Hiking with Babies & Toddlers: Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve had so much fun the past several months working on our hiking with babies and toddlers series. The response has been overwhelming! Who would have thought that our most popular post would be how to change a diaper on the trail?

In case you’ve missed it, here are the previous blog posts from this series:

How to Hike While Pregnant

How to Dress Babies and Toddlers for Hiking

How to Choose Equipment to Carry Babies and Toddlers on a Hike

How to Pack for a Day Hike with Babies and Toddlers

The Trailhead Routine

Tips for Breastfeeding on the trails

How to Change a Diaper on a Hike

3 Tips for Hiking with a Baby in a Front Carrier

4 Safety Tips for Hiking with Toddlers

As our last blog post in this series we’re answering a few questions from you, our awesome readers.

when-FB

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to ages. Our oldest son went on his first hike at 6 weeks old, it would have been sooner but I had a difficult delivery and it took about a month before I felt like moving from the couch. With our second baby we went on a nice easy hike up to a waterfall when he was just one week old. I think it really comes down to how well the Mom is doing after delivery, how well feeding the baby is going (is Mom going to be comfortable breastfeeding or bottle feeding on the trails) and how comfortable you are taking a baby into the wilderness. Experienced hikers are probably going to be a whole lot more comfortable taking a newborn into the woods than novice hikers.

overehatingWe do a few things to keep our baby from getting too hot in the Ergo. First, we make sure our baby is staying hydrated and stop frequently to nurse him. We also try to make sure we keep his head covered and protected from the sun (we love this hat, but REI no longer makes it, boo!) and if it’s really hot out we stop a lot, let him out of the Ergo, cool him down with a burp cloth dampened with a bit of water or stick a frozen ice pack in the front pocket of the Ergo.

Q: What advice do you have for backpacking with babies?

A: None! We’ve never had the courage to try it. If you’ve backpacked with babies chime in with a comment below and let our readers know about your experience.

gearGood carriers are the most important thing to have and so is a good trail-worthy stroller like a Chariot. For a front baby carrier, we’ve been very satisfied with our Ergo. We have friends who love their Boba Air so while we can’t vouch for it, I’d look into that carrier as well. Moms in our local hiking group use a good mix of Ergo and Boba so those seem to be the top 2 brands in our neck of the woods.

For a toddler, a good backpack carrier, we have an older Kelty Journey and it’s not the best. I’ve been lusting after an Osprey Poco but I haven’t tried it so I can’t vouch for that one either. And we definitely LOVE our Piggyback Rider.

For pregnancy and baby carrying we recommend the BBFit jacket adapter.

screaming

Yes, we’ve been there and we still are there. I guess at the end of the day I’d rather hear my baby scream outside where the screams aren’t quite as loud and piercing than inside our house. It’s hard taking a fussy baby into the woods, and it’s even harder when you’re on a crowded trail and people look at you like you’re either a bad parent or totally out of your mind. I recently wrote all about this very topic over at Seattle Backpackers Magazine, you can read the article here.

snacks

I like to stick with snacks that are easy to prepare, easy to eat, semi-healthy and fun. Our kid loves it when I hand him a box of raisins (he calls them fruit snacks), apple slices, apple sauce in those fancy tubes, or pieces from a pre-peeled orange. We also eat granola bars, and goldfish crackers but I try to really get him to eat fruit to help him stay hydrated.

***

There are several things that I didn’t cover in this series including how to hike carrying both a baby and toddler (yes, it can be done!), tips for hiking with a stroller,  what kind of sunscreen and bug spray to use on wee little ones, tips for encouraging a toddler to move down the trail, and fun games that we play on the trails. I left these topics out on purpose because (drum roll please…) we’re getting ready to publish a ebook with even more exclusive and detailed information on hiking with babies and toddlers! We’ll let you know when we’re done with the final edits and are ready to release the book and shoot, we might even through in a bunch of free copies to our loyal readers. So stay tuned!

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