Going camping can be a great way to forget your troubles and be at one with nature. There’s something really refreshing about ditching technology and getting back to basics for a while. However, if you’ve recently had a baby, the thought of going camping may seem more than a little unrealistic!
Taking care of baby in the home is difficult enough, so how could you possibly take them camping? Well, the good news is it doesn’t have to be as daunting as you think. In fact, many parents have taken their baby on a camping trip and experienced the benefits it can bring. Will it be easy? Probably not, but is anything easy with a baby in tow?
If you’d love to take your little one camping but you’re not exactly confident it will go well, here you’ll find some top tips which are sure to make your trip an enjoyable experience.
Adjust Your Experience
If you really want your camping trip with baby to be memorable for the right reasons, you may need to adjust your experience. Camping can mean anything from sleeping in a tent, to spending a weekend in a log cabin. There’s a lot of different types of camping you can do, so it may make sense to alter your experience to accommodate baby.
Sleeping in a log cabin for example, will be a lot easier than sleeping in a tent. However, if you’re adamant you want to stay in a tent with baby, then it’s advisable to at least make sure you’ve got a suitable tent. You can buy family tents which have numerous connected rooms for example. These are great as you can place baby down for a nap in one of the rooms, ensuring you and the rest of the family won’t disturb them.
You may also need to look out for campsites with different facilities than you usually would. For example, a water station and a restroom would be ideal to have onsite. You’ll also want to ensure the location is baby friendly. If you have a very young baby, you won’t need to worry too much about the location. However, if your little one is mobile, staying somewhere with a stream nearby for example, could pose huge anxiety if they like to explore! So, consider the facilities you’ll need with baby in tow.
Try It Out Before Committing
One thing that’s going to really help reduce the stress involved, is to try out camping with baby before you commit. You can do this by setting up a tent in your backyard. It may seem silly but spending just one night in the tent with baby will give you a little taster of what to expect.
You’ll be able to judge how well baby is likely to do when they’re in unfamiliar surroundings. You’ll also find it easier to determine what you need to take with you and discover whether there’s any potential problems you hadn’t thought of. This trial can prove invaluable at helping you to prepare for the real thing.
Ensuring Baby Doesn’t Disturb Other Campers
Perhaps one of the most anxiety-inducing things about going camping with a baby is that they will wake other campers. If your little one doesn’t sleep through the night, or they tend to become fussy in the early mornings, it can be worrying taking them to a busy campsite.
However, there are ways to get around this. While you may not be able to stop your baby crying completely, there are things you can do to limit it. Firstly, it’s good to meet your camping neighbors and explain your situation. Let them know you’ll be doing your best to control the situation when needed. You should find most people are sympathetic and talking to the neighbors before nightfall can really ease your anxiety.
In terms of stopping baby from crying too much, it can help to relax their schedule a little. Now is definitely not the time to try and stick to a rigid sleep schedule, or let baby cry it out. Be a bit more relaxed about what time they go to bed and the things you do to comfort them. For example, you may usually insist that baby is in bed by 6.30pm and you refuse to go in and comfort them if they cry for a while. However, in a busy campsite, it’s easier to let baby go to bed a little later if they want to.
Take Extra Everything!
Whenever you travel with baby, it’s standard that you’ll need plenty of spare essentials. This includes diapers, clothing and baby wipes. While it may add to how much you need to carry, taking extra everything is going to ensure you have the most enjoyable experience possible.
The last thing you need, is to find you’ve run out of diapers when you’re in the middle of nowhere. So, always take plenty of spares.
Consider Diaper Disposal
Speaking of diapers, you really need to consider how you’re going to dispose of them. As tempting as it might be, you should never simply dig a hole and bury baby’s dirty diapers! Instead, you’re going to need to think of a way to eliminate them.
Cloth diapers may seem like a good alternative, but in reality, they’re not going to be pleasant to carry around with you once they’re dirty! Unless there’s a launderette onsite, it’s advisable you stick to the disposable variety. However, that still begs the question of how to get rid of them.
You have a couple of options here. Either, you find a campsite which provides a disposal service. Or, you could take a specialist dirty diaper bag with you. This should be a closable, waterproof bag which will keep any odors and moisture locked in. It should also be very easy to clean too!
Consider Investing In A Compact Hammock
These days, you can find lots of things to make camping with baby a lot easier. A compact hammock for example, can prove really useful for young babies. They can be used as an alternative to place baby down for a nap, instead of a hot tent during the day.
If you do decide to use a hammock, just be sure to keep an eye on baby and keep it covered to protect against bugs.
Watch Out For Bugs
Speaking of bugs, regardless of where you’re camping, the risk of bug bites is pretty high. For this reason, it’s advised you invest in bug netting. Insect repellents containing DEET can prove effective for toddlers and babies over the age of six months old. However, it is advised you use them sparingly. Therefore, alternative bug repellents would be a better option.
Bug netting can help to protect baby while you’re at the campsite. Just be sure that the netting you pickup is lightweight. You might also want to check that the netting has built-in UV protection too. Those these are slightly more expensive, they’re ideal if you plan on going camping during the summer months.
Take A Comforter
To prevent baby from becoming too upset while you’re camping, it’s a good idea to take a comforter. This could be their favorite blanket or a toy for example. It’s familiar and you know it has the power to calm your little one down if they do become overly fussy.
This can also really help to ease your own anxiety as you know you have something on hand to save you if baby does have a meltdown.
Be Prepared To Nurse Comfortably
Whether you’re breastfeeding or using formula, you’re going to need a suitable area to nurse your baby. The tent is a perfect place, especially if you’ve invested in a family tent with different connecting rooms. However, it’s not exactly comfortable.
Nursing on the floor of a tent can be harsh on the knees and your back. Therefore, it’s advised you either invest in a small, portable nursing seat. Or, if you don’t have the budget, simply fold up your sleeping bag to sit on.
Never Show Baby That You’re Stressed
Our final tip is one of the most important – never show your baby that you’re stressed. It may be impossible to relax completely, but when you do start to feel anxious, it’s advisable to hide it.
Babies can pick up on stress and will ultimately become upset themselves if they feel that you’re anxious. So, stay calm, relax and if you can’t hide it, give baby to your partner until you have calmed down.
These are some of the best tips you can follow when heading camping with your little one. It may be slightly more difficult but camping with baby can also prove to be an amazing experience. Provided you are well-prepared, there’s no reason why you and baby can’t enjoy a nice, relaxing break away.