Having a baby is scary. There, I said it. Whether you gave birth to a baby, watched your partner or even your own child give birth, or you adopt or foster a baby, taking responsibility for that tiny little human is both awe-inspiring and scary as hell. You spend those first days or weeks trying to keep your baby in a safe bubble, but eventually, you know you need to get out of the house and get some fresh air. There are so many benefits to getting your baby (and yourself) out into nature from a young age. Here at Hike it Baby, we get a lot of questions from new parents and caregivers regarding how to get outside with a new baby. We have listed the most asked questions along with advice and resources to help you get out the door and enjoy nature with your new addition.
What do I need to Bring?
The short answer: Just the essentials. The long answer: It depends. If you are going for a stroll around the neighborhood, you won’t need much more than water, a carrier or stroller, and a snack for you (especially if you are breastfeeding). If you’re going quick hike or will be more than a short walk from home add a diaper or two, a few wipes, a change of clothes (because even tiny babies can have unexpected diaper explosions), and a soother (if you use one).
If you are going on a longer hike or outdoor adventure, you will need a few more items. Namely, the 10 essentials. Check out this article for more information about Hiking Essentials to take along on a longer adventure.
How do you Feed a Baby While Hiking?
The easiest answer to this question is to feed your baby right before you go, either at home or in the car. However, if you have a cluster-feeder like my second child was, this may not be enough. Don’t be afraid to find a tree stump along the trail to nurse or bottle-feed your little one, or head back to the car or house if you are close by. As you and your baby get used to hiking and being out and about at feeding times, you may be able to feed on the go without the need for stopping along the way. Get more tips on breastfeeding or bottle-feeding while on the trail.
How Should I Carry My Baby?
This will depend on where you are going, the age and size of your baby, and your comfort level. For a walk around the block or a smooth trail, a stroller may suffice and is a great place to start (especially if you are still recovering from childbirth!). Another option is to wear your baby. Babywearing has incredible benefits for both parent/caregiver and baby that extend beyond just creating a wonderful bond with your baby. Read more about the benefits of babywearing in this article.
If you decide to babywear, there are various different types of carriers to choose from including wraps, ring slings, Mai Dai’s, and soft-structured carriers (young babies are not able to use hard-framed carriers yet). It’s important to make sure your child is big enough to use a particular carrier (the weight requirements will be listed on the box or the manufacturer’s website). To learn more, check out this article from Babywearing International on choosing a baby carrier. Curious how you can carry gear and essentials while wearing your baby? These tips from the Hike it Baby community will make it easier to carry supplies when hiking with a soft-structured carrier.
What if my Baby Won’t Stop Crying?
This is by far the most asked, and often “unspoken” question, that we get from the parents/caregivers of new babies. I always tell parents to first check the usual culprits. Is your baby hungry? Does your baby have a dirty diaper? Is your baby tired? Is your baby too hot or too cold? Most of the time, a baby will cry on the trail for the same reasons they will cry at home. Here are 9 tips for soothing a cranky baby on the trail from other parents and caregivers who have been there, done that.