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A Baby in the Boonies

How to survive new motherhood miles from town

WWhen I was pregnant and waiting for the arrival of my first baby, I was obsessed and overwhelmed with the amount of information I could find on how to be prepared. From packing a hospital bag to lists of contradicting ideas on what products and devices you absolutely needed, my head was spinning. And, because I was going to bring this baby home to the ranch thirty miles from the nearest grocery store, pharmacy or clinic on the cusp of the snowy season, I was not only determined to have my cupboards full of necessities, but I was hungry for tips on what to expect in the first few weeks.

I wanted to have a fighting chance.

Now a mom to a one-year-old, I’m entering an entirely new phase of parenting in the rough that not only requires deciphering her language and letting her do things herself, but also involves quite a bit of mud tracked in from little boots and practicing animal sounds.

But for those small town or rural farm and ranch moms-to-be, I wanted to compile a list of what I learned in those first few months of new motherhood out in the boondocks so that you might find the transition to a family of three a little more seamless.

  1. Stock up on what you need to take care of yourself: In hindsight it’s pretty clear I didn’t think of this. I was too worried about all of the things I would need for the baby that I forgot about the things I would need to get me through tackling the days of little sleep and even less time to eat. As a nursing momma some of my essentials survival tools included:
  • Extras of my favorite nursing bras, tank tops and/or shirts, comfy underwear that are a few sizes bigger than you normally wear and plenty of sweatpants/yoga pants so I didn’t have to worry about the laundry as often.
  • Lip balm on every surface of my house and a good water cup with a lid, because nursing made me so thirsty and dehydrated.
  • Pads of all different sizes so I was prepared for every stage of healing
  • And speaking of healing, I was super paranoid about running out of the product I used to ease my discomfort. Stock up on items like Dermoplast, nipple cream or any other pain relief items that worked for you so your not stranded and an in pain.
  • A freezer full of premade meals. This can be as organized as making meals ahead or as easy as stocking up on Stoffers freezer meals.
  • Healthy and easy to eat with one hand snacks, like pre-cut fruit and veggies or granola bars.
  1. Stock up on variety for the baby: This is something I was better at. Because I talked to other moms I understood that some babies are more finicky or sensitive than others when it comes to pacifiers, bottles, diapers, creams and wipes. And because it’s harder to just run to the store to pick up something new to try, and some small town stores don’t carry a wide variety of options, I made sure I had at least three different types of bottles on hand. I did the same with pacifiers, wipes and diapers. If you have a formula baby, if you can afford it, I recommend doing the same with a variety of formula so you’re not stuck in a lurch with a crying and hungry baby.
  2. Subscribe and Save: Once you figure out the products you and your baby love, do yourself and your pocketbook a favor and utilize online shopping features like Amazon’s subscribe and save where they put your diaper or formula product on an order schedule and send it to you automatically. It’s one less thing to worry about being stranded without. Now that I think of it, I should do that with our toilet paper too!
  3. Designate a personal shopper: If you have partner, it can be his or her job to essentially hit the grocery store or shop for the things you need last minute from town. If you’re a single parent, take your friends up on their offers to help and call them with a list. Knowing that you don’t have to pack the baby up for a long drive for laundry detergent really takes the pressure off.
  4. Take a walk or do an outside chore: No matter how much you don’t want to leave that little one, even for a second, if at all possible find a routine chore or activity that gets you out of the house without the babe. Ideally, I would recommend every day, but shoot for at least a couple times a week. Take a walk, dig in the garden, feed the bottle calf and take a breath of fresh air. This will help boost your mood and make you a better momma.
  5. Remember, it gets easier every day. A mantra that I wish I would have had someone repeat to me every hour on the hour those first few months.
  6. Be Flexible! You already know how to do this because you live in the boondocks. You’re innovative, resourceful, good humored and you got this momma!

Have more suggestions?
Share them in the comments or on  Facebook.com/PrairieParent

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Written by Jessie Veeder

Jessie Veeder

Jessie is a singer/songwriter/writer and statewide columnist living on her family’s ranch near Watford City with her husband and daughter. She blogs at veederranch.com . Reach her at jessieveeder@gmail.com. (facebook.com/veederranch)

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