At first glance, babies and farms don’t sound like they marry very well. Thousands of farming families have babies every year though and, if you make your living from farming, you will know that babies just seem to fit into the farming life.
If you are feeding pet lambs or calves, what’s another little mouth to feed?
With three children, I have learnt quite a bit about how to look after children whilst farming so here is my advice.
1/ Get the right pram. An off road if possible with an adequate sun canopy for summer and the warmest footmuff you can afford for winter. My pram is not actually billed as off-road but it really is a good one. You need your wheels to be able to negotiate mud, fields and rough farm yard.
2. Weather appropriate clothing. In summer they need to be cool and covered and in winter, layered and wrapped up warm. I had thick foot muffs with the older two but with the baby, my friend gave me a Trespass snow suit. It has been amazing. Even in the coldest of temperatures, the baby has been toasty and, sometimes, sweating. I would really recommend this. It success also meant I didn’t have to buy a footmuff for the new pram.
3. There are times and instances when a pram will not do. Caring for animals is a good example. For these times, a carrier for your infant is a great idea. I had one when we sheared the sheep and it was ok but I don’t think I ever got to right. There are others on the market though which are fantastic and used by many a farming family. The lovely Jade from Out and About Poultry uses a beautiful tweed carrier from Tickle Tots by Little Fox and I always smile when I see photos of her carrying her little one around. It really is the epitome of country.
4. In the sheep shed this year, I have set up the play pen for the baby. He can climb out of the pram when he is not being pushed so parking him up and having my back to him is not an option. The playpen (a few bales of straw would work just as well) could well give me an extra 15 minutes out there.
5. My final tip is to get child-friendly versions of the big things. Little wheel barrows, little pitchforks and get the children to help out. Not only do they feel like they are helping but they will be learning through play and we all know how important that is.
Little ones and farms are not always easy to negotiate. There have been times where I have had to just leave the farmer to it because the children were tired, cold, hungry or fed up (sometimes all of those things). With a few clever tricks up your sleeve though, you might just get one more job done.
If you have any more tips, I would love for you to share them with me. I don’t think you can ever have enough.