Posts Tagged ‘hiking’

Hiking with Kids

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

img_7455One of our family’s favorite activities is hiking. When we decided where to locate pre-kids, we decided on Denver since there are so many places to hike in Colorado.  In the summer of 2012, we planned one last backpacking trip before we started to try to have kids.  We saw a family hiking up the trail in the opposite direction on our last day.  Trailing far behind the rest of the family was the miserable looking father, carrying a child, plus what looked like gear and water for the others.  I jokingly said to my husband, “That’s going to be you soon!” once they had passed. We had a good laugh, but we had a lot to learn about hiking with kids. The following tips to make certain no one looks as miserable as that poor father did.

  1. Research and try on a kid carrier before purchasing one. Be prepared to spend some money.  Your hips, shoulders, rest of your body will thank you. While our kids were still little, I carried them using my soft-structured carrier. Some people still use their woven wraps to carry big kids. When they were about 10 months, though, we purchased hiking carriers. Just like a good hiking backpack, make sure you find one that will allow you to adjust the load between your hips and shoulders.

  2. Make sure your kids stay hydrated. Even living in Denver, when we go up to the mountains, the elevation affects us. If we’re feeling the elevation, the kids are too. We encourage Lily to drink water often. To prepare Juniper for the hike, I would nurse her in the car before starting, on any breaks we took, and once we were finished hiking. I didn’t use a nursing cover with my girls, so I made sure to wear a nursing tank under my hiking shirt. Now that Juniper is a year old, we bring her water too. We also bring an extra liter of water on top of what we normally bring to ensure the whole family is properly hydrated. On longer hikes, as an extra precaution, we bring our water pump.  (We split the load.)

  3. Minimize travel time. Gone are the days of waking up at 5:30, driving the two hours to Rocky Mountain National Park, hiking, then driving the two hours back home. We have found many hikes closer to home, within forty-five minutes of our house. Although the views are slightly less spectacular, everyone is much happier with the decreased travel time.

  4. Related to #3, plan your hike length appropriately. Even with frequent breaks and allowing Lily to hike on her own, our kids have about an hour and a half tolerance for hiking. Lily no longer naps, but when she did, we would try to plan to hike during naps so we could go on longer hikes. Be prepared to move slowly if you have a little one hiking on their own. Lily loves finding pine cones, sticks, rocks, and other treasures.  All the exploring greatly decreases the pace we move at.

  5. Expand your first-aid kit. When it was just the two of us, a first aid kit that only included limited bandaids, antibiotic cream, an ace bandage, and ibuprofen was sufficient. We’ve added Children’s Benadryl, extra sunscreen, emergency rain ponchos, additional bandaids, alcohol wipes, and tweezers. In addition to our expanded first aid kit, we also make sure we have a change of clothes for the girls and diapers for the baby.

Although hiking with kids is a little different that hiking pre-kids, it can be just as much fun (if not more).  Now it is not just a hobby that my husband and I share, it a favorite activity of the whole family.

Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom to two girls, a three year old and a one year old, in Denver, CO who enjoys cooking for her family, running, and hiking.

When You Can’t Take Any More, Take Your Toddler Hiking

Friday, October 17th, 2014

When You Can't Take Any More, Take Your Toddler Hiking

When I had my second daughter, my first was a toddler: Old enough to undress herself just as I was ready to leave the house, young enough not to listen most of the time. Old enough to take off her shoes in the car, young enough that she still had zero sense.

My toddler bounced off the walls at home, but I felt frazzled and unsafe everywhere we went because she wasn’t reliably holding my hand or listening to me. I felt like all I did all day was nurse the baby and yell, “No! Don’t! Get off there!” at my older daughter. I decided we needed to get out of the house, but we had to go somewhere where I wouldn’t have to contain her or we might both end up in tears. So we went for a hike.

It worked. We had an hour to and hour and a half of time that day during which I was not parenting. I didn’t have to say, “Don’t touch that!” “Don’t go over there!” or “Stay with me!” once.  She got to run and explore and let her curiosity about the world take over. She got a few boos-boos. She ran out of my sight and got scared enough to return. She slept like a baby at nap time, and the baby did, too.

There are so many benefits to getting your kids outdoors. Being outdoors can calm ADHD symptoms, lower stress levels and anxiety, improve distance vision, and raise levels of Vitamin D, helping protect against future illness.  Not to mention the myriad of organic learning opportunities out in nature.

If you’ve never hiked in your area before and don’t know where to start, just google “family friendly hikes in [your city]”. It’s a great idea to try the trail out on your own before you load up the kids, and always check weather

conditions before you go.  Remember that kids get cold faster than adults. Follow the rule you used when they were babies and dress them one layer warmer than you are wearing.

Here are a few tips for hiking with a toddler:

photo 3-4

  • Explore the trails on your own first to make sure they are safe. If you can’t do so, trails marked handicap accessible are a great place to start.
  • Park near a potty.
  • Make sure you have a first aid kit in the car, as well as extra clothes.
  • Put shoes on them that they can’t take off, and clothes on them that they can get dirty.
  • Expect to do more following than hiking—toddlers are very close to the ground and everything is very interesting down there!
  • Let them run ahead and be independent if you feel safe doing so.
  • Don’t go in any further than you are prepared to carry everyone back.
  • Try not to say “No” or “Don’t” while you’re hiking. Make it a relaxing time for you both. Let them explore and experience natural consequences if you can do so safely.
  • Once you find a spot you love, look into a membership or pass to that park to make visiting cheaper.

Once we found a spot that worked for us, we went back again and again. I like variety, but my daughter loved knowing the trail and what to expect. Baby wearing was a lifesaver here, as I could nurse the baby or let her fall asleep on my back and not worrying about getting us home in time for naps.

I found hiking to be a very refreshing and necessary part of my week. Toddlers can be so frustrating when you have to divide your attention between them and anything else. Our hiking time was a time when I could quit correcting and just enjoy her, and as it turned out, that was exactly what I needed.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three girls who can usually recapture her sanity on a hike.

Top 5 Reasons I Love Babywearing

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Initially I stumbled upon babywearing as a great way to bond with baby. At first I was mostly focused on the benefits for baby however I quickly realized babywearing was equally beneficial for me. Here are my top 5 reasons I love babywearing:

1. Easy to enjoy nature with baby
Babywearing has allowed me the opportunity to continue living an active outdoor lifestyle. There are many hiking trails and outdoor locations I have enjoyed with my babies that using a stroller would not have been a feasible option. Ever try to push a stroller along a sandy beach? It’s almost impossible! However I have walked many sandy beach shores with my babies on my back. I am so grateful for our ERGObaby Carrier and all the amazing outdoor family adventures we’ve had with it!

2. Easy to do household chores with baby
Babies like to be held, but it is difficult to get household chores completed if your arms are busy holding baby. Babywearing is a perfect solution! It allows you to be “hands-free” in order to get chores done while baby is held close…everyone is happy! I really can’t imagine what my day would look like without babywearing. I can wash dishes, mop the floor, cook a meal, fold laundry, work in the yard/garden, and more all while baby is more than content to hang out with me in the Ergo.

3. Easy to get baby asleep anywhere, anytime
This benefit was made apparent to me more recently while at a BBQ. A friend with a baby the same age as mine was there with me. Our babies both got tired around the same time. Reluctantly my friend left the BBQ early to go home to put her baby to bed. I was able to stay knowing my tired baby would comfortably sleep in the Ergo and I could continue socializing. Getting a baby to sleep anytime, anywhere is especially nice when there are older children in the family because you are less able to plan your day around a nap schedule. Having a baby that can sleep at different events, functions, and/or locations is extremely helpful to accommodate the needs of older siblings while still meeting the sleep needs of your baby.

4. Easy to navigate crowds
Strollers can be very difficult to navigate through crowded areas such as at fairs, festivals, shopping areas, etc. Using a stroller might also require you to find alternative routes if there are stairs or bumpy terrain to navigate around. There have been many times I am thankful I don’t have to try to find an elevator or carry a stroller up the stairs because I am wearing my baby. One time I was visiting a small mountain town full of quirky and quaint little shops and cafes. The shops were not stroller-friendly in the least; they had rocky steps, tight corners, fragile displays, etc. But babywearing made it easy for me to explore the town fully and enjoy browsing the various shops.

5. Easy to soothe baby
When my second son was a newborn his favorite thing was to be wrapped in the Moby while I vacuumed. I think my floors were cleaner than ever during the first two months of his life due to all the vacuuming and babywearing. But it honestly was a 100% no-fail way to soothe him if he was fussy. Babywearing provides babies close physical contact, movement, and visual stimulation which often leads to a calm, content baby.

What do you enjoy about babywearing? What’s the most unique place you’ve worn your baby?

-Sarah

Check back tomorrow for a Fun Fall Recipe your kids are sure to love!

My 3 Top Favorite Baby Carriers

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

2 week old in Moby

Navigating baby wearing can be somewhat overwhelming at first. There are so many great choices available it can be hard to know where to start. One thing to keep in mind is that a certain carrier might work well for a particular age, occasion, or need but as those things change so might the carrier you select. I have three carriers that I use on a regular basis; a wrap, a structured carrier, and a ring sling. I have tried others and enjoyed them, but always seem to go back to the following three:

Moby Wrap
This is my favorite carrier to use with a newborn. The stretchy fabric contours to the shape of baby and cuddles him/her extra close. I remember wearing my second son in the Moby and my older son being confused because he thought baby was back in utero! I have fond memories of lots of skin to skin time around the house in the Moby during the first few weeks of my babies’ lives. You can put baby in just his/her diaper and comfortably wear baby topless in the Moby. There is a bit of a learning curve to using a Moby Wrap. You may need to practice several times before getting the hang of it. One tip a friend gave me that I found very useful was to pre-wrap it around me before heading out the door. Then when I arrived at our destination I could baby right in and go.

A Moby can also make a nice maternity photo prop. Photo courtesy Jazmin V. Photography.

14 month old in Ergo

ERGObaby Carrier 
My ERGObaby Carrier is so essential to my everyday life that if I could select only ONE baby item to bring to a deserted island with me it would definitely be my ergo (second in line would be my cloth diapers). I usually switch from the Moby to the front in the ERGO around 12 weeks old depending on the size and trunk strength of baby. Once baby is about 5 months I alternate between the front and back carry depending on the situation. My ERGO goes everywhere with me. I love it for running errands because it’s super easy to pop baby in and out. When doing chores around the house, baby is usually napping on my back. I enjoy hiking with baby in the ERGO because it’s super light-weight, comfortable, and supportive. Use of the ERGO while traveling has been invaluable in getting through busy airports quickly and safely. The learning curve with the ERGO is super short. After practicing just a few times you will likely be able to use an ERGO with ease.

Ring Sling
I originally started using the ring sling because I wanted a “pretty” baby wearing option. I found a dress that I absolutely loved (and could nurse comfortably in) to wear to a friend’s wedding. I planned to bring my 4 month old with me to the wedding and knew I would need to wear him on and off throughout the night. As much as I love my ERGO, I wanted something ‘softer’ to wear with my dress. I experimented with using a Ring Sling and discovered that in addition to being beautiful they are also quite versatile. The learning curve is a bit longer and takes a little more practice, however ring slings are pretty forgiving. It is super easy to pop baby in and out of a ring sling. I also find it’s fairly easy to nurse baby in a ring sling. The other advantage I found was that in social situations a ring sling allows for baby to visually engage with the environment but still be close to mom.

4 month old sleeping in a ring sling

 

Each mom and baby will have their own favorite. It may take a little experimentation but the process can be a fun one! What baby carrier(s) do you prefer and why?

- Sarah