Backpacking with a baby might feel daunting. But wanderlust doesn't just stop at parenthood.
Good news: first time travel isn't off limits to new parents! But as I'm not a Dad yet it'd be a bit weird to try and offer advice on this topic!
Thankfully, the amazing Emily from WhooopsaDaisy.com reached out and offered to write a piece about it.
As a new mother she's the perfect person to let you in on some of the things to consider as a parent travelling with your baby!
Having a baby doesn't need to put an end to those fun adventures you used to have before their arrival.
Many couples are worried about taking their first trip after the birth of a new baby- you might be thinking it’s impossible to go backpacking with a baby, but that is certainly not the case.
Here I have some handy tips for parents who are planning to take their baby on their first backpacking adventure.
Tips for Backpacking With a Baby in Diapers
The first thing to think about is all the extra equipment you will need to take.
A big concern for parents of young babies is diapers. Cloth diapers are not ideal, as washing them in lakes and rivers isn’t recommended and, depending on the climate, drying them can be an issue too.
Disposable diapers can also be a problem as there isn’t always somewhere to properly dispose of them.
However, if you know there are going to be trash cans along the way, this could be a viable option. Overnight diapers which have high absorbency and don’t need to be changed as often can work well when hiking as there will be less used ones to carry.
A good alternative, especially for longer hikes, is compostable diapers. They can safely be buried along the trail, or thrown into a pit toilet.
Wipes might be a similar problem, as most baby wipes are not biodegradable. Carrying used wipes doesn’t add much weight or take up much space in your backpack, so you could keep a few large ziplock bags for storing garbage, including wet wipes.
Another solution is to find compostable baby wipes. There are a few brands available. However, they are more costly than non-compostable wipes.
A great alternative is to use reusable baby wipes. These can be either homemade or store-bought, but either way, they are essentially like small washcloths.
In the vast majority of cases, they are highly effective when damped slightly with plain water. For very big messes, you might like some wipe solution, although it is rare you will need this.
So, they are easy to use and better for the environment too.
Top Tips for Camping with a Baby
Sleeping in a tent with a baby might appear to be a challenge for those parents who have never tried it.
However, it’s actually easier than you might think. Many parents worry about safety when sleeping in a tent with a young baby. The most common way to do so is to have a baby sleep on their sleeping pad above your head.
If you usually co-sleep at home, you might like to have a baby sleep right beside you, perhaps in your sleeping bag.
This can help ensure they stay warm enough, but it is important to take safety measures to prevent the infant from slipping right inside the sleeping bag.
Alternatively, you can put them in their own baby sleeping bag beside you.
You should take as many home comforts as possible, as it is likely your baby will struggle to fall asleep in the different environment. It will probably be quite bright when they are going to bed, and there will be different noises too.
Backpacking Food for Babies
Feeding a baby during a backpacking trip really depends on their age and what they are used to eating at home.
For breastfeeding babies, it’s simple as they can continue to feed as normal. Mom might need some extra snacks to keep her energy levels up – hiking, carrying a baby and breastfeeding means she’ll need plenty of calories!
Formula feeding in the wilderness is slightly more challenging, although not impossible.
You will need to take a pot large enough for sterilizing bottles, and you might also need to filter water before using it to mix with the milk powder.
The pre-made formula is another option, although it will add quite a lot of weight to your pack if the baby is exclusively formula-fed day and night.
For weaned babies, the easiest solution is to take shop-bought baby food. It doesn’t need to be stored in the refrigerator, and if you choose pouches, they can be fed straight from the pack without needing any bowls or spoons.
Finger foods such as puffs and crackers are also ideal for snacks throughout the day.
Other Concerns When Travelling With a Baby
How to Carry Your Baby
How to carry your baby when backpacking is another big decision parents face.
Many parents prefer to use a sling or wrap so the baby can be carried in front, and they can still carry a light backpack with equipment on their back.
Clothing for Your Baby
It’s important to ensure your baby is suitably dressed for the weather conditions too.
Fleece is one of the best materials to wear outdoors, as it is warm and doesn’t hold moisture in the same way as cotton does. Layering is always a good idea, so you can add or remove a layer according to how the little one is feeling.
Depending on the terrain and the length of the route, you might like to take a jogging stroller. This is ideal for babies who are a bit older and getting too heavy to carry along with the other gear because you need to be comfortable.
However, pushing a stroller for a long time can be very tiring, so it’s perhaps best to do this only on day hikes rather than overnight adventures.
Remember the Backpacking Baby Essentials
It’s also worth mentioning here that you should try and keep all the essentials you will need throughout the day within easy access.
Keep a bag of snacks handy, as well as diaper changing supplies.
Finally, it’s a very good idea to have both parents, or one parent and a friend, on a backpacking trip.
There is a lot for one person to carry, and it’s always handy to be able to take turns with diaper changes.
Plus, it’s great to share the experience of backpacking with a baby for the first time!
Emily is a mom of one and is currently developing a brand-new parenting website WhooopsADaisy.com all about toys, parenting, and stuff for your kids. She enjoys writing about a range of topics, whether it’s reviewing the latest toys and games for toddlers or researching new technology for kids.
Heads up- this piece contains affiliate links that help me fund the blog!