Camping with baby

When camping with a baby, consider bringing a large tent and a portable crib, like a Pack-n-Play. The Pack-n-Play can be moved outdoors to serve as a play yard during the day. Placing a fitted crib sheet over the top can provide shade and bug protection.

Another option is a portable bed such as this one. Another daytime alternative to a Pack-n-Play for babies or toddlers is a playyard, either with a plastic bottom or set up on a tarp. A screen house is yet another way to keep little children contained and also protected from the sun and bugs.

As far as smaller equipment, bring a lantern to help babies who are afraid of the dark and to aid with nighttime feeding and diaper changes. Consider a white-noise machine to drown out sounds like other campers, wild animals, and vehicles.

In addition to the general tips for kids’ clothing above, bring plenty of extra clothes in case they get soiled. Also, it’s recommended not to apply sunscreen or bug spray to babies under six months, so dress babies in clothes that keep their skin protected, and bring a bug net. A baby carrier like an outdoor-friendly version of the Ergobaby can be a helpful tool: pop the baby in and go about your normal activities (more or less.) And don’t forget diapering supplies. Sunset provides a good overview of diaper issues when camping here.

When choosing a site, bear in mind the considerations listed above for kids, plus a few special factors. You’ll want to pick a site that isn’t too close to other campers so that the inevitable baby cries won’t bother others. Remember that babies can find long car rides challenging, so a site relatively close to home may make for a happier experience all around. For your first time camping with a baby, consider finding a yurt, cabin, or the like.

As far as routines, you’ll of course want to remain mindful of safety considerations for infant sleep when packing your sleep gear. Sleeping on a camping trip can be challenging for babies. For naps, you may wind up needing to take a drive to lull a baby to sleep. White-noise machines can also help, day or night. Stick to your normal bedtime routines, like reading, singing a song, and putting on PJs. Also, be prepared for breastfeeding babies to be less interested than normal in milk.

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