Matt and I love hiking and I was over the moon excited to take Sammy on our first family hiking trip!!!
I have to admit though, I was a little concerned how Sammy would react to being strapped down for 4-6 hours in a carrier. If you have never met Sammy….she is active! We call her our never ending energizer bunny. And besides being extremely active she has had a dislike from day 1 for anything that restricts her movement- the car seat, stroller, bouncy seat, high chair. We were setting out for a 6 hour hiking adventure with Sammy in a baby carrier.
At first Sammy protested as we strapped her into the backpack , but as we started up the trail, much to my surprise, the frustration turned to complete joy! Sammy was not only grinning from ear to ear at every passerby, but she was babbling nonstop. She talked the entire way up the mountain… for 3 hours!
And As we turned to head back down the mountain Sammy fell asleep and napped the entire way back to the car.
We had a lot of fun on our trip, but their would be a few things I would do differently for our next hike:
1. Research the trails- we thought we picked an easy trail, but it was actually a moderately difficult trail for hikers not carrying a baby. About 30 minutes into our hike, the trail turned into a steep incline covered in rocks. The rocks were still on the smaller size- so I could tiptoe from rock to rock. It was no longer an easy stroll though and I had to concentrate on the placement of each foot. That combined with the incline and 20-30 extra pounds of baby and carrier soon became tiring. About 2 hours in we approached some massive rocks. And the only way up was to scale them on all fours. Even for an adventurous hiker, this was starting to appear to be too intimidating. A half hour later we still were over an hour from the top, the winds were picking up, the rocks were getting steeper- I was at this point a tired momma and starting to feel very outside my comfort zone. We sat down at a lookout, ate lunch, and happily turned around. Matt carried Sammy back down the steep rocks, and all the way back to the car.
( These were the medium size rocks. And yes Matty is barefoot. He unfortunately forgot his hiking shoes and still wanted to hike. Apparently people to do it all the time- people passing by thought he was just super intense)
I still love hard hikes, but not with a baby….next time I might look for a leisurely smooth path, maybe with a picnic area..I am thinking a hill
2. Nursing while hiking- most nursing mothers can attest to at least a handful of comments or looks they have received out in common places while nursing their baby- the mall, cafe, etc. It happens But for some reason if you nurse in an unusual place- like the hiking trail there is an even higher chance you will receive comments and looks. My suggestion is to maybe nurse a little off the trail if the trip is long and you can’t wait for seclusion. And my one other suggestion is to not let it bother you. They are simply offended that there comfort zone has been invaded and they simply don’t see that you are very naturally feeding your baby the most healthy meal So brush it off and continue caring for your baby
Note: you can of course bring a bottle of pumped milk, but it was hot, that would have meant ice packs and me also feeling engorged…I personally chose to nurse.
3. Water- it’s heavy but bring a lot You are caring a lot more weight than normal up a hill.
4. Bug spray- next time I will research some baby appropriate sprays. Unless of course you want to save me some time and comment below
What to bring-
Long layers for baby
Hats & Sunscreen
Warm Layers, especially for baby as temperature drops with the altitude
Wipes, diapers…all of those necessities
(I think that is everything we brought and or will next time
Oh, and Sammy was eating solids so we packaged up some sweet potato, grabbed a cheese stick, piece of fruit and a zucchini muffin for her lunch
If you know of some awesome family friendly trails for toddler and under, please let me know your favorites