The pantry lists below outline the food and equipment required for 1 baby if water and electricity have been interrupted for 3 days,
based on the national infant
feeding guidelines (PDF). If your house has no water or power for more than 3 days, you should go to your nearest evacuation
Your baby’s nutritional needs depend on their age:
- 0–6 months rely on breast milk or infant formula. Offer breastfeeds or infant formula more often during hot weather. Water or
other drinks are not needed unless recommended by a doctor.
- 6–12 months need food and fluids in addition to breast milk or infant formula. During hot weather, you can give small amounts
of cooled boiled water after or in between feeds.
- over 12 months need solid foods and drinks, continue breastfeeding, or give full cream milk via a cup. During hot weather, give
cooled boiled water after or in between meals.
Breastfeeding during an emergency – what to take and advice on breastfeeding
Adapt the list below for babies with food intolerances and allergies.
Babies aged up to 6 months
To stay safe:
- Offer breastfeeds more often during
- ensure you drink enough water if you are breastfeeding
- do not give water if your baby is aged less than 6 months, unless recommended by a doctor.
- You can continue to give expressed breastmilk in a feeding bottle if the electricity and water supplies have been interrupted.
Please ensure feeding bottles and eats are washed with cold soapy water using wet paper towels. Then sterilise with chemical sterilising
using cold water.
Babies aged 6-12 months
To stay safe:
- continue to breastfeed as you did before the emergency. If it is hot, offer your baby more breastfeeds or small sips of water
- do not give your baby expressed breast milk during an emergency where electricity and water supplies have been interrupted
- consider how much complementary food your baby is eating and use this information to guide your purchasing
- buy small or single serves and discard any opened food that may spoil if not eaten immediately
- do not give your baby food that has passed its best-before date
- wash your baby's hands (and your own) before feeding
- throw out used utensils to prevent contamination.
Formula feeding during an emergency – what to take and advice
on preparing formula
Babies aged 0-6 months – pantry list
Babies aged 6-12 months – pantry list
Preparing formula in an emergency
Chemical sterilising using cold water:
- Open the packaging of the feeding bottles with a clean knife.
- Wash the bottles and teats with cold, soapy water using wet paper towels.
- Prepare the sterilising solution in a clean plastic storage container
- Put the bottles and teats in the solution and ensure that all air bubbles are eliminated. Place a heavy plate on the bottles and
teats to ensure they remain immersed, and secure the container's lid.
- Soak the items for a minimum of 15 minutes or according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Use metal tongs to remove items from solution and shake off excess liquid when you are ready to use a bottle and teat. Use the
bottle and teat immediately.
- Make a new sterilising solution every 24 hours.
- Do not reuse bottles until water and electricity have been restored and you can clean them properly.
Preparing a bottle of formula:
- Prepare only one bottle of formula at a time, just before feeding
- Boil fresh water and allow it to cool until lukewarm – sit for least 30 minutes. Bottled water can also be
- Wet the preparation surface with water, squirt with detergent and rub with a paper towel. Dry the surface with a new paper towel
and wipe with an anti-bacterial wipe.
- Wash your hands using soap and water
- Make up the formula according to the directions - do not wash the scoop as this can introduce moisture into the tin if not dried
- Test the temperature of the milk with a few drops on the inside of your wrist – it should feel just warm, but cool is better
than too hot.
- A feed should take no longer than 1 hour. Throw away any remaining prepared infant formula within 2 hours.
An alternative option to bottles is a cup. Open
cups are safest and can be cleaned easily.
Should essential services such as electricity and piped clean water not become available within a short time, and ready to use single
serves of infant formula (with disposable bottles and teats) not be available, evacuation of formula fed infants and those who care for
them should be considered.
What to do when there is no access or limited
access to water
If no access or limited access to water, go to an
evacuation centre as soon as possible. Utilise bottles of pre-made sterilised formula and single use feeding equipment.
What to do when there is a lack of facilities to
If no access or limited access to facilities to
sterilise bottles, go to an evacuation centre as soon as possible. Utilise bottles of pre-made sterilised formula and single use feeding
What to do with potential shortages of infant
Infant formula should be utilised for infants
under 12 months of age. Where the preferred brand is unavailable an alternative brand can be used.
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:
Department of Health and Human Services - Emergency Management
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