With the May long weekend fast approaching, many plan to celebrate with the year’s first camping trip. But what happens if this year you are new parents to a newborn? While becoming new parents shouldn’t stop you from getting out there and enjoying Mother Nature, and time with friends and family, there are—however–some adjustments to be made . . . !
Like anything new, doing a “trial run” in order to work out the kinks or to create some peace of mind– especially for first time parents—could be invaluable. Set up your “camp site” in the backyard or living room to get a feel for what you may need–or what you don’t need. As parents we tend to way over-pack for baby. It’s camping, so you’ll want to pack mostly sleeping clothes remembering natural fibres such as wool are the best because they allow baby to regulate their body temperature better. And as always, think layers, especially as the weather could be anything. The only thing you really can’t over pack is diapers, so bring a few extra more than you think you need! It’s better to have more on hand than not—as you’re camping you may or may not be near a store.
For your first camping trip with your infant, try to stay closer to home in case things don’t go as well as expected. Be realistic, and lower your expectations a little around doing a lot as everything takes more energy when you are caring for a little person’s needs. And speaking of things going off the rails—it’s a good idea to be pro-active and to make friends with your camping neighbors so if baby is crying during the night they will be a little more understanding–we brought homemade cupcakes to our camp neighbors on our son’s first camping adventure.
Most importantly–make sure Mama is comfortable with extra pillows or a stadium seat for breast-feeding during the night to avoid achy back, shoulders, and bottom if camping in a tent. Again things to practice during your “dry run” camp out.
Remember: you’re the ones adjusting to this new routine of camping with baby– baby has no previous experience or frame of reference. If you want to keep it part of your family tradition, invest in the long-game: a heap of patience and understanding early on will ensure that everyone enjoys themselves a little. Do allyou can to keep the feeding/napping routine on schedule, and be gentle with yourselves, too! We hope you and your family will enjoy your first camping trip together.