Now that baby is finally here and you’re enjoying your maternity/paternity leave, you might be hearing the call of the wild with twinges to return to the woods. As an avid hiker or camper, you probably want to bring your baby out the trails with you to benefit from all the wonder that nature has to provide.
However, sometimes the call of the wild can be silenced with the incredibly common concern of age. Many parents worry that their infant is too young to go camping while wondering when they’ll finally be old enough.
When Can Baby Go Camping?
The answer to that question doesn’t actually involve your baby’s age. Your baby is ready to go camping whenever you are. Just make sure you have physically recovered from giving birth, which takes an average of six to eight weeks.
Once you feel ready to return to your favorite campsite, there’s no reason not to bring baby along. In fact, it can actually be easier to take an infant camping than a toddler because it involves less work. Although, keep in mind camping with your children at any age is an extremely rewarding, bonding experience.
Infants are less mobile than toddlers, therefore easier to keep an eye on. You will most likely not turn around to find them rolling in or eating dirt. With a toddler, it’s good to bring a playpen for them to hang out in, but you don’t need to pack one for an infant.
Depending on how your baby sleeps, you may not have to bring a bed or sleeping pad either. Some babies are happy campers in their own car seats and have no problem taking naps or sleeping through the night. Just remember to bring your baby’s favorite item associated with sleep such as their favorite blanket or plush to comfort them.
If your baby is still breastfeeding then you have fewer snacks and meals to worry about. Simply feed your baby according to his/her regular schedule. Be sure to have distilled water to clean your breast pump and bottles if you use these items during your trip.
Babies are also very easy to entertain on camping trips. While you may get to interact more with your toddler and play games, infants are happy simply soaking in the environment. They like to look up at swaying branches and enjoy the scenery during hikes and canoe trips.
Tips For Baby’s First Trip
Once you’re ready to take baby with you on camping adventures remember these important tips for their first trip:
- Start off small. You don’t want to overdo it during your baby’s first camping trip. Don’t fill your days up with too many activities. Let your baby peacefully adjust to their new environment and try to stick to their regular nap routine.
- Bring layers to prevent your baby from getting too hot or cold during the trip as the temperatures rise during the day and suddenly drop during the night. Give your baby a bath during to day to prevent it from getting too cold at night and stay shaded and hydrated during extremely hot afternoons.
- It’s okay to call it quits. If you need to pack up and leave in the middle of the night, don’t worry about it. Go home and do what’s best for your baby. You can learn from what went wrong to better prepare for next time.
- Be prepared for extra work. You have more stuff to carry than usual, plus a baby to take care of. Carrying extra supplies and caring for an infant can be exhausting. Give yourself extra time to for each activity and invite a relative or friend along on the trip to help.
- Remember to take care of yourself. If you become dehydrated, hangry, or sick then your trip could become a disaster. Drink enough water, bring enough snacks, and take advantage of breaks.
As long as you feel ready to get back to your tent, then your baby is ready to go to. Babies and toddlers love camping, so the sooner they can start, the better. It’s a relaxing yet exciting adventure for the whole family and you’ll enjoy seeing your children appreciate nature for same reasons you do.