How a Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy Got Me Prepared

Editors note: Please welcome our newest contributor, Kristin Hogan, the Strategic Communications Planner at the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (DEM). A strong believer that we are more prepared they we think, Kristin advocates it is not a looming disaster that inspires us to prepare, but rather the peace of mind that comes from having taking a few simple steps in advance of an emergency to take care of our loved ones.

My job at San Francisco’s DEM (Department of Emergency Management) is to develop outreach strategies to promote individual and household emergency preparedness. So, I think it is a fair statement for me to say I have centered my professional life on public preparedness and resilience. But what about my personal life? I’m gonna come clean here: as a mid-thirties urban singleton, I had some extra cans of food spread throughout my tiny San Francisco-kitchen cabinets (thanks to my love of Costco), but I probably stored more bottles of wine than water. Suffice to say, my personal preparedness was at best, sloppy. I’m pink in the cheeks to admit this given my profession, but my prior shallow preparedness is all in the past. What changed for me? Motherhood.

My baby was born last April and my life has changed in many ways, including preparedness. What really kicked my preparedness rear in gear was a pesky allergy that less than two percent of breastfed babies develop to cow’s milk and soy protein. For those of you who have no experience with this allergy, take it from me, it is not fun (imagine colic—times 10!). Thankfully he is all better due to a special hypoallergenic formula with protein broken down into tiny, tiny pieces. So small, the body doesn’t recognize the protein as an allergen. The downside of this formula (other than the price) is that the formula is not available in every store, which is what we initially experienced when my husband had to go to several stores before finally finding it at Babies R Us.

This situation got me thinking—and I mean really thinking—what if there’s an earthquake and we don’t have enough formula on hand to feed our baby? And at that moment I swore (ala Scarlett O’Hara in her “As God as my witness, I’ll never be hungry again” monologue) we would never have less than a two week supply of formula. And with that, I truly adopted preparedness into my everyday life. Now not only do we have extra formula on hand, we have the water we would need mix the powder formula should we run out of the ready to feed formula. That extra water now means my husband and I also have water to drink, cook and clean with should the unthinkable happen. The truth is we were more prepared than I realized (again, thanks in part to Costco). And it is a really good feeling knowing we’ll be set should we be without everyday resources for a while.

So, I ask you: what’s your personal preparedness incentive? I encourage you to share that incentive with those in your life. It may trigger some of your loved ones into becoming more prepared as well.  I’d love to hear how your family is (or wants to start) getting prepared, just leave a comment below!

Article originally posted on SF DEM blog.