Camping with a baby is, in many ways, no different from living with a baby. You want to provide a safe, reasonably clean environment for your little one.
You want your child to be safe, and you still need to be able to get around the campsite to take care of necessary camp chores.
Not all camping areas are created equal. “Baby” might also be a variable term, depending upon the age of the child in question.
How to Safely Camp with Your Baby
Presented here are some basics that should work in many situations.
It might be a good idea to make your first campouts with a baby in camping areas that are family-friendly and relatively civilized.
1. Baby Wearing
Human babies are fragile creatures. In an uncontrolled environment, you wouldn’t want your child far from you.
Body slings, backpacks, or cradleboards, primitive people practiced “baby wearing” as a practical way to always know where infants were located and to keep them safe from wandering wildlife.
2. Baby Equipment
There are a lot of essentials that go with a baby, including food or formula, clean water, extra seasonally appropriate clothing, and a good supply of diapers, as well as blankets and other bedding.
Plan for space in your camping equipment for these things if you want to camp with a baby, especially if you’re backpacking or hiking.
3. Secure Sleeping Equipment
A folding crib or cot will help keep your little one comfortable at naptime. A supervising adult human should be close at hand at all times.
Just as you wouldn’t leave your baby alone in a mall or grocery store, you don’t want to leave your precious bundle of joy alone in the wilderness, even if it’s a fairly tame public park.
4. Mosquito Netting
Insects love to nibble on humans. A shroud of mosquito netting over your child’s crib or playpen can help keep those humming little critters from stopping by to nibble on your baby.
You know that your child is the sweetest thing ever, but that doesn’t mean that you want to share your little one to be some bugs gourmet delight.
5. Hats and Sunscreen
Babies have delicate skin. Even in winter, too much sun can cause a sunburn.
A little sunscreen and a shady hat are an easy preventative.
How to Tent Camp with a Baby
Tent camping takes some of the uncertainty out of supervising a mobile toddler on a campout, or even out of protecting a younger child.
With that said, a tent isn’t a solid enclosure, and lacks the security of a house or similar structure.
1. Supervise Your Child at All Times
Being inside a tent that zips or buttons up securely means that you can sit down quietly or allow your little one to roam around inside the tent.
This can be a big relief if you have been backpacking with a baby that’s between the ages of six months and eighteen months.
But newly mobile babies are both curious and incautious. In an uncontrolled environment, that means that parents must be extra vigilant. Never leave your child alone in a tent.
2. Provide a Few Familiar Toys
While some children find the out-of-doors endlessly fascinating, others might quickly become bored or even frightened in an unfamiliar environment.
Having something along that’s fun and familiar can be comforting to your baby. It can also give you a few minutes to write up notes or perhaps even read a book.
3. Tents Can Provide Shade or Shelter
Getting back to nature can mean putting up with a certain degree of discomfort. In an uncontrolled environment, a tent provides a place to get out of the weather – whatever it might be.
They can provide shade at midday, shelter from precipitation, and they can help keep flying insects away.
A tent with a floor in it will make a space where an infant that’s crawling is unlikely to pick up a twig or bug and try to munch on it.
4. Barricade Heaters or Stoves
In a camping situation, we are turning back the hands of time to an era when heat meant the possibility of burns.
If you’re gray camping with a young child, a heat source is almost a must. A pet playpen placed around a stove or heater can help forestall accidents with your heating device.
5. Buddy Up
Taking a baby camping is a lot easier if there’s more than one person to help keep an eye on the little ones.
Going camping with your spouse or partner, or teaming up with other parents can increase your enjoyment and lighten the burden of supervision since you can trade off childcare times.
Camping with a Baby Can Be Fun
If you’re camping with a baby, the chances are that you are having a fun weekend with family and friends.
Look for experiences that you and your baby can safely share and enjoy. In summer, paddling in the edge of a stream or body of water can be enjoyable.
Letting your child watch the patterns of sunlight and shadow made by leaves on trees can lead to several minutes of quiet fascination. Birds and butterflies, as well as flowers, provide enchanting sights that can be shared by the whole family.
If your baby is too young to fully appreciate the outdoors, being carried next to your body, perhaps being traded off to other family members, helps foster a feeling of security and closeness that can be extremely important to child development.
Your activities on a weekend campout might not center around your child.
But now that you know how to camp with a baby and have your baby with you makes him or her a part of familial activity in a way that being left at home with a sitter won’t accomplish.
Your child might not consciously remember going to the park or camping out under the stars, but being with you while you enjoy these things could be an important part of early development.
If your child frequently goes camping with you, he or she will grow up with an appreciation of the out-of-doors.