I went to a training meeting the other day and there was a young mother with a cute little seven month old boy that was a little tired. She took him out into the foyer, and he softly sung, in a baby sort of way, to himself. It was very endearing to listen to him sooth himself to sleep. Small babies and young children are very quick to catch on to different ways to quiet and calm themselves, but their ways generally involve us to help them to feel safe. It is our responsibility to keep our children safe, especially during an emergency.
What do we need to do to protect them? Well, it all depends on their age. Little babies need things like diapers, proper food for their age, seasonal appropriate clothing, and non-stressed caregivers. In a crisis I know that it might be difficult to be calm and stress free, but your little babies can feel when things are out of whack, and they can take on your stress. Do what you can to make things as normal as you possibly can and try to keep as much of a normal schedule as possible.
As far as diapers go, I think that disposable diapers are great, but if that is what you are going to use, then make sure that you have a lot of them on hand – I mean A LOT. What you might want to do is have some cloth diapers on hand that you can wash over and over as a back up. When my daughter was born, they had disposable diapers, but I just didn’t have the money to buy them, so I used cloth diapers. It is not that bad - really. I bought these blue disposable liners that I would place in the diaper as I had folded the diaper for use. If there was anything substantial in the diaper when I changed her, then I could just lift it out and flush it away without having to dip the diaper. It made it really nice, and it was very inexpensive. I would suggest making your own diapers, they are cheaper, and you can make them a little bigger than what they sell. Clean cloth diapers can also be used for a variety of other uses in an emergency: slings, bandages, etc. Also make sure to have cleansing baby wipes on hand, not just for their little tushies, but also for everybody else to use for cleaning up in case you haven’t stored enough water (Shame on you! You should have 2 gallons, per person, per day, for a two-week period – GET IT STORED).
Small children, especially babies, have very special dietary needs. As they get older, they can basically eat what we do as long as we smash it up, but if your child is still nursing you need to make sure that you, the nursing mother, has plenty of water (the water thing again). If your child is drinking formula, then again, you not only need to have plenty of formula on hand, but you need plenty of drinking water (I am sure that by now you have your water stored and so I won’t say anything). Make sure that you have stored rice and not just wheat. Rice is easier on children’s stomachs, and you can use it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert and it is easy to eat and to prepare (we went through cooking rice last week). Also, make sure that you have baby medications that they might need if they start teething, if they get a yeast infection, come down with a cold or sore throat, or have a diaper rash. You will be sorry if you don’t.
Finally, make sure that you have proper clothing for the little ones. Little babies can get so cold so fast. Make sure that you can keep them warm. Have plenty of blankets that you can keep them wrapped up in and comfortable. Also have an alternate heating source so that they don’t have to use all of their energy up keeping warm. You want them to stay comfortable, so they don’t stress themselves and get sick.
Speaking of getting sick, I just want to let you know that as I am writing this article I am looking out for my health by eating some Dove Dark chocolate - the things that I do to stay healthy.