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(Along with some unconventional items that are free or cheap)
Items You Need To Homestead With A Baby
Homesteading with a baby is not for the faint of heart. Its almost like another job. You are already doing 1,000 things, and then you throw a baby in with another 1,000 little things you have to do to keep them alive. It can be challenging, but it can be done.
Check out my post here with more tips to homestead with a baby.
I have also come up with a few things that you can buy that definitely make things easier. If money is tight, buy second hand! All of these things can be bought at a thrift store, or even on Facebook Marketplace.
Now, I am not saying you absolutely need every single one of these. I am going to explain every item and the best ways to use them That way you can determine what is going to be best for you!
I also know that these things can get expensive….which is why I also have a few unconventional items that I bet you didn’t think about using.
Here are items you need to homestead with a baby
Video Baby Monitors
There is a reason I list these first. Moms worry. We just do.
Did she flip over? Does she have a blanket on her face? Did I just hear her cry?
Take the guessing out of it all with a video baby monitor. You can make short trips outside to care for animals and not have to worry about being able to see or hear them.
These can be as cheap as $20 or as much as $150. It really depends on the range and the options you want with them.
I started with this set that was black and white, and had very little distance. While this was a great set, I needed wider range. Come to find out, the one I have now is actually cheaper anyway. Who knew!
After I found out how much I really did enjoy being able to see my baby, I bought a second set. Here is what I have now. With this one, you can monitor and control from you phone. You can set it up so multiple people can log in and monitor as well. Initially it is a security camera, but perfect for use as a baby monitor.
Pack And Play
Pack and plays are handy if you need somewhere to lay baby while you are getting stuff done. The ones with the changing table are super nice when you are out in the yard or in the barn.
We bought ours second hand, as we couldn’t rightly afford a new one at the time. But, if you are looking to buy one new the Baby Trend Nursery Center is definitely a good choice.
This is right around $70, making it one of the cheaper ones. Even though it is cheap, it still has all the accessories of pricier pack and plays.
If you and your family plan on taking allot of trips or traveling any, this is something nice to have on hand. You just pop the thing up for a quick nap.
We drag ours out to the race track with us and pop in up next to the trailer in the pits. Keeps the little one out of trouble, but allows her to look out and see whats going on.
You can also get this bug cover to go over the top of it. If you are looking for a bit of shade, a fitted crib sheet goes over it quite nicely.
I can’t stress the importance of a nice stroller enough for someone who is homesteading or farming. Those little strollers that come with the car-seat will not roll over a hole in your yard. Nor will those little umbrella strollers. Those things suck when it comes to holes, gravel….grass….or really any uneven surface. Shit, I hit a zip tie in one of those and came to a screeching halt.
Get yourself an all-terrain stroller. Look at Facebook marketplace, at yard sales, at second hand stores if need be. Let me tell you, they are worth their weight in gold.
The first time your baby falls asleep in one of those normal strollers and you hit a bump and wake her up, you will instantly regret not spending the extra on a better stroller.
Just knowing we would be outside in the yard and garden allot was enough for me to know I needed something that would run over a dead body and keep my baby asleep.
Here is the one I have. Its a Jeep All-terrain jogging stroller. I have used this for both kids, and not only has it held up well, its just so easy to push.
If you already have a yard wagon, or yard cart, use it!
Add a blanket or some padding in the bottom and pull your baby around in that.
Wagons can come in handy around the homestead. Use them to haul feed, plants, dirt…and even your kids.
Honestly, for my oldest farm girl, I just used a yard wagon and the wheel barrow. I put a blanket in the bottom when she was little and laid her down while I was getting my work done. With my second, I did end up upgrading to another utility wagon. Little fancier I guess. HA!
If you don’t have one, there are tons of options. Here are some of them, to help you narrow it down for you.
This wagon is handy for yard work, kids, beach trips, just about anything you throw at it. It holds up to 150 lbs. Plus, it folds up. This is a perfect example of something that can be used again after the kids have outgrown it.
I actually use this on our homestead to haul feed from my car to the barn, normally with a small child on top.
Note: It does say it is not meant to transport children. (although, that is exactly what I use it for. They lived, I promise)
This Radio Flyer wagon IS meant for transporting kids. It is all-terrain, so it is perfect to take through the yard and on any kind of outing. It has seats with straps so your kids can’t Houdini out of it. Not to mention the nice canopy over the top for shade.
These are also super durable and water proof. Nice factors if you are outside trying to farm or homestead.
The only thing that I dislike about this one is the fact that is doesn’t fold up. I had this exact one for all of a month, before I sold it to buy a stroller. This did not fit in the trunk of my car. It was super nice for the yard, and the kids loved it, but I needed something I could take with me as well.
While the pricetag on this thing is higher, this is the Cadillac of wagons. Its all terrain, has 5 point harnesses, a removable canopy, and folds down!
If you have small children on the farm, this would be the thing to have. It would provide shade and you could buckle your little Houdini in so that they can’t escape.
While this isn’t my favorite option, I feel that allot of people really love them.
I have to say, they are pretty handy when your baby is little and not mobile. They are small and easy to take places with you. Bouncers are also affordable, and you can buy them danged near anywhere. You have to determine whether they are really going to be useful for you or not.
So, I would say for the first 3-4 months, these work. You can carry it outside. Your baby can be near you, and they run between $20 and $30.
After your baby becomes more alert and active, they tend to get tired of these allot more quickly.
I actually bought this one. It is a bouncer, rocker combo. So once my little one had outgrown the whole “lay still and just chill” phase, we were still able to use it a little. My daughter loved to throw her head back and make it rock.
Pop Up High Chair
MANNNN I wish I would have had one of these babies with my first kid. Who knew you would even need one?
It is so portable, we keep the thing in the trunk of my car.
Going to a party? Instant high chair.
Bonfire? Instant high chair.
Anyone elses kid completely distracted by food? No? Just mine? But for real. All I have to do it pop this up and throw some food on it. It buys me a good hour as long as I keep throwing those baby puffs on it every few minutes.
Here is the one we have. Freaking A man. This would be an ideal baby shower gift for a mom on the go.
Baby carriers are awesome when your baby is little and fresh. They keep them right with you and safe.
The downfall I had with these was the sweat. These things are HOT in the summer.
This is the one I used the most. Seriously guys, this is the cheapest carrier there is, but the most efficient for us.
I had 6 different carriers, and opted for the $20 one. It was lighter, easier to put on by myself, and breathable.
Here are some of the other ones I tried, and kind of an idea what the benefits and downfalls are on each of them. This way you can make a decision for yourself.
This one was my second choice simply because it is lightweight. It is very similar to the Evenflo carrier, the only difference is how it is held together on the back. This one has more adjustments to be made. Which is actually great if you need it. I just didn’t need all the extra adjusting.
The extra adjusting was the only downfall for me. It made it a little more difficult to get on by myself with a wiggly baby. The simplicity of these carriers though, as opposed to the bigger carriers is crazy. I honestly couldn’t figure out how to get some of the others on! So if you need something simple, with extra support and adjusting, this is the one. And, it is only $20
This carrier only allows you to carry in the front with your baby facing in our out as well.
The Ergobaby is cool because you can carry on your front, back and even on your side. It is super versatile, and with all of the different adjustments you can make so it, it helps support a heavier baby, as well as a newborn.
The downfalls I had with it actually outweighed its worth for me. I am a smaller framed girl. I am short, and this thing was almost too long for my torso. It also was so difficult for me to get on by myself, I hardly got to use it. I didn’t feel like standing around and waiting on someone to help me get it on.
And, boy, was it hot to wear in the summer, which is when I wanted to use it the most.
At $150+ I just couldn’t see where it was worth it for me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know tons of people who use them and love them. But, if you are built like me, I am warning you, it is bulky.
This jumper can be tied up anywhere.
In the barn? Beams. Engine hoist. A piece of wood between two ladders.
In the yard, you can get these cool swing frames. These are easy enough to move around wherever you are.
Babies jump themselves silly in these things. Easy, affordable entertainment. Mama can get stuff done.
Always be safe and make sure you hang it somewhere secure and ensure they are in your sight…but you already knew all that.
Portable Baby Swing
If your baby is a fan of the swing (mine both were) a portable baby swing could come in handy to rock their little butts to sleep wherever you are.
They fold up, and are easy to pack right out the door and pop up in the middle of the yard or barn.
Stock up on batteries though, because they DO use them.
This is the one we had. We were able to buy ours on Facebook Marketplace for next to nothing though.
The baby walker is good when they are borderline walking.
Sucky thing is, they only roll well on completely flat surfaces.
We use ours on our back deck while we were outside doing things in the yard. We were able to see and hear our girls, but it kept them happy and out of trouble.
The whole thing is like a bumper car. They can run into crap all they want, but keeps them from actually reaching things they shouldn’t….except flower pots. Somehow my kid managed to reach into my flowerpot and eat some dirt. Well, at least I didn’t have to feed her dinner.
This was also something we took to the barn with us and let the girls run around in there on the concrete in it.
Ours was given to us, but I have seen them as low as $10. If I had to buy one, I absolutely would. We definitely got our moneys worth.
Little Tikes Swing
Once again, just like the doorway jumper, this thing can be tied up in a number of places.
I have even seen people tie them up to the tire rack on their trailer at the race track. Now that, is creative!
The alternative to tying them up in random places (which is what we did), you can get this handy frame to hang it in. It is easy enough to move as well.
The Unconventional List
In today’s day and age, we tend to cover-complicate things. Back in the day, they didn’t have all of these baby accessories. They used what they had, and made it work. What makes us any different?
Don’t put yourself into debt trying to buy every baby thing there is.
Here are the items you probably already have, but didn’t think about!
Alright, don’t look at me like that. It may seem crazy to put your baby in a laundry basket but here is my reasoning.
They have handles, breathable holes in them. You don’t have to try to carry it and assemble it while holding a newborn. Put a blanket in the bottom of it and take your baby outside with you. Its portable, and can be covered with a thin blanket for shade. I would only suggest using this in the newborn stage, and of course with them nearby so that you can check on them.
If you are worried about the bottom being hard, and aren’t comfortable using a blanket for padding, get a piece of cardboard and a small towel or blanket. Cut the piece of cardboard to fit in the bottom of the basket and wrap it with the blanket or towel. This way they can’t get caught up in the blanket.
The Laundry Basket can also work well for a baby just learning to sit up. Prop them up in there with some toys. Boom. Instant pack and play.
Yard Cart or Wheel Barrow
Seriously, how many of you already have one of these? I know I use them to haul my feed from the car to the barn.
Ever think of putting your baby in one though? I know, its not the “norm”, but us homesteaders kind of push that normal limit anyway.
This is something your grandparents or great grandparents used to do. Those baby experts are going to tell you to only use baby things and all of that. That is their job. I am not saying throw your baby in a wheelbarrow and pull them all over the yard. I myself just pulled the wheelbarrow up next to where I was working and laid my babies down on a blanket in there.
Your mommy instincts will never leave you astray. Do what you feel comfortable doing.
Inflatable pool? Your kidding me right?
Nope. Dead serious. When your baby is little you can inflate one of those tiny little baby pools (like this one) and boom, instant pack and play.
Once they are somewhat mobile and trying to get into stuff. This larger one is awesome! I blew this puppy up with the air compressor and drug it around the yard. This is an awesome alternative to a play pen. I love it most because it is a soft place for them to land if they fall down. I threw a couple bags of ball-pit balls in it and kept not only my 6 month old entertained, but my 6 year old loved it too.
Plus, I mean you CAN use it as a pool too. Dual purpose!
Towels and Blankets
But for real. Its simple. Maybe too simple? When your baby is still small and not crawling around, lay a blanket or towel down on the ground close to where you are working. Put that baby down on a blanket next to you. No big deal. No money spent, and, they are washable.
Some times you have to take old school and do things like they used to do them. Nothing wrong with that.
If you drive a truck, just a little FYI, the bed makes a good playpen.
When you are out in the field, or watching fireworks or really anywhere away from the house, you can use the bed of your truck to keep your little booger picker confined.
We just threw a few of those cheap moving blankets down along with some toys and it worked perfectly. We did this at the race track, while we were working in the yard, and at quite a few other places.
Guys, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to keep a baby happy while getting stuff done. Use what you have. Homesteading mamas be busy. Our work is never done. Homesteading doesn’t stop just because you have kids. Don’t feel guilty. Do what you need to do. Your kids are watching you hustle. This is instilling a work ethic in them that they will never forget. Your kids are going to grow up with an appreciation for things because they will see all of the hard work that goes into them.
Give yourself a pat on the back mama. You are doing great.