“How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.” (Matthew 24:19-21)
The shrill scream of a sick infant pierces the night. It’s your sister’s newborn boy, only six weeks old. Your sister, husband, and other two young children showed up at your country bug out location three days ago; they were exhausted, starving, and desperate. In the years leading up to the collapse, your brother-in-law openly mocked you for being a “crazy prepper”. Now, he’s extremely humbled and grateful for your taking him and his family in. However, with their arrival, this makes a dozen extended family and friends crowded into your small two-bedroom, one-bathroom cabin.
Now, let’s go back to the ill infant. Your sister has tried breastfeeding the baby, but because he had grown accustomed to bottle feeding, he rejects your sister’s best efforts. The baby feels warm to the touch, but you don’t have a thermometer to take his temperature. Why, you kick yourself, couldn’t you at least have included this in your preps? He has had his diaper changed, thanks to some spare sheets Sis has doubled up and fastened together with some large paper clips. That’s when you mentally kicked yourself again. You think, “Why didn’t I at least buy a pack of those cloth diapers I passed by at Walmart a dozen times while on my way to buy extra ammo?” Right now, you’d trade a couple of valuable ammo boxes for a dozen cloth diapers. You’d do just about anything to calm down that screaming baby!
Does baby have a headache? It’s hard to say. Even if he does, you didn’t think to buy any infant pain meds. Is baby dehydrated? Again, who knows? You blissfully passed by the Pedialyte on your way to buy an extra pair of long underwear for yourself, never considering the consequences of being ill-prepared for the very youngest generation in this post-collapse world.
Now, Sis, who is suffering from post-partum syndrome, screams in desperation and wakes up the rest of your bug out group. She threatens to bash the baby’s head against the wall to end both of their collective misery. Her husband snatches the infant from her arms before she is able to do so. Sis collapses to the floor, weeping uncontrollably, suffering from a full mental breakdown.
Oh, to just get a decent night’s sleep! Why didn’t you think about what was needed to take care of babies in all your preps? Why? Why indeed? Right now, in the relative comfort of your pre-collapse world, you may think, “Look, I don’t have any babies in the house. Why should I worry about that?” Well, after reading the aforementioned scenario, do you think it might be wise to rethink your priorities?
The good news is that there’s still time to act now. That passage in Matthew 24 describes desperate people fleeing the city in a post collapse world: “How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers.” Frankly, when I read that verse, I’m haunted by it. I wonder how many unprepared pregnant and nursing mothers will suffer the same fate described above, or worse. Indeed, there are many accounts throughout history of mothers and fathers who will become so desperate in a time of severe collapse and famine that they will resort to acts ranging from severe neglect of children to abandonment, murder, and in some terribly tragic cases even to cannibalism. This is even described in the Bible:
“The most gentle and sensitive woman among you—so sensitive and gentle that she would not venture to touch the ground with the sole of her foot—will begrudge the husband she loves and her own son or daughter the afterbirth from her womb and the children she bears. For in her dire need she intends to eat them secretly because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege of your cities.” (Deut. 28:56-57)
So, it is evident that, in the future, things will get bad relating to both famine and the lack of essential supplies. Especially hard-hit will be pregnant and nursing mothers. So, what can we do right now to prepare for that unexpected arrival of a family member, friend, or other refugee with infants and toddlers, especially sick ones? What can we purchase that is available right now, which will no longer be available because all the stores will be looted or burned to the ground? What should be at the top of your list? Here are a few ideas:
- Glass baby bottles. Remember when your mother boiled those glass baby bottles to sterilize them between uses? As long as you handle them carefully, you’ll get unlimited use from them. Yes, you can also gently boil the plastic ones (between 2-5 minutes), but in the long run, glass will hold up better. Glass bottles should be boiled for 10 minutes to ensure killing germs and bacteria. (You may also wish to buy tongs to enable you to handle them and metal racks on which they can sit to drain and dry.)
- Baby formula powder. Keep in mind that many babies are used to popular brands, like Enfamil or Similac, and they may reject one or the other, so it’s wise to purchase some of both. However, these can be a bit pricey, so you may also invest in some of the less expensive generic brands offered by Walmart, Costco, or Sam’s Club. You can also purchase cans of ready-to-use formula. Some variations even include formula for babies with fussiness and gas, and also soy-based formulas.
- Cloth diapers. Remember when your mother or grandmother used to rinse out all those old cloth diapers in the toilet before running them through the washer? Well, in a post-collapse world, what do you think the chances will be of being able to run down to the local drugstore for a box of disposable Pampers? It’s not too good. This means it’s back to cloth diapers, which can and should be re-used. One of the few places where I’ve found them is good old Walmart. They sell a 10-pack of Gerber cloth diapers for around $12. Oh, and don’t forget diaper pins and fasteners! This item alone could be worth its weight in gold in a post collapse world, especially for barter. So, future barter items in high demand could now not only include ammo and coffee but diapers and formula!
- Baby meds and supplies. The following medications and supplies are among the most common for baby care:
- Drops for ear infections
- Digital thermometer (most can be used rectally or in the armpit)
- Baby non-aspirin liquid pain reliever (acetaminophen and, if 6 months or older, ibuprofen)
- Topical calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream for insect bites and rashes
- Rubbing alcohol to clean thermometers, tweezers, and scissors
- Petroleum jelly or a water-soluble lubricant (for rectal thermometers)
- Antibacterial ointment for cuts and scrapes
- Tweezers for removing splinters and ticks
- Bulb syringe for drawing mucus out of a stuffy nose
- Saline drops to loosen mucus before you use the bulb syringe
- Adhesive bandage strips in various sizes and shapes
- Gauze rolls (1/2 to 2 inches wide) for making bandages
- Gauze pads (2 x 2 and 4 x 4 inches) for making bandages or applying pressure to cuts to stop bleeding
- Adhesive tape for making bandages
- A pair of sharp scissors for cutting gauze and tape
- Cotton balls for applying liquids (like calamine lotion) and for cleaning supplies with alcohol
- Mild liquid soap for cleaning cuts and scrapes. Antibacterial and deodorant soaps may be too strong for your baby’s sensitive skin.
- An oral syringe for administering medicines that don’t come with a measuring dropper (some parents find it easier to use a syringe than a dropper)
- Electrolyte solution for hydration after vomiting (must be refrigerated after opening)
- An instant cold compress to reduce swelling that comes with minor bumps and bruises
- First-aid manual such as the American Red Cross’s First Aid & Emergency Preparedness Quick Reference Guide.
- Rattle or other toy to distract your baby if needed
- Gripe water, anti-gas drops, or other gas or colic remedy
- A pair of baby nail clippers or a small nail file for trimming your baby’s nails
- Baby-safe sunscreen lotion
- Baby-safe insect repellent
- Baby shampoo or baby wash
- Baby moisturizing cream
- Diaper rash cream
- Washcloths for cleaning your baby’s body and caring for gums and emerging teeth
- Teething toys or topical pain relief
- A soft-bristled baby brush (especially helpful for handling cradle cap)
- A sippy-cup for toddlers
- Baby toys
- Baby clothes – Onesies, separates, pajamas, gloves, caps, sweaters, coats, and blankets. The thrift store is a great source here.
- Baby food– Jars of different varieties are plentiful at the present time, but don’t overlook such dual-use (adults and children) bargain items such as oatmeal, mashed potato flakes, and cream of wheat. For toddlers and older children, some canned and or dehydrated fruit can be mixed with water and mashed up and for consumption. Some cereals, such as those cheap generic bags of honey-nut Cheerios can be transformed into instant baby food by mashing them up with a little water.
- Baby vitamins – Very important! Those chewable flavored gummy ones are a hit with kids!
It may seem overwhelming at first when you ponder such a long list of items, but the idea is to start at the top of the list and try to pick up one or two items every time you visit either the grocery or discount store. When we stop to consider that the future collapse will be a time of “great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now and never to be equaled again”, it is clear that the coming tribulation will be much worse than anything described either in history or in the scriptures. If many of us can just do a small part to alleviate at least some of the suffering, it will all be more than worth it.
There are few things more stressful than having to endure hearing a baby’s desperate cry for hours on end and knowing you can’t do anything about it. The guilt of knowing you could have done something ahead of time and didn’t could be even worse. Therefore, I have concluded that in the course of my prepping, I’m going to make every effort to, at the very least, purchase some items to try to care for pregnant and nursing mothers. In so doing, you and I both may shine as a light of Christian compassion in a chaotic and godless world. If for no other reason, do it for your own peace of mind and a decent night’s sleep.