Before my daughter was even born, we started planning her first camping trip. You see, my husband and I are both campers. We grew up camping, camped together from early on in our relationship, and we even went camping when we got engaged. We knew we wanted to share this love with our daughter, but I was nervous. How do you camp with a newborn?
Our first trip was planned for Memorial Day weekend – a large annual family camp-out at Whitewater Memorial State Park in Liberty, Indiana. My parents would be there with their camper, as well as several other family members in their various campers and tents. We weren’t going to be alone, but we were still going to be camping with a baby.
Oh, and did I mention that our Boxer-Husky mix, Kira, was coming too? And we were staying in a TENT?
But, all of my fear was for nothing; I learned a LOT about how to camp with a tiny baby, and have some tips for any other courageous outdoor-loving parents!
Bring a Stroller
Our stroller is extra helpful because it is a pram-style that can also be a seated style. It’s great for walks, a place to keep baby safe, and daytime naps (if it can be used in that way). Plus, I was able to push her around when she got cranky!
Use a Co-Sleeper
My mom picked up a SwaddleMe brand co-sleeper at a yard sale for $10 for us to try. I was nervous since Little Miss uses a bassinet at home, but it was perfect. She was right next to me, which made nighttime nursing easy, and she was snug, comfy, and safe. When she gets older, she will probably just share my sleeping bag, but for a tiny one, this was perfect.
Plan for Every Type of Weather
I brought more clothes for my four-week-old than I think I own for myself. I packed three extra outfits, a warm-weather and cold-weather option for each day, four sleep sacks, four footed pajamas, and her snowsuit. Did I go overboard? For sure. But it was nice to know that if the weather suddenly went crazy (this IS Ohio), she was covered.
Try and Stick to your Schedule from Home
On our first trip, Little Miss was too young to really be on a schedule, so I just let her sleep when she wanted, eat whenever, and play with everyone while she was awake. Subsequent trips have taught me that the closer you can maintain whatever schedule you follow at home, the easier things will be (and the less meltdowns you’ll experience!).
Remember the Sun
Sunscreen is not recommended for babies under six months, but that doesn’t keep them from being sunburned. In fact, their skin is even more sensitive in those first months since they are so new! Sun hats, long sleeves, shades on strollers, and muslin blankets are all great barriers between baby and sun. And remember that overcast doesn’t mean no sun; Little Miss got a little red on the cheeks despite my best efforts, and I realized that even when I didn’t feel the sun, it was still on us.
I was nervous going into it, but I quickly realized that camping with my newborn was just camping, and she happened to come along and make it even more fun (plus, she slept through the night for the first and one of the only times while we were camping)!
Have you camped with your baby? Do you have any other tips to share? I’d love to hear about your experiences!