By Daniel Peterson
Some people are afraid that they will have to push the long-term pause button on their favorite hobbies when their baby is born. But, happily, you might be surprised when it comes to camping.
It turns out that camping with a baby is not as difficult as it might seem upfront.
Often, camping with a baby is said to be easier than camping with a toddler.
There are quite a few reasons for this, including the fact that they can’t walk or try to run very far, if at all. In addition, if they are still breastfeeding, that vastly cuts down on the amount of meal planning you have to do. They are also more likely to sit in a carrier and sleep than anything else while you hike.
If you are gearing up for your baby’s first-ever camping trip, take a look at our top tips for preparing. That way, you can bring your baby with you without having to worry.
1. Be Prepared To Make Compromises
Although you can make the trips happen, you should let go of the premonitions and preconceived ideas about this trip based on your past trips. It is bound to be different, sometimes vastly so. Come at this trip with an open mind from beginning to end and it will help you be more adaptable.
Making compromises should be an accepted part of the trip. For example, if you like to hike a lot, you might have to cut back on miles to stop the baby from crying in the middle of the forest. Adaptability is one of the best pieces of gear you can have on this trip.
2. Prioritize Your Sleeping Arrangements
Your sleeping arrangements aren’t going to be as simplistic if you are a tent camper, and they will likely have to shift if you are a glamper. However, getting enough sleep at night can make or break the whole trip.
Try and prioritize the quality of your sleeping arrangements. Although they will inevitably be different than they will at home, you can work on keeping them similar. It will help your baby avoid confusion if they feel like they are settling into a similar bed at night.
3. Let Go Of The Routine And Training Regimes
We can’t say it enough, but flexibility is key when learning how to camp with your baby. If you have decided to go on a camping trip with your newborn, you need to be willing to let go of the typical routine and training regimes you have set out.
Some parents might have been doing food training, while others may have been trying to get their children on a nap and sleep schedule. Enough will be different on a camping trip that it will only be stressful for both you and the baby to try to stick with this routine.
4. Pay Attention To The Location And Everything About It
As the saying goes, “location, location, location.” Consider everything you possibly can about the location. Putting in extra time to choose just the right place, whether a cabin or a tent pitch, will inevitably make the whole trip better.
Look into walk-in sites to put a buffer up between you and your neighbors. It can take extra time to haul all of your gear to the site, but even a distance of several meters can make a difference if your baby starts to cry at night.
If you are still camping with a toddler, keep the surrounding area in mind. Is there a river they could potentially toddle into? A slope they could fall down while exploring? You want to be aware of it all.
When it comes to location, you also want to consider your priorities. Is it more important for you to be in a rural location? You might want to look into cabins to get the wilderness experience while being able to stock your place with amenities. If tent camping is more important, choose a campsite with its amenities.
5. Limit The Amount Of Time In The Car
Interestingly, many people don’t cite the camping trip itself as the hard part of the trip. Instead, it is often the car trip it takes to get there. So if this is your very first time camping with a baby, don’t make it harder by adding in a long car drive.
6. Increase The Ratio Of Adults To Infants
Many people won’t even consider going on a trip with their children without an aunt, uncle or grandparent along. They serve as an extra pair of eyes and your very own packhorse. So consider how many kids you have coming on the trip and add at least one adult per child.
7. Invest In The Right Equipment
This should go without saying, but you should always go camping with a complete list of everything you need. Although you don’t want to overpack, be sure you bring everything you need for the baby. If you forget camping gear for yourself, it is bound to be less irritating.
8. Consider Your Bug Avoidance Strategy
It is generally not recommended for you to use bug repellent or sunscreen on babies younger than six months old. Try to come up with a protective strategy instead of soaking your young child with chemicals. Consider layers for bug protection or an umbrella to block the sun. At night employ a bug net to keep off those pesky mosquitoes.
9. Keep It Simple
Finally, take a deep breath. In the end, keeping it straightforward will be your friend. Make lists, think of strategies, pack accordingly. Don’t try to stuff everything under the sun in your backpack, or you will end up overloaded and exhausted. Instead, give it a try on a nearby, shorter trip and adjust in the future.
Don’t forget to have fun as well! You are giving your baby their first taste of the wilderness! That is a moment in time worth savoring.