Becoming a parent can be a bit of an overwhelming time, especially if it’s for the first time, and there a million and one things to consider to keep your bundle of joy safe and healthy,
Even though it might not be the first thing you think about, if you’re an avid camper, you may be wondering whether you can still go camping with a baby - well the answer is of course you can!
However, there are some things you need to consider when camping with a baby. We have already given some advice on camping with children, but in this guide we're focusing solely on babies, and here at Winfields Outdoors, we’re here to help you ensure you and your young family can still enjoy the great outdoors and make campers out of them as soon as possible.
1. Be realistic about what you can do
While having a baby doesn’t have to stop you from going camping, it’s important to be realistic about the type of camping you should do. For example, if you normally go wild camping in the middle of nowhere with little in the way of amenities of comfort, then you may want to rethink that if you have a baby with you.
2. Consider glamping
If you don’t like the idea of sleeping in a tent with a baby and want something a little comfier and cosier, then you could always consider glamping. You can still have a fantastic camping experience when glamping, but you’ll also likely have a few more creature comforts that those with very young children may appreciate.
3. Find a good pitch
A good pitch is always essential when camping, but as adults we can put up with it if it’s not perfect. However, if you have a baby, then you should be a bit more picky about your pitch. Try and make sure it’s flat so that sleeping is nice and comfortable, and also ensure you’re not near any potential hazards, particularly if they can crawl. Opting for a quieter part of the campsite might also be wise so not to disturb their sleep.
4. Invest in a tent carpet
We’d always suggest that you buy a tent carpet if you’re going camping, but they’re even better if you have babies and small children. Not only do tent carpets and rugs protect the floor of your tent, but they also offer an extra layer of insulation and are more comfortable to sit and crawl around on.
5. Bring warm clothing for nighttime
Even in the middle of summer, it can still get cold at night and of course you don’t have the insulation of your home to keep your baby warm. Babies’ bodies also aren’t as adept at regulating temperature, so it’s up to us to fo that for them.
Pack a hat and mittens for them in case they get cold during the night, and use layers of clothing so you can add and remove them as necessary.
6. Take extra cushions with you
If you’re nursing and do so laying on your back or side then take extra cushions to make you more comfortable. An airbed can also make life a bit more comfortable, especially if you normally just sleep on a camping mat.
7. Chat with neighbours
If you’ve got neighbours camping next to you, then it might be worthwhile just popping your head around the door to say hello. The majority of campers won’t have a problem with a potentially crying baby (remember there’s little soundproofing in a tent), but if you just make them aware that you have a baby with you, then they’ll no doubt appreciate it and it’ll keep relationships smooth over the course of your camping holiday.
8. Keep baby cool and hydrated during the day
If the weather is nice and warm, then it’s important to ensure that your baby is kept nice and cool and well hydrated. Babies in prams shouldn’t be covered with blankets or anything that stops air circulating. A sun shade is recommended so they’re out of direct sunlight as much as possible.
To keep hydrated, bottle fed babies under six months should be given cooled boiled water, while babies over six months can be given tap water. Babies who are fully breastfed don’t need to be given extra water until they’re eating solid foods.
9. Enjoy it!
The most important thing is to enjoy camping with your baby! It’s likely they’re first time experiencing the great outdoors in this way, and hopefully it’ll be the first of many camping trips. It’s only natural to be apprehensive about taking them out of their home environment, but babies are pretty adaptable - just kick back and relax and enjoy the experience as a family.
Sleeping advice for camping with babies
We wanted to give this its own section as sleeping advice for babies when you go camping is an area that many new parents ask about. We spoke with The Lullaby Trust for their advice:
"Our advice for camping with a baby is much the same as our standard safer sleep advice – babies should sleep on their backs on a firm, flat mattress with a waterproof cover and in their own sleep space. We would recommend using a travel cot or Moses basket, which should have a rigid frame and base, and a firm, flat mattress, covered in a waterproof material. Travel cot mattresses are often thinner and feel harder than those in a permanent cot, but don’t be tempted to place folded blankets or a quilt under the baby to make them ‘more comfortable’.
"The tent or other sleeping area should ideally be between 16 -20°C and it might be useful to take a room thermometer with you to ensure that your baby does not overheat. You may have to consider re-arranging the items in the sleeping area/tent to ensure that the travel cot isn’t in direct sunlight, and is also out of reach of cords and hazards.
Can babies use sleeping bags?
"We don’t have any advice specifically regarding sleeping bags, so we would recommend parents check the manufacturer’s guidelines before placing their baby in one to sleep. A regular baby sleep bag is a good option as it reduces the risk of blankets and sheets being kicked off and covering babies head. Baby sleep bags should be well fitted, so your baby can’t wriggle down inside and use the correct tog rating for the time of year. There should be no need to use any additional bedding as the sleep bag replaces the bedding.
"There are many different baby sleeping bags on the market and we would encourage parents to check that any product they buy has passed the necessary safety checks and to follow the manufacturer’s care instructions and tog rating that come with the product."
Before you head off camping, take a look at our fantastic range of family tents, and if you have slightly older children, see our range of kids sleeping bags.