terry cotton, microfiber, Sherpa, or Zorb. Quite honestly, you could make a diaper out of almost anything. The site listed here gives some in depth descriptions of each of these fabrics while also linking “places to buy”. (http://www.zany-zebra.com/diaper-fabric.shtml) Other online resources to find used cloth diapers would be craigslist (www.craigslist.com) or a diapering sharing network (www.diaperswappers.com), (www.babycenter.com) where you can find a diapering forum, with diaper sharing as well. Researching all of the different cloth diapering systems out there and finding one that best suits you is worth it in the long run. Here (www.diaperjungle.com/cloth-diaper-guide.html ) is another break down of the different diapering systems out there and the lingo. If you can afford it, putting up an extra cloth diaper system for barter may work toward your benefit in the future. Another key reason is space. It would take a lot of space to store 6,000 diapers in the basement and what if you had to transport them? With cloth, you have one duffel bag of all your diapering supplies and it’s ready to grab and go! Lastly, how would you ever know specific sizing requirements for your baby as they grow and need bigger diapers? Cloth diapers grow with your baby. No guess work there.
Now let’s talk about food. You should have a plan in place when it is time to start introducing solids to your baby. Without the resources that outline which foods the baby is able to eat and when, you could end up with a sick or very discontent baby. I will recommend two books I have read and trust. The first book goes into detail about feeding your infant through toddler stages, until you are feeding the child exclusively table food. “Baby Greens: A Live-Food Approach for Children of All Ages”- by Michaela Lynn. The next book is a “how-to” on making your own baby food. Obviously, preparedness minded mothers cannot rely solely on prepared jarred food. If everything around you is in shortage expect baby food to be among them. The book I recommend for making your own homemade baby food is Organic Baby & Toddler Cookbook by Lizzie Vann and Daphne Razazan. Having a well thought and researched plan is one of the most important things you can do for your family. Babies and small children take extra care and resources. I think when prepping they often get the short end of the stick.
Lastly, have a clothing stash for when they grow – and they grow fast! My son was completely out of newborn clothing after just 4 weeks. The next size, 0-3 months lasted another 4 weeks. He is currently 4 months old and wearing size 6-12 months. I am hoping he makes it through the summer before starting into the larger size 12-18 months. My point, they grow faster than you can believe. You are not crazy for stocking up. If you can afford new clothes, more power to you. But what I have found is going to my local children’s thrift stores on sale days brings home a lot of clothing for little monies. My son is clothed for the next year and he is only 4 months old. I also buy key items like heavy fleece jackets and insulated jeans. You can bet no matter what, God willing, your child will continue to grow and at one point wear the bigger clothing. Winter jackets may be something to consider buying new and of quality. Also, there is always the possibility of bartering the clothes as well. Have your stack and a barter stack. When a tee-shirt at the thrift store is $.50 on a sale day, you can barely go wrong. Don’t forget shoes and boots. In an emergency situation I look for thrift stores to be of the highest value and for key/quality items to go fast. The masses are not looking right now, which makes for plentiful rummaging for you and me.
All of these things are not completely necessary to rear your baby. But in unthinkable times when shortages are the norm and security is always on your mind they will make your life a lot easier and give you the resources to adequately care for your ever growing baby.
As a quick overview these items are worth having in your stash:
“The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding “- by Diane Wiessinger, La Leche League International
Baby Food –
“Baby Greens: A Live-Food Approach for Children of All Ages”- by Michaela Lynn
“Organic Baby & Toddler Cookbook”- by Lizzie Vann and Daphne Razazan.