Preparing for a new baby can be a big job in and of itself, especially if it is your first. Since I am pregnant with my second child, a lot of the first-time questions, like “what do I truly need?!” aren’t even a thought. We have blankets, clothes, wipes and diapers. Ok, done there.
But when you are managing a farm or homestead, planning for any baby has a few more considerations. The season the baby is due in actually matters – will you be resting up when wood needs to be split? Or, like me, ready to go any minute by the time the garden is bursting with delicious fruits and veggies begging to be harvested and preserved?
Since I am due mid-August, I have a few extra things I am planning and doing to alleviate the craziness that both a new baby and the end of summer on a homestead can bring.
- Freezer Meals – I have been doing some extra cooking to put away a few extra dinners here and there. I wasn’t able to do this with my first (we moved when I was 9mo pregnant), and I know the ease of not having to plan, prep and cook a meal every night would have been really awesome for my husband for those first few weeks. This time around, I am putting away a few trays of heat-and-eat type meals – stuffed shells, lasagna, Hunter’s Pie, and Lentil Chicken – as well as freeze flat some bags of dump style meals, like pre-cut strips of chicken, bell peppers and onions for an easy fajita night.
- Clean the House – A final deep cleaning of the house is on my list for the end of July. Similar to a “spring cleaning”, I want to get in to all of those nooks and crannies and give the house a really good cleaning, so it will be easier for my husband and daughter (hey, she may be only 2, but she LOVES to clean!) to maintain during the first 2-weeks or so, when I can’t be up and about.
- Prepare all Homemade Items – I hand make all of our cleaning products, for both the body and the house. So on my to do list before August arrives is to make sure we are well stocked on soap bars, shampoo, body butter and sunblock; dishwasher soap, hand soap, laundry detergent and our all-purpose cleaning sprays.
- Canning Stock-Up – August is a busy month for canning and preserving; the garden is loaded with fresh produce that has a sensitive shelf life and needs to be processed. We alleviate a lot of extra costs by putting up our own tomatoes, sauces, stocks & broth, jams, pickles, and so on. We also store extra carrots and beets root-cellar style – we had fresh carrots from our own garden into February of this year, and only stopped because ate them all! Since I may be immobile during a few key weeks, I am going to make sure the root bins are ready, and that all the canning supplies are clean and on-hand; I’ll pick up a few extra packages of lids as well, so we won’t need to run out to get more.
- Make Baby’s Items Early – Spring and Summer are really busy for us. I have my seeds and vegetable plants to monitor, garden beds to prepare and plants to prune, transplant and stake. The grass must be cut (and cut, and cut, and cut…), the chicken coop cleaned, and the gardens watered. Wood must be cut to length, split, and stacked, and soon we’ll start moving wood for fall/winter 2017-2018 indoors to our wood bins/racks, saving kindling and making our own fire-starter bricks. . Never mind that my husband and I both hold jobs outside of the home, and we have a toddler! With this in mind, I went ahead and prepared all of the hand-made items for Baby #2 early in the year, while the weather was still cool. I made booties, hats, a toddler-sized blanket, and an adorable little stuffed fox for my little one, and have already set up and unpacked the newborn items that we had in storage from my daughter. I did treat myself to a new woven wrap to for baby wearing, which I am really looking forward to using. Baby wearing is the best, especially on a busy farm!
- Home Birth Supplies – I delivered my daughter at home, a wonderful experience that I am excited to go through again with my second child. While my midwives bring along all of the medical supplies needed, I do have some basic supplies of my own to stock up on – chux pads, sanitary pads & wipes, herbs and tinctures, labor snacks and my postpartum meal. I also am going to try the Bengkung style of bellybinding as part of my postpartum care, so I purchased a beautiful length of cotton muslin for this purpose as well. For a full list of things I found useful during my first homebirth, check out my post on home birth & postpartum supplies.