Four Simple Tips to Survive Camping With a Newborn as First Time Parents

New parents, exactly three weeks since getting discharged from the hostpital, and determined to go camping with our newborn. Were we crazy? Maybe. Would we do it again? ONE HUNDRED PERCENT!

Our truck loaded down with a nursery’s worth of baby-items, me in the backseat with eyes glued on our newborn while the dog enjoyed the luxury of riding shotgun; we headed off on a four hour drive to our family’s property.

THE DRIVE:

  • 45 minutes into our drive: Baby had a diaper blow out. This was the very first blowout we had encountered as new parents, needless to say, we were not fans of the event! Pull over, change diaper, load back up.
    • 3 hours 15 minutes to go!
  • 90 minutes into our drive: Time to feed baby. Pull over, feed, burp, clean up spit up (reflux baby), load back up.
    • 2 hours 30 minutes to go!
  • 2 hours into our drive: Have to stop for gas. Why didn’t we combine this stop with feeding baby at last stop? Because we were sleep deprived first time parents with less than fully functioning brains, that’s why…
    • 2 hours to go!

I’ll skip over the rest of the drive’s play-by-play, but our four-hour drive to camp ended up taking SIX hours!

FINALLY MADE IT TO CAMP!

The minute we got to camp I jumped out of the truck (as well as one could jump with a four-week postpartum body that had been cooped up in a back seat for hours could jump) to get baby out of his car seat and into a clean diaper. Then it was time to feed, at the time baby hadn’t established a good latch so feedings took FOREVER, consisting of breastfeeding followed by a bottle while I pumped to make sure we had fresh milk ready for the next feed.

Once baby had a full tummy, we made our way to introduce baby to my grandparents who had gone up a few days before us. Then it was time for a nap. Did I mention he wasn’t taking naps on his own yet? So, contact nap it was. When he woke we started the cycle over: diaper, feed, took a few minutes while he was awake to walk him around the property, and back down for another contact nap.

The weekend was not relaxing like the camping trips we were accustomed to to pre-baby, but WE SURVIVED with memories made and lessons learned.

First time parents camping with newborn.
Look at those tired first time parents!

Here’s the four things that helped us survive our first camping trip with a newborn (and no, they’re not products!):

1. HAVE EXTRA HELP

My dad and grandparents happened to be up at the property the weekend we went up, and, boy, was that a huge relief to us!

Having extended family around to pass baby off to and take turns with the contact naps allowed my husband and I to set up our camp easily, eat warm meals (what a luxury as new parents!), and find a few seconds of relaxation in the weekend.

2. PACK EVERYTHING

Confession: I am a CHRONIC over-packer, and having a baby has made it about 800x worse..

  • 15 onesies and 12 pairs of pants for two and a half days? CHECK!
  • Owlet sock to go camping (plugged into our power bank)? Obviously!
  • Every set of sleeper jammies we owned? GOT THEM!
  • Two full sleeves of diapers, three packs of wipes, all the Aquaphor, formula (for a breastfed baby..), every bottle we owned, 11 different blankets, three Halo swaddles, seven beanies, three pairs of Zutano Booties, pack n play, co-sleeper, baby dome, three different carriers, baby monitor (also plugged into the power bank, so handy!), stroller…you name it, we probably had it!

Could we have survived the weekend with less? Yes, quite a bit less, actually. But being a new mom, hours away from home with baby for the first time, knowing that we had ANYTHING we might need helped set my mind at ease and that was worth the space it took up!

3. SNACKS, SNACKS, SNACKS

BRING ALL THE SNACKS!

Luckily in the newborn stage there’s no need to worry about snacks for baby. But, mama, you NEED food!!

Recovering from birth is a lot of work, and getting hangry is an easy way to ruin a trip to the mountains. Especially if you are breastfeeding, set yourself up for success and bring LOTS of food!

4. HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

The very best thing we did for our trip was not having any huge, unachievable expectations as we headed out!

Our one and only goal was to get baby out camping as early as possible, and we felt like we accomplished that. In fact, I would argue that we exceeded that; we enjoyed a campfire as a family, we walked along the river, went for a stroll up the road, drove down into the old local mining town, and created memories that will last a lifetime.

Was the trip exhausting? Yes, very much so. But we made it through and hopefully started to instill a love of the outdoors into our kiddo, from a very early age!

BONUS – Our Favorite Baby Item to Take Camping!

What one item helped baby sleep, kept our environment similar to home, and consistently helped him stay more relaxed?

A SOUND MACHINE – Get one and get a spare, take it everywhere!

We have Yoga Sleep portable sound machines with adjustable volumes and different sounds to choose from (we always just use white noise though) and they are a LIFE SAVER at home and on the go, just trust me on this one!

Did you take your newborn camping? What helped you survive that first trip? Leave a comment below!

*I am in no way sponsored or affiliated with any of the companies or links listed, just products I use and love

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