A GUIDE TO HIKING WITH A TODDLER
Firstly I need to say, I cannot believe that my wee baby boy is not so tiny anymore. Jasper is almost fourteen months old and is becoming the most beautiful little sole I could wish for. When we first brought Jasper into the world my husband and I said to one another that we wouldn’t let having a baby stop us from doing what we love and we have stuck by this. Four days after having Jasper were out and about- going for walks along the beach, getting our weekly produce from the farmers markets and having lunch out at cafes. We would take him on day long trips into the city and he even went to a hokey game. We took our very first family trip away to Echuca, Victoria when Jasper was barely 6 weeks old. We felt that the sooner he was exposed to these outings the better he would fit into our lifestyle. It is true that baby’s need their sleep but it doesn’t always have to be in a bed. The most practical baby item is my ring sling maya wrap . My dear friend Cindy introduced me to baby wearing and I am so thankful that she did. I picked up a wrap second hand off ebay for $50. I never left the house without it, we had a new pram sitting in his room that was never used (until he was 4 months old). Using the wrap allowed Jasper to sleep and feed when ever he needed to- all whilst I was walking around. I didn’t even stop to feed him, unless of course I wanted to. I simply adjusted the wrap so that he could reach my nipple and then held him whilst he nursed. A very practical item that allows you to get on with your day whilst your little one snuggles into your chest.
My husband and I are fond hikers and share a love for the great outdoors. We had been on many walks before Jasper came along, some of our honeymoon we spent hiking parts of the USA. It was a big part of our lifestyle and we wanted it to remain that way, and it has. We have been on many hikes already in the first year of his life and they have still be as wonderful as they were before.
Here are a few tips on hiking with your little people;
Get yourself a comfortable carrier- this is essential, you want to be as comfortable as you can because carrying around and extra ten kilograms or more is hard on your body. I use a soft baby carrier (SSC) these support your back and I think they are more comfortable for baby than the rigid variety. But find what works best for you. Take it in turns who carries baby with your partner or hiking buddy, that way you both of you get to have a little rest.
Pack lightly- when we hike one of us carries the backpack and the other carries Jasper. All we take with us is water, a couple of nappies, some paper towel, sunscreen (if we need it) and of course the camera. I often bring a few snacks for Jasper but I make sure we have a very decent size meal before we leave. This gets us thorough to the end of the hike, unless we are going for longer than 5 hours, then I will pack a lunch. There’s nothing better than digging into a well deserved meal after a long hike…..and enjoying one before we set off.
Feed on the move- if you are still nursing, like me, and you want to keep on trekking, learn to breastfeed whilst you’re walking. This really comes in handy, I simply place Jasper on my front (obviously hehe) and let the straps down a bit so that his face is level with my breasts. Pop a boob out and continue on your way. Now that’s meals on wheels…or on feet!
Don’t be in any rush- now that Jasper is a toddler he loves to be on his feet so I must say, things do take a little longer. But this is okay, children want to explore their world and it’s important to let them. Sometimes I need to just step back and do nothing but observe. We can get so caught up on getting somewhere that we soon miss the little things. I love it when Jasper whitenesses something new, seeing his little face take it all in is priceless. I want him to enjoy his sense of imagination and adventure and letting him walk around for part of the hike allows him to do this.
I think that we can sometimes overlook how easily our little people can fit into our lifestyle. It’s true that things can take a little longer once you have children, but I say embrace these times. We are often trying to cram so much into our day that we miss precious moments. Do what ever it is you that you want in your life and your kids will learn to do the same. There is nothing more that I want than for Jasper to be happy and live life that he loves and I am gong to be his role model for that.