Farming with Baby - Helpful Gear

As we slowly get used to farming with Augie, we've found some baby gear that makes things seriously easier. Not easy, per se, but much more manageable.

First off, baby wearing devices. Being able to carry him hands-free is incredibly useful - and not just in the field. Even around the house, wearing him lets us do computer work, light cleaning, and (careful) cooking. He takes longer naps in his carriers than in the crib, and it's an awesome bonding experience for us and for him. Win-win-win, really. On the farm, we're limited in what we can do safely with him in a carrier. I'm not plowing with our BCS walk-behind tractor while wearing him, and Eric's not walking through a mess of big hungry pigs or handling electric fence. But I can easily wear him while weeding or bed prepping with long-handled tools, I can start seeds while standing up at a table, and once he's ready to be carried on my back I can gently bend down to plant and harvest with him.

We currently have a Baby K'tan, which is sized for the wearer so only I can use it. We might get one for Eric, too, because it's such a comfy and simple carrier. It's like a wrap carrier, but it's all in one piece so there's no tying or complicated wrapping techniques to figure out. It holds him in a close, snuggly position that I love. My only issue is that it gets a bit warm, and I may try the K'tan Breeze, a lighter-weight version for warm weather.

We also love our Ergobaby 360. Finding one in practically new condition at the thrift store (for about a third of the retail price) felt like a huge triumph. It's a more structured carrier than the K'tan, and adjusts so that both of us can use it. The structure means it's easier to do a bit more bending with him in it, and it does feel a bit easier on my back than the K'tan.

We may add a Kelty backpack to the mix for hiking, but for now we're really satisfied with our carriers.

For those tasks when carrying him is a no-go (or for warmer days), we're trying out a couple of options. We bought an older Pack & Play from Craigslist that we carry out to the field. It's got breathable mesh sides, with roll up sunshades on two sides, and a standard crib sheet stretches perfectly over the top for more shade and bug protection. I think he'll enjoy being in it more once he can sit up, but when he's in the right mood he likes to play in there by himself and has even taken a few good naps in it. The downside is that it isn't super easy to move around without totally folding it up, but it works well when I'm going to be in one place for a little while (like working on a building project or seed sowing).

And finally, our newest find, a BOB Revolution stroller, also courtesy of Craigslist. If we bought shiny new baby gear, I might feel more worried about having it out in the field, so buying used makes a lot of sense for us. We got a great deal on this stroller and we love it. He can be reclined or sitting up, the rugged tires make it easy to move around the fields, and the sun shade gives great cover. He's not always in the mood to sit still and be strapped in, but I love being able to easily keep him close and rock him back and forth to soothe him.

We'll keep finding more solutions as he grows, and I'm looking forward to the day when he can crawl or walk along with me as I work. For now, though, our gear is helping our new little farmer adjust to life outside.