When you love climbing and camping, what can you do? Would you just stop it when a baby arrives in your family? These questions may be hard to answer, but with the right set of Do’s and Don’ts to follow from some experts, you should be on your way out already! There will be some lessons learnt along the way for sure, because you can’t make a manual when it comes to how babies behave. And I'm sure you're looking for some tips for climbing and camping with a baby.
The knowledge gained, would be all yours, for the taking (and sharing!) Of course there would be some drawbacks, some things that you may have no control on or about; but look at the endless possibilities of creating memories - enjoying the beauty and splendor of camping off the grid, getting back to basics, and challenging your spirit a bit. It really is good for the soul. Yours and your little ones’.
If you really are the ones that enjoy the beauty of nature and love to lap it, don't be intimidated to bring infants and toddlers with you. Yes, it will be more challenging than it used to be, but isn't it life? Climbing and camping can be done with babies, just that it needs a little more planning and preparation. Dr. Charles Shubin, director of Children's Health Center at Mercy Family Care in Baltimore, MD, encourages this activity with young children, but advises parents on knowing the pros and cons before they jump right in. He says "Kids don't tolerate changes in environment as well as we do, they can get disoriented and anxious." But he adds, "If the adults are excited, then the kids will pick up on it."
For those of you that are interested in taking your baby to mountains, here are some great tips to help you stay safe and have fun.
If you want your baby to have fun (and not be cranky), go when their batteries are fully charged! You’ll have enough time and energy to soak up all the eco-vibes, play games and have enough stops. Make the journey exciting for the baby, be flexible and prepared to let go of goals if your child gets sidetracked. Try to make it fun for everyone, include educational and fun activities that will keep them entertained. Singing, playing games, telling stories all add up to the experience.
With a baby or a toddler around, these make sense; otherwise you’re free to run wild! For the first time with a baby, it’s a good idea to be close to home so that you could always bail if things went horribly wrong.
Baby carriers are best if you want to enjoy the scenic beauty. Backpacks are great and safer on trails in case you trip and fall forward.
Pack all the baby and toddler necessities of food, clothing and whatever it is they need to survive the trip. Don’t forget to pack rain gear as well, Mother Nature can be unpredictable. Pack a lot of wipes as they are handy for cleaning a lot of things!
Dr. Shubin emphasizes on the importance of the first-aid kit. Keep it simple though, bandages, Curel or other alcohol-based cleansing product, sunscreen (for children more than 6 months old), bug spray with 10% DEET (not for infants). Kids could contract dermatitis from touching irritating plants like poison ivy, so keep a look out on your children at all times.
Babies need to be in their regular grind and not miss any of their daily activities; this ensures they are happy and not cranky. They need to be on their regular schedule. Don’t forget naps! Can your child nap in a front carrier or backpack? Great. Otherwise, make sure to plan separate morning and afternoon activities. If they are having a hard time adapting to the changes, don’t forget to pack their blankies. Set up a good place for baby to sleep & keep them warm and cozy. And, Relax and catch up on your sleep as well.
When you’re camping for the first time with a baby, it would be suggested to go in a group. This means you have extra hands - to hold the baby when needed, to help out in cooking or just distract the baby when they get cranky. If you’re camping alone (not in a group), make sure to let fellow campers at a neighboring site know that you have a baby; they could come in handy when needed.
Pack like a pro! Bring all the pots and pans required for the cooking. Bring pre-cooked/semi-cooked/ easy to cook food. You’re here to camp and not cook! Add a folding card table to set-up on, lots of fresh drinking water and water for boiling and washing dishes. Keep it light.
Go around the area and explore it. Plan activities that would involve everyone. A bored toddler or baby isn’t cheerful and can easily get everyone’s mood down. It also tires them out for bedtime!
When camping, don’t sweat the small stuff. Leave your troubles and problems at home. Pack a fully charged camera, so you can always go back and look at the memories you created.
Climbing and camping with a baby can be stressful at times; however the benefits far exceed the struggles. This can be a wonderful learning experience, exciting and fun for children and adults alike and overall great for body, mind and spirit.
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