I had thought before we had our son that we were never still. We were always heading to the mountains or going canoeing or taking ‘Bruce’ our campervan out for a long weekend. It didn’t stop when we were expecting our son, it just slowed down a little so we were really eager to get back out there again and hopefully show our newborn son what was out in the world.
Our first trip to the mountains was when he was 5 weeks old. We headed to the Lake District, there was snow on the tops and it had that quiet season feel to the whole area. We could get lost there. Happily that is with no distractions and together as a new family still learning about each other. In a typical fashion, we all got stuck in there, sticking mainly to valley walks and taking it a bit slowly to begin with but it’s been onwards and upwards since then, one foot in front of the other and mini adventure after mini adventure. Now THIS is what never being still means.
The earlier baby gets out there and starts to enjoy the wilderness, the more likely it is that they’ll grow up enjoying nature and have a wider appreciation for what’s out there. Well, that’s our hope. The older our son gets, the more independent he wants to be and will, in no time at all probably be running off to the mountains with his own to do list at some point! At just over 2.5 he doesn’t want to go in his back carrier at all to begin with, and only when he’s absolutely knackered will he just plop down on the path and be ready to be carried in luxury. On our last walk that was when he had walked a little over 5 miles! We didn’t force him to do it, we were continually offering him the carrier but had plenty of daylight and snack left in the bags so took our lead from him. He was enjoying it too much, folding in half to point his little finger at a rock that, well you and me know was no different to the last seemingly 100 rocks he had pointed to before but that in his eyes was an exact replica of a frog, or a spaceship or a dinosaur or anything else his limitless imagination created in this boundless environment.
We’ve put together a few pointers we’ve found have helped when we’ve been out on the hills with our little one in tow. Feel free to add your tips and advice below too! We’d love to hear what else works for little adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts out there!
- Let’s face it, with a new baby you’re probably a wee bit sleep deprived, possibly a bit grizzly and maybe a walking zombie covered in all sorts of, um, mess in 3 day old pyjamas. But just think how good a bit of fresh air and exercise and good dash of distraction will feel!
- If you’ve got a carrier use it now! Needless to say, baby will get bigger and heavier.
- Make sure you’ve got the right carrier for baby’s age and size. Front carriers are a great way to get out walking when baby’s smaller. Make sure to watch your step though as baby will block your view from those nasty little bits of rock that always seem to pop up out of nowhere!
- Back carriers are great when baby’s a bit older. Some come with sunshades, waterproof covers, a neck cushion and even a sizeable pocket at the bottom to fill with food, nappies, clothes changes, etc. If possible it’s a good idea to get one that has a waist belt to spread the load and a stand so that you can set baby down and rest your back.
- Walking poles are excellent for providing a bit of extra stability when baby suddenly shifts their weight, and also provide a bit of help for you along the way!
- Time your walks to avoid midday sun, early sunset, busy times if you fancy a quiet one etc.
- Don’t forget nappy essentials and spare clothes for baby including hats and gloves. Pack a foldable changing mat so that baby has a bit of protection between them and the ground when nappy changing is happening. Don’t start the walk with baby in a wet nappy though as that may lead to sooner than anticipated grumpiness. The longer everyone can be happy and enjoying it, the better!
- Pack sun protection and waterproofs. Remember that when they’re not active they’ll get cold a lot more quickly so make sure they’ve got layers on and check their temperature (hands / core / head) regularly to make sure, especially if they are not happy!
- Remember food and drink. Not just for baby, but for you too. I know it sounds silly and very obvious but we’ve done this! Trust me, you’re not going to be any good on the mountains if you’re hungry and grumpy because of this one silly thing!
- Be realistic about how much you want to do versus how much baby will appreciate it before they start screaming the place down. You might be in the mood to conquer entire mountain ranges, but if baby fancies a smaller gentler pootle it’s probably a better idea to schedule your fix for another day when the babysitter’s free.
- Be flexible with your outlook on it too. I try to pick my battles with our stubborn two year old wisely. Sure, sometimes it can be a little frustrating or loud, sometimes oh so loud. We haven’t always finished what we set out to do but it’s creating mini adventures that, at the end of the day are what counts.
- Don’t forget your camera! You’ve hit the mountains, baby seems to be enjoying themselves so why not take a picture to celebrate the day! One of many adventures to proudly show off! Quite right too!
***Please note: This is a blog that was previously published on another of our blogs Adventurous Little Legs, and linked to an online store we also had. We have closed these both down. All content and pictures remain those of Stacey and Keith at Adventurous Little Legs and An Outdoors Family