Camping with my parents as a kid is one of my favorite memories. I remember my mom toting around my younger siblings as babies and I never thought twice about how camping with a baby could be tricky until I had my own.
It is relatively easy to go camping with a baby. The main factors you need to keep in mind are clothing, warmth at night, food, sleeping arrangements, and things to do. A pack and play is very versatile for sleeping and playing during the day. Keep a sheet on it so it doesn’t get dirty.
Camping with a baby doesn’t have to be a stressful or hard thing, but at first glance, it can feel that way. The hardest part of camping with a baby is the logistics: sleep, food, and protecting your baby from the outdoors. Once you have a handle on these things, camping is a breeze.
How to Camp with a Baby
Once you’ve found a couple of days in your schedule to go camping, you’ll need to start preparing everything else.
Choose a Campground and Campsite
For the first time camping with a baby, it’s nice to be closer to home just in case. This gave me comfort that if for some reason my newborn wouldn’t sleep in the tent then I could easily make the trek home and still be proud of my valiant effort.
There are two main types of camping we will cover when choosing a campground, and these will be organized campgrounds and dispersed camping. Although both are great options, if camping with a baby, I would lean towards the campground option. There are many pros and cons of each, but with a little one, a campground will always be easier just in case something comes up.
Advantages of Campground versus Dispersed Camping
•Can reserve in advance
•People around in case of emergancy
•Less vehicle traffic
•No need to reserve in advance
•Customizable setup based on your own needs and equipment
•Generally larger area
Consider Best Sleeping Options For Your Newborn
Nighttime sleep is the one that gave me the most concern when we first took our baby camping. After talking to several people, these were the ideas we were given to make nighttime the best:
- Have a large tent with room to set up a pack n play.
- Another option is to bring a bassinet for the baby to sleep in.
- Keep your nighttime routine as much the same as when you’re home as possible.
- Bring a baby monitor and inverter battery pack.
- Bring a speaker for white noise or music for baby to fall asleep to
- Dress your newborn in something warm and cozy like this to keep them warm all night long.
What to do During the Day when Camping with a Baby
Maybe you are one of those parents that can put your baby down in the dirt and let them lick rocks and sticks, if that’s the case, you probably don’t need to know what to do with your baby while camping. But if you happen to be one of those parents that really doesn’t like your baby to get dirty, here are a few things you can do.
Bring a pack-n-play and a sheet:
You can set the pack n play outside and lay your baby down in it. Depending on the age, you can bring a few toys to entertain her while inside. Take a light sheet to cover the top. This will keep bugs out and create some shade for your baby.
Lay a blanket out:
Bring a blanket to lay down on and let the baby crawl all over it. This way you don’t have to worry about your baby getting dirty. Your newborn likely won’t move at all.
Bring a baby carrier:
My favorite way to camp was to just wrap my newborn up against me and keep her there all day long. It kept her out of the sun, and dirt.
What to Pack when Camping with a Baby
Consider the weather and camp conditions when preparing your packing list, but in general, you will need the following:
Food for you and baby
Meal planning is worth the time and energy while camping. Think about your baby’s nutritional needs. Bring enough milk and pureed food for her. Remember around 4 to 6 months, babies can start having soft solids. Dutch oven potatoes are a great starter food if you mash up the potatoes.
Be sure your campsite has access to water before deciding not to bring your own water. I like to grab a case of water for drinking and baby bottles. A container like this can also be nice to ensure I have plenty of water.
A way to cook food and heat water
A camp stove like this model we have is what I have found to work well. The size is great for packing and room efficiency. We actually bought a small electric generator and you could plug a bottle warmer in to it if you wanted.
Layers of clothing
Bring clothes that you can layer on and off that will keep you warm in the early morning or protect you from the sun during the mid afternoon.
It isn’t recommended for babies under 6 months to wear sunscreen, which is why layers and a hat are good options. If your baby is over 6 months of age, we really like the blue lizard brand of sunscreen for our older kids and it’s gentle for our baby’s sensitive skin
Baby Care Items:
Bring baby’s care items such as wet wipes, diapers, and diaper cream and any other items you might need such as clorox wipes, toys, and bottle cleaning wipes.
Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, and soap are just a few. Bring a big bowl to fill with water if you need to do dishes.
First Aid kit:
Be sure to include items for baby as well such as baby Tylenol and Ibuprofen, a thermometer, and fun bandaids just in case.
Camping with a baby can be a great way to spend the summer days. All babies love being outside. Mine usually has a calmer temperament during camping trips than our usual home routine. With good planning and proper preparation, you can have an enjoyable camping vacation, even with a baby.
How to get through the night when camping with a baby?
Bring warm clothes and a baby sleeper. Keep your routine as much the same as possible to get your baby to sleep.
How do you take a baby camping?
Bring your baby supplies such as bottles, formula, etc. Bring clean water to wash bottles and make fresh bottles. If baby is breastfed, this should be much simpler.
How should I dress my baby while camping?
Dress your baby in layers. This can help manage fluctuating temperature and keep the sun off your newborns skin. Don’t forget a hat.
What should my baby sleep in while camping?
If your tent is big enough, bring a pack n play. Other options are a laundry basket or special camping gear just for baby sleep space.
How do you store breastmilk while camping?
Bring a cooler with ice. It should stay good for 3 to 4 days as long as it is at a safe temperature. Freeze when you get home.
How do I keep my baby warm while camping?
Dress your baby in layers. Bring warm clothes. Carry your baby in a baby wrap and use your body heat to keep them warm. Also, plan your trip to go camping during the warmer months.
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