As we’re preparing for Little Brother’s (increasingly) imminent arrival I’ve been looking at baby gear because I can’t help myself, and because there always seems to be something new and snazzy. I have a lot of tried-and-true things that would be staples no matter where we lived, but that’s not the case for everything. I keep finding that so many of the new “cool” things are not quite for us, either because it’s not our style, or more often because there’s no way it’s going to hold up or be very functional where we live.
Like every other mom ever, I’m all about Sleep N Play footies (especially for the first month or two–that’s all Wace wore–with zippers preferably, snaps are hard while sleep-deprived!), and Carter’s onesies. I like Carter’s stuff for babes because it fits well, and holds up to a thousand washes,and you can find solid colors without something stupid on the front.
Another essential? Muslin swaddles. We have a bunch of Aden + Anais ones, but I would still love some more that fit our style just a little better, like this horse swaddle, or the bison one I can’t stop thinking about! They’re great as a light blanket, a nursing cover, or as a carseat/stroller cover when, say, you’re at a rodeo in the day and the sun is blinding. Again, they also wash well!
Since ranch babies can’t always stay inside even when the weather sucks, it’s so important to me to find things to keep our boys warm if we all need to be at the barn. I love the sack version of the Carhartt coveralls, and this George hat is great–so soft, and fits a little baby head perfectly.
For bigger babies on up, it’s all button-downs and jeans over here, and I love that most brands have matching shirts in both toddler and infant sizes. Jeans are essential even before the kids walk because sweatpants stain and get holes in them much too easily around here! I like button-downs because you can layer them over a t-shirt to deal with changing temperatures (and they’re adorable), although I don’t dress my babies in collared shirts much before they’re a little bigger, because bibs+collared shirts result in weird situations! For jeans, we like Oshkosh the best so far, and we’ve also had good success with Wrangler.
The bull wubbanub is our fave. Wacey’s had two (maybe three?) and we’ve never lost one! They’ve just become casualties of puppies and rough treatment, haha.
Feeding our kiddos needs to be portable. With Wacey, I didn’t make nearly enough milk and he was all formula-fed by four months. I’ll try nursing again this time (I got a Medela Pump In Style since I hated my Ameda pump), but if it doesn’t work, we’ve got the formula system down! The formula dispenser keeps pre-measured amounts of powdered formula in a no-spill, easy-to-dispense canister, and this water bottle keeps water hot for like, days. We bring a bottle of hot water, and a bottle of cold, and mix it to the right temperature. Toting water is necessary because often our drive is long, or wherever we’re headed (like a rodeo) may not have easily accessible, drinkable, or warm water, so we bring our own!
For the nursery:
We keep the nursery stuff simple, but there’s a couple of things I have come to love. A sound machine is clutch, and comes in handy every day, and when traveling. I love One & Done wipes because they’re literally a miracle–they don’t dissolve when scrubbing hineys or faces, and something in them is like, the best on-the-go stain remover.
Since we’re outside so much, I slather everyone in sunscreen (don’t worry, I wait until the baby is old enough), and I like this one for the littles (the bigs sometimes use it, too!). I like that it doesn’t have a ton of junk in it, and goes on a little white so I can make sure I applied it everywhere. I actually preferred Honest Company’s, but with the debacle a couple of years ago with people discovering that their kids were getting burned while wearing it, I don’t use it anymore. I’m sure they’ve fixed the problem, but it’s lame that it happened and we live at a higher altitude, so I don’t take chances.
I’m sure you’ve heard me wax poetic about Tubby Todd–their All-Over Ointment is the only lotion that works for Wacey, and I just stocked up on shampoo and lotion for Little Brother. This baby fresh spray, though not as used as our other TT stuff, is so great for tiny babies and I still have a bottle from when I used it with Wacey. To me, newborns smell delicious, but their clothes smell like sour milk, I smell like sour milk, the carseat, blankets, etc., smell like sour milk, and after awhile I feel like we all just stink, especially if we’ve had a full day in the sun and are all packed into the truck for a long ride home. Enter this spray, which *doesn’t* smell like sour milk. It smells like heaven, and makes us all seem a little fresher.
This isn’t exclusive of ranching families, but I find it to be especially true in their (our) situation: you need to carry the baby, but have both of your hands free. Whether this is because you’re at the barn, or a branding, or a bull sale, or because you’re fixing dinner for the crew, or because you have a wild toddler about to fall in a huge pile of cow poop, carrying babies hands-free is necessary. For this, as you know, I am a devotee of the Solly Wrap and the Ergo 360. Both are easy to use, wash up well, and work amazingly. I’ve considered the Ergo Performance with the mesh inserts since the 360 can get hot, but we’ll see how into being worn Bub is.
Again, also not exclusive of ranching families, but definitely something to consider, especially with more than one baby: a huge diaper bag. Whenever we go anywhere, I don’t always have the option of easily running back to the car for a change of clothes/more diapers/snacks, so I bring everything with. This can be a mess, and can be a pain. Enter the Lily Jade Meggan bag. It’s the biggest one, and converts to backpack carry which is so, so necessary. Better yet, it’s beautiful and durable (cloth diaper bags do not hold up well around here–I have a beautiful Vera Bradley but I don’t want to destroy it further so I keep it in the car), and fits and organizes so many things.
Strollers. Why is it so hard to find the right one?! This is where the “cool things that don’t apply to us” happens the most, because I see all these beautiful strollers that convert from a bassinet to a seat, or have the option of adding another seat, or have leather handle grips, etc–and they all have teeny tiny wheels or fussy fabric. So, my solution is that we basically only use a jogging stroller, plus I need one since I walk so much. With Wacey, I use a Jeep single that I love, but as soon as you get into the realm of doubles, everything changes. I have my heart set on a (used) double Bob (Revolution Flex) because: lots of reasons. Big tires. Made for rugged situations like dirt roads, rodeos, barnyards, and maneuvering at the mall at Christmas. Independent canopies that extend extra far, so that each kid can choose how much sun they get, or none at all. Swivel/lock front wheel, because the ones that don’t swivel are a nightmare unless you’re an actual long-distance runner (I am not) and only use your stroller for that. Attachments for everything, including carseat adapters, snack trays, and extra drink holders for up top. In addition, there’s the one-hand maneuvering, an adjustable handlebar, huge underneath storage, and durable material. Plus it fits through doorways.
Basically my stroller unicorn, especially if I find one under my $300 budget. We’re going used because I can’t stomach spending two car payments on a stroller, and there seems to be a decent availability on Craigslist. When and if I find this unicorn I will shout it from the rooftops!
Other things we love: big minky blankets because they’re soft and warm, and thick enough that you can spread them on grass and not get poked. An angel friend of ours made one for Wace, and sent one for Bub and one for me a couple weeks ago and of course I cried when I opened the box. A cute ranchy option here! We use an Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper as our bassinet (another great thing to Craigslist), partially because it’s portable, and I’ve already posted the bibs I bought for Bub. We also have a Boon Lawn that we love, and with Wacey we used Dr. Brown’s bottles.
Whether you’re in town or not, though, there are so many options these days to fit both your style and be functional for babies. I am so grateful that we have more options than primary colors and things covered in bunnies for my babes, especially when I can integrate my own style into the things we use most. It honestly makes me feel more like a human when I’m not surrounded by not-too-baby-looking baby things, although we have our fair share of those things, too. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have a few pretty things, especially as a boy mama.
Happy Friday! My littlest bub is kicking the snot out of my side and my biggest bub is hollering at me from his crib, so that’s my cue!