Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wearing a Happy Camper!


As summer gets into full swing, it’s a good time to talk about yet another leisure activity during which babywearing is very useful:  camping. My older son was almost two the first time we took him camping. I didn’t wear him much around the campsite, but when he was too excited about being in a tent to sleep, putting him on my back for a walk around the campground came in handy, and of course he rode there for portions of hikes when he was tired or drop-offs were nearby.

Because her brother had already developed a deep and abiding affinity for camping, our daughter’s first camping trip occurred the day she turned four months old. When my husband and I began camping with two children, I really began to see the benefits of babywearing in a camping setting. In no particular order, here are some of those advantages:

1. Babywearing gives you somewhere to put the baby while doing all the things camping out requires— erecting the tent, preparing food, tying up hammocks, gathering kindling for the fire. Aside from the tent itself and baby carriers, we bring no baby-holding devices on our camping trips—no stroller, no bouncy chair, no portable carseat. This not only cuts down on the amount of paraphernalia to squeeze into a car already full of camping gear but also gives the baby a close-up view of all the action

2. Babywearing at the campsite keeps older babies and toddlers safe from potential hazards. Although our daughter is not quite mobile yet, I can see this being a huge advantage in our near future. Wearing the baby can keep him or her safe from darting into the road or crawling too close to the fire.

3. Babywearing allows you to interact more fully and easily with older children. If the baby is secured in a carrier, the parent has both hands free to help an older sibling roast marshmallows, play a twilight round of hide-and-seek, catch fireflies, or read a bedtime story.

4. Babywearing allows for more adventurous activities at your camping destination than might be feasible with a stroller or a free-ranging toddler, such as hiking on uneven terrain, wading in streams, or taking in the view from scenic (but potentially dangerous) overlooks.

5.  Babywearing allows the baby to feel safe and secure in a setting away from home. Even at an early age, infants are observing the world around them, and camping out has many differences from eating and sleeping at home.  Being close to his or her parents while experiencing new things, such as listening to birds, peering into a campfire, or swinging in a hammock, can of course be accomplished without baby carriers, but they do make it more convenient. Wearing can also help babies settle down and fall asleep more easily, despite being in an unfamiliar setting.
All in all, we continue to love camping and hiking with our children, and babywearing greatly contributes to the ease with which this can be accomplished.

 Posted by Genny