Camping with a baby can seem intimidating. However, babies are natural explorers. Like you, they were born for the outdoors and love to spend time camping, hiking, and even backpacking. That being said, if you’ve never done it before, you might be a little worried about how it’s going to go. Let us ease your mind with a few tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way.
1. Pack Only the Supplies You Need
One of the first things you might be worried about is packing. After all, babies require a lot of care. From diapers to wipes, to clothing and lotion, it may seem like a lot, and overpacking can be a real issue, especially when backpacking or even hiking.
To avoid overpacking, make yourself a checklist of how many diapers, wipes, etc. you use on a regular day. This will give you an idea of what you really need. Then pack only as many as are required for the number of days you plan to be out. Put wipes in a ziplock bag and leave the dispenser box at home.
2. Plan Baby Food Carefully
Depending on the level of solid foods your baby is eating, food may not be as big a deal as you think. Packing food that you can eat that can also be shared with your baby is a great way to cut down on your camping load.
Although your baby may not be ready for energy bars just yet, there are a number of easy foods you can bring that will keep your baby happy. Bring some applesauce packets and a couple of avocados. If your baby is eating solid foods, some freeze-dried camping meals are just fine. However, it’s best to avoid anything that is too spicy and to keep sodium levels down as babies don’t digest salt very well.
3. Don’t Worry About Dirt
As parents, it’s natural to be protective of our babies. We worry about germs and anything that might get them sick. Nevertheless, smudged cheeks and dirty nails are not the end of the world. In fact, a little dirt play can actually be good for babies!
When camping, if you’re too concerned about every little mark your baby picks up you’ll spend the entire time fighting the dirt. Truth is, babies are born to thrive in a natural environment (as are we all). Of course, it’s important to make sure nothing dangerous is nearby, such as small rocks your baby might choke on, but otherwise, remember that you’re camping and that a little dirt won’t hurt.
4. Watch Out for Critters
Although a little dirt is not an issue, there are still things you need to be on the lookout for, such as insects and anything that might irritate your baby’s sensitive skin. Obviously, be aware of large animals, but also look for ant colonies, standing water where there might be mosquitoes, and anything that can bite.
Before you put your baby on the ground, be sure to assess the area. Long grass can not only be irritating to your baby’s skin but may also harbor ticks. Similarly, wildflowers are pretty to look at, but be aware of the potential for bees. Your baby’s soft skin is more susceptible to rough plant life and insect bites. And remember to stash baby wipes and other smelly products outside of the tent in a sealed container as they can attract bears.
5. Let Nature Do the Entertaining
Finally, don’t be afraid to let your baby explore. Babies love the sights and sounds of nature. There are so many textures, smells, and things to discover that there’s little need to bring a bunch of toys along on your trip.
Depending on the kind of trip you’re planning, you can save yourself a lot of hassle by skipping the toys and relying on nature to do the entertaining. Most babies will find plenty of stimulation and are put at ease while out in nature. Let sticks, rocks, and dirt be your baby’s toys and leave the plastic ones at home.
Give It a Test Run!
Remember, babies don’t care where you go camping, so keep it simple. When camping with your baby for the first time, consider going somewhere close to home. Not only will this keep your trip simple, but it can also put your mind at ease in case the weather is bad or you need to pack up and go home for any reason. You don’t have to go far to have an adventure!