Easter is often the time many of us venture forth for a family camping adventure. We took our first camping trip as a family of five over the Easter break and I’ve definitely come away with some ideas on how to make life easier when you are away from the comforts of home with a baby in tow.
These are of course based on my experiences and might not suit everyone I definitely know camping with a baby that isn’t yet crawling is certainly easier than trying to contain a bub that’s on the move, but here are the tips I’ve found the most useful.
1. Get them used to where they will sleep.
I set Charlie’s camping cot up in his room the week before we went on our trip and started him off having one nap a day in it, and slowly increased the amount of time he spent sleeping in it, until he was sleeping the whole night comfortably in his little crib. If you don’t have time or the opportunity to do this then make sure the bedding you will take is some that your baby has slept on plenty of times before, if it smells and feels familiar the chances are better that you bub will be more settled and feel safer which generally equals more sleep for you!
2. Take clothes for baby you can layer (and a spare set of clothes or two- just in case!!).
Even in the middle of summer it gets cold at night, and the reverse applies for winter. . For an Easter trip in weather that ranged from rainy, windy, humid, hot AND cold, I took layers we could pull on or off depending on the change in temperature. Singlets, onsies and grow suits, shirts and leggings, a cardi, socks and even a beanie- they ALL got used. As the weather cooled at night I just added another layer to Charlies outfit- it didn’t all match but he was comfortable and content. We did have a couple of leaky nappies and so it was handy to have a couple of spare outfits. I always have a spare in my nappy bag and car and made sure I packed an extra set (or two) when I packed Charlie’s bag.
3. Get your baby used to having unheated food and bottles. (if you aren’t feeding solids yet, or you are breastfeeding then you are a star and can skip this one!!!).
Warming bottles without the aid of power or a decent kitchen can be a nightmare. I don’t heat Charlie’s bottles, and I got him used to it by lowering the temperature gradually. As long as the water I make the bottles with is room temperature then he is (luckily) happy to have his bottle unwarmed. When we are out of the house I find it so much easier to use store bought baby food. Charlie is only just starting solids, so he was perfectly happy to have purees squeezed from a packet straight onto a spoon. This saved worrying about keeping all his food frozen and then thawing it at the right time. If your bub won’t take their bottles at room temperature take a thermos with you and heat up water before bed, that way you can make a bottle with the already warm water and not mess around with heating water in the middle of the night.
4. Take a good first aid kit.
Baby painkillers- check, bandaids- check, but think about the bits and pieces you might suddenly need when you are an hour from the chemist. I made sure I had an electrolyte powder (Hydrolyte or Gastrolyte), baby laxative, a good thermometer, an antifungal nappy ointment, as well as the standard bits and pieces like burn cream and antiseptic. With baby plus the two boys we always use our first aid kits and our camping trip was no different!!
5. You don’t need ALL THE THINGS for baby.
If you have a pram or stroller (with larger wheels is a bonus), then you have a rocker, highchair and daytime bed- heck I even used mine as a place to change nappies! I swapped out my regular nappy bag for a backpack- it fit more outdoorsy things in it (water bottles & snacks for the family etc). It’s tempting to take lots of stuff for a baby- but really you don’t need much- if we hadn’t had plenty of room the pram wouldn’t have even come with us! Really a safe place to sleep, food/ drink needs, nappies and wipes and some clothes and a blanket or two are the only necessities you need to take with you.
As for the rest, I hope if you are venturing out into the unknown with a baby in tow, you have as much fun as we did!