When you bring a little person into your life it’s easy for parents to think that many of the activities they used to enjoy are off-limits. But the truth is that with some pre-planning and a little bit of advice you can do anything with your baby, even hiking. We’ve put together our best tips and advice for parents who want to baby carry on their next hike, to get you back on the trails!
Get The Right Baby Carrier
The first step to having a successful hike with your baby is to get the right carrier. A good baby carrier really does make all the difference to both you and your little one.
It’s a good idea to read lots of reviews and shop around, particularly for baby carriers that are specifically designed for hiking parents. It’s a good idea to get a carrier that can be worn both front and back as both configurations are suited for babies at different stages of development.
Make Sure Everyone Is Used To The Carrier
Even if you have the best baby carrier on the market your experience isn’t going to be any good unless both you and your bubba are used to using the baby carrier. The best way to get used to the baby carrier is simple practice. Take a few walks close to home wearing the carrier with the baby. Also, make sure to practice taking the carrier on and off so you can do it easily on the trail.
Start Close To Home
Hiking is absolutely an activity that parents and babies can do together, but it’s important to ramp up to hikes you might have done before having children.
When you’re baby carrying it’s a good idea to start on a trail that’s close to home. If you have to drive a long way just to start the walk you’ll find that both parent and baby will tire out pretty quick.
When you start close to home it’s easy to get to the trail and get home when you’re done.
Try A Dry Run/Do Trail Research
If you have an opportunity to do a dry run on the trail without the baby or baby carrier, we would definitely recommend it. This allows you to get the full lay of the land and see where you might have issues navigating the landscape with the baby. It also allows you to check out places to stop for resting and feeding. If you can’t do a dry run of the trail, check out local hiking forums to get a review of the walk from others who have done it recently, particularly parents who hiking with kids and babies.
Know Your Own Limits
Carrying a baby on a hike can be tiring, and it’s important to know your own capabilities in terms of carrying your baby. Don’t make the mistake of embarking on a long and exhausting hike with no options to turn back or cut the hike short if you aren’t prepared. It’s always better to start with smaller hikes to build up your strength and resilience to the changed conditions of hiking while baby carrying.
Timing is so important when it comes to hiking with a baby. You want to make sure that you plan your hike around your child’s schedule, leaving early in the morning and trying to make it home before the trip becomes too overwhelming.
You’ll also need to have a good idea about when your baby feeds, and have plans on how and where you’re going to feed them. If you’re breastfeeding this might be as simple as wearing an appropriate feeding-friendly top, otherwise you’ll need to bring bottles or other foods that will nourish your baby.
Have Plans For Waste
Babies make waste, and no baby is going to be satisfied in even the comfiest baby carrier if they’re sitting in a dirty nappy. You need to make sure that you don’t just bring enough nappy changes, baby wipes and creams, but also a suitable way to carry the dirty nappies in a way that doesn’t stink up your entire pack. We’d recommend thick plastic bags that can be sealed, like heavy-duty sandwich bags with a push lock.
Be Temperature Smart
There are two sides to this. The first is that you need to make sure your baby is suitable dressed for the hike. In cooler climates your baby should be rugged up but still comfortable in their carrier. Remember, as they aren’t moving as much as you are, they need to be wearing more warm clothes. For you being temperature smart means you’ll need to adjust your clothing to adapt to the baby carrier. Wearing your baby can make you warmer than usual, so don’t rug up too much or you’ll over-sweat. You also need to make sure your hiking gear offers enough ease of movement once the carrier is on top.
Now that you know a bit more about baby carrying and hiking, are you feeling more confident about getting back on the trails?