It may seem to be exciting for the most part, but the prospect of camping with a baby can be a bit daunting even to some experienced campers. Well, do not worry, here are some valuable tips that can help you go on with your baby at camp and still have that good quality time you expect with the outdoors:
1. First and foremost, choose the right location. Since you will be camping with a baby, picking the right location is important. It is recommended for first-time “with a baby” campers to choose a spot not that far away from home and offers basic amenities such as having a bathroom. Checking for natural hazards that may compromise the safety of your baby is a must!
- Limit your driving time. Take note that babies are more prone to stress and long driving hours can affect them.
- Choose a campsite with access to basic amenities such as a bathroom, access to running water, or a playground. This may seem hard to find and the idea may sway away from our description of “wilderness & outdoors” but these things can be convenient with a baby on board.
- Try to distance yourself from other campers. You may not know when but expect that your baby can cry or make loud sounds. This is very normal, but it is better to prevent other campers from complaining about noise issues.
- Seek out areas that provide shades. Not having our little ones in direct contact with sunlight protects them from harmful UV lights.
2. Bring a large tent to give you more flexibility. In this case, it will let you put a crib or a play area inside the tent. Also keep in mind that your nights will be a bit different from when you’re camping on your own or without a baby, so you want to give more “breathing room” to your situation as possible.
- Bring with you a large family tent or if not, bring an upsize from what you regularly use in camping. Surely, you’ll appreciate the extra space provided by these tents especially when you have your baby around.
- Be flexible and be adaptable. Understand that there will be times when you need to wake up at night more than you used to at home or nurse the baby a little bit often. One reason is your baby is not used to the new surroundings and may require more care than usual.
- One great strategy is to bring some favorite things that your baby loves from home. This can be a stuffed toy, portable crib or playing pen, and a book or a comfort pillow/blanket. This can help them cope up with the new surroundings and keep them occupied throughout the day.
3. A comfortable baby is a happy baby. Dress your baby in multiple layers. If you feel cold, so does your baby. Layer their clothing for them to be able to adapt to changing weather. Wrap them in a cozy sleep sack for warmth when it’s time to sleep but be sure not to make it too tight.
- Think as if you are dressing yourself when you dress your baby for the outdoors. A simple way to layer properly is to think of a base layer that goes next to skin, a middle layer that provides warmth, and an outer layer that offers protection from wind and rain. Also, you might want to avoid cotton when going out in cold wet weather. It is better to use and bring clothes made up from synthetic wool that does a better job of insulating and drying more quickly than cotton.
- On sunny days, consider a long sleeve shirt and pants that breathe well so your child can be protected from the sun but won’t be too hot.
- Don’t overdress. Just don’t. As easy as it is. It is easy to add multiple layers in fear that your baby may feel cold for the night but trust me, don’t overdo it.
- Diaper on a usual basis. Continue what you’re doing with diapers like you are at home, especially when there is a nearby bathroom. The only thing is to never leave dump used ones irresponsibly. Bring with you an airtight container or a ziplock plastic bag for storing used diapers to be disposed of properly later.
4. Keep their meals simple. Breastfeeding is probably the simplest form of meal you can offer to your baby. But still, planning the menu ahead of time is a must! It may seem to be a lot of work but if you focus on keeping things simple for you and your baby, it will not be so bad. For adults and older kids, one-pot meals, like pasta, oatmeal, and chili, make meal prep, cooking, and cleanup easy. To plan food for your baby, consider first what they eat at home; most likely, you’ll be able to stick pretty close to that. If they’re breastfeeding, then the menu is super simple. But if your baby drinks from a bottle or eats solids, you can still journey out into nature with just a couple extra considerations:
- Bringing convenient food. If your child is eating solid foods, there are convenient options like squeeze packets with pureed fruits and vegetables in them that don’t require refrigeration unless open. An older kid can squeeze one of these into their own mouth, but with a real little one, you can squeeze small amounts onto a spoon and feed it to them. If your baby is old enough to enjoy finger foods, try soft fruits, scrambled eggs, avocado, and beans. It’s possible your child can even eat some of what you’re having. Of course, follow your pediatrician’s guidance on what’s appropriate for your child to eat.
- Remember to keep things clean. It only takes one dirty utensil to start a grumbling tummy and send you or your child to the bathroom, ruining your entire day at camp. Make sure that if you are bottle feeding, sterilize your bottles with boiling water to keep them sanitized. Use only clean potable water for mixing formulas.
5. Invasive bugs and the sun can sometimes be a bit of a problem when camping. Protecting your baby and yourself is really important. Remember that sunscreens and bug repellants are not recommended for babies younger than 6 months old so look for other methods like using long sleeves, an umbrella to block off the sun, and putting on the traditional bug net.
- As much as possible, limit your baby’s skin exposure. Provide covering to as much skin as you can. Pants tucked into socks, a long-sleeve shirt, and a hat are fairly effective. You can also try other ways of repelling insects, like wearing head nets, setting up a screened-in shelter, or lighting citronella candles in your campsite. Just be responsible for candles. Do not leave them unattended for they may cause a fire to break.
- Find a shady spot and limit your baby’s exposure to the sun. Use an umbrella when going out in the open.
Having a baby in camp is not a terrible idea after all. It provides great bonding to your family and involving them in these kinds of events helps to stir up their passion for appreciating nature and showing them that we need to take care of it. Enjoy your time and share our passion while they are still young.