Baby, it’s cold outside. So, that means it’s time to cozy up inside right? Well if you would like to, that’s fine. However, just because it’s winter and your baby IS, in fact, a baby, doesn’t mean you have to. You can take your bundle of joy camping in the colder months. While taking your baby into the wilderness may seem like an intimidating idea, by taking a few simple steps to properly prepare, your whole family can enjoy winter camping.
Keeping Baby Warm
We will start by knocking out the number one concern with winter camping, staying warm. This is achieved by layering outfits. This way if your baby is too hot you can easily remove a layer without having to change the entire outfit. Also, babies generally need one more extra layer than you do.
You can tell if your baby is too hot if their skin feels warm to the touch, they become fussy, start sweating or have a fever, have red skin, or become unresponsive or seemingly confused.
On that note, you can also tell if your baby is too cold if their chest and torso feels cold under to the touch under their clothes, or if they become fussy or quiet for no apparent reason. Signs of hypothermia include shivering, pale or blue skin, and decreased alertness.
Important things to have with layers include thick socks, mittens, and a warm hat. All of which need to remain dry.
A four-season tent or winter tent will be designed to handle the cold, but taking sleeping pads can help you stay warm and insulated off of the cold ground. Avoid using inflatable beds, as the air pockets can become cold.
There are insulated sleeping bags for babies and you can add crib warmers to feel extra snug. You can also use a family sleeping bag to snuggle up with some body heat. Just be sure to check the temperature lows to get a sleeping bag that will keep you warm during freezing nights.
Keeping Baby Comfortable
Warmth isn’t the only key to keeping happy and comfortable. Your baby can still get a sunburn in the winter, especially when the sun is reflecting off of snow. Remember to bring sunblock and to frequently reapply it during the day. Also, use a hat and either tarps or screens to create shade if you’ll be sitting outside for a bit.
Colder weather can also cause your baby’s skin to become dry, itchy, and irritated. Protect their lips with lip balm and use thick, creamy moisturizer around your baby’s nostril if they become irritated. Lotion with SPF in it can help repair windburn and it’s also helpful to have anti-inflammatory cream on hand to soothe irritation.
It gets dark much faster in the winter, leaving you with more time in the dark. Be prepared with enough wood for a long-lasting, illuminating fire and lamps to last every night. Headlamps are also extremely useful for doing things such as feeding or changing your baby, when you need to keep your hands free. Handing a string of LED lights up in your tent is another great way to provide extra light.
Feeding The Family
Baby will get hungry and so will you! If your child is still breastfeeding be sure to wear a shirt that allows you to feed your baby without getting undressed and use a blanket or cover to stay warm. If you use a breast pump, milk will stay good in a cooler for about a day.
Bring extra baby food in case weather delays your departure and to have on hand in the event of an emergency.
Breastfeeding, setting up camp, hiking, and caring for baby burns a lot of calories. Take time for yourself to refuel. Soups are great for cold weather trips along with a thermos full of warm beverages such as coffee, tea, or even hot chocolate, but remember to keep yourself and baby hydrated.
Your baby will inevitably soil their diaper and you’ll need to change them. This can present challenges, especially when a #2 happens in the middle of the night. Just make sure your baby’s diaper is easy to access without having to undress them.
Wet wipe warmers are a great way help speed up the cleanup process by quickly soothing and sanitizing your baby so you can quickly dispose of any soiled items and go back to sleep.
However, these soiled items need to be properly disposed of. If you aren’t leaving your tent until the morning, be aware that dirty diapers and other food items could attract animals, so place them in an airtight, scent proof container. Otherwise, dispose of them at least 100 yards away from your own and other campsites.
Know Your Limits
Remember how grocery shopping, meeting up with friends, and other little tasks were easier before baby came along? This might also be true for camping. Now you’ll have to carry their weight along with all of the items they’ll need during the trip, which can be exhausting.
Before setting off on a long height or filling your days with activity remember to consider the extra amount of stuff you’ll need to carry. Plus, you really don’t want to miss your baby’s regularly scheduled naptime.
Set up with a few camping chairs and relax. Your baby will be entertained and comforted while watching nature, as clouds go by and crickets chirp. Take the time to disconnect and bond with your child before it’s time to pack up and head home.
As soon as you’re ready to embark on a winter camping adventure, your baby should be ready too. By taking the time to plan out your trip and prepare for any situation, your family will have a wonderful trip as years from now you can brag about how your baby was camping before he/she could even walk! And Winter Camping With Baby at that!