As parents of twin infants, we recognize that our situation is far less defensible, far less mobile, and far more vulnerable in general in the event of a societal breakdown. However, we love our boys and they will be extremely useful on the farm one day, so we’ve decided to keep them around anyway. Below are some steps we have taken to prepare ourselves as parents of infants, with their future state as toddlers and children in mind.
- Being able to sufficiently care for your children is a requirement even in a Great Depression or hyperinflation period. Social services such as Child Protective Services (CPS) may not shut down even though your family is out of an income. Stocking up on basic requirements in many sizes such as shoes, and simple clothing staples can help combat questions of your suitability as parents even if you are in a bad place economically. Many parents during the Great Depression were forced to send their children to live with other relatives or families.
- Have your child’s documents (passport, birth certificate) in a secure place in your bug out bag. Photocopy these documents and keep those copies in a plastic pouch that can be worn by your child during a large-scale and/or hectic evacuation. Also place a family photo in this pouch as well as your name and you can add your general bug out location if time allows.
- Keep an identical set of temporary tattoos in your bug out bag for your entire family plus an extra. In the event of a chaotic evacuation, have every person (children especially) put on their tattoo on their hand or wrist. This is a quick and easy way of identifying a child as your own. It is also a good way of describing your child if he or she is lost. Without bathing, these can stay on for up to a week. The extra tattoo can be helpful in finding your lost child by showing it to people who may remember “the child with the flower on her hand” even once yours has faded. The identical marking can be helpful during a dispute about “whose child is this?” Emergency evacuations are very vulnerable times for families and opportunistic kidnappers know this. Children are often kidnapped during these chaotic times. It is important to be prepared for this.
- Know your rights when it comes to speaking with social workers about allegations. Desperate times cause people to act desperately. According to the HSLDA, Home schooling families are currently targeted by Child Protective Services. This situation could be expected to get worse in heightened security “police state” situation.
- Consider buying formula even if you are exclusively breastfeeding. Formula can be purchased with a shelf life of a year or more. This should get the typical infant most of the way to solid foods. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend buying enough for exclusive formula feeding for a year if you are breastfeeding, but formula can be used as extra calories in place of milk as they are being weaned and we chose to consider worst-case scenarios such as temporary or permanent separation from the mother in the case of arrest, illness, or death. Also consider that poor nutrition and stress can interfere with a mother’s milk supply. There are many companies that will send free formula samples such as Similac’s Strong Moms campaign, which will send free formula samples to as many addresses as you sign up for. Enfamil has similar programs, and generic formula can be bought relatively cheaply when coupons are used.
- Remember to buy bottles and sippy cups to accommodate your growing baby as he or she begins to drink things like water and juice as they are available.
- A manual food grinder is handy to have as well, it will help wean your child onto adult food, which is extremely important.
- Vitamins are the first component to degrade in stored food. Remember to keep liquid vitamins for you small child. Many vitamins last 2-3 years in the liquid form, so keep a rotating supply of vitamins. Remember to purchase vitamins that contain iron, such as poly-vi-sol with iron, or better, a supplement that contains minerals as well. Solid vitamins store longer, and can be dissolved and given to a child if necessary, but know the appropriate dose for your child’s age and weight so that you can eye-ball it at the very least. Vitamins and minerals are particularly important to a growing child.
- Babies grow fast- consider buying sizes ahead of warm clothes, socks, undershirts…etc. An inexpensive way to do this would be to shop consignment stores after-season sales. We recently purchased odd sized winter coats at Walmart’s winter clearance rack, enough to get them through elementary school.
- Shoes are another clothing item to stock up on. While boots or sandals sizes cannot be predicted, rest assured, your child will go through every single sneaker size. One way to be prepared for hyperinflation or a societal collapse is stocking up on simple sneakers in all children’s sizes. If you buy them at an excellent sale you will certainly be saving money in the long run as this is also a good way to combat inflation.
- Learn simple sewing methods to sizing up or sizing down clothing.
- It is important to note that infants and toddlers do not regulate their body temperatures as well as adults, and therefore a backup outfit and blankets are helpful to have in the bug-out bag of an infant.
- Infants can be potty trained once they can walk, so try potty training as soon as possible.
- Consider buying an infant backpack for situations where travel is required, either in an on-foot evacuation or day to day travel. Free hands are necessary to do work, carry water or goods, or even a firearm. If you own a stroller already, you know how useless it will be in a TEOTWAWKI scenerio.
- These backpacks may be rated for children up to three years old, but carrying a three year old on your back in addition to a bug out bag is no simple feat for a man or a woman. Build the upper body strength necessary to carry your growing child by taking hikes with you baby in his or her backpack.
- A crying baby or toddler can make you a target in a large unhappy group and can bring attention to your family when it is important to go unnoticed. If you have an infant, keep a pacifier in your bug out bag. If you have a toddler, keep an interesting toy or book.
- While fevers are a helpful mechanism of our bodies’ defenses, infants can get fevers during the course of normal sickness that can get so high as to cause brain damage or death. Have a thermometer and enough fever reducers such as Motrin or Tylenol. A fever of 104 degrees F and below can be helpful to the defeat of a sickness, however, above 104, puts an infant or child at risk of other problems.
- Know the dosing for an infant in mg/ml for drugs such as antibiotics and fever-reducing medications…keep a chart that goes by weight and age. Even if you are stocking up on infant medications as well, these typically do not last as long because they break down in solution. Also as your child grows and you run out of supplies you may have to make due with adult medications. Keep this chart handy with other survival information and documents.
- Children, specifically infants become dehydrated more easily than adults, particularly when they are sick. Dehydration is potentially life threatening and can occur due to sickness. Pedialyte is a brand name rehydration fluid which is designed to replace fluids along with electrolytes. This is useful for children or adults with diarrhea or vomiting. Knowing how to make your own pedialyte provides increased preparedness for a societal breakdown, but also can be used to cut costs right now. A recipe for pedialyte can be found here. A bottle of Pedialyte typically runs from $5 to $10 a bottle, while it costs pennies to make at home, so making your own Pedialyte is also a good money-saving practice.
- Children today have significantly more allergies than their predecessors. Have your child allergy tested if they are too young to try food, or do food trials of all the kinds of food you have stored. Storing wheat won’t do much good if you learn your child is gluten intolerant. The sooner you know this information, the sooner you can prepare for you child’s specific needs, and the less you will waste in terms of storage space and resources.
The prospect of caring for infants in TEOTWAWKI is a daunting task but remember: “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” – Isaiah 40:11