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Top 10 Tips for embracing epic hikes with your baby

Getting out for a 'proper' boots-on walk with a baby can feel daunting, but with a bit of prep it's easier than you think and feels amazing once you're out!

Hike

Here are our Top 10 Tips for embracing epic hikes with your baby:

  1. Be bold. Feel confident - you've got this! Adventure doesn't have to stop when you become a parent. Baby will love the fresh air and stimulation (and probably have a good snooze!) and you'll feel totally kickass for achieving something for yourself.
  2. Be kind on your postpartum body. If you've recently given birth, ease yourself back into walking. Check in with your health professional that you're ready to hit the trails. Walking is the perfect way to get moving again - it's gentle, you can go at your own pace, and it's great for your mental and physical health.
  3. Choose how to take your baby. Carrying your baby makes nearly all terrain accessible - slings and baby carriers are great for wearing baby close on your front or back (good for heat regulation). Contact your local sling library/baby-wearing consultant for help. Baby backpacks are fab if you need to also carry kit underneath and so your baby can enjoy the view above you. Off road pushchairs are also brilliant over bumpy ground. Check out resale websites for secondhand kit - you'll be amazed at what hardly-used outdoor gems you can find!
  4. Pack the kitchen sink. Joke! Actually hiking with a baby doesn't require loads more stuff. Just a few nappy changing bits, some extra food and water for you both (remember you'll exert more energy carrying/pushing a baby) and weather appropriate layers. Take a mat or plastic bag to sit on for feeds and changes. Walking pole/s are great for balance when baby-carrying. And of course the essentials: charged phone, map (and compass if necessary), and first aid kit (inc. tick remover).
  5. Layer up. Layers are your friend! In cold weather try warm base layers for you and woollen cardies/trousers for baby (avoiding snowsuits if baby-carrying). Hats, gloves and snoods to cover gaps/extremities. Keep yourselves dry with waterproof baby-wearing covers/coats and waterproof trousers for you (geeky but you'll feel invincible). In hot weather, keep baby out of direct sunlight by wearing cool light-coloured sleeves/leggings, sun hats and sun cream, and use an umbrella as a parasol. Keep an eye on baby's temperature and add/remove layers as necessary.
  6. Choose your route. Start short & sweet, walking with a baby often takes longer than if you were by yourself. While you're learning the ropes with baby hiking, start with your old favourite routes - you'll know the terrain, alternative/bail-out options and services nearby. You can build up to new, longer and more epic walks as your confidence and stamina grow. Check out apps like OS Maps, All Trails, Komoot and Go Jauntly for walk ideas.
  7. Grab a walking buddy. If your baby's sleeping or happily occupied you'll manage an interrupted chat! So call a friend or join a local Blaze Trails parent and baby walking group. If there's not one near you, start your own! We'll offer loads of support and you'll soon be out hiking with other outdoorsy parents.
  8. Embrace al fresco feeds and changes. Whether breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, get comfortable with feeding outdoors - it's liberating. Take regular breaks and find a log to rest on. Outdoor nappy changes are great fun - just pop baby down on a coat/mat on the forest floor and they'll love looking up at the trees. Remember to take all rubbish home with you.
  9. Enjoy the view and take a selfie! Remember to pause every so often and just take it in. Thank yourself for getting outdoors. Take photos of you and your adventure baby - they'll be some of your favourite memories of those early years!
  10. Most of all, have fun! You'll have some hiccups, forget something, get rained on - but we guarantee you'll have fun along the way. You can't take yourself too seriously when you're parenting in the outdoors!

Blaze Trails

Katy is Founder of Blaze Trails - the UK's parent and baby hiking network. When not leaping up hills with a baby on her front and a toddler at her side, she's growing the Blaze Trails national community of parent and baby walking groups - run by parents, for parents. Blaze Trails empowers parents to get outdoors with their babies by connecting them to local walking buddies, offering down-to-earth tips on getting out the front door, and inspiring them to begin their own family walking journeys.

Start your own parent and baby walking group, or find baby hiking info and resources, by visiting our website blazetrails.org.uk or follow us on Instagram @blaze.trails

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