Saturday, 2 April 2011


Grrrr.  Just when you think “ah, blackout, well at least the laptop has some charge” then realize the broadband router needs power to work.  Hmmm.  So reliant are we on electricity.

So I’m currently sat in my lounge, baby is playing with his shape sorter, thinking “I’ve got precious little fuel in my car, if the power cut is widespread and affecting local petrol stations, I’m not only stuck without a cup of tea, I’m stuck”.

Fortunately I have legs and a pram and I breastfeed so we’re ok.

It got me thinking about food in a blackout.  You might be surprised just how long things can be ok, even with a baby if you follow some simple instructions:

  1. Keep the fridge door shut.
  2. Keep the freezer door shut
  3. Eat and drink ideally without using either of the above appliances if you can
  4. The hob will still work if it’s gas (you might need to use matches to light it depending on the model)
  5. Use cold water sterilisation if you’re bottle-feeding.  You can buy sterilizing tablets in supermarkets and some corner shops.
  6. Be aware that formula feeding not using boiled water is not safe.  Continue to boil water if you can or use ready to use formula.
  7. Your baby (if weaned) can eat cold food.  Sandwiches are fine but depending on the length of the blackout, might not be the best idea for every meal, both bread and fillings can be high in salt.  Now is probably the time to use the jar you’ve been holding in for an emergency.
  8. Once the power comes back on, check the fridge temperature if you have a fridge thermometer and the freezer temperature if you can.  Above 8 is when you really need to worry with fridges and the freezer should be ok if the power has only been down for a few hours without the door being opened.  Check the food is still hard and frozen.
  9. Be particularly cautious with any expressed breastmilk or food for your baby, particularly if chilled.  Don’t take risks, throw it away if you’re unsure.
  10. Chest freezers are likely to ‘cope’ better with a power outage than uprights (as cold air sinks.)
  11. Check it’s not your fuse box!
  12. Assume, especially if there has been bad weather that once the power has returned that it will fail again.  Set the fridge and freezer onto the coldest settings to help them recover (you might lose some lettuce to being frozen but if that's all you lose that's no bad thing.)

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