What is a fun activity to do with your 3 week old baby?
If camping is your first answer, you may be as insane as my husband and I.
In all seriousness, camping with a newborn baby really isn’t as difficult as people would have you believe. If you pack smart and have a healthy dose of optimism (and maybe a little sleep deprivation) you can get the heck out of your house and enjoy the summer while it is around.
Full disclosure – we have a camper. This isn’t traditional tent camping, and I don’t want to lead you to believe that. Tent camping needs a pile of equipment and preparation on its own. Prior to our excursion I did a Pinterest search for baby camping tips and found a few other people who had written about their infant camping adventures and it didn’t seem so hard at all! These folks were even tenting with their infants, so if they could pull that off, “camping” in my house on wheels shouldn’t be a problem in comparison. In case you’re wondering, the two articles I enjoyed the most were from Pregnant Chicken and Garden Betty. I suggest checking them out if you want more tenting based info.
So, off we went to Fundy National Park for the Canada Day long weekend (check out my post on New Brunswick’s National Parks here). Not only was this junior’s first camping trip, it was also his first road trip – which caused me some unnecessary anxiety as he made out fine. My suggestion is for someone to sit with the baby in the vehicle during travel. I breastfed him at a gas station pit stop before we left home, and then sat beside him in the backseat to monitor his needs during the drive. Around the time that we were trying to back into our campsite he started whimpering for supper, so our timing was great!
Our camping trip wasn’t very exciting really, mostly because it rained all weekend and there isn’t much to do with an infant in the pouring rain. However, we still enjoyed our trip as it was just a nice break from being home. We watched movies and went on short walks when the rain let up a little, and one day the rain did break enough that we were able to walk one of the shorter trails in the park.
Overall, camping with an infant is what you make it. I enjoy camping to get out of the house, travel a bit, breathe the fresh air, get some exercise by walking some trails, eat like a pig, and take in some beautiful scenery. Those are all things that you can do with a baby, and I think bringing your baby on these sorts of trips just makes it more special – you’re making memories at a very young age! Well, they may not remember, but you certainly will!
My advice is to pack smart. All that baby crap you have at home will have to be sorted through and very carefully selected to meet your needs while you’re away. Here are some things I brought with me for our first trip:
- Pack N Play (you could also use a bassinet or a Dock-A-Tot type sleeping pad)
- LOTS of diapers (and wipes/butt paste, etc). Because you never know, and nothing would be worse than trying to make a size 3 diaper (that you paid way too much for) fit on your 8 pound baby who has explosion poops.
- Food! Bring yourself/pumped milk/formula and whatever else you may need to prep these things. Fresh air can make for a hungry baby.
- A good variety of clothing. Onesies, sleepers, pants, long sleeved shirts, socks/mitts, hats, coats/sweaters, etc. You may also be a crazy mother like me and pack themed outfits for your baby, which of course increases the amount of clothes you need to pack. My kid had his own suitcase. I regret nothing.
- A stroller/Carrier. I brought both, as I prefer to use the stroller (BOB brand) when I can, unless on uneven terrain – then I strap the baby into the carrier (Ergo 360).
- Lots of blankets/swaddles. Same idea as clothing – these get wet/soiled lots and its better to have too many than not enough.
- A seat of some variety. We brought a hand-me-down Fisher Price vibrating bouncy chair. Our baby was only 3 weeks old at the time, so we had to put him somewhere when he wasn’t being held or sleeping. It may seem excessive but it proved extremely helpful.
- Baby Monitor – It may be unnecessary for many people, but we wanted to be sure we heard him cry at night as he was sleeping in another room than we were due to space constraints. In the future these can also be useful if Mom & Dad want to sit outside of the camper during nap time or early bedtime.
- You may also want to pack Baby Tylenol and other such remedies if your baby may need it. We didn’t bother for this trip, but I have full intentions of stocking the camper up with baby-friendly medication and health care items. You honestly never know when a little one will get sick or burnt or stung during a trip. It is much easier to stock up before you need these items than to be searching for (or paying for) Baby Tylenol in a remote area.
So, while I am certainly not a baby camping expert, I had a great first experience with our little guy and thought some other parents may be interested to hear about our trip and suggestions on how to plan for their own. It is totally possible to have a fun camping trip with your infant, and I am a firm believer that the earlier you get them out and about, the easier it will be for them to travel in the future. Plus, if you get some time off work in the summer, you might as well use it to your advantage 🙂 . Let me know in the comments if you plan on camping this summer, or if I’ve convinced you to try camping with your baby!
Have a great day!