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Five Expert Tips for Hiking with a Baby.

Hiking with babies seems much easier now than when I had my babies. Today, the baby carriers seem sturdier. The parents seem sturdier. So do the babies! Some of my fondest memories are of my babies in their carriers, their big eyes gazing around contentedly while the scenery rolled by.

I think it makes sense to get babies out on the trail while they're portable, light weight, and still figuring out what a "normal" family routine consists of. If they're indoctrinated into trail time before becoming verbal or mobile, they simply accept that hiking is what the family does together.

Hiking with babies and toddlers is more art than science— what works for one family may not work for another, but here are a few tips and tricks that we’ve picked up as our family has grown.
Hiking with the little ones? Why not?! :)
Invest in a Good Quality Baby Carrier
You’re not going to want to just hold your baby in your arms while you trek up the side of a hill or mountain, or try to push a baby across rocky terrain in a stroller. Instead, you’ll want to use a baby backpack carriers for hiking that can be strapped to your body.

Once the baby has good head support (typically after six months old), then a hiking backpack that props the baby up high so they can look around is golden for keeping baby happy on hikes.

Check the Weather Forecast Before Making a Plan
A trail can seem pretty easy until a little weather blows in. Take note of this as you head out. Ideally you want to make sure you always have stable footing when carrying baby, especially if it’s a new trail for you and you are carrying baby on your front. As you head out, think about how long the hike is going to take. Plan a turn-around time. Remember if you head out for 60 minutes, you’ll still have to hike back.

Dress the Baby Appropriately
It’s easy to spot a child when they’re dressed in bright colors and it’s easy for a child to spot a grown-up if we’re wearing bright colors too! Toddlers can learn the ‘Hug A Tree’ method if they are lost. The steps are to stop, sit down next to a tree and blow a whistle. We practice this with our toddler when we hike and he always hikes with a whistle around his neck. We like to hike with our toddler between two adults or directly in front of us so we can see him.

Bring a Partner and a few Vital Baby Supplies
Hiking with a partner is smart even without a baby in tow, but becomes even more important when a little one is depending on you. If something were to happen while on the trail, the other person can run for help while you stay with the baby.

Also, your hiking partner can carry either the baby or the backpack with the baby supplies during the hike. You don’t want to bring the entire contents of your diaper bag, but a few vitals are important to have: a couple diapers, wipes, pacifier if your baby uses one, bassinets for your baby, plus an outdoor blanket and a change of clothes in case of a diaper blowout if the climate isn’t right for your baby.

Try a Quick Hike with Your Baby Close to Home
If you’re still feeling daunted by the thought of going out into the wilderness with your baby away from all your creature comforts and all that baby stuff you feel you need, or aren’t sure how your baby will handle a hike, just try a quick hike close to home. Even if it’s just a walk around the neighborhood, you can try out the carrier, see how your baby does on the walk, and start to get comfortable with the idea of hiking with a baby. You may even find you love it and that it’s time to get out there and explore with your little one!

We’ve learned not to set speed and distance goals when hiking with babies and toddlers, sometimes we spend more time playing with a log on the side of the trail than we actually do hiking— other times we never lose sight of the trailhead. But, with a little bit of planning and a little bit of patience, hiking with babies and toddlers can be a great way to see the outdoors.

9 replies:

Wynne Katherine said...

Very informative. Thank you for sharing!

Mitchelle said...

In whatever activity involving babies and young kids, preparation is everything. These are great tips to note.

GiGi Eats said...

My sister is SO the pro at this!! She goes hiking pretty much on the daily with her toddler and then goes camping with her and her husband every weekend! I dunno how she does it - but she kicks butt at it, never complains that her daughter fussed at all!

Adrianas Best Recipes said...

I enjoy hiking but do not have a baby I have a dog that I love. I guess I can apply some of this tips when hiking with my best friend. Thanks!

Blair Villanueva said...

Thanks for your tips! This is quite an adventure but am not sure if I can do it :) I think i'll wait the kids to grow up for early teens before bringing them for hike, haha

Unknown said...

A carrier makes any parent's life easier, especially when you're out and about. I think having a reliable carrier to take with you during a hike is perfect!

Erin S said...

I am past the baby phase but I would only watch the whether not bringing baby into extreme cold or heat and pack a lot of patience

Unknown said...

Ah, good post! Now, how about hiking with TWO babies?! More manpower, I guess, eh? (I have twins LOL)

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing this information with us. Very informative!