Gardening with a baby- how do you do it?! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 02-27-2011, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have one 11 month old son. I have been gardening voracoiusly for about 12 years- it is one of my favorite things to do and I do it as much as I can. Last year when ds was a newborn I didn't really do too much of it, other than maintain a few already well established gardens. This year I am going to be in a new gardening place and plan to start a new garden- but I am not sure how to do that while also caring for the baby- for example- I guess i could wear him on my back but we haven't ever done back carry and I wonder how that would go while gardening? I feel like if I put him down he will simply eat dirt sticks rocks and bugs! He is still very much into putting everything into his mouth. If I put him on a blanket with toys he will crawl off the blanket. If I put him right next to me he will grab at the garden plants! Do I simply have to only garden when someone else is watching hi,? Any other ideas? So far usually I watch him or dh watches him.  Dh will be working 40-50 hrs a week most of the summer- so I guess it may be time to find a babysitter part time- maybe that is the answer? find a babysitter a couple of hours a few times a week and garden then? that could work.

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#2 of 23 Old 02-28-2011, 01:31 AM
 
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A back carry has worked out pretty well for us. My daughter was about that age when I start the first garden I had postpartum. By later in the year she normally wanted to get down and run around while we were in the garden and I did do as much chasing her as I did tending the plants, but it also wore her out and made nap and bed time easier! During the peak of summer, it gets painfully hot here and I don't want her out in the middle of the day (not sure where you live), so as she's gotten older I do a lot of gardening by sneaking out at dawn while she's still asleep. A baby monitor in my back pocket will normally alert me the moment she wakes up. 

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#3 of 23 Old 02-28-2011, 03:11 AM
 
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At that age, I just had to lower my expectations of how much I would be able to actually accomplish - also just slow down and enjoy the days :)  A back carrier is definitely worth a try, but it sounds like your guy would not be happy in it for too long - he sounds pretty active!  I mostly just set out a blanket with toys and SNACKS which kept baby occupied for at least a little while, you can also have a stash of things that get slowly given to him ( a couple cheerios at a time, etc.).  You can also garden during nap time.  And as it turns into Summer, you're probably not going to want to be out there right in the middle of the day, so it may work well to have DH keep an eye on baby, when he gets home from work, and you can enjoy the early evening to garden (or depending on what time you put baby down to sleep for the night - you'll probably still have some light left)


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#4 of 23 Old 02-28-2011, 05:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks! Any recommendations for back carriers that work well for this type of thing?

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#5 of 23 Old 02-28-2011, 06:43 AM
 
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With my ds, I just let him eat the dirt/bugs/sticks.  Our garden is all organic, no chemicals, no 'nasty stuff'.   A little dirt wont hurt him (he would mostly spit it out anyway).   He's been in the garden sense he could sit up on his own (7months).

 

I wore ds a lot but never though of doing it while gardening, too uncomfortable for me, and I'd rather have him explore!  

 

He also quickly learned to 'help' by digging holes, and I'd let him drop seeds in, show him weeds to pull....     

 

He is 3.5 now and has his own small garden, which he takes care of 100% on his own (as far as planting, digging, weeding, watering, harvesting, and deciding what goes where and what to plant)

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#6 of 23 Old 02-28-2011, 07:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by leighi123 View Post

With my ds, I just let him eat the dirt/bugs/sticks.  Our garden is all organic, no chemicals, no 'nasty stuff'.   A little dirt wont hurt him (he would mostly spit it out anyway).   He's been in the garden sense he could sit up on his own (7months).

 

I wore ds a lot but never though of doing it while gardening, too uncomfortable for me, and I'd rather have him explore!  

 

He also quickly learned to 'help' by digging holes, and I'd let him drop seeds in, show him weeds to pull....     

 

He is 3.5 now and has his own small garden, which he takes care of 100% on his own (as far as planting, digging, weeding, watering, harvesting, and deciding what goes where and what to plant)

 

Even an organic garden can have worms in the soil...and I mean the ones that are parasites.  Among other nasty things.
 

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#7 of 23 Old 02-28-2011, 08:11 AM
 
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We don't have kids yet and I wonder if my plans would work out. I'm thinking of using a mix of ideas to get some gardening time in:

  • baby sitting or sleeping in a stroller with netting over (during bug season) either with me in the garden or just outside the gate under the trees.
  • gardening while baby sleeps inside and keeping a baby monitor with me. (possibly DH would be inside sleeping also; he works evenings)
  • my ultimate dream would be a screened in gazebo near the garden, baby could nap/play in there. 

 

I can't see gardening with baby on my back because 1-I'm not that strong and find I bend over a lot which would feel weird, wouldn't it? 2-I'd worry about the baby getting too much sun. 


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#8 of 23 Old 02-28-2011, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by HeatherAtHome View Post

We don't have kids yet and I wonder if my plans would work out. I'm thinking of using a mix of ideas to get some gardening time in:

  • baby sitting or sleeping in a stroller with netting over (during bug season) either with me in the garden or just outside the gate under the trees.
  • gardening while baby sleeps inside and keeping a baby monitor with me. (possibly DH would be inside sleeping also; he works evenings)
  • my ultimate dream would be a screened in gazebo near the garden, baby could nap/play in there. 

 

I can't see gardening with baby on my back because 1-I'm not that strong and find I bend over a lot which would feel weird, wouldn't it? 2-I'd worry about the baby getting too much sun. 



 

That is exactly what I thought BEFORE I actually had ds! But it didn't seem to work out that way! At least last yr when ds would nap I was so tired I just wanted a moment to rest or eat! By now we have more of a rhythm. I will see how it goes! thx for the suggestions. I love the idea of having ds right with me at least some of the time. The odd thing about my situation is that we just moved this year- for the past 12 yrs I was in a place which is my home that I own with a huge yard and big gardens that I put in. So even last yr I was able to sneak outside a little bit w- the bbay monitor wihle ds slept. We moved now to a second floor apartment (for a number of reasons all good) and I am still figuring out where my garden will be- itmay even be down the road in a community garden space- I
 think I may have a small plot outside the apt but being the second floor and all- and a more public place, it is probably not gonna be easy to slip out to the garden while ds sleeps! I guess I will try all the different combos of things to make it work- maybe get a babysitter here and there for an hour, bring ds sometimes- I bet I wouldn't enjoy having him on my back while I garden but if he can learn the safety oaspects of things it would be fun if he could dig in the dirt!

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#9 of 23 Old 02-28-2011, 12:31 PM
 
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We did a community garden when one of my kids was a baby, and it actually worked out quite well - so maybe if that turns out to be the garden you do, it could be a great thing!!  The reasons were that there were specific toys/activities there that weren't at home, so the kids didn't get bored and want to wander off quite so quickly (like swing on the apple tree in the middle of the garden, tons of kid-sized tools, horses that you could look at but not get into their corral, and a barn/fun hayloft for the older kids, etc.).  Also it had the advantage of having other mamas there!!! (<-HUGE advantage!)  We'd plan to be there at the same times and could help each other watch the kids, the kids could entertain each other, etc.

 

And I do have to agree that it's not a great idea to just let a baby have at it, in regards to eating anything from the garden, especially in an organic garden where there is likely to be manure.  I'm all for babies gettin good and dirty in the garden, don't get me wrong, but there are some potentially very harmful things, even in organic soil :)


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#10 of 23 Old 02-28-2011, 12:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Narmowen View Post

 

Even an organic garden can have worms in the soil...and I mean the ones that are parasites.  Among other nasty things.


Unless you're fertilizing with manure, there won't be parasites in the soil that can transmit to humans. Veggie based compost is no problem, and even manure is ok if its composted at sufficient temperature to kill the pathogens. Mind you, this is a north american perspective and may not be true for the tropics.

 

I suspect ds will be eating the occasional bug, beetle and worm this year and that's ok. Insects are good sources of protein ;-)


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#11 of 23 Old 02-28-2011, 01:56 PM
 
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Unless you're fertilizing with manure, there won't be parasites in the soil that can transmit to humans. Veggie based compost is no problem, and even manure is ok if its composted at sufficient temperature to kill the pathogens. Mind you, this is a north american perspective and may not be true for the tropics.

 

I suspect ds will be eating the occasional bug, beetle and worm this year and that's ok. Insects are good sources of protein ;-)

 

You mean that wild animals won't poop in the soil?  You can guarantee that?

 

http://www.michiganhumane.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=9891

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#12 of 23 Old 02-28-2011, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That is actually a good point Root children! Having a plot in a community garden may actually be easier for me this year- as there will be plenty going on around to keep ds happy and entertained as well as other people to help keep an eye on him.

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#13 of 23 Old 03-01-2011, 11:06 AM
 
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I used a mei tai carrier (I've got a Sugar Tai from Sugar Sprouts that I LOVE) for back carry when gardening. If she was asleep on my back, sometimes I'd use an overturned bucket to sit on and weed, instead of bending down from standing. 

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#14 of 23 Old 03-04-2011, 10:47 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Narmowen View Post



 

You mean that wild animals won't poop in the soil?  You can guarantee that?

 

http://www.michiganhumane.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=9891



True. And in my yard, the biggest concern is the dog poop. I'd be less concerned about my 7 month old rolling around on the ground stuffing things in her mouth if it weren't for these little land mines. No matter how diligently I pick it up (with the help of my 3 year old, the little weirdo loves that game), it's out there.

 

I'm lucky that my DH is a SAHD (unlucky that I work full time), so I can schedule time on the weekends to garden while he watches the baby. My 3 year old is finally old enough to be a big help, but when she was little, she was not patient about my hobbies and yet wanted to spend every waking moment with me, so I had to downscale many of my ambitious. Sadly, you may find that this is simply a waiting game. Do what you can, of course, and maybe you'll get lucky, but prepare for disappointment ;)

 


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#15 of 23 Old 03-05-2011, 12:19 AM
 
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I did an awful lot of gardening by camplight one or two years.  Kerosene or gas lanterns - had hubby light them for me after my dinner/nursing baby down break.  I'm sure my neighbors thought I was nuts, but meh, I don't ask them to pay my grocery bill.  Plus when it chills down enough, the mosquitoes are gone.

 

My own other experience...  my kids love being on my back in the mei tai, but not when I bend down (either lunge like or bent over).  My kids love roaming around the yard.  When they're big enough.  Our yard has dips and levels and tall grass that hasn't been mowed and such - not even close to a manicured, level, perfect lawn.  When they're small, it makes a difference.  The roaming also means they get into stuff.  I had peas dug up, strawberry plants trampled, asparagus crowns unplanted, etc.  Sigh.  But I also have spirited children - some more than others, but still.  Some folks have calm, perfectly behaved children - mine are more challenging than that.  ;)


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#16 of 23 Old 03-07-2011, 10:55 AM
 
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Last summer when DD was 3 to 6 months she was on my front which was tough. I did a lot when she napped or when dh got home.

This summer she will just be playing. I don't care if she eats grass or dirt, but I am guessing she will get tired of that pretty quickly. She has an older brother to torture/entertain her which should help, plus toys, snacks, etc. I tend to do a little bit a few times a day.

Also once we get to hat eating I sure she will be busy trying to snatch all the veggies and eat them. Even last summer she would grab hanfuls of brocolli and jam it all in her mouth.

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#17 of 23 Old 03-07-2011, 11:00 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeatherAtHome View Post

We don't have kids yet and I wonder if my plans would work out. I'm thinking of using a mix of ideas to get some gardening time in:

  • baby sitting or sleeping in a stroller with netting over (during bug season) either with me in the garden or just outside the gate under the trees.
  • gardening while baby sleeps inside and keeping a baby monitor with me. (possibly DH would be inside sleeping also; he works evenings)
  • my ultimate dream would be a screened in gazebo near the garden, baby could nap/play in there. 

 

I can't see gardening with baby on my back because 1-I'm not that strong and find I bend over a lot which would feel weird, wouldn't it? 2-I'd worry about the baby getting too much sun. 

 

I did both of these first two with DS when he was about 6-8 months old, and just tried to be flexible when some days it didn't work out as well as others.  I'm not sure the first idea would have worked as well at 11 months when he was more inclined to sit at the edge of his stroller seat during our walks than fall asleep.

 

I was also able - sometimes! - to put him on a blanket inside a play yard in the shade.  (Not a playpen-type play yard, but those plastic panels with toys in them that you assemble to make a little fence.)  If the toys were things he hadn't seen for a while and he was in a good mood, this would buy me 10-20 minutes before he was standing at the edge yelling for me, and me trying to figure out how to pick him up without getting him filthy.  Again, at 11 months he might have just charged it down.

 

I found that by a year later he was happy to let me garden for a little while if I could let him "help" in some way.  Once he helped me pick up a bunch of smallish rocks I'd laid around a trellis and put them in a bucket.  That was so much fun that he threw them all out again and started over, buying me enough time to weed and water the rest of the garden.  Depending on your DS's personality, integrating him into the work may slow you down but buy you more time.  Though, you should probably prepare yourself for unsanctioned destruction.  HTH
 

 


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#18 of 23 Old 03-14-2011, 09:06 AM
 
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I always wanted to have the baby quiet and happy in the sling while I gardened, but for some reason it never really worked out well for me that way.  Instead I never got to spend as much time as I wanted to, especially with weeding, etc.  *sigh*  This year my youngest will be 18 months in the summer, we'll see how it goes.  I just do the best I can, and usually DH picks up the slack --- although he doesn't let me forget it!  LOL


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#19 of 23 Old 03-23-2011, 07:28 AM
 
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i asked that same question when dd was a lot younger.  i got the best advice, it really really worked for us.... and it was to get a stroller.  just for the yard. 

we were pretty anti-stroller until that point, but it totally bought us some gardening time. 

however, we don't have a very enclosed area and letting dd free-range wasn't an option.  neither was wearing her, though i promise, i wore- and wear her- plenty.  she would get mad every time i bent over and squatting seemed to squish her.  plus, too hard on old round mama me. 

we ended up getting a pretty crappy stroller from a consignment shop, nothing fancy at ALL.  she was happy to sit there and watch, or play with little things and when she got fussy, we'd move her. 


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#20 of 23 Old 03-24-2011, 02:51 PM
 
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This will be my first year gardening with a newborn.  I spend a lot of time there and my plan is to use the stroller in the shade with an umbrella.  Eventually I was going to put a used pack and play out there and then next summer I have the oversized plastic gate that sets up pretty quickly to put in a grassy area near the garden.  Not sure if any of these suggestions help you.  I'm sure you can make it work.  If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again!  It can be done, I'm sure of it.  I think I will also have to utilize nap time too, although I'm sure I will be exhausted.  Good luck!


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#21 of 23 Old 03-25-2011, 07:34 AM
 
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We used to have a little swing like this http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hedstrom-Folding-Toddler-Swing/dp/B000OW9Z3W/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1301063396&sr=8-18 which DD was happy to sit on for a while. If we'd had more space I would have got a full sized frame with a baby seat, that one was outgrown pretty quickly.

 

She was a summer baby and I know I didn't get much done outside the year she turned one. She would crawl off a blanket and stick stuff in her mouth so once she was fed up of being in the swing or pushchair  I'd had my time.

 

By the following summer she was not putting things in her mouth and was happy either in the sand pit or pulling a little wagon round the garden collecting pebbles and stuff.

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#22 of 23 Old 03-26-2011, 05:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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oh, great idea about the toddler swing- I hadn't even thought of that! And a good thing is that I had thought I would be in a community garden this summer but we recently found a place with a nice yard of our own and a garden space so I can have a swing or a swing set for ds! thumb.gif

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#23 of 23 Old 04-05-2011, 06:09 PM
 
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I used an Ergo carrier ALOT with my son when he was between 8 and 14 months old.(back position)   That year I also, as someone else mentioned, had a "yard Stroller" even though we don't use strollers elsewhere.  He would sit in the stroller and watch me and look at books or other small toys.  It worked well because I could move him around to wherever I was working and it limited the hands in the dirt factor.  The following season though he was mobile on his own and we no longer used a stroller or the ergo because he wouldn't tolerate either.  He was past the age of putting everything in his mouth (except for the peas) so he was able to "help" me and entertain himself a lot more.  I would set him up with toys or tools.   I did tougher tasks when he was napping.  This year he has already helped me transplant lettuce in the greenhouse and can really do the tasks now that he is almost 3 and verbally communicating.  I have the next one on the way in a few weeks and a 6 acre farm to hold down, so we'll see how it goes with two!   :) 


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