If you camped alot before your baby, you likely are pretty excited to camp with your newborn ASAP… but you might also have some fears of how different it will be, or if it will even be worth it!
While we camped with our first child a little later than newborn, we camped pretty early with our twin girls. We just HAD to get back to being us, and we wanted to get them to love being outside as soon as possible.
Camping with a newborn can seem pretty intimidating if you believe the hype about all the stuff you’re told you need to take care of a newborn, which is probably what prevented us from going early with our son.
AFter learning how basic a
Anyways, here are the top tips to have an awesome camp trip with your newborn!
Camp close to home so that it’s not a big deal to run home and grab anything!
It’s always good to have a “trial run” with your newborn – this is mostly to test the waters and find out what you really need to bring, what the sleeping and feeding situation
For example, you might go SUPER minimal because you think you won’t have enough space to pack everything. However, it might turn out your baby does really do better sleeping in a pack n play as opposed to a baby tent and that it’s actually worth bringing next time.
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t forget to check out this free camping baby pack list (it’s actually 9 pages and covers alot more!)
Camp at a developed campground so you have access to water and electricity (that makes newborn care way easier!)
I love camping at developed campgrounds with newborns because they often have bathrooms, fresh water available as well as nice paths to take walks on. While you’ll eventually learn to make it work without any of these things, it’s sometimes really nice to not have to worry about water supply or accessibility to places!
Bring a netted baby tent for on the go daytime naps (and sun + bug protection!)
We loved hiking before we had our kids, so naturally we wanted to hike ASAP! We packed our toddler in a backpack carrier, and my husband carried our babies in a front carrier.
However, it was super hot out and when they fell asleep (and we found a cool place to hang out!) it was really convenient to pop up their little baby tent and let them nap in there.
I found it especially helpful (if you’re just using it around camp) to put a changing pad inside of the baby tent so that it is extra comfy and padded! Usually changing pads have those raised edges so it really helps them feel cozy and have great naps while camping!
We really loved the KidCo Peapod – it has a really durable frame, keeps its form, and compacts down really small! (I did buy the Kilofly, and while it looks good, it actually is super cheap and warped in real life!)
P.S. If you want to save some money and just buy a mosquito tent for your pack n play, check out this zipped cover that fits perfect!
Bring a carrier your newborn loves (and don’t wait till you get there to try it out)
Don’t wait till you get to the campground to try on that carrier – get it adjusted ahead of time! Front carriers are probably the best choice up until 3 months or so, when they have enough neck control to be put in a backpack.
Newborns LOVE to be held all the time, but sometimes there are camp chores that need to be done. It’s 100 times easier to just wear your newborn than put him own – it’s crazy how quickly you go from fine to freaking out and sweating as soon as they tart to cry!
We used the ergo for our son (it has a newborn insert, plus choices of design that will work for hot or cold weather) and the twingo for our twins!
Not only does it make camp life easier, but it allows you to explore
P.S. Check out all the awesome camping baby gear we have used with ours that while isn’t needed, sure is handy to have!
Breastfeeding your newborn? Dress extra warm above the waist so that baby has easy access without being too low in the sleeping bag
I breastfed my son,
Obviously breastfeeding is pretty sweet in that food is always ready to go – I was able to loosen one side of my front carrier and nurse my son while I was hiking!
When it comes to nursing at night, just make sure you are awake enough to not fall asleep in an unsafe position. I slept with all of my upper torso (dressed extra warm) out of the sheets so that I would not have to worry about putting my son under the sheets while I was half asleep nursing him.
If this is your plan, read more about how to breastfeed and pump while camping here!
Warm up som
e water before you go to bed and store it in a thermos so that warm bottles are WAY easier to make on demand at night while camping!
Everyone is probably used to access to a bottle warmer at home, so it an be kind of concerning thinking about how to get that warm bottle to your baby before they wake up too much and are hard to put back down!
If you have no electricity, just get the warm water ready before bed so that the only thing you have to do is pour it into the bottle and add formula!
This could also work if you need to warm up breast milk (although I’d store the water hotter) – just pour out some hot water into a bowl and put the bag inside!
Bring disposable bottles if you’re concerned about cleanliness (and hassle!)
Newborns don’t have great immune systems yet, so it’s even more important to make sure that everything is clean as
Steribottle has great disposable
Check out more on how to master bottles while camping here if this is the right fit for your family!
Bring layers for your newborn, but not as much as you think!
Everyone seems to think that newborns are just cold all the time, so it’s pretty easy to overdress them!
Keep it simple – we had 3 layers when we camped with our newborns.
A long sleeve onesie, a fleece footie pj, then a warm swaddle or baby camping sleeping bag on top of that.
Things like mittens and hats will obviously dpened on the temperature (read here on how to keep a baby warm at night while camping) but those are small and easy to pack and have just in case!
I found it handy to also have little fleece booties for extra warmth during daytime play!
Read more on how to keep your baby warm at night while camping here!
Replicate your at home routine with your newborn while camping at night
If you’re lucky like I was, your newborn might sleep so good at thsi point that you haven’t really established a routine yet.. I know mine slept through anything till about two months.
However, if you do things like use a white noise machine or read, be sure to do it at camp too!
I coslept with all 3, so while they slept while I slept, they also DID NOT sleep until I did…. regardless, “sneaking out of bed” to finish up chores and such was
If you cosleep while camping, dress extra warm so you don’t have to use too many blankets (and increase risk!)
Alot of people are really intimidated by camping with their newborn just due to the fact that they’re scared their baby won’t sleep at night, so here’s some quick tips.
If you cosleep, make sure to follow the same safe sleep guidelines as at home – alot of us (myself included) like to indulge in some cool beverages while camping, but you might want to skip that if you’re co sleeping. It’s just way too easy to pull your thick camping sheets/blankets over them without thinking!
It is helpful that you can help keep your baby warmer with your own body heat, and sleep tends to be better if you are breastfeeding since you don’t have to move your baby to feed him.
baby will be OK with it, use a pack n play for camp sleep and get a black out cover for it!
Alot of people love pack n plays for camping because you can really insulate the area under the pack n play well, as well as use a blackout cover to simulate the darkness of the room at home.
It’s also nice that it can double as a play place during the day that is free of rocks and plenty soft!
Don’t sweat diaper changes during camp nights – most babies don’t pee through them overnight and are fine in one diaper!
We used cloth with our son and disposables with our twins, and all three were fine in one diaper!
This is especially useful when you think about all the extra layers your baby might be dressed in – it’s like disarming a bomb to get through all of those and change a diaper!
Obviously if you smell poop or notice wetness/
Bring a baby monitor that runs on batteries so that you can confidently enjoy those precious “after bedtime” adult hours!
A battery powered baby monitor has been possibly the best thing to bring – we were no longer tethered to the camper just focusing on listening for baby crying!
Most of us don’t go to bed at 7, and most of us also REALLY enjoy sitting around the campfire at the end of the night, and bringing the baby doesn’t have to end that!
In a pinch, if you have signal on your phone you could just set one phone to speaker where the baby is sleeping and use the other phone to listen (just make sure to mute it!)
Bring a mat or large beach towel for baby to lay on during the day!
This is sort of getting into older baby stuff, but it’s nice to have a safe spot for baby to hang out in outside of the pack n play.
It also really reduces the amount of rock and stick eating while providing a slightly softer place to hang out in!
Buy the gear if you have the means, and plan to make this your lifestyle, but don’t get intimidated!
Babies, especially newborns, are actually pretty easy to camp with. They don’t run away, have specifric preferences set in stone yet, and are pretty easy to carry around!
I’d say camping with a newborn was the easiest phase, only because we were able to pretty much keep doing what we wanted to around camp!
We just put our son in a carrier and he was happy as could be!
Food and warmth