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Tips To Help You Homestead With A Baby
Raising babies is hard work. You know what’s even more difficult? Homesteading with a baby.
So here you are. Attempting to homestead with a new baby. Where do you put the thing? It kind of has to be close to you, but you also have to get stuff done. Do you just, oh I don’t know, lay it on the ground?
All jokes aside, homesteading doesn’t stop just because you had a baby. Animals need fed. Crops need tended.
For the love of all things holy, take your 6 weeks or longer and rest. Heal. Bond with your baby. Have people come in to help. Only do what you absolutely HAVE to do.
But you and I both know that eventually, you will want or need to get back at it. When you do ,I have some tips to make this transition easier.
Also, check out my Items you need to homestead with a baby post.
So there I was, it was the summer of 2019. I was raising chickens and raisin’ babies. Packin’ a 50lb bag of feed on my shoulder with a baby on my hip.
So I had my youngest farm girl in August of 2018. I knew when I had her I wanted to heal up, and get back to it as fast as I could. Yard work, animals, the garden, couldn’t wait. I had already spent 9 months pretty useless because of that giant baby bump all up in my way, and now I have this tiny little fragile baby that I can’t leave.
I had to start getting creative.
So I am hoping this list will really help some of you out. I have learned this all from experience.
Mama, I know this is exhausting. I know it seems impossible at times, but you can do it! This will pass. Before you know it they will be homesteading right beside you. Until then, I am here to help!
Here are some tips I have picked up over the years that will help you homestead with your baby.
Take That Baby Outside With You
I know, that little thing seems so fragile you just want to wrap it in bubble wrap and stay in the house. I promise you, those little boogers are tough.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can strap her car-seat to an inter tube and pull her around the yard. But you can do all of your running and yard work and have your baby with you.
Fresh air and sun is good for dang near everyone.
If it is heat or sun you are worried about there are plenty of way to create some quick shade.
Grab an umbrella or one of those muslin scarfs and throw up some shade. There are some nice covers you can get for pack and plays (here) and Stollers (here) that provide protection from sun and bugs. You can also use a fitted sheet to cover over the top of your pack and play.
I get it, the winter it can be a little trickier to get out and about with a baby. This is where snow suits, baby carriers, and baby monitors come in.
Do quick trips outside. Run outside. Feed animals. Head back in to warm up.
The Video baby monitors can be used best here as well. When it is nap time, you just lay them down (in a safe place of course), turn it on and run outside. You can run back in as soon as you hear or see them moving! Don’t feel guilty mama. She isn’t going to even know you were gone.
If your baby is still in a car-seat carrier around winter time, you can also get this awesome car-seat cover. This will keep them nice and toasty. I used to carry my oldest out in her car-seat carrier to the barn. She would sleep in that while I would get things taken care of.
Snowsuits are nice for any lengthy amount of time you are outside. Bundle them in a snow suit and put them into a baby carrier. This way, they are warm, and close to you as well.
There are tons of things you can get now to keep a baby happy. You have bouncers and rockers. Swings and strollers. Carrier carseats. You name it, they make it to stick your baby in. I have a full list here. Along with some cheap or free things you may already have!
Use What You Have!
If you are like me, you don’t have extra money to buy all the fancy strollers, bouncers, rockers, carriers, and pack and plays. (I did end up getting a few of these things second hand for cheap).
But think outside of the box. How did people manage babies back in the days when they HAD to go out and till a garden with a newborn?
Well, they improvised.
Now, if I had to guess, you have a laundry basket, cardboard box, yard wagon or something right?
Why couldn’t you comfy one of those puppies up and put them in one of those?
Check out my complete list of Items Your Need To Homestead With A Baby.
While this isn’t one of my favorite options, I know allot of women who love to baby wear, and it works for them.
There are so many different carriers out there, I am sure there is one that will work for what you are needing to do.
The baby sling makes it easier to breastfeed while doing your chores. When they are breastfeeding they are bottomless pits and need to be close to you all the time anyway. At least you can get something done at the same time.
Personally, I loved the basic baby carrier (like this one). It provided lots of support for me and the baby and I didn’t have to read a book to learn how to use it.
Strap that baby to you and get out there!
Use. That. Baby monitor
I know its hard to go off and leave your baby, but work still has to be done. These baby monitors have amazing features now. There are some that go along with an app on your phone so you can have longer distance. Some even have a feature where they vibrate when the baby is making noise.
These are definitely worth the money. I started with a cheap one, which had enough range to get me out back to feed the animals. The older my baby got, I ended up needing a little longer range, as I felt that I could go a bit further down on our property.
Without a baby monitor like this, the 3 hour naps my baby liked to take would have totally been wasted in the house. The fresh air, and little bit of a break are nice.
Get yourself a video baby monitor, you can thank me later.
Wagons and strollers
Baby is awake. Animals need fed. Garden needs tended. You know, you don’t have to stay inside. With the proper amount of shade or clothing, your baby will be just fine outside in the summer or even winter with you.
This is why I loved, and used the hell out of my Jeep stroller. The thing would literally roll over a dead body with ease…not like I have tried or anything. This stroller not only had some impressive all-terrain wheels, but provided great shade and storage.
There is also this bad mother of a wagon that I am seeing allot of people with. I am seriously considering this, its called the Veer Cruiser. It is rather pricey, but if you have multiple kids, or are planning ALLOT of adventures, I could see this being a solid investment. It has all-terrain wheels, and you can even get an adapter to hold a baby carrier in it. This would be perfect for beach trips….I just can’t get myself to pay for it.
You also have your normal radio flyer wagons, with the seats and your little umbrella strollers. These work just fine as well.
Honestly, it just depends on what you will get the most use out of. That is where you need to spend your money. For me, the better stroller was a solid investment. I took my little girl right out in the garden with me every day in that thing.
Let Your Older Kids Help
If you have older kids, this is where they come in super handy.
Have them help by pushing the stroller around. They can swing the baby in the baby swing. Need something from inside? Have them run and get it.
This is also a good time (if you aren’t already doing it) to give them farm chores! Feed the animals, collect the eggs. Pick veggies. This saves you time, and makes them feel like they are being helpful. Its also a great way to boost their confidence.
In my house, all chores are recorded and rewarded. When money is the motive, they seem to work allot harder. Funny how that works.
If you can’t afford to pay them, bribe them with their favorite dinner or dessert. Extra TV time. My favorite is “If you do this, then we will play this game together”. My daughter always chooses hide and seek. Its the simple things.
I made diaper changing stations and breastfeeding stations for everywhere.
Get some little baskets or bags with whatever you need. Diapers, wipes, diaper cream, a few toys Leave those in places where you will be spending allot of time, along with a blanket or something to change on.
Along with the diapering stations, create some stations to keep them occupied.
If you are in the barn, you can have a pack and play or playpen set up and ready so that all you have to do is plop them in it with some toys. If your barn has concrete floors you can leave a walker in there for them to run around when they are older.
We also had storage bins outside and in the barn with different toys in them. That way they would be getting to play with toys that were different than what they had in the house.
Stations make it easier to just run outside with the baby and not have to prepare like you are going on a trip across the country.
Make A Schedule
So, babies don’t have schedules. They need what they need when they need it.
The schedule isn’t for the baby. The schedule is for you. Things on your homestead need done by certain times. You know already that eggs need collected every day, animals need fed, stalls need cleaned out. Put that into writing. You can check things off as they are done. This helps you get done what needs done, and keeps you from getting side tracked on things that don’t absolutely need done right away.
Creating a written schedule is also nice if you need to have someone come in to help or take over while you are gone.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
You are a strong, independent woman. I get that. I really do. Starting the summer pregnant and finishing it with a newborn, I was really struggling.
But me, well, being me. I didn’t ask for help. And you know who suffered the most? I did. The garden died. The eggs didn’t get collected in time. We had to trash allot of things. These are all not a big deal. I can start over again next year right? While I can start again next year, it was a huge hit to my confidence with this whole homesteading thing. I felt like a failure. You don’t have to do it all. When you are pregnant, or with a small child, people understand. Anyone that knows you, knows your heart. They know that you want to do it all, but just simply can’t right now.
Don’t let your pride get in the way. There are people who will step in and help if you ask.
If you don’t have family that can or will help, you can hire cheap help. There are constantly people on Facebook yard sale groups looking for money for small jobs. Just check into them a bit before you let them onto your property. Make sure you are not alone when they are there as well. Be safe.
Check your local extension office as well. They will know how to get you help, and the people there are so awesome. They want to see you succeed.
Dirt Don’t Hurt
Let them crawl around in the grass. Let them stick a leaf in their mouth. It’s not going to kill them. If anything it will strengthen their immune system.
My little hellion pushed her walker up to my planter barrel the other day and shoved a handful of dirt right in her mouth. Must have looked like crushed Oreos or something. She lived.
Kids need to be kids. They need to get dirty. Play in mud. Drink from the hose. Run barefoot through the yard.
For the love of dirt. Let them get dirty.
You have to think outside of the box when you are trying to run a homestead and raise kids.
These kids are not like the others. We can’t just sit in the house and hide them from the elements. Not an option.
Put them in the tractor with you. Let them climb on hay bails. Tie a jenny jumper to a tree. Make a playpen out of the bed of your truck.
Mama, do what you have to do. Don’t let those mommy shammers get to you. They are NOT raising their babies like you are. Besides, their overly protected babies are going to be allergic to damn near everything and sick every time they turn around because they were never exposed to germs.
Homesteading mamas are so different than other mamas. We are working two jobs at once. Homesteading is a full time job in itself. Raising a baby is yet another full time job. And if you are like me, you are ALSO working a real, paid, outside of the home job.
Mommy groups are not really for us. These women most of the time ONLY raise kids. You need to find yourself real support from people who are doing the same thing as you.
For me, this was difficult. In my little world, there was no one else doing what I was doing. No one understood how difficult it was to do it all. I felt isolated. Luckily, I found some online groups and blogs that were mad helpful.
If you guys are looking for some love and support in this crazy journey, go join the Women In Agriculture Facebook page. These women are raising babies and running farms. These, are your people.
Mama, this is all going to work out. It is tough work. People on the outside don’t see how much work goes in to running a homestead and raising kids. That is why it is important to find your people. Rather they are online or in person. Knowing there are others out there like us really helps.
Keep going and keep in touch! I will share with you any tips and trick I find along the way!
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