Camping with a baby, especially one is only two months old is not for the faint at heart. With your first child it’s even scarier as you’ll still find yourself navigating the terrifying waters of having a cute, crying and pooping little person demanding all of your love and attention.
But with some preparation you can get away unscathed and perhaps even enjoy yourself. Let’s face it, camping will never be as carefree as it was before, but it can be a great time for you and your family in the great outdoors.
1. Make a checklist
As someone who has loved camping my entire life, I know full well how much stuff needs to be packed for the experience to go down well. Never mind luxury, I’m talking basic necessities that will allow you to cook, eat, sleep and bath. With a baby you can double or triple that. To ensure you don’t leave without baby’s bath, toiletries, bottles, toys, clothing for all weather, pram, carrier and more a checklist is the way forward.
2. Check the weather.
When taking our son Caleb camping along South Africa’s Garden Route we totally forgot to check the weather. We knew it would be summer warm but didn’t take into account that warm in a house is fiery hot in a tent. Whether camping in a tent or caravan, beware that temperatures are always more extreme without the walls of your house and while it may be pleasant for you, a baby does not cope well in heat.
On a cool, cloudy day Caleb was as happy as a clam but as soon as the temperature rose he was cranky, uncomfortable and didn’t stop crying. This leads me to my next point…
When booking your campsite ask to be located beneath trees to ensure you have shade. My parents booked our site ages before we went not knowing if we would be there and as a result we didn’t bother to ask where the exact site was in the caravan park. Turns it was quite a rubbish spot with absolutely no shade and sloping downward. With a little shade, we could’ve had a hope to keep him cooler during the day.
4. Sleeping arrangements.
At home you have everything you need for baby to have a comfortable night- cot, compactum, changing mat etc. In a tent you have a get creative when it comes to sleeping and night time feeds. We didn’t have a camping cot so we had to improvise and used our Stokke carry cot instead. It worked like a charm. We also forgot the mosquito net at home and the last thing we needed was a baby with mosquito bites so we used a clean net usually used to cover food. We threw it over the carry cot to solve our bug problems.
Make sure you have a chair in your tent ( outside will be cold at night) to be able to do night feeds. Also kneeling on an air mattress trying to change him was a slight challenge so we propped some towels on a crate and changed him on there. Night feeds and sleep times were almost seamless.
You forget how noise, heat and cold truly permeate a tent, so if your baby is used to sleeping in a fairly quiet bedroom you may have to make some alternate plans to add white noise to the situation. Our son was born in summer so we’ve always had a fan on while he sleeps to control the temperature and provide white noise, but at night when the nearby campers were talking loudly and throwing a party, this was not an option.
We found noisli.com works wonders. You can choose between white noise, ocean, fire, rain and storm sounds. Be mindful that this is online so while your data may deplete faster, your baby will be sure to get a more restful sleep.
Now that Caleb is already 5 months, we look forward to taking him camping again as, like his parents, he loves the outdoors and water. Our next camp with him, we will be more prepared.
Have you been camping with your baby? What suggestions do you have to make it smooth sailing?
Thank you to Stokke for providing us with this incredible carry cot, we have found it invaluable with a young baby. All opinions in this piece remain our own.