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?