You have a baby and you’re thinking, "That’s it! My hiking, climbing and backpacking life is over!" Wrong! Once a hiker, always a hiker. While it could be a lot of work and planning, but consider the wonderful family times you will have and the memories you’ll make. You can take your baby with you on a hike but there are things to consider before climbing with a baby.
The most important thing to consider while you plan to climb with a baby or a toddler is that you now have to alter your goals. You have to carefully consider the destination and the environment. Consider the amount of luggage you’ll have to carry and the baby! That’s why you pick an easy destination; you want it to be enjoyable for both you and the baby. You’ll need a kid-friendly place and something that’s not too far away from home.
When can you begin? One of the first and important things to consider is how early to start climbing with your baby. Some experts would say definitely two years and over, but you can start if you know your baby is healthy and tremendously resilient. If you do start at an early age for them, they like to look at nature and begin to admire it. Gradually, they wouldn’t like to be pent up inside homes and would love the outdoors!
Scope out the trail if possible before taking the baby. You can also consider choosing an easy one or one that you’re familiar with. Choose short ones, you may want to get comfortable with the baby first and then attempt a longer one. A very important thing for new moms to remember is that their bodies are still recovering from having a baby, and you may not be able to achieve or do everything you could do before. Go slow and listen to your body.
The driving time to the location is also to be considered as you wouldn’t want the baby to tire out by the time you reach there. If your baby doesn’t like car drives, or if the drives are too long, the baby might just have be spent out for the climb.
It could be expensive, but would you take a chance? Ideally, a good backpack baby carrier should be priced between $100-$150. Try not to settle for anything less, as you would be compromising on quality and comfort. Babies that are less than 6 months old should be carried in the front, unless you’re experienced to carry them on the back in a wrap. The baby should be able to sit up unassisted before you decide to move it back. For toddlers, a good quality frame backup would do. Also, toddlers should be able to walk and try to explore themselves.
Ask yourself, why are you really doing this? Usually it’s to see how far we can go, we like to push ourselves and see or discover new things. Don’t let that be the reason once you have a baby! Change your perspective and goal once you have a baby with you. Climb to get outside, feel the sun on your face and experience new things. This shouldn’t be the time to break records. Tell yourself the reason why we climb and hike and that is to enjoy being outside and experience nature.
Appropriate clothing and gear differs vastly with the changing seasons, climates and the weather you plan to have this activity. The primary goal should be to be warm in winter and fall and protection from the sun in the summer and spring. Layers are always good, as it helps in adjusting as the temperature changes. Always keep a check on your baby’s temperature no matter the season.
Bring a good amount of water to keep yourself hydrated. Remember, thirst is an early indicator of dehydration. Consider drinking electrolytes if you sweat extensively.
Consider doing some warm up exercises or stretching before and after. Focus on having a good posture and balance as you have to be careful with the baby.
Finally, remember the most important thing you can accomplish as a climbing parent is to create a fun and memorable experience for everyone involved.
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