Tips for Hiking with a Baby
Being outdoors is a huge part of our lives! We have always planned to bring future babies and kids on trails with us so when Whitney arrived in February of 2017 we couldn't wait to take her hiking! There was something so exciting about showing a pair of brand new eyes how beautiful of a world we live in. Whitney is now 6 months old and she has been hiking with us in a number of places and climates. Here are our top tips for taking a baby hiking with you.
1. Start easy! - Whether you are used to hiking or not it is going to be very different bringing a tiny baby along. You need to gage how far you can (while recovering) as well as how far a baby can manage. Our first hike was a short trail in Zion National Park. We just went in about 1/2 a mile and came right back. I think Whitney slept the whole time. A few days later we were a tiny bit too confident and hiked Lower Calf Creek Falls in southern Utah. It was 6 miles round trip and Whitney cried really hard for about 20 minutes of it. So sad! It was just a little too far for her at the time. We still enjoyed it though!
2. Pack only what you need - I was not breast feeding Whitney when we started hiking with her so we always had to carry formula with us. We would bring a small backpack with 2 diapers, a few wipes, and enough formula for 2 hours (which should last about 6 hours of hiking). You don't need to bring everything in your diaper bag! There has never been a time when I thought, darn I wish Whitney had some cute toys right now! They love being in the outdoors and with you.
3. Use a carrier or wrap that you love! When Whitney was a newborn we used an affordable wrap from Amazon (all it is is a long piece of fabric, you could seriously make one if you love DIY) as well as a wrap from The Modern Mom Shop (linked below). She did great in these wraps. Tie them extra tight because on the trail they tend to bounce and begin to sag much sooner. Once Whitney was 4 months old we started using the Ergo Baby 360 which we LOVE!! The first day we used it was in Colorado at Garden of the Gods and we were so impressed with how comfortable it was and how much Whitney liked facing out. So great!
4. Bring a sunhat and cover babes with sunscreen. This seems like a given but there were so many times when I forgot Whitney's hat and was so nervous about her little head! I would usually improvise with clothing or a sweater to make sure that her head was always covered. I always carry a bottle of sunscreen in our diaper bag and I lather her up before we leave on any outdoor adventure.
5. Skip the nap! Forget about babies schedule for a day and do what you love! This is probably one of the biggest things Mike and I have learned and try to help other young couples understand. Yes babies need naps but don't let that keep you from getting outdoors! When the baby is tired enough they will sleep in the carrier. Whitney is getting bigger and she will still sleep in the car and the carrier. That being said, she is very used to it and has been doing it since she was little. So it might take a little bit of adjusting but you can do it!! There are so many babies in the world and very few of them have perfect naps every day. Your baby will recover if they skip a nap AND you will love having them along for your hike. Don't worry so much!
6. It will be hard but worth it! - Okay so I've been super positive up to this point and that's because 90% of the time everything goes perfectly well. There will be times when the baby cries, or you forgot the carrier (guilty), or your back hurts from carrying (happens to us all the time), etc.. None of these reasons have made us not want to take her again, we just learn from it and move forward! Remember you've chosen to have a baby and you've also chosen to live a life of adventure. All great things! With this change will come some growing pains and that is perfectly normally. So keep smiling and have fun!
Please share in the comments below what hiking tips you have to share with us! We love learning from other adventuring parents who have great ideas!
Now go out and find an adventure.