I love a good romp in the woods. Whether it is going out for a long trail run, taking a spur that adds a few extra miles on a hike, or packing a lunch and heading out for an all day nordic ski, I’ve always loved an adventure. Especially one where I’m not sure how long I’ll be gone or if it will still be light when I get back.
Having a baby didn’t change my sense of adventure, but it sure did change the way it happens.
Sometimes, just leaving the house feels like an adventure. I know you know what I mean…
But, I’m not willing to give up!
Living in a small town in the mountains of Colorado, I started cross-country skiing with my son when he was 3 months old – at least once a week (often more) – traveling anywhere from 30 minutes to 5+ hours on skis. Over hills and downed trees, on groomed trails, and through the woods, so mama could get some fresh air and endorphins, leaving me feeling like my old self again and helping me be a better mom. Sometimes 30 minutes felt like 3 hours and on good days, vice versa.
Adventuring with an infant: 5 tips to make outdoor excursions easy
1. Start slow and stay close to home. You can build up over time as you two work out the kinks, but don’t get in over your head too fast. Sometimes just getting out and going around the block is as good as it gets.
2. Travel light – the first few times, you’ll pack the kitchen sink. Figure out what the bare essentials are. Take only those.
3. Make yourself a list. Confession: I’m a total list maker. Not having to think about what to bring or make decisions time after time about what layers work best for you and baby makes it that much easier to get out the door.
4. Leave your expectations at home. As a parent, this won’t come as any surprise to you, I’m sure – you’re not the one setting the pace or calling the shots. When I need to get out and work on a goal, I have no problem calling a sitter to hang out with my little man while I burn some energy and make myself work for it. But when I’m with him, I defer. If he’s squirmy and I can’t adjust the carrier in any imaginable way to soothe him – like when he just wants to be crawling, we head back home.
5. Lastly, work with your kid’s schedule. Does your kiddo need a good nap to be a happy clam? Bring them out after they’re rested – use nap time to get everything arranged and packed up so you’re ready to go as soon as they wake up. If you’re taking a jogger / chariot / bike trailer / kinder shuttle that they sleep well in, you might plan your excursion for nap time. Don’t forget food – whether they’re still breastfeeding or have moved on to solids. And perhaps more importantly, don’t forget snacks for you, too.
Have you had an adventure recently? I’d love to hear about it! Share the tips that have made it easier for you and your babe to get out in the comments below.
Kirsten is an outdoor educator, massage therapist, and mom. She has lead backpacking, hiking, sailing, rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, and snowshoe courses year-round for teens and adults. As a new mom, she strives to find ways to bring her infant son with her on outdoor adventures and to share her love for nature with him. You can find out more tips and about their adventure at www.theadventuremama.com.