Opening up to the world of parenthood requires you to be responsible for your child’s growth and development. However, that does not necessarily mean having to say goodbye to activities you used to love. For instance, you can still see and explore the outdoors with activities like camping. Plus, you can even bring your baby with you!
Camping with your little bundle of joy seems like a daunting task, even for experienced campers. In reality, it is the perfect way to introduce your child to the wonders of the outdoors. To learn more about how to camp with your baby while having a good time, use this article as your guide.
How to Prepare for Camping With a Baby
When camping, you expect to enjoy a fun experience and not focus only on taking care of your child. Having the best of both worlds might seem next to impossible, but it can be done through thorough preparation. Here are some ways to get ready for your camping adventure:
- Bring a Large Tent
A good night’s rest is important for your and your child’s health. Although you are both in an unfamiliar environment, it’s essential that you and your baby are well-rested. One way to achieve this is by bringing a large tent. This will give you sufficient space to spread out. If you have a portable play yard or crib, you can even place it inside the tent.
- Take a Baby Carrier With You
Baby carriers strengthen the bond between you and your baby and nurture a close parent-child connection. When used during a camping trip, they help you stay hands-free to get tasks done while still holding your child. In addition, baby carriers let you discreetly breastfeed on the go.
If you are shopping for a baby carrier for hiking or camping, look for one that is comfortable when worn for extended periods of time. For instance, consider buying our Adventure Baby Carrier.
What makes this baby carrier different from others is it’s made of 500D nylon, which is a durable material field-tested for the outdoors. In addition, it features specially designed shoulder and back supports that makes your child feel weightless. This lets you move easily, even with your baby latched in front of you. It also has a ventilated mesh back panel to allow smooth airflow. Additionally, it has fully adjustable straps making it easy to wear and remove.
- Pack Appropriate Baby Clothing
Reading weather forecasts is necessary to ensure that you’re bringing the right clothing on your camping trip. Make sure that your baby always feels comfortable by dressing them in layers when necessary. Doing this will help you adapt to the changing weather. For sleepwear, choose a fleece bunting or a sleep sack.
To protect your baby from the harsh sun rays and bugs, note that it’s generally not recommended for children younger than six months old to wear sunscreen and bug repellent. Because of this, look for other ways to provide protection. You can use an umbrella, put on a bug net, or dress your child in long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- Have Easy Access to Clean Water
When it comes to food, breastfeeding is the simplest solution for your baby. However, if your baby already eats solids or uses a bottle, make sure you have access to clean water. This will be convenient for mixing baby formula and preparing pureed food. Regardless of the meals your child prefers, they must be simple and easy to prepare even when outdoors.
Where to Go Camping With a Baby
If it’s your first time camping with your baby, it’s important to pick a place wisely. Opt for a campsite not too far from your home with basic amenities, like a bathroom, for your and your little one’s convenience. You might find it easier to have neighbours or to camp privately. It’s your call if you want to be around other campers on your first camping trip.
Many camping spots like national parks, private campgrounds, and state parks are suitable for bringing along your baby. To pick the best choice for you and your child, here are some tips to consider:
- Look for Campsites With Amenities
When you think of camping, you probably imagine being in the middle of nowhere, immersing yourself in the authentic experience of an excursion in the wilderness. Enjoying that may be possible if you are camping alone, but it is not ideal for bringing your baby with you.
Your camping trip has to be as convenient as possible. This means choosing a campsite with a bathroom and even a playground nearby. These amenities are essential, especially during your first outing.
- Try to Get Some Distance From Other Campsites
Just because you are looking forward to your camping trip does not mean your baby feels the same way. They will be exposed to an entirely different environment and new experiences, which can cause stress for them. Because of this, they may cry within the day or in the middle of the night, disturbing other campers.
Prevent complaints about noise issues by booking a campsite with some distance to neighbouring sites. This extra space will also make the camping experience feel a little more remote.
- Limit or Eliminate Driving Time
Eliminating the stress of travel is easy if you are camping with a baby for the first time. To do this, pick a campsite that is near your home. This way, you won’t have to get up extremely early to reach your destination to cut down your driving time. Most importantly, you can call quits and head home in no time without spending hours on the road if things don’t go as planned. Alternatively, you can set up a tent in your backyard to have a camp test run if you want to drop driving altogether.
How to Plan Baby Meals for a Camping Trip
Planning a camp menu is easier than you might think. While you are free to make whatever dish you want, it’s best to keep things simple for you and your baby.
To start baby meal planning, consider what your child eats at home. For instance, if they are breastfeeding, you likely don’t need to do any meal planning at all. However, if your little one eats solids or drinks from a bottle, here are several things you should consider:
- Bring Ready-to-Eat Foods
There are convenient camping meal options suitable for children eating solid foods, such as squeeze packets containing pureed fruits and vegetables. If you have a toddler with you, they can easily squeeze one of these into their own mouth.
On the other hand, if your little one is old enough to try finger foods, it’s recommended to feed them some beans, avocado, soft fruits, and scrambled eggs. Your child can even eat what you are having, as long as the meals are easy to chew, swallow, and digest. If you need further guidance about which foods are appropriate for your child, consult a pediatrician.
- Keep Food-Related Items Clean
Make sure all baby bottles, utensils, and food containers are kept clean. If you must sanitize bottles, you can boil water at your campsite. You should also have access to clean water if you are mixing baby formula.
How to Dress Your Baby for a Camping Trip
Comfort is your top priority when it comes to dressing your baby for a camping adventure. Since babies are more temperamental, getting agitated with uncomfortable clothing can make them cause a scene. Here are some clothing tips to follow to ensure you and your little one will have a good time on your trip:
- Avoid Cotton Clothing
Clothes made of cotton and other everyday clothing items you have at home can be comfortable. However, these articles of clothing can be worn only on a casual car camping trip with a good weather forecast. On sunny days, dress your baby in long-sleeved shirts and pants that breathe well. These clothes will protect your child from the sun without getting too hot.
If you are expecting cold or wet weather, it’s best to bring clothes made from wool or synthetic materials. Pack fleece pants, insulated jackets, or wool socks for cold weather. You may need to bring a shell jacket if you anticipate rain during your camping dates. These clothes dry more quickly and do a better job of insulating than cotton.
- Never Overdress Your Baby
As a parent, you only want the best for your child. Unfortunately, this can lead you to add a bunch of layers for fear that they will get cold at night. To prevent this, be mindful of overdressing your baby.
Check the weather forecast for the low temperatures and consider how those compare to the temperatures in your house. Using this as your basis can help you adjust your little one’s outfit accordingly and ensure your child sleeps comfortably at night. For instance, you can provide extra warmth through layering for a sleeping garment.
- Use Your Baby’s Usual Diapers
When diapering your baby while camping, it can be done like you usually do at home. This is especially true if your campsite has a bathroom nearby for disposing used disposable diapers.
If you're more used to cloth diapers at home, you can continue to use them outdoors. Just make sure to bring an airtight bag for storing dirty cloth diapers. In addition, a portable diaper changing mat can be helpful during diaper changes. If you don’t have one, some useful alternatives are a blanket or a sleeping pad.
How to Sleep Comfortably in a Tent With a Baby
Let’s be honest: many new parents are struggling to get a restful sleep with a young baby at home. Unfortunately, with the newness of a camping trip, there’s a good chance that you and your little one will be up for more time than usual. The good news is that there are some ways to make your and your baby’s situation more manageable. Here are some tips for sleeping comfortably in a tent with your child:
- Bring Some of Your Child’s Favorite Toys
Almost everything outdoors can be seen as a toy for your little one. However, nothing beats the familiarity of their favourites at home. For this reason, even though you don’t feel like you have to bring some of your child’s items, it’s advisable to pack some of their special belongings. This can be something they fancy being around with like a book or a stuffed toy. This will bring a familiar comfort to your child, especially in their new environment.
- Be Understanding and Flexible
Expect that camping is going to disrupt your regular nighttime routine. Because of this, it’s important to be adaptable and understanding. For example, if you have any sleep training techniques you have been using at home, you might have to take a break from that. To get through the night, you might have to let your child stay up later than usual or nurse them more frequently in the middle of the night.
How to Protect Your Baby From Outdoor Elements While Camping
It’s inevitable that your child will be exposed to various outdoor elements like insects while camping. Although applying bug repellent or sunscreen is not recommended on younger babies, there are several ways to stay protected. Here are some tips to follow:
- Limit Exposed Skin
Remember that a baby's skin is extremely sensitive, which is why you cannot just apply any products designed to repel insects. Fortunately, you can still keep your child’s skin protected without these formulated repellents by limiting the amount of skin they expose. For instance, you can let them wear a hat and long-sleeved shirts and tuck their pants into socks. Besides clothing, other alternatives to repel bugs is to light citronella candles or set up a screened shelter.
- Seek Shade as Much as Possible
Aside from bugs, it’s crucial to protect your child’s skin from the sun. Look for a shady campsite to keep your baby away from it as much as you can. If your little one wants to play, find a spot that is out of the sun. You can also plant an umbrella or dress them in sun-protection clothing. If you must put sunscreen on them, discuss this concern with your pediatrician first to ensure it is safe and does not cause any adverse reaction to your baby’s skin.
Being a parent does not mean your camping days (and nights) are over. In fact, this can be a mark of a new exciting adventure with your bundle of joy. This is because, in reality, bringing your baby with you during a campaign trip is an excellent way to see the world and foster a strong bond with your child. As long as you prepare well and equip yourself with the right gear, you and your baby will be able to explore conveniently. To get started, look for the best baby carrier that suits your and your little one’s needs.
If you need a tactical baby carrier, then shop at Onward. We collaborated with manufacturers in military and defence, which makes our products at par with the standards of dependable Aussie heroes in uniform. Browse our other items or place your order now!