This weekend, my husband and I took our 3 month old daughter on her very first hike! I like hiking, but this is something that my husband absolutely loves, so it was a very special day for him as well. Hiking and outdoor exploring are great ways to spend time together and enjoy God’s creation as a family. It was a beautiful day here in Maryland, so after lunch we set out on our journey!
Pretty much as soon as we got to the park, I realized that there was a lot to think about for the day- I had forgotten sunscreen and snacks, and left my water bottle in the car. However, I wasn’t the most unprepared person in the woods that day- we actually ran into a couple who were pushing their baby in a stroller, trying to cross a stream! I thought to myself, “there’s better ways to do this than fighting with a stroller in a stream”. And with that, I give you my 5 tips for hiking with a baby!
Don’t forget sunscreen!
This was my biggest mistake. Though it seems that Hallelujah’s skin is fine after our hike (it was mostly woods, after all) I was worried the entire time about her getting burnt. There are great nontoxic sunscreens on the market now for children, and they even come in small tubes to stick in a diaper bag. California Baby is my current favorite.
Prepare with a good bug repellent.
Okay guys, bug repellent is scary stuff- but so is West Nile and Lymes Disease and any other number of things that can come with bug bites. We make a very conscious effort to avoid any type of chemicals in our personal products, and bug repellent is probably one of the hardest places to do this effectively- nearly every bug repellent (that works) has Deet as the main ingredient! However, we have started using TerraShield by DoTerra Oils, and we really love it. It’s a blend of Cedarwood, Catnip, Sandalwood, and other good bug repellent oils- it smells nice, too! I just put it on myself and the aromas of the oil protects the baby as well- if you are wearing the baby! Which brings me to my next point…
Invest in a good baby carrier.
Don’t be the couple wrestling with their stroller in the woods! Especially if you plan on having outdoor adventures often, it’s important to have a carrier that is durable and secure enough that you’ll be comfortable in semi-rocky terrain. Of course, we don’t want you taking any unnecessary risks while hiking with your baby, but if there’s a bridge to cross or mud to traverse through, you don’t want to have to keep a hand on the baby- and that’s when a good carrier comes in handy. Soft Structured Carriers are the way to go, in my opinion- we love our Ergo!
This is really important, especially if you are breastfeeding. You may find that you need to feed your baby more often than normal, especially if it is rather hot outside- this will keep the baby hydrated as well! We love glass water bottles, but for hiking, a lighter stainless steel bottle fits the bill and skips all the concerns of a plastic bottle.
Talk to your baby on the hike- tell him or her about the different things you are seeing. Pick flowers and show them to the baby, point out different trees, look for animals and birds. Even if they can’t understand it now, they will someday- and you’ll be creating fond memories to look back on as your little explorer grows!