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Emergency pantry list for formula-fed infants

Formula-fed infants aged 0-6 months

The following table outlines adequate supplies for an infant exclusively receiving formula for 3 days where water and electricity supply have been interrupted:

 Item Approximate quantity 
 Ready-to-drink formula
24 x 250mL (based on eight feeds per day) ‡
 Sharp metal knife
 Small bowl
 Feeding bottles and teats  27 ‡
 Paper towels (two or three ply) 192 sheets 
 Detergent 1 small bottle
 Soap (hand washing) 1 small bottle 
 Antiseptic wipes 48 
 Disposable nappies 30
 Nappy wipes 80 
 Nappy sacks 30
 Disposable gloves 30 
 Hand sanitiser 1 bottle
 Solid storage container with lid  2 (one container big enough to store all of the supplies and another smaller plastic container for sterilising bottles)
 Sterilising liquid or tablets 1L liquid solution or 30 tablets
 China plate 1
 Metal tongs  1

Formula fed infants aged 6-12 months

The following table outlines adequate supplies for an infant receiving formula and solid foods for 3 days where water and electricity supplies have been interrupted:

 Item Approximate quantity 
Ready-to-drink formula 12 x 250mL (based on 4 feeds per day) ‡
Sharp metal knife 1
Small bowl 1
Feeding bottles and teats 12 ‡
Paper towels (two or three ply) 96 sheets
Detergent 1 small bottle
Soap (hand washing) 1 small bottle
Antiseptic wipes 48
Disposable nappies 30 
Nappy wipes 80 
Nappy sacks 30 
Disposable gloves 30 
Hand sanitiser 1 bottle 
Ready-to-eat food
e.g. pureed vegetables, fruits and meat, combined meals, baby yoghurt, fortified cereals, baby rusks

Over three days you will need nine jars or pouches of ready-to-eat baby food:

  • 3 x cereal – e.g. porridge, bircher muesli, multigrain cereal
  • 2 x vegetable – e.g.  beetroot veggie, carrot, sweet corn and pumpkin, pumpkin and couscous
  • 1 x fruit – e.g. pear, banana and apple, mango and banana
  • 2 x meat – e.g. lamb shepherds pie, beef and vegetable, chicken and vegetable
  • 1 x long-life yoghurt or custard.

Jars or pouches are available in a variety of sizes (e.g. 90g, 110g, 120g, 125g). Choose product sizes and food textures that suit your infant.

Disposable teaspoons 10 (to feed solid foods) 
Bottled water (for drinking) 3 x 500ml bottles
Disposable cups 24
Solid storage container with lid 2 (one container big enough to store all the supplies and another smaller plastic container for sterilising bottles)
Sterilising liquid or tablets 1L liquid solution or 30 tablets
China plate 1
Metal tongs

‡ The quantity of these items is based on a situation where water and electricity has been interrupted for three days. If you have access to water and electricity and choose not to stock ready-to-drink formula, you need to have at least one 900g can of your usual formula in your pantry, at least three feeding bottles and teats and enough clean water to wash and sterilise equipment.

The following information may assist you:

Note: Toddlers from the age of 12 months can be given Full Cream milk via a cup. There is no need to give infant formula.

Preparing ready-to-use infant formula in an emergency

Chemical sterilising using cold water:

  1. Use a clean knife to open the packaging of the feeding bottles.
  2. Use wet paper towels to wash the bottles and teats with cold, soapy water. 
  3. In a clean plastic storage container, prepare the sterilising solution as directed by the manufacturer. 
  4. Immerse 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.
  5. Soak the items for a minimum of 15 minutes or according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  6. 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.
  7. Make new sterilising solution every 24 hours.

Preparing a bottle of infant formula:

  1. Clean your preparation surface, for example the lid of a storage container.
    Wet the 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.
  2. Wash your hands using soap and water. This is an essential step for the safe preparation of ready-to-use infant formula.

    If limited water is available, moisten your hands and lather with soap. Vigorously rub your hands together for at least 15 seconds to clean your palms, fingers, between fingers, the backs of your hands, thumbs and wrists.

    Rinse off the soap and dirt and dry your hands with a clean paper towel.
  3. Clean a metal knife with detergent and water in a washing bowl, wipe it with an anti-bacterial wipe and dry with a paper towel before use.
  4. Use a clean knife to open the packaging of the ready-to-use infant formula.
  5. Pour the required amount of ready-to-use infant formula into the clean feeding bottle.
  6. Feed your infant.
  7. Throw away any remaining ready-to-use infant formula within two hours. 
  8. Discard the used feeding bottle and teat. Under no circumstances should you attempt to wash and re-use feeding bottles and teats where water and power supplies are limited.
  9. Wash your hands (as per step 2) after feeding your infant. 
  10. Wash the knife with soapy water, wipe it with a paper towel then an anti-bacterial wipe before allowing to air dry. Rinse the washing bowl in clean water and dry with a paper towel.
  11. Return all supplies to the storage container and seal the lid.

From the age of 12 months, toddlers can be given Full Cream milk via a cup. Infant formula is no longer needed.

These steps were sourced from: Gribble, KD & Berry, NJ 2011 'Emergency preparedness for those who care for infants in developed country contexts', International Breastfeeding Journal, vol.6, no.16.

Further information

Further advice and support is available from:

Last Updated: 14 December 2015
Last Reviewed: 04 December 2013

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