Congratulations on your little bundle of joy! We know parenting is quite the challenge, and you’re probably itching to pack a few bags and head out on a family camping adventure this weekend.
But that’s the question, isn’t it? Is it actually a good idea to bring your newborn or infant child on a camping trip? Are you better off playing it safe and wait out a few more years until your little one has grown just a wee bit more?
How Was The Camping Experience For Other Parents?
As it turns out, a lot of parents do approve of bringing their baby along with them on a family camping trip.
“I didn’t know if there was an “appropriate” age to take a baby camping, but I didn’t want to get too comfortable with the assumption that it was too hard, or too risky, or this, or that,” shared self-proclaimed dirt slinger and adventure seeker Linda Ly who took their nine-week-old daughter camping with them for the first time.
So how did that adventure turn out? “Happy to say, the little one loved it. She’s a natural when it comes to camping! And her first camping trip went so smoothly, we ended up going on a few more overnight outings that first summer — longer ones, and farther away.”
It goes without saying that while, yes, you can take your baby along with you on your weekend outdoor excursions, but you’re going to have to prepare for your trip and cover all the bases.
“As much as baby books tell parents that babies need routine, they are also natural-born explorers,” says Chelsey Magness about their first camping trip together as a family with her infant son.
“We’ve seen it firsthand with our baby Max. He just turned 8 months old, and my husband and I have found that (like us!) Max is more aware and alive in the forest, beach, or even on a hike near home.”
According to Dr. Denise Shushan of Seattle Children’s Hospital, “early infancy is all about responding to environmental stimulation. The sights, sounds, temperatures, and smells of nature will cement brain stimulation, reflexes, and personality that should last a lifetime.”
So bringing your little bundle of joy in an environment where they can experience new sensations (such as when you go camping) does wonders for their brain development, it seems.
Won’t My Little One Get Stressed Out With Camping?
More than worrying about whether your little one making a fuss during the whole camping experience, Dr. Charles Shubin, director of Children’s Health Center at Mercy FamilyCare in Baltimore, MD, feels it’s more important for parents to understand what they’re getting into before they go.
“Kids don’t tolerate changes in the environment as well as we do,” cautions Dr. Shubin. “They can get disoriented and anxious… (but) if the adults are excited, then the kids will pick up on it.”
This sounds like great news for parents, particularly those who are camping and outdoor enthusiasts.
Camping continues to be a popular family activity, and more than the benefits of experiencing new sights, sounds, and stimulation, however, for parents who do choose to take their baby out on a camping trip, it’s all about family bonding and spending quality time together.
Krista Langlois decided to take her seven-pound daughter camping for the first time. “I won’t claim it was a totally stress-free weekend, but as one friend put it: a sleepless night under the stars is better than a sleepless night at home,” Langlois shared on a site she regularly writes for.
“Getting that first trip under our belts set us up for more camping trips in the future — which meant more opportunities to bond as a family around the campfire, introduce our daughter to the natural world, and cement friendships with other families.”
Camping Can Be Great For You and Your Baby
Especially for parents who are really into the camping lifestyle, we just can’t wait to share the joy and excitement of being close to nature and enjoying the great outdoors with their little one.
Jeff Layton of The Seattle Times took his two-week-old newborn Ian out on a camping weekend for the first time. For him and his wife, after all the worries, the fuss, and the preparation, the payoff was well worth it.
After a night out in a nest of sleeping bags, “Ian awoke at first light and became slowly aware of his surroundings,” shared the first-time father. “The surreal glow of our tent brought an expression of wonder to his face that said, ‘Everything is right in this world. All of my needs are met, I’m warm and happy and surrounded by my two favorite people.’”