Baby Gear for TEOTWAWKI, part 1 (Food and Feeding)

September 27, 2011


If you’ve had a baby join your family in the past few years, you are probably aware that there is A LOT of gear out there, and it’s all supposed to be essential.  A good parent puts their baby wipes into an electric warmer and buys a big “floor gym” for their immobile progeny, right?

baby supplies for teotwawki

It is wise to plan for the possible infant addition (since babies seem to show up unless concrete steps are taken to prevent their conception, and sometimes even then!).  You may not be of an age or stage of life for that to be an issue, but someone close to you will be.  (At the very least, these items would be great for bartering).

You probably have a long list of things you anticipate needing in the uncertain future, and baby items may not even be high on your list.  Joe and I have been around the block a few times with regards to babies and the accompanying gear.  I want to help steer you towards what is worthy of your money and storage space.

So, what is really essential?

It is easy to accumulate a lot of baby stuff and even easier to spend money unnecessarily on things that will be used for very short periods of time or not at all.  Be aware of this when considering what to store.

Think about what you remember from your own childhood and the basics all humans need-  food, clothing, shelter, and love- and go from there.  In this installment, I am going to focus on the first one.

Food and Feeding Babies

Breast is Best

Hopefully, the new mother will be willing and able to nurse her newborn.  She should be offered lots of encouragement and support because this is not always as easy as it looks on TV.  I have heard and read that “if it hurts, you are doing it wrong.”  I’m hear to tell you that I know what I’m doing at this point and it still hurts for the first few weeks.

Don’t let mom get discouraged.  She has a lot going on in her body during this time and post-partum depression is common.  She may need lots of extra TLC, especially because nursing may trigger painful contractions/cramps in mom in the days after giving birth.

It may take a number of tries before baby gets “latch-on” down, especially if he arrives early.  Just keep trying.  The more attempts the baby makes at suckling, the more milk is produced.  If it’s not offered often (or not at all) milk production will fall off or cease.

Be sure to stock lanolin.  It is good for soothing sore nipples and it is the best diaper rash ointment I’ve found.

Back-up Plan:  Formula

In case nursing doesn’t work for whatever reason, powdered formula would be a good thing to have on hand until another lactating mother or different solution can be found (check online for recipes to make your own formula from food storage in a pinch).

The back of the formula can should give you an idea of how many feedings it contains.  Keep in mind that newborns’ appetites are small (maybe 2 oz. or less), but they feed frequently.  Don’t mix up more than can be used and risk it going to waste, especially if there is no refrigeration.

Formula comes in many different forms (powdered, liquid concentrate, ready-to-feed, etc) and made by a variety of companies.  Some are cow’s milk based, others are soy or other protein base.  They are all required to have a minimum amount of nutrition however, no matter what company makes it.  All but the “ready-to-feed” require clean safe water to mix with them.

To feed formula, you will need bottles.  Glass ones are your best bet (I would probably stock  at least 6).  They can be sterilized by boiling and will not leach any harmful chemicals into the formula.  There have been recent findings that even BPA-free plastics are not safe.  Glass bottles have made a come-back.  I have seen them in big box stores even.  Be sure to stock bottle nipples and a bottle brush, too.

Is milk all they need?

Breastmilk is a very nourishing and complete meal for the developing baby for many months.  The volume and ratios of nutrients in breastmilk change to meet the baby’s needs as he grows.  The most important thing is to be sure that mom is getting a good balance of healthy foods and lots of clean water.  Her body will sacrifice itself in both pregnancy and lactation for the baby’s sake, but it cannot give what it does not have.  Try to make sure mom gets vitamin supplements too.

Though it is not required, a non-electric breastpump can be very useful.  Sometimes mother makes more milk than baby can eat or she can get blocked ducts/mastitis.  Using warm compresses and pumping surplus milk can help alleviate this.  Offering surplus milk to another baby may literally save his life also.

Being able to pump and leave milk (refrigerated) for baby later can allow mom to do some things without carrying him along if someone else is caring for him.  Again, bottles would be needed.

What about Solid Food?

In our culture, we push solid foods on babies at early ages and then we create endless varieties and consistencies at premium prices.  It’s not necessary.

Breastmilk contains all the nutrition a baby will need for months on end.  Offering rice cereal may help a baby sleep longer at a stretch, but there is no magic age when babies must begin solid foods.

Common sense tells you that when a baby begins to reach for table food, he is probably ready to begin experimenting with it- in well-mashed, small amounts.

You should be able to find a non-electric food chopper.   Steaming foods can add useful amounts of water to them, ensure they are safe from germs, and also make them easier to mash.  For that reason, a steamer basket could be useful.

From there, you move to small pieces of finger foods.  I have found a rotary pizza cutter to be very handy and a quick way to cut it all up at once.

“Sippy cups” are not absolutely necessary.  Most of us are probably old enough that we predate them and we somehow made it.  Those spill-proof cups are extremely handy though in preventing a lot of wasted (precious) milk, etc.  You can make your own decisions about those cups.  As far as I know, they are all one kind of plastic or another and I have found that many of the valve systems on them are breeding grounds for icky things since they are very hard to clean well.

A few chunky handled spoons and forks would be helpful as toddlers begin to feed themselves, but you may have some silverware already that would be easy to grip (large handled things are easier for those with arthritis, tendinitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome to manage also).

By this point, baby is probably a year or more old.  From this point on, it is mostly a matter of making sure that the food offered to baby is not a choking hazard.  Beware of round things like grapes.  When in doubt, cut it smaller.

Not Feeding Exactly…

I’m not sure exactly where the topic of pacifiers should fall in this series, but they seem to fit best here.

Some people have really strong feelings about this topic.  We’ve only had one child that wanted a pacifier, but boy did she want it!  And for about 2 years, she cried constantly if she didn’t have it.  A person can only take so much of that in the best of times.  If everyone is under stress, everyone will need baby to have it!

I say stock a few varieties since they come in all kinds of shapes.  Believe me, they will be very valuable barter items some day!

Be careful to monitor the condition of the pacifier because they can deteriorate and become choking hazards, especially once teeth come in.

This first part wasn’t so hard and didn’t break the bank.  Gives you hope for the rest, right?

Have I overlooked something you consider essential?  If so, please mention it in the comments section.

Related Posts

10 Comments on “Baby Gear for TEOTWAWKI, part 1 (Food and Feeding)”

  1. Melinda Says:

    We just got some long term food storage with our 6 months old in mind. You can get delicious freeze dried fruits and vegetables that have no additives or preservatives from Just reconstitute with water and mush it in your blender… instant baby food. Tasts so much better than the stuff in the mini jars. Baby LOVES IT!


    • Laura Says:

      Thanks for that suggestion. I had not thought about using freeze-dried specifically for babies. I imagine that it’s more cost-effective and space-saving than jar food too. Great idea!


  2. Lydia Says:

    Hello, I am new to the site, so sorry if I have overlooked where this issue has been addressed. I have a toddler and a baby and we go through lots of milk with our toddler. Its one of the main things in his diet. So barring getting a cow or goat, what do we do for milk on teotwawki scenerio? Are there any good powdered milks for example?


    • Laura Says:

      Welcome Lydia!

      That is a great question, one that I haven’t really addressed much.

      Even though we live on a farm and could potentially milk either goats or cows, having a steady fresh milk source can be a bit tricky. They have to “dry off” for periods of time, you need a stud animal, etc.

      I have been storing powdered milk in mylar bags that I buy at big box stores. I suspect I could get better quality, prepackaged milk from some of the freeze-dried food suppliers, but I just haven’t done that yet.

      To practice using our food storage (and to rotate stock), I have gotten in the habit of using my powdered milk for all cooking and baking, adding a little melted butter if necessary since it is nonfat.

      If we are getting low on milk and I’m not going out that day, I often add 1 or 2 cups of powdered milk to the open gallon without anyone noticing. Much more than that and I get complaints that the milk tastes “weird.” As long as there is fresh milk available for a taste comparison, I doubt I will be able to sell the kids powdered milk as a stand-alone beverage. If there is no alternative, they may get used to it.

      I have read some other blogs where people reviewed the Morning Moos powdered drink. I thought that sounded promising, but then I read the ingredient list. To me, I just looked like glorified Yoohoo. I’m not sure it had any milk in it.

      I’m keeping in mind that I may be able to sell “chocolate milk” if I store Ovaltine to mix with powdered milk to get some calcium in them.

      Thanks for your question. I hope that gives you at least a little help. I should do some more research and write a post to address this.


  3. Lydia Says:

    Thank You!
    That’s a great start, I hope to try and start rotating evaporated or powdered milk into our kitchen in case there is a time when milk is not readiily available. I am currently nursing the baby, but I do not plan on nursing forever and then I will have two little ones on some form of milk.


  4. prepster411 Says:

    An easy way to carry your baby if you have walk a long ways in a “bug-out situation” would also be a good idea: baby backpack, sling, wagon, etc. would be a good idea, too.


    • Laura Says:

      Thanks for bringing that up Prepster411. I have transportation and “furniture” type things coming up in part 3. You are right- some way to carry baby is essential.



  1. Baby Gear for TEOTWAWKI, part 2 (Clothing) | - October 12, 2011

    […] Baby Gear for TEOTWAWKI, part 1 (Food and Feeding) […]

  2. Baby Gear for TEOTWAWKI, part 3 (“Shelter”) | - October 18, 2011

    […] Baby Gear for TEOTWAWKI, part 1 (Food and Feeding) […]

  3. Cloth Diapers, part 1 | - January 4, 2012

    […] Baby Gear, part 1 […]

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: