Creating a disaster kit for pregnant women and families with infants

Parents, caretakers and pregnant women should take extra steps to keep themselves and their families safe during disasters. No matter the type of emergency, it is important to be prepared by creating a disaster kit.

Plan your emergency supplies

All families should have at least a three-day supply of food and water stored in their homes, with at least one gallon of water per person per day. If you have the space, experts recommend a week’s supply of food and water. Choose foods that do not require refrigeration and are not high in salt. Your stockpile also should contain flashlights, a manual can opener, a radio, batteries and copies of important documents. Depending on your family’s needs, you also may need items such as medical supplies, pet food or contact lens solution.

If it is too expensive for you to buy everything for your stockpile at once, pick up one or two items every time you go to the grocery store. Stock up on canned vegetables, diapers or baby food when there is a sale. Bulk “club” stores also can help you save money on your supplies, especially if you split a case with a friend, co-worker or neighbor, who can serve as your “preparedness buddy.”

Once you have assembled your stockpile, put it where you will not be tempted to “borrow” from it the next time you run out of wipes or need diapers. Remember: Your stockpile is for emergencies!

Special supplies for your disaster preparedness kit

Put together an emergency kit for your family, including supplies such as flashlights, batteries, a first-aid kit, food and water.

If you are pregnant, your kit should also have:

  • nutritious foods, such as protein bars, nuts, dried fruit and granola
  • maternity and baby clothes
  • prenatal vitamins and other medications
  • extra bottled water
  • emergency birth supplies, such as clean towels, sharp scissors, infant bulb syringe, medical gloves, two white shoelaces, sheets and sanitary pads
  • two blankets
  • closed-toe shoes

If you have an infant, your kit should also have:

  • a thermometer
  • copies of vaccination records
  • antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer
  • dish soap
  • a portable crib
  • baby food in pouches or jars and disposable feeding spoons
  • two baby blankets
  • extra baby clothes and shoes for older infant
  • baby sling or carrier
  • diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream
  • medications and infant pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • small disposable cups
  • ready-to-feed formula in single serving cans or bottles*

*For use if medically necessary

Infant care and feeding during disasters

Strollers may not be of use when there is debris on the ground, so a baby carrier or sling is essential for getting around.

Breastfeeding is the best food for your baby. Breast milk is naturally clean, helps protect your infant from illnesses and can provide comfort to both you and your baby. If you are a mom who relies on pumped milk, make sure you know how to express your milk by hand and how to feed your baby with a cup. Breast pumps cannot be cleaned without clean water and milk cannot be stored without refrigeration.

Breastfeeding mothers can continue to make milk during stressful events such as disasters. It is important that nursing mothers get extra food and fluids, but even moms who have gone without food can breastfeed. Keeping your baby warm and close will provide extra protection for your baby.

If it is medically necessary to feed your baby infant formula during a disaster, ready-to-feed formula is recommended. Clean water may not be available for mixing with powdered formula or for cleaning bottles and nipples. Feeding your baby with a small disposable cup is preferable. Even tiny babies can use a cup. Unused formula cannot be refrigerated during a power outage, so small containers of formula work best.

Storing your emergency supplies

  • It is best to keep all your supplies together in case you have to evacuate quickly, such as during a hurricane.
  • Store your stockpile somewhere that is easy to access during an emergency. A cool, dark place is ideal. Be sure not to store your food close to any solvents or cleaners that can leak or transfer fumes, or in an area of the house that is at risk for flooding.
  • Keep your supplies together in a box or plastic bin that can be kept tightly closed to protect contents from humidity or pests.
  • In a pinch, a laundry basket can make an easy storage container.
  • Check your supplies regularly to make sure that nothing has leaked or is expired. A good tip is to use the twice-a-year clock change as a reminder to update your emergency stockpile.

American Public Health Association