Camping with Babies and Young Children

Camping with young babies can certainly be challenging– however, it is still great to get out and about – it just requires a little more organisation.

Prepare a list with the main items that your baby requires, to ensure nothing is forgotten. As your child grows, the list will change to suit the needs of your child. It’s not the destination, but the journey…. was no doubt said by someone that was not road trippin’ with young children. Sometimes it’s not the destination- it is the journey that is the most memorable part of your trip. Depending on how far you are going, travelling with young children and babies can be a long and tedious exercise. Feeding stops, park stops, lunch stops, snack stops and sanity stops all mean a longer and drawn out road trip. We generally try and time our departure with milk time and nap time. A great suggestion is whilst one parent finishes the final stages of packing and organising the car, the other takes the kids for a quick play at the park, or game of soccer at your local oval. A great way to stretch their legs and tire the kids out before embarking on your journey.

In the car

There are many great technologies that can keep a toddler entertained whilst in the car. DVD’s, great iPad apps and even activity packs that contain colouring in books, crayons and activity books which are designed for travel are now available.

If your baby is formula fed, bring a flask of hot water into the car – it makes it easier to heat up bottles. In saying that, if you are traveling through towns, most shops and cafés will happily microwave a bottle for you.

A learning experience

Last Christmas we decided to venture on our holidays to Tathra. The thing is, we live in Melbourne. Our girls were then 8 months old and 2 and a half. The way up was fine, everything was well organised and we were still on an energetic high from starting holidays, we had had a lovely Christmas with family and we were now heading off with our new camper trailer. We had arranged to stop for the night in Lakes Entrance – half way to our destination. Everything went well and we had a smooth drive all the way to Tathra – lots of laughing, fun and yummy car snacks.

Our drive home was a little different. Being Christmas, and after 10 days of camping we decided that we would bypass the half way home stop, as we just wanted to get home. The kids were exhausted, and I was coming down with the flu. We left Tathra early on New Years’ day - well as early as one can with young children (more like 10am), and drove the whole way home. There was crying, why did I ever agree to do this, I am never going camping again – and that was just from mum. The kids had had it, they were sick of being in the car, all they wanted to do was be anywhere but strapped into their car seat. We eventually got home at 10:30 that night. It was certainly a long trip however - the good parts always outway the bad, and with our lesson learnt, we always plan ahead to camp half way home on a long trip.

Baby Feeds

If your bub is on formula, make sure you bring your supply with you, especially if traveling to places that only have small towns, chances are – the local grocer will not stock your preferred formula and more likely than not, your specialty formula – soy etc.

Bottles –when feeding your bub and he/she is waking for night feeds, make sure you have some sort of dull light in your tent, so that you will not trip over anything or anyone. (I usually bring a laptop with me and use this light for night feeds).

Of course common sense applies to being outdoors with young babies for extended periods of time. If it is boiling hot or freezing cold, dress your child appropriately, apply sunscreen regularly and stay in the shade.

Sleeping

If your child is out of a poracot, then there are many mattresses and stretcher beds on the market which suit any budget. Make sure to pack a warm doona or sleeping bag as many places cool down significantly at night.

If you baby is still using baby sleeping bags, check the sleeping bag is rated for the appropriate climate, you can get sleeping bags that range from summer to winter.

If it is very hot during the day – my husband and I would take our kids for a drive with the air con on so they could have a sleep. Sometimes, there is no escaping the heat during the day in the tent, so a drive in the car is a great way to explore what is around you and give the kids a nap.

Eating

If your baby is still eating puree I would suggest bringing their normal homemade puree or store bought puree. I once had the unfortunate experience of running out of puree and the local grocer did not stock any (that was in date), and so began the long drive to the main supermarket. Bring all food that you would normally feed your baby and make sure that if you plan to buy some, you stop at a larger supermarket on the way.

Bits and Pieces

Bring all medicine and just in case medicine such as baby Panadol, Nurofen, asthma spacers etc

• Pram

• Baby Carrier

• Port a cot

• High chair – if you have the luxury of packing space or alternatively a bumbo

• Window shades

Scrapbooking Since having children, I have started a scrapbook of our adventures. Every holiday I add a couple of key photos to the scrap book and where the photos were taken. It is not only a creative and fun way to document your families adventures, but it is also a lovely piece of memorabilia to give them when they get older.

Thank you to Happy Little Campers for a great Article. Visit them on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HappyLittleCampersOz

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