Friday, December 6, 2013

Homesteading with Baby

     One of the greatest joys in life is the blessing of a baby. No part of my homestead journey will ever be as fulfilling or precious as raising my children. The desire of my heart was to raise healthy, hearty children who love their Lord and understand the workings of His world. Here on the homestead, we strived to fulfill these goals with good stewardship and careful planning.
     The first need of an infant is nourishment. From birth on, little ones demand for nourishment grows and changes as rapidly as they do. I am a strong supporter for nursing, using our bodies as God intended. On demand but someone routine, we seemed to fall into a natural rhythm. When that rhythm seemed unsatisfying, basic cereals were added followed by soft fruits and veggies.
      At first, I purchased baby cereal until a wise woman pointed out the reality- it was the same thing as adult, just finer. From then on, cream of rice and oatmeal were purchased, run through the blender until fine, and made for the babies the same way baby cereal would have been mixed. Fruits and veggies were steamed and mashed- they ate what we ate but before any seasoning was added. Finger foods quickly arrived on table as our babies always joined the family on my lap, in their seat, or in a high chair.
     The second basic need of an infant is the diaper. Cloth diapers were our family's path of sustainable and frugal babying. Soiled diapers were kept in a small trash can with a lid, washed every day, and lined dried. I used hand made laundry soap with extra borax to wash my diapers, adding vinegar to the rinse cycle. Diapers were run through the was cycle twice. Baby wipes were hand made; some cloth, some disposable.
     Disposables were a roll of paper towel cut in half and placed in a round plastic container with a lid. Non disposables were old cloth diapers cut in rectangles and placed in a plastic container with a lid. I mixed 2 cups water, 2 tablespoons baby soap, 1 tablespoon baby oil and poured it over my wipes. If you pulled the cardboard center out of the paper towels, the towels came out just like commercial wipes. Lavender essential oil is a great addition to these natural cleaning wipes.
     Many of our little one's clothing were hand made by my mother; a one of a kind dress maker. Simple onesies, sleepers, and play clothes were either hand me downs shared with friends or second hand purchases.
     I believe in having all hand on deck, involving everyone in the work and in the play. Babies and toddlers joined me in all my homestead chores, always inviting conversation and participation as they were able. For little ones, work is play and togetherness is something they crave; chores offered both. Working together to get the jobs done offered us time to sit down and play together- thus teaching them work before play and that we can get it done and then have fun.
     Our families' choices often brought raised eyebrows and shaken heads from friends and family. Not many other people want to change a cloth diaper or mash the carrots before the baby eats. Knowing this, we rarely left our children with sitters or even in church nurseries and looking back, I am sure my family is stronger and better for it. Homesteading is a choice that requires sacrifice and service. When it came to our family, we faced the choices understanding the sacrifices and accepting the service it required.     

1 comment:

Dolly Sarrio said...

Boy, do I admire you. You have done what I only tried to do. You followed through. You know you speak of people not wanting to change cloth diapers. One of the first things that I can remember about my Mama was that she was always washing diapers. I love that memory would take nothing for it now. I being the oldest of 5 children saw a lot of that going on. Thanks for your memories and for bringing some of mine to mind.