HIKING WITH YOUNG INFANTS: TIPS AND TRICKS
Getting out of the house felt like life or death to me when cabin fever set in shortly after my baby boy’s arrival. I needed the November rain on my skin, breath of fresh air and no walls around me. I was craving a hike but my body wasn’t ready and needed time to heal after giving labor to our first little one.
Starting out slowly over the next few months, I began to take walks with my little one while giving myself time. Time to heal post-labor, regain strength and become comfortable as a new mom. Our outings started out to the mailbox, and spread to the end of the street and neighborhood loop. I patted myself on the back for taking the baby out for walks in different neighborhoods close to mine or downtown. It was exhilarating stepping outside the house and once again being independent, and not to mention confident in myself! I found much joy in introducing baby to the outside world and sharing sunshine, passersby, even rain!
At five months old, our little guy (or me?) was ready to venture outside our comfort zone and head out for an actual hike. One with wildflowers, viewpoints and more! Geared with a baby backpack carrier, snacks, a little water, and sunscreen, we were ready. Our group’s destination: Hood River. I thought we could try a great loop trail for us to try outside of town. The was trailhead located along a dirt logging road. Note: emphasis on the try. I tried to find the trailhead, but failed to do so. We didn’t drive two hours to not hike, so we made lemons out of lemonade. While looking for the trailhead, we met some mountain bikers exiting another trail who recommended the trail they just biked. Why not give this a try?
With spontaneity, we set out on this unknown trail. It felt GREAT to be out in the sunshine, taking in the views of Mt. Hood and the Columbia River, and sharing nature. Our outing didn’t last long, just a couple hours, but it was perfect.
Our hikes this past summer with our infant has taught us to plan for the unexpected, yet be flexible.
QUICK AND HELPFUL TIPS FOR HIKING WITH INFANTS
Keep your diaper bag well stocked and include hand sanitizer, sunscreen, hat for baby, and extra baby clothes.
Get used to changing your infant’s diaper in your vehicle. When they gotta go, they gotta go!
It’s ok to turnaround and head home. Fussiness happens.
Bring plenty of water and snacks! Especially if you’re nursing.
Use a comfortable baby carrier, for both baby and you. For us, we use the stroller around town