Congratulations! You’ve gotten through the post-apocalyptic pregnancy and survived the post-apocalyptic childbirth. Now, you’re ensconced in your tent, tucked away in the (relative) safety of your survival camp, with your brand-new, adorable tiny human.
By this I mean your brand new, really loud, really demanding, and sometimes not all that adorable tiny human.
We all know babies are loud. They’re also like little divas, since they don’t do anything but demand you cater to their needs. (Though it could be argued that all kids are like this, regardless of their age. Ahem.) They also require a lot of planning.
The next time you’re traipsing through your favorite department store, take a quick walk through the baby department. You see all that stuff? Cribs, diapers, clothing, wipes, strollers, playpens, blah blah blah? Most of that is actually necessary. (Some of it isn’t—I mean, as much fun as it was to plop my kid in a bouncy seat that vibrated and sang lullabies while blinking in a soothing nightlight pattern, it was also totally ridiculous and completely unnecessary.)
So how do you sort through all that new parent stuff? Trial and error. No, really. It’s true. Unfortunately, you probably won’t have the luxury of being able to try and make errors during the post apocalypse, especially if there are all sorts of bad guys lurking around the corner waiting for the chance to swoop in and make off with your baby.
Because I’m ever so helpful (I’m nice like that), I’m giving a quick overview of what you’ll actually need to have come your post-apocalyptic new parenthood phase.
Yep, babies are loud. I doubt this will change anytime soon. Since there’s really no way to muffle your baby without killing it, I suggest you make and give away earplugs to the rest of the people in your survival camp. (You do want your baby to survive, right?)
Your tiny human will need a place to sleep. Drawers with blankets will work in a pinch, as will baskets (the Moses basket is popular as a bassinet nowadays). And hey, if it worked for a holy prophet, it’ll work for us poor schmucks, right?
Of course, if you’re into co-sleeping, your baby can sleep right next to you in your pallet/bed/mattress/pile of straw. Just make sure not to smother the poor thing, okay?
Newborns love to be swaddled. Make sure you’ve got some extra blankets or scrap pieces of cloth lying around to swaddle little Johnny or Sally while they sleep.
You’ll also need extra blankets, both for keeping the baby warm and to protect you from vomit. (Babies also love to vomit. Did I forget to mention that? Watch out for the talented projectile vomiters.)
Of course, your new little one will need to wear clothes. Forget the designer gear you can get today. Instead, you’ll have to make do with whatever you’ve got. If possible, make as many little outfits in as many different sizes as you can during your pregnancy. You don’t really want to be making outfits while your child is squalling in his little Moses basket next to you. If you’re not craftily inclined, make mu-mus and baby sarongs and such out of blankets and curtains. For socks and booties, just wrap cloth around their feet. They’re not going to be walking for a while anyway.
This, of course, is VERY important. Unless you can magically toilet train your one-day-old, you’re going to need some way to catch everything that comes out of him (remember, what goes in must come out). While disposable diapers will likely survive the apocalypse and will still be lounging around in the dump, new disposables will probably have gone extinct. (And you do NOT want to reuse disposables.)
The solution, then, is the cloth diaper. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Really. Both of my kids were in cloth until we moved to a different country and the movers put my stash in storage (because diapers are useful in storage, of course they are). There’s no need to get fancy and insist only on diapers like the BumGenius—keep in mind that the makers of these fancy diapers might very well be dead in the post apocalypse. Instead, stick to the basic prefold or flat diaper. These are also the easiest to make, which is important for the post-apocalyptic parent. Use whatever you can to pin it in place.
For wipes, scrap pieces of cloth will work well. Just dampen it a bit before use. And make sure to wash them with your diapers. Also, don’t forget to wash the diapers. Otherwise, ew.
I hate to say this for fear of sounding like a parenting fundie (yes, they do exist), but breastmilk will be best during the post apocalypse. I say this because there likely won’t be any formula to be found (not at first, anyway).
But what do you do if you can’t breastfeed? Some women can’t (I couldn’t) for all sorts of reasons—like low or no milk production. If you can’t breastfeed, go back to what our ancestors did a couple hundred years ago—find a wet nurse. It’ll be the only way your tiny one will be able to eat.
Of course, necessity is the mother of invention, so I have no doubt that some enterprising parent—probably a mother—will (re)invent formula for the post-apocalyptic baby. But until then, you’ll have to use a wet nurse.
This is just a snapshot of what you’ll need to prepare for once your child arrives. You’ll no doubt run into many more issues as a new post-apocalyptic parent. Good luck!