Long-Term Preparedness for Your Baby or Toddler, Part 1, by K.F.

Feeding Your Baby or Small Child

Consider feeding your baby or small child in the midst of tropical storms, flooding, and with threats from nuclear testing. As world events are painting an increasingly grim picture, my husband and I have felt the urgency to set aside some backup resources in case of a long-term emergency. My husband is the “must-have-a-plan-for-everything” kind of guy. Therefore, he has excitedly mapped out our emergency storage space, along with the details of its contents. He is an avid “outdoorsman”, so many of the items that we would need for long-term preparedness are either already in our arsenal or familiar to him in some capacity.

But, when we found out we were expecting a baby, it added a whole other level of things to consider. How do you feed a baby or toddler in a long-term emergency? What about diapers? Medicine? With my background of farming, gardening, and canning, suddenly, my areas of expertise became valuable for our emergency storage preparation. Below are a few of the things that I find essential to have on hand when preparing to sustainably care for a baby or toddler in a long-term emergency situation.

Home-canned Foods

It is widely known that home-canned foods are some of the most nutritional options for long-term storage. Typically, with a shelf-life of 2-5 years, these should remain healthful long past the time required for feeding a baby or toddler. Before our baby girl was born, I took advantage of the abundant autumn produce at our local farmers market. I purchased a bounty of winter squash, organic carrots, and pears and took them home to put away for storage. Even though we are not in an emergency situation at this time, I am very grateful that I took the initiative to do this because those foods are a daily staple for us right now when she’s eight months old! Even though our daughter might move on to more normal food soon, I plan on replenishing my supply this fall to set aside enough resources for future children.

Balanced Diet and Essential Vitamins and Minerals

When planning for emergency storage, it’s important to include foods that allow a balanced diet and provide essential vitamins and minerals for your baby or toddler. It sounds gross to those of us with spoiled taste buds, but my eight month old daughter loves liver, and it provides the healthy amounts of iron that she needs to grow strong bones and teeth. It’s ideal to purchase grass-fed organic liver to feed your baby.

This is because the liver is a filtering organ, and you want to make sure that you aren’t feeding your child junk. Raw pack pressure canning is my chosen storage method because all of the nutrients are cooked together and not leached out by pre-boiling. This means that the “broth” left in the jar after the food is consumed is full of healthy vitamins and minerals. I often use this broth as a cooking liquid for quinoa or oatmeal for my baby and it is fun to know that I am giving her more vitamins than I would be providing with just plain water.

Not Puréed Food

Another thing you might notice is that I do not store puréed foods. The reason is that I think it is essential for babies to learn how to use their chewing mechanism as soon as possible. When you pressure can raw items, the long, high pressure cooking will make them soft enough that they will turn into mush if you pinch them between your fingers. You always want to double check this before feeding to your infant to make sure it isn’t a choking hazard. Personally, I prefer being able to pick up bite sized chunks of soft food with my fingers (and teach her how to do that herself) rather than feed my baby purée’s with a spoon. Any of these pressure canned items can easily be mashed into a rough purée, if you prefer!

Amounts and Options

When considering the amount to store, I plan on one pint jar of food per day while breastfeeding and two jars of food per day post-breastfeeding.

While these aren’t the only options, we keep the following items to feed our baby in our emergency storage space:

  • Butternut squash and carrots contain lots of vitamin A, protein, calcium, vitamin C, carbohydrates and many other vitamins and minerals that are essential for a baby’s health.
  • Bone broth is packed full of naturally occurring gelatin that is great for developing muscles, bones, joints and teeth. It is a great addition to a baby’s diet.
  • Quinoa is a high protein, high fiber, iron and vitamin rich grain that is healthful and filling. It is also one of the most soft, allergy friendly and palatable grain options for babies and small children.
  • Pears are high in fiber and vitamin C. These are a great treat for my baby girl, and they are easy to chew and sweet to the taste.
  • Grass fed liver and red meats are a surprising suggestion for babies, but they are inarguably one of the best foods to give a child for iron and protein content. Just ensure that you give your baby small enough pieces for them to swallow, as liver tends to be a bit chewy after pressure canning.

As an additional resource, a very helpful dry-stored food item that we keep on hand is organic oatmeal. This can be cooked in the leftover juices from any of these canned items, and it makes a very healthy option to use to stretch your canned goods. Properly packaged, oatmeal will safely store for a long time.

Basic Recipes

Below, you can find my basic recipe that I use to can various baby foods! Please keep in mind that canning must be done in a clean, sterile environment, while ensuring that the inside of the jar and the lid remains sterile until sealed. If I do anything that causes me to doubt whether or not something has been compromised, I clean and sterilize them again!

Canning Veggies and Pears For Baby/Toddler

Supplies needed to can butternut squash, carrots, pears, and other veggies:

  • Large sauté pan
  • Clean pint sized canning jars
  • Canning jar rings (Make sure they match the size of the jars.)
  • New canning jar lids (Make sure they match the size of the jars/lids.)
  • Pressure canner (I use a Presto 23 quart, which fits 18 pint jars per batch.)
  • White vinegar
  • A clean rag or towel
  1. Bring one-inch of water with 1 tablespoon of vinegar to a boil in the sauté pan. Sterilize your jars, lids, and rings by boiling/steaming them. I turn my jars upside down in the water so that they can steam and then I toss the lids into the spaces in between.
  2. Peel and cube your fruit or vegetables into baby bite-sized pieces. Be aware that butternut squash has a self-defense mechanism that causes it to excrete an astringent sap when damaged. This sap will break down the first layer of your skin. Using a towel to hold the squash while you peel and cut it will help!
  3. Fill your sterilized jars to the neck with the raw, cubed vegetables or fruit. (Sometimes I add cooked quinoa for a protein boost.) Then fill jars with filtered water (or you can also use highly nutritive bone broth, if you have it on hand) to the point where the jar begins to bend at the neck.
  4. Dip your clean rag or towel in the boiling water that was used to sterilize the jars and wipe the rim of the jar, ensuring that no residue or juice will get between the seal. Only touching the exterior of the lid (a canning magnet helps immensely with this), place the lid on top of the jar, and fix the ring well but not too tight.
  5. Once all of your jars are full, pressure can them for 60 minutes while following your individual pressure canner’s instructions.

Canning Liver/Meat

Pork or Beef Liver Supplies:

  • Large sauté pan
  • Clean pint-sized canning jars
  • Canning jar rings (Make sure they match the size of the jars.)
  • New canning jar lids (Make sure they match the size of the jars/lids.)
  • Pressure canner (I use a Presto 23 quart, which fits 18 pint jars per batch)
  • White vinegar
  • A clean rag or towel
  1. Bring one-inch of water with 1 tablespoon of vinegar to a boil in the sauté pan. Sterilize your jars, lids, and rings by boiling/steaming them. I turn my jars upside down in the water so that they can steam, and then I toss the lids into the spaces in between.
  2. Dice raw liver into 1/4 inch cubes. It’s easiest to do this while mostly frozen, and freezing first will kill any parasites that might be present in the meat. Remember, these cubes need to be an easy size to swallow in order to avoid choking.
  3. Fill your sterilized jars to the neck with the raw liver (sometimes I add cooked quinoa or brown rice) and fill with filtered water or bone broth to the point where the jar begins to bend at the neck.
  4. Dip your clean rag or towel in the boiling water that was used to sterilize the jars and wipe the rim of the jar, ensuring that no liver residue or blood will get between the seal. Only touching the exterior of the lid (a canning magnet helps immensely with this), place the lid on top of the jar and fix the ring well but not too tight.
  5. Once all of your jars are full, pressure can them for 75 minutes while following your individual pressure canner’s instructions.

In part 2 we will talk about “Sustainably Diapering Your Baby or Small Child in a Long-Term Emergency”.

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been part one of a two part entry for Round 73 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,090 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
  6. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  7. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  8. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
  7. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  8. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  9. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
  3. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  4. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  5. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  7. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value), and

Round 73 ends on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

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8 Responses to Long-Term Preparedness for Your Baby or Toddler, Part 1, by K.F.

  1. Mom of 5 says:

    Breastfeeding and staying at home with your babies is the most important prepping a mother can do. (Cue outrage from feminists!) And yes, I know this isn’t feasible and possible for everyone, but it is the single most important prep for mothers of little ones.

    Putting aside money for a lactation consultant instead of a diaper genie and 99% of the useless baby gear they sell these days will be money well spent. Breastfeeding is natural, but not always easy.

    Also, nursing until at least 2 (I didn’t know this with my first few babies) ensures your baby had a source of food and comfort that won’t be refused in a time of stress.

  2. Old Sarge says:

    My Wife and I both never though of canning liver. We will now put some in our preps for the Great- Grand kids. Thanks for the great article!

  3. Chris in VA says:

    As a pediatrician I give feeding advice on a regular basis. I agree with almost all of what you have posted, only small disagreement is to be very cautious with carrots (and other veggies in that family: parsnips, Hamburg parsley, salsify) in that if they are grown in high nitrogen soil they can carry a significant load of naturally occurring nitrites. Organic growing methods do not impact this, only the nitrogen content of the soil. In large enough quantities this can lead to a condition called methemoglobinemia, which can compromise the baby’s ability to carry oxygen to the tissues. Other than that small quibble, I agree. We grow our own food and can it for the kids, just not carrots.

  4. Blackthorn says:

    My boys have grown up and I’m not likely to need this information but I thank you for taking the time to post it here. It’s very useful for those with infants and toddlers. Hope it helps!

  5. GoneWithTheWind says:

    Vitamins D and B12 are the tough one’s to get from non-fortified foods.

  6. Mathew says:

    Make sure to include plenty of greens in your canning.

  7. JW says:

    My highly creative mother, having been totally frustrated with trying to feed baby #1 pureed food with a spoon in the traditional fashion, came up with a simpler method for baby #2.

    She took all the pureed foods (meats, veggies and fruits) she planned to give for the day, mixed them all together, and added formula to make it liquid (today we might use pumped breast milk, or goat’s milk), and poured the mixture into bottles.

    The resulting bottles were given, one for each meal. No muss, no fuss, no frustrated mommy, no splattered wasted food, no crying baby.

    As baby #2 got old enough, she naturally began to pick up bits of solid food and put them in her mouth. Transition was easily accomplished. She never had any food issues at all as she grew up. Why should she? There was no emotional charge or conflict over food.

    This works very well, and in a stressful emergency situation where half an hour or more of “opie opie up” several times a day is not feasible, may increase survival. It will certainly decrease stress.

  8. sis says:

    I love that this young mom is thinking about the future and her little daughter. I used to sterilize my jars before pressure canning but have discovered it’s not necessary as the pressure canning will do the job while processing the product. Just make sure they’re very clean. The same is true when water bath canning except for things like pickles, relishes, jams and other such items that aren’t processed for at least 10 minutes. Also please consult a recent canning book for the proper canning times. It varies depending on the type of food. If combining different ingredients you process for the longest time of the individual ingredients. Also babies can easily eat a lot of table food that we eat. We raised 5 children and after the first 2 I just fed them our food with some baby cereal. They also make this little hand cranked food mill that will grind up the tougher food. It’s handy for meats and such. This little girl is blessed to have such caring parents.

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