Just because you have a new addition to the family, doesn't mean you can't go camping. In fact, growing babies benefit immensely from sunshine, water and fresh air and camping gives you a chance to enjoy Mother Nature too. While camping with kiddies is easier before they are mobile, you will have to make a few concessions and do a little extra planning before heading out. Here are a few ways in which to ensure you and baby are happy campers.
Keep it Close to Home
Choose a spot that's easy to access and close to headquarters. Less travelling is better and being close to home in an emergency is savvy thinking too. Don't be overly ambitious either; opt for a car camp where you have a toilet block to ease your way in or for an easy hike or paddle that could have you back home in a jiffy should the need arise.
Remember that babies cry, so don't camp too close to others or you won't be able to relax.
Don't be Scared of Dirt
Keeping baby clean and hygienic will be a challenge when you are out in the woods. But fear not, dirt can actually be good for babies as it helps to strengthen their immune systems. Recent studies show that microbes found in dirt can help children to overcome asthma and other allergies. For example, children who grew up on farms were 20 per cent less likely to develop asthma thanks to microbes they picked up.
While you may get comfy with a little dirt, be sure to take extra baby wipes as these are the best option when you don't have running water. Don't like commercial baby wipes because of their chemical content? Make your own organic ones using this tutorial.
Take Sunscreen and Bug Spray
Baby's sensitive skin will burn quickly, so take sunscreen suitable for children. Hats and a portable shade tent can keep them out of the sun if their skins are too sensitive for sunscreens.
Bug sprays contain nasty chemicals, so don't spray them directly onto baby's skin. Spray your baby carrier instead and cover them with mosquito netting to prevent bites. You can also make a natural bug spray, but even that contains essential oils and should be used only on older children as baby's skin may be too sensitive.
Check yourselves and your children for ticks every day. You can prevent ticks in the first place with a natural tick spray which can be applied to clothing and baby carriers.
Think about the Stink
Take a water-proof bag along for your dirty diapers. Hang your diaper bag along with your food if you are backcountry camping and want to avoid an unpleasant scene. Either wait until you get home to dispose of your diapers or find a local RV disposal site.
Tarp it Up
Take a large tarp with you that you can stake down in your campsite. This will give you and your child a large, clean area to relax in. A second tarp can provide shade or shelter if you're expecting rain.
Exposing your child to nature as early and as often as possible is both physically and mentally healthy for them and for you. While camping with kids is a little trickier, you will all benefit from getting outside.
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