We’ve all been there, convinced nothing will change once the baby arrives – “I’ll still be active”, “I won’t lose my independence”, “I’ll just strap the baby on and take them along for the ride”. Then reality kicks in and all these epic plans and ideas seem like a pipedream, but they don’t have to be.
Blaze Trails, the UK’s baby walking network, shares their practical tips for hiking with your little one.
A stroll around the local park with your baby is a great place to start walking and building your confidence with a new baby but maybe it’s not the dramatic scenery or interesting terrain you’ve been used to.
The mountains, lakes and coastal paths have started calling and you are ready to answer them, but how does a child fit into your next adventure?
If you’re used to getting outdoors, you’re off to a great start. The biggest difference is that you’ll be carrying extra weight: extra food, baby paraphernalia like nappies and bottles, not to mention a whole human being on your front or back!
With limited space but needing to bring more things with you, the kit you use and how you use it is important.
When you’re considering which baby carrier to use, think about the packing space as well as how much it weighs. Will you always be trekking with another adult? If so, they can offer a helping hand or carry an additional bag, so that might also change your decisions about what kind of carrier to use.
You’ll also need a raincover – which can be useful in windy conditions too – so be sure to factor that in, as well as a small mirror so that you can keep an eye on your baby while you walk, if you need to. Some carriers have both of these built in.
For you, if you’re going on a proper hike you’ll need weather-appropriate clothes and decent footwear – and if your little one might walk a bit too, make sure they’ve got sturdy and comfortable shoes too.
When you’re carrying extra weight with a mind of its own, you might find walking poles helpful for your balance.
And don’t forget food! You’ll need even more fuel when you’re carrying your child, and they’ll need plenty of snacks too. We find that snacks often can act as a great pacifier or bargaining tool too.
Planning where to walk
When planning where to walk, remember that going out with a baby, toddler or child always takes much longer than you think!
Do make sure that there are places on your route which are safe for your little one to toddle around. You’ll want to stop and get your little one out of the carrier for a bit – how often will depend on their needs, but we’d suggest doing this relatively frequently – and of course to have a bite to eat!
As ever, start small to see how you go, and work your way up from there.
When you’re out walking
While you’re out walking, basic safety applies: take a map, a charged phone, a first aid kit, tell people where you’re going and how long you should be. Take a physical map (and possibly compass), and know how to read them, as well as using an app just in case you run out of battery or signal.
Go with someone – especially while you’re getting to grips with new kit. As well as making you feel safer, sharing an adventure outdoors with a friend is lots of fun! They’ll also be able to keep an eye on your baby for you, and if they’re baby carrying you can help them out too.
Our local Blaze Trails groups cater for all abilities, so if you don’t want to go it alone, join a group walk or find yourself a walking buddy through our groups, and don’t forget to check out our website for comprehensive tips and recommendations from other parents.