From the moment my wife and I found out we were having a baby, people said we’d have to completely adjust our adventurous lifestyle. They were so wrong.
Life with a newborn can be the most exciting, chaotic, tiring, and fulfilling time of any parent’s life. Of course, taking care of a little one often means making adjustments to your lifestyle—but that doesn’t mean you can’t be active and get outdoors even as your baby is learning to kick and crawl. In fact, you can go out for a full-blown hike with baby in tow. These tips and packing suggestions will have you and your newest outdoor enthusiast trail ready.
Get the all clear from your doctor.
Before you do anything else, make sure your doctor approves of your plans. He or she may not stop you from going, but will likely provide some crucial advice on preparation and factors to be aware of when taking your baby out. Once you clear that checkpoint, you can start getting those bags packed and ready.
Pack light…and right.
Your new little one will add a few (adorable) pounds to your load so don’t overdo it when it comes to filling your pack. Remember: Sprays and lotions designed for little ones are safe for adults as well, so pack your baby items first and supplement for yourself where needed. Bring one bag for both you and your baby, and make sure it has easy-to-access pockets for wipes and diapers. You or your partner will be carrying the baby, so having side pockets for a bottle or your own drink is a bonus. Fill your pack with the following items:
- Baby wipes (these can double as hand and face wipes for the grown-ups!)
- Baby bug spray/sunscreen combo
- Adult snack
- Baby food/formula
- Extra baby outfit (just in case!)
- Baby sun hat/sunglasses
- Blanket (this doubles as a changing pad)
- First aid kit
Keep baby’s first few hikes organized with Eagle Creek’s Pack-it™ Clean Dirty Cube. You can use one side for dirty clothes and the other for diapers, wipes, and anything else that will help you leave no trace while out in nature. Just remember to clean out the cube after you’re finished, of course.
Ignore the naysayers.
From the moment my wife and I found out we were having a baby, people started telling us things were going to get “real” and we’d have to completely adjust our lives. If you’re facing similar feedback, ignore it. Sure, some things have changed, but my wife and I are slowly resuming our pre-baby activities, going out, and getting fresh air on a regular basis. The biggest difference is that we added an awesome new member to our team!
Map your route first.
If you’re going to a big park, talk to a ranger or whoever is working at the desk before you set out. He or she will be able to tell you how difficult a trail is, or approximately how long it takes to complete. You can also get information on good spots to stop for a picnic and things to see along the way. It might be a bit more challenging to get that kind of information from smaller parks, but if you search on Google or Facebook, you’re likely to find at least a few good tips.
Don’t push it.
Don’t feel like you have to go very far on your first hike, or even on your first few. In fact, babies can’t get as much sun as you, so it’s wise to keep the adventures brief. (And when you do go out, make sure your babe is properly covered.) My wife and I started by taking baby steps—no pun intended—with short strolls in the woods, knowing our distance would increase with time. Even if you take it slowly, you’ll be amazed at how things progress once you start taking your baby out. In just a few short years, your kid will be the one slowing down so you can keep up.
Consider the benefits.
If you still need convincing to take your newborn out, think about how tough it is to get kids to embrace the outdoors these days. If you can start from the very beginning, you have a great shot at convincing yours to go outside regularly later in life. And you and your partner will benefit from the fresh air and mental breaks after being cooped up at home. After all, this is about taking care of yourselves as much as it is about that little bundle of joy.
Now that you have a plan, go out into nature and grab some fresh air for you and your family. Where will you go first?
While Eagle Creek is here to provide tips and insights on travel, we cannot accept any responsibility for any potential consequences arising from the use of this information. Always conduct your own research and use your best judgment.
Related links (from Eagle Creek blog):
Packing for a Family Road Trip
4 Unconventional Ways To Show Mom You Care
Do Something Cool with Dad