I thought a great follow up to my camping with babies recap post would be some tips and tricks for camping with baby. A lot of people told me I was brave to take my two boys out on my own, in a tent, etc. Getting away from your routine and environment with a baby can seem scary, but it’s doable with a lot of planning and patience.
1.) Don’t let fear stop you- Commit to doing it
This is the biggest one! As a mom it’s so easy to think of all the things that could go wrong; the baby will be cold, he won’t sleep therefore you won’t sleep, the bugs will be bad, it’ll be too hot/cold, what if it rains, etc. Sound familiar?
I suggest you check the weather forecast and commit to going no matter what could go wrong. Th. memories you’ll make and the time spent away from screens and with your babe will make it worth it.
2.) Stay close to home
This advice saved me when we had a storm roll in one camping trip!
When you’re just starting out, you don’t want to go into the back country with baby. It’s best to ease both of you into the fun with a site that’s close to home in case you need to pack up early. Being close to home also gives you a sense of security knowing if there’s an issue you won’t be trapped.
I know everyone is not as fortunate as I to live an hour away from the mountains. If you need to travel more than an hour or so from home, choose a spot that has a motel nearby.
This is more for your stress than anything else because having a backup plan will put your mind at ease.
3.) Make a list and overpack
Camping with baby means you have to be beyond over prepared. The last thing you want is to get out there and forget wipes or a bottle brush.
In fact, I have a free printable checklist based on the list I use whenever I go camping. Feel free to download.
Another word of advice, pack double what you think you need. As you see on my list, it’s for a two-day camping trip and yet I have four sets of baby clothes. Between spit up, dirt, and poop- you want to have plenty. Otherwise you’ll be washing baby clothes in a river against the rocks. Talk about roughing it. Ha ha!
4.) Make Sure Your Sleep Situation is Good
Sleep! What’s that? Whether you baby sleeps through the night or wakes often, the thought of changing their sleep environment is a scary one. Here are a few tips to try and help your baby sleep better:
A snowsuit is a great baby sleeping bag! If you want to be sure baby is snug and warm, a snowsuit is the way to go! They’re meant to keep baby warm in freezing temperatures which means baby will be snug on a cool summer night.
And remember, it’s okay for your babies face to be cool when you’re sleeping in a tent. As long as the rest of them are warm, they’ll be fine.
Bring a Dock a Tot or playpen. When you know your baby is safe, you sleep better. My youngest loves to be snuggled in tight and so the Dock a Tot was a dream to have camping. I set him down in it right next to me and could check on him throughout the night.
If your baby is too big for a Dock a Tot, a playpen is also a great option. They don’t take up a ton of room in the car and your little one can see you if they wake and feel a little safer in a strange environment. Last year, Tynan would nap in his playpen under the trees, it was great.
Air Mattress– If you co-sleep at home, or just want to co-sleep while camping, an air mattress is a must have! I like to sleep with my toddler because he doesn’t have snowsuit so by sharing a bed I can make sure he’s warm. An air mattress and two unzipped sleeping bags (one for a sheet and one for a blanket) make a warm and cozy place for you and you little to snuggle through the night.
Bonus tip: Push the air mattress against a tent wall and put your little on that side to keep them from rolling off.
5.) Stick out the first night
This was a great piece of advice I received from another mama. On my first trip out this year Ty was up for an hour screaming his head off to get out. He also woke up crying several times for rolling off his side of the air mattress (hence my tip from earlier). I finally got a little sleep but then Logi woke up at 5:5 am ready for the day.
I thought I was in for two more rough nights but my friend told me babies usually do bad the first night but settle into the new routine after. This is exactly what happened and the second night was much better than the first.
6.) Bring comfort items from home
My toddler has to have his blankey at night so that was a must have it. Bring a blanket and a few toys from home to make your babe feel more at home.
7.) Laugh Through It
Things are going to go wrong- PERIOD. There will be tantrums, you’ll spill formula in your tent, baby will get a mosquito bite on their face. Force yourself to laugh through it all. Remember that when they’re this little it’s all about making memories and introducing them to the outdoors. Go in it with the expectation that there will be hiccups.
BONUS TIP: If you live in a very windy area- forgo the tent!
I live in windy Southern Alberta and the wind has made my camping experiences stressful and memorable. If you live in a windy area, maybe go camping with a camper van or trailer to save you the stress.
Get out there! Bring baby and have fun and make memories!
Do you have any tips for camping with baby?