When it comes to baby gear, I am definitely a minimalist.
When I was pregnant with our daughter, I was inundated with catalog after catalog of supposed baby “necessities”. Fancy bathtubs with built-in toys, wipe warmers, massive electronic play gyms, vibrating bassinets… Really? Not only is my house too small for all those things, they are outrageously expensive, especially since they will only be used for a short period of time.
I chose to ignore the majority of trendy baby items, and I’m glad I did. Especially since my daughter regularly passes up playing with her basket full of toys for pieces of random fuzz she finds on the carpet. She doesn’t seem impressed with the high-tech toys and all the bells and whistles.
That being said, we live a unique lifestyle as compared to most new parents. When many other mothers are dropping the kids off at daycare, Prairie Baby and I are bundling up to do morning chores. Rather than going to “baby play group”, we load up the horse trailer, head to my friend’s ranch, and spend the afternoon riding.
Because of this, we require some unique baby gear. In a short time as a homesteading mama, I have found a few must-have items for the country baby. These have been absolute lifesavers for our family!
1. A Jogging Stroller
I didn’t know what these were called for the longest time. I just knew that I wanted one of those “big strollers with the 3 rubber tires”! They were originally designed for mamas who wanted to “jog and stroll”, but I am happy to report they work wonderfully on gravel, bumpy pastures, mud, and snow drifts! However, they don’t really fold up (at least mine doesn’t), so this isn’t a good choice for strolling the mall. But if strolling through the barnyard is more your style, then this is a necessity!
2. Front Pack or Baby Carrier
I have both a Moby Wrap and a Baby Bjorn carrier. I would say it is a toss-up between the two. I used these both when Prairie Baby was a newborn and she loved them. It gave her a different view to enjoy and freed up my hands at the same time. The only downfall to front packs is that it is hard to bend over while carry the baby. I tried to plant potatoes one day while carrying her in the Moby Wrap and it didn’t work so well! They work best if you are simply walking outside or doing simple activities such as watering the garden.
3. Bug Nets
In my opinion, these are the greatest things since sliced bread, hands down. Last year we had an incredibly “buggy” year. It seemed as though the swarms of flies and grasshoppers were of biblical proportions. I was constantly trying to keep them off of my baby, until I came across these nets. I bought one to cover the playpen and another for the stroller. They are wonderful!
4. A Play Yard
I don’t use a playpen or a play yard in my house, but I found it to definitely come in handy outside. Since we don’t have air conditioning, there were many days last summer when the house was hot and stuffy in the afternoons. I would set up the playpen in the shady barn and cover it with a bug net. Oftentimes a gentle breeze would flow through the barn, and I would clean pens and fill water buckets while Prairie Baby peacefully napped. I use a simple playpen that I found at a yard sale. It’s easy to clean if it becomes dusty or gathers bits of hay from being set up in the barn.
5. Snow Suits
I am constantly running back and forth from the house to the barns. The trips are usually short, but there is the potential to spend a significant chunk of my day bundling up the baby in her insulated pants, coats, mittens, hats, and boots. That is why I love snowsuits so much! Mine are “footie” snowsuits and have built in hoods and mittens, so they make the multiple trips outside much less time consuming. Just zip up and go!
The uniqueness of the homesteading lifestyle definitely calls for unconventional baby gear. My baby has traded fancy electronic toys for her trusty bug nets! What are your favorite baby items?
The Ergo Baby Carrier is hands down my favorite/best investment baby/toddler item!
Mountain Home Quilts says
I agree, my Ergo has been used with my last 3 babies and I absolutely LOVE it!!
Mommy Set Free says
I always loves my baby bijorn or sling for the first three months and after they hold their head strong (about 3 months), I like the aluminum framed hikerstyle backpack (and the hip). 🙂 I just got rid of my jogging stroller last year when we moved to the farm. I thought I was being wise in reducing…but I have been kicking myself, because my other stroller has been distroyed on the farm. I had a feeling the jogger owuld have PERFECT. Now your experiance confirms that! (BUMMER!) I'm keeping my eyes peeled for another used one…but its slim pickin in rural TN for such fancy gadgets as that and it not in the budget to get new one. 🙁
She is absolutely adorable! My guys are long past baby time, but I had to come take a peek when I saw your photo at Simple Lives Thursday.
I love this post! We don't exactly homestead (although that is my dream someday!), but we are out in the country and outside quite a bit. The jogging stroller is my best friend. If it weren't for that bad boy, we'd be stuck inside all winter! The play yard sounds like a brilliant idea too, I wish I had thought of it sooner!
Good tip about the bug net! My kidlets hate playpens, so if I want to stroll around and do strenuous chores I have to put them on the grass to play or wear them on my back. I use 5 yards of woven fabric for the back carries. This site is a great place to start:
I agree with some commenters on the ergo! And yes, a pack & play, bug net, and jogging strollers are great. I’m planning to hang one of those baby/toddler swings (the kind that are designed to be attached to a swingset or tree branch) in the barn from a rafter. I figure it’ll be a great place to put my 12 month old when I’m milking & feeding goats, cleaning stalls, etc. and I’m sure her older brother & sister will enjoy pushing her in it.
Love the swing idea- especially for milking/chore time! Can totally relate to that. 😉 I’m gonna have to look into an Ergo for #2. Hearing so many good things about them!
Thanks so much for the tips, I have a 3 month old and we are starting our farm, there’s so much I want to do but find it tough with the little man in tow. I think once he can sit up on his own it’ll get easier. I’m like you though… thanks but no thanks to all the made in china stuff… here’s a stick and a straw bale son, use your God given imagination!!
Absolutely! It’s amazing how creative they can learn to be, without all the silly plastic “toys”! 🙂
I have a 4 month old and barn & farm chores aren’t easy anymore! I am looking for a playpen to keep in the barn and I DEFINTELY need to get those fly nets!!
Yes- I HIGHLY recommend finding an old play pen at a garage sale that can be designated for the barn. It was a lifesaver for me last summer! And, you’ll find they take really good naps in the cool shade of the barn!
Kyla H says
The only baby items that we found to be lifesavers are the Ergo and cloth diapers! Oh, and my ring sling!
We are minimalists, also 🙂 Everyone talks about how much stuff they used for their baby, and I can say we got by with less, comparatively.
The Moby wrap (for the early months).
The Boba baby carrier (like the Ergo) is one of my favorites. It’s awesome for back carry, when they’re older but still too small to walk (or for a toddler that can get out of sight easily).
The jogging stroller we got at a yard sale.
The arm’s reach bassinet for those early months.
That’s about all the baby gear we have!
I so hope you got an Ergo for your Prairie Boy! I love mine for wearing my daughter on my back this summer when I did chores. Now I just use my “off-road” jogging stroller and the snowsuit method. It’s so nice to find another homesteading mama that is willing to out her secrets to living with kids on a farm!
Martha Smucker says
I Love this article, baby number 8 due this spring! ? so l’m glad for some of these tips. Have been country homesteaders since we’re married. From Pennsylvania.
I lived in the sub-arctic when my children were babies. I carried them Eskimo style, umuk. All I would have to do it put a hat on them and pop them in my parka and they kept very warm and my hands were free, even at 40 below. Since the weight was distributed across my upper chest evenly I didn’t get the sore shoulders I would get from commercial carriers. I even carried my almost 3 year old on my back when I was pregnant and it balanced me out nicely. It’s easy to learn and no fancy equipment needed. Just an extra large coat or parka.