One of the biggest things that hampered my ability to join my first Hike it Baby hike was the fact that I was a new mom with a little guy who was breast fed – but exclusively by pumping because he never learned to latch. This was problematic when I wanted to be away from home for more than 2 hours. I could pump, feed one bottle before we headed out the door, put one room temperature bottle in my inside coat pocket (it was winter in Alaska so I had to keep it nice and warm) and then pack 2 frozen bags of breast milk in a cooler tote with a freezer pack. A thermos of hot water went into the diaper bag for when I would need to defrost a bag of frozen milk on the go. Most times I was somewhere with a Starbucks or the like to ask for a cup of boiling water as well for a faster heat-up. As soon as our errand was over I would rush home to pump or I would hastily pump in the car. I could not imagine how I was going to accomplish this on hike.
At six months old we switched to formula and this was much easier to keep sterile water in pre-filled bottles and be kept lukewarm to add a scoop of powdered formula to. I still wondered how I was going to hike and bottle feed my little guy, though. I had done plenty of stroller walks with stops to feed but how was I going to do it while he was in his carrier in the wilderness? I also wondered how other breast-feeding moms could do it. What did they wear for a bra? How did they keep warm in the winter? I’ve asked some fellow HiB Mamas and Papas how they feed their infants on the trail.
Here are some tips on bras/tanks/shirts that work well in warm weather:
Here is some advice on winter nursing:
Is your baby bottle fed? I found that I COULD bottle feed while baby-wearing on a hike similar to how other Mamas breastfeed. Using a bottle that is shorter and wider was easiest. I would keep the ready-made formula warm in an inside pocket in the winter or just in the pack I carried in the warm weather. When it was time for a bottle I would loosen the straps of our SSC and let him lean back and drink! Plus, hiking with a HiB group meant that everyone would stop and slow down for us without making us feel badly.
Here is what one HiB Dad had to say about feeding on the go:
So check off one item on the list of things that are stopping you from trying your first HiB hike! Come join us and get some tips and help in person!!
Christel Peters is a Branch Lead for HiB Spearfish and the Mama to Sebastian. When she isn’t chasing her adventurous toddler on the trails she is one of the Blog Editors for Hike it Baby. Do you have a story that should appear on our blog? Let us know!! email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org