I’m hopeful all the adults out there have their own 72-hour-kits, but what about baby? Here’s a list of the basic supplies you might want to include in your baby’s bug out bag. There’s even a free printable at the end!
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What is a Grab and Go Bag?
Simply put, a Bug Out Bag (72-hour-kit, Grab And Go Bag, Emergency pack – it has many names!) is a backpack full of supplies that you’d need in an emergency. A standard time frame to plan for is three days, or seventy two hours.
When you start thinking about what you might need in an emergency, the list can get long. Too long, really, to cart around on your back for three (or more) days. I suggest making a list of things you think you’d need if you had to evacuate your house because of a wildfire. List everything.
Then, start knocking stuff off the list until you have something that looks more doable.
To Make or To Buy
You can order pre-made Bug Out Bags, or you can assemble your own. Is one better than the other? Well, that depends.
If you’re really good at bargain shopping, and you have some time to devote to nosing out the best deals of equipment and food, then you’ll probably save yourself some money by DIYing it. I always use second hand clothes in my kits to save money, too. No need to pay for new clothes!
However, if you’re short on time, not very good at using coupons and sales, or just feel too overwhelmed by all the options, then don’t stress it and save up to buy one pre-made.
Why Baby Should Have Her Own
Often we think about the adults and older children needing an emergency kit, but we can overlook baby. We assume we’ll just shove some onesies and some formula into our packs, and call it good. ACK! Babies are high maintenance, even healthy ones with no special dietary needs or medical issues.
Please, please consider putting together a grab and go bag for baby that is all her own. This will be a pack that you will attach to your kit, but it will be separate. Why? Because you will need to tend to baby’s needs far more often that you will need to get into your own bag, most likely.
Babies are constant – nothing but needs. Dealing with a baby in an emergency situation will be hard enough. Let’s not borrow trouble by not preparing for the baby’s special needs beforehand, so that everything is accessible. A bug out bag list will keep you and baby prepared!
Give as a Gift
I love putting a Bug Out Bag for baby together to give as a gift at baby showers. I finally got the chance to make one again, as I was invited to attend the baby shower and Birthing Way of my old missionary companion and friend, Julie Behling Hovdal, who now runs Essential Survival, where she educates people on how to maintain and build up their health with essential oils, herbs and other healing modalities for peaceful times and times of strife. (Update 9/2014 – Julie has had to effectively shut down her site due to FDA regulations; it has limited content that will hopefully still be of some benefit to you.)
Doesn’t Have to Be Fancy
All my cool, gift-making stuff is packed in anticipation of our move. I didn’t have any of my artsy fartsy craft things, my nifty fabric and my laminator, all of which I usually use to construct a bug out bag for baby when I’m giving it as a baby shower gift. So, I made due with what I could find and had a blast putting together an emergency bag for little Rheo, Julie’s baby boy.
Bug Out Bag List for Baby
So, the following will be a list of items you may or may not want to put into your baby’s emergency pack. I’ll first tell you what I put into a Bug Out Bag being given as a baby shower gift.
Then, in a following post, I’ll list things that you could also include, and/or what things mamma may want to add herself, to round out the kit. Mamma is going to know that baby best- what the baby’s routines are, and what his needs will be.
One of the most important things to remember to include is personal documents for each person, including children. I created a simple download in the next post for you to fill in with some basic personal information for each kiddo. Make sure to note any food allergies or needed medications.
Bug out bag list for baby as a Baby Shower Gift:
#1 A Sturdy Bag with Straps
You may even want more than one to keep items separate, so mamma doesn’t have to completely unpack everything in the Bug Out Bag to get to the item she needs.
This time, I bought a three pack of small ditty bags in different colors. I hooked them together with strong carabineers, that can also be used to attached the kit to mom or dad’s pack. These three smaller bags could be shoved into a larger bag like a backpack.
Group like items in each color, for ease of use. For example, put all the baby food stuff in one color bag – formula, bottle, foil packs, some water and some burp cloths. Put all baby’s clothes in another color bag. Baby, of course, cannot carry her own pack, so the parents will be doing it. Keep that extra weight in mind as you assemble this kit.
#2 A Bottle and Dry Formula
Time was I fed my babies formula without thinking. My doctor said it was safe, they gave me some free at the hospital, and I struggle with milk supply when I’m nursing. NOW, I’m a crunchy, homebirthing, whole foods mamma who would never dream of giving my child a commercially produced formula.
Milk supply is largely dependent on hormones, and certain other factors like emotional state, that need to stay in balance for a mom to produce milk for her baby. No one disagrees that the breast milk produced by the mother for that baby is THE best thing for the baby. However, in emergency, high stress situations, a lot of things, including hormones and peace of mind, go out of whack.
Why you need to include formula
Mamma may dry up against her will, just because of stress, so it’s important to include some powdered formula. Try to find the best formula you possibly can for baby’s kit, and hope that mamma never has to use it! Earth’s Best and Baby’s One are better brands than others, in my opinion, but Earth’s Best may have traces of hexane and Baby’s One is crazy expensive.
You can read this review to begin your research. Every formula, per the Federal Government, sold in the US must be enriched with isolated Iron. I never, ever recommend soy for babies. Or adults. Here’s a little more information on quality infant formulas by Nourished Kitchen – including some on the dangers of soy.
Do the best you can, and remember that some food will be better than no food. If you’re a praying person, ask a blessing on your emergency pack before you give it to mamma at the baby shower.
#3 Toy and/or Book
Depending on the age of the baby, it’s good to include something that might provide some familiar comfort, like a board book, and/or something that will produce a smile. I like rattles for very small babies, and books for slightly older ones.
Goodnight Moon has a soothing text and bright pictures, if you need an idea. Regardless of your choice, make sure it’s a board book and not a paperback, or even a hard cover. Babies like to enjoy their books for lunch, on occasion, and mamma will appreciate having a book that will put up with some abuse.
Mamma will need water to mix the formula, and to clean off spit up and other nasties. This will be especially important if no other water is available. I didn’t actually include water for Reo because I thought his parents might have a brand they were more fond of than others; they’re smarty pantses about health.
Water in general is a bugger to plan for because there’s no way you could carry enough water for everyone. If you’re in a car or pulling a wagon, then you could do it. But on your back it’s just not possible to carry it all with everything else you’ll be toting.
Here’s how to calculate how much water you’ll need from Ready.gov – its usually around a gallon a day, probably a little more for baby. I suggest that parents put a Lifestraw, or a similar backpackers water filter in their own packs. Mom and dad should have their own in case they get separated, too.
#5 Other Foods
For Rheo, I included some of the Ella’s Kitchen squeezable packs of pureed, organic baby food. Organic is no guarantee that everything is going to be just like you want it. However, like I said, some food is better than no food.
I like Ella’s Kitchen specifically because it doesn’t have preservatives. If you want one that will last five years, pick a different brand. In our family, we change out the food and clothes in our Bug Out Bags every SIX months.
Babies poop. A lot. Especially newborns. We’re talking epic amounts of poop here.
Water isn’t always available in catastrophic situations. In fact, Julie would be the first to tell you from researching for her books, that disease due to poor sanitation is the number one killer in most emergency situations. The cloth diaperers among us may decide to opt for disposable diapers for their baby’s emergency pack. Or, they may not.
#7 Hand Warmers
FYI, babies don’t like to be cold. These hand warmers work for several hours, and can be wrapped up with baby in her blanket. Don’t put them directly on baby’s skin.
The blanket I grabbed for this kit was a polyester fleece and, although organic wool or cotton would be my first choice, this will do. The neat thing about wool is that its warm whether its wet or dry.
However, polyester is more cost effective. I made this black and white blanket from a fabric remnant because babies enjoy black and white patterns. Whatever you do, don’t pay full price for a new blanket. This is a very good item to purchase second hand or make yourself. To learn how, click here.
#9 Wipes, Wet and Dry
I like to provide both a pack of wet wipes, and a small pile of dry wipes. The dry wipes I cut from a length of polyester fleece.
#10 Changes of Clothes
These do NOT have to be a fashion statement. Remember, you’re hoping this pack never has to be used by mamma and baby. Ever.
But, if it is going to be used, the most important criteria for clothing is that it be comfortable and breathable. Cotton is a great option for that.
Buy a size bigger than baby might be right now, since it’s a lot easier to make larger clothes fit, than those that are a size too small. Take it from the woman who birthed a 12lb 6 oz baby.
I got a few different sizes in the pants for Rheo, and I hope they’ll work. I like plain, white, long sleeve cotton onesie shirts, and warm socks. You can certainly choose to buy these second hand, and spend more money on something like a thermometer – or essential oils, or Mom’s Stuff Salve.
#11 Ziploc bags
I totally spaced these for Rheo, but it’s good to shove in a few different sizes of Ziploc bags for diapers or dirty laundry to keep the pack clean. Mamma will still smell the diaper until she can dispose of it, but it wont be sharing its joy with every surface with which it comes in contact.
Also, make sure you put any personal documents into a Ziploc bag to keep them safe.
#12 Hygiene supplies
This could be anything from nail clippers to thermometers, and you can often find them packaged altogether in the baby stuff section of most stores. I like to leave this mostly up to mamma because she’ll know what she uses every day. Remember, you can read up more on what mom might want to add to her bug out bag list for baby here.
I did include a small nasal aspirator for Rheo because having snot stuck up your baby’s nose is awful. When they can’t breathe well that effects their sleep and overall mood. I hate breathing problems in babies – they’re just scary.
To be honest, the only (and I mean only) nasal aspirator that works at all is the big, green one they give you in the hospital. (Do they still do that? It’s been awhile since I’ve birthed in a hospital.) I’ve tried several of these wimpy, newborn nose suckers on the market and they are mostly complete garbage that wouldn’t suck an aphid from a rose.
The one I bought for Rheo looked decent, and I gave it a few investigative pumps to see how it would do. I guess we’ll see.
#13 Medicines, Herbs and Oils
Please note that these items are my suggestions only, and aren’t not meant to be read as professional medical advice.
I include these items if I know the family well enough to know what would be used (see the next list)*. Now, with Julie being who she is, Pfft – I didn’t even bother with this part. Rheo is going to be so set up when it comes to natural medicines that I had no need to add a single thing to his emergency pack in this category. His parents will come up with an entire baby first aid/herbal kit for Rheo, I’m sure.
If the bag had been for any other baby, I would have added small vials of lavender and peppermint oils. I also would have added some homeopathic arnica and/or chammomila for teething pain. Hyland’s carries a brand of teething tablets which are really easy to find in grocery stores these days, although you may still have to go to the crunchy/whole foods/natural remedies section.
Another big must – this 1.5 oz container of Mom’s Stuff Salve. If you have room, pack the 4 oz container. This is my favorite salve, even over the ones I make, and it will heal anything I’ve encountered so far having to do with skin.
To learn more about herbal medicines in an easy, online atmosphere, click below to check out The Herbal Academy:
To Finish of the Pack/Gift
Normally, I would make a small card with some cute graphics listing what I’d included in the pack, and then I’d laminate it to attach to the pack in lieu of a card. Yeah, that didn’t happen this time. I’ll also sometimes sew a cutesy, baby themed bag to put everything into (I did stuff like that about three kids ago).
But I think I like the ditty bags the best because Mamma can change them around as she needs and color code contents. I hate unpacking a small diaper bag just to find that one, lone item I need at the bottom of the bag! I like having separate bags for separate bunches of items – quicker access and less headache for parents. Both good things.
However, for you, I did make a cute card to attach to your bug out bag for baby, if you are going to give this as a shower gift or to a baby you know and love. Simply follow this link, save and print. (Naturally, the “sample graphic” won’t be visible on your card.) Cheers!
See our next article in a few days entitled “Bug Out Bag Lists for Babies and Kids” to see a list of ideas on how mom could improve on the pack we just built. We’ll also be including some free printables to help round out your family’s bug out bags!
So, tell me what I missed! If you think of something we should all add to our bug out bag list for baby, just leave a comment…
Don’t forget to email me for that free sample from our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead. I’m hopeful the book will be helpful on a myriad of self-sufficiency topics. Here’s what farmer and NY Times best selling author, Forrest Pritchard, had to say about the book:
Cover graphic gratefully attributed to this Wikipedia Commons user.