How to Hike Solo with a Baby

How to Hike Solo with a Baby

I was adamant that after the baby came along we’d still go out walking like we used to. Well, in truth I haven’t got out as much as I anticipated, one of the reasons is that I am always waiting for Luke to have some free time so that we can go out together. I’ve realised that I need to just seize the day and head out, even it means taking the baby off by myself. In order to make this happen I have set myself a challenge, and as I’ve now said it out loud, I need to stick to it!

Yesterday I went out walking on my own for the first time with the baby. It was daunting but, with a bit of foresight and careful planning, it was also a rewarding experience. Here are a few things to consider before heading out into the great outdoors.

  • Choose your carrier carefully This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go all out and get a hiking carrier. Now that baby is big enough to go on my back I find that my normal sling works just as well for short walks, or if I don’t need to carry a lot of gear. Think about what you actually need and, whatever you go for, try out options before you buy (look up your local sling library or visit an outdoor shop).
  • Practice and make sure it fits properly When I say practice I don’t just mean around the house! Go out and walk for a while with the carrier. Make sure you can take it on and off comfortably on your own, this often takes a bit of practice. When out and about I use the car boot to rest the carrier on when putting it on or taking off. (Just watch you don’t bang the baby’s head!) Also, make sure the straps are adjusted correctly. If you and your partner (or anyone else) both use the carrier, you need to adjust it each time (very important if you are different sizes like me and 6ft 3in Luke).
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We always use the sunshade (even if it isn’t sunny) as it offers baby more protection from the elements/wayward branches/flying insects etc!

  • Pack sensibly Make sure you know where everything is and that your essentials are close to hand. It can be easier to put things in your pockets or hang things from the carrier rather than have to root around when baby is hungry/puking/filling nappy on a windswept hilltop.
  • Choose a sensible route This may well mean lowering your expectations, or at least factoring in some flexibility if things don’t go to plan. Also, be honest about your fitness levels. There’s no shame in planning a route that avoids hills or takes a few shortcuts. Bear in mind the terrain-for example wet, boggy ground is more tiring than hard standing roads/paths. Plan plenty of rest stops and make sure you have an exit strategy if needed. Remember that you will probably travel a lot slower with a passenger, so don’t be too optimistic to begin with.
  • Watch out for hazards  I’m mainly talking about low branches here. I’m not so worried about baby getting whacked, although that is a concern, more the potential for him grabbing and/ or eating something he shouldn’t. Stiles can be tricky, take your time as it can be difficult to get your balance with a weight on your back. I’ve found that the hardest bit was tackling the kissing gates. All you can do is back as far into the corner as possible and hope you don’t squash baby too much! I have found that it’s not very enjoyable for either of us walking into the wind. If at all possible try and turn away from the wind or use hedges etc as shelter, if this isn’t possible, a hat or hood can help.
babyhike

The low hanging apple branches were a challenge! As was the triple whammy of low hanging branches, kissing gate and tasty looking berries

  • Learn some distraction techniques Even though the baby loves going out walking, he still has a limited attention span. Luckily he is obsessed with plastic bottles, so I can entertain him for quite some time with my water bottle. Having said that, on my last walk I ended up trotting up the road, neighing like a pony as it made him laugh hysterically. (Oh the things we do!) And if you have long hair, consider tying it up or wearing a hat, or else you’ll have to put up with your hair being pulled out.

I’m hoping to do a lot more walking on my own with the baby, so I will be back to update these tips. Hope you find them helpful and feel free to add your own.

You Baby Me Mummy

Monkey and MouseCountry Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Comments

  • Sara Handy Herbs Sara Handy Herbs September 27, at 10:38

    I think it is great to be able to get out in the fresh air whenever possible and as we live in the countryside we love going walking a lot too. These are some really helpful tips – especially about the carrier as I find it can be so frustrating when you go out on your own and it is difficult to adjust/put on etc. Thanks for sharing #HowToSunday

    Reply
    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker September 27, at 11:12

      Thanks, I know what you mean about the carrier, it is difficult on your own and I haven’t quite perfected the technique but getting there! #HowToSunday

      Reply
  • Sarah Sarah September 27, at 17:04

    We love walking with our kids and had a similar carrier when they were babies, I’m quite small so I used to struggle to pick it up when they got bigger – but it is totally doable, and so good for all of you to get fresh air. My kids are now so used to walks that they can easily do five miles.

    Reply
    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker September 28, at 06:37

      Thanks for your lovely comment. You’re right, it is doable! I feel quite proud when I’ve lugged him around for a few miles. I’m also hoping that by starting early we’re encouraging a love of the outdoors, can’t wait until he can walk 5 miles, that will be amazing! 🙂

      Reply
  • Stacey Stacey September 28, at 11:35

    A great article, thanks for sharing your experiences! I’ve also found walking poles are a brilliant addition as our son is bigger and can throw his weight around quite a bit, and oh so suddenly when we’re walking with him in the carrier!! He also thinks it’s funny to pull off my hat and throw it on the ground, so I’ve given up on the hats and just look like a very windswept highland cow….. not a good look but just as funny!! 🙂

    Reply
    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker September 28, at 16:11

      I was just thinking yesterday as the baby suddenly threw himself backwards and caught me off guard, that I probably could do with my walking poles!

      Reply
  • Jenny Jenny September 28, at 14:12

    Great advice! I don’t tend to go too far with A on my back in my carrier, mainly because my 4 year old will complain he has sore legs too much! But we do walk around a lot and those kissing gates are a nightmare, we don’t have many around here, but the ones we have used I tend to go my tiptoes to try and get A higher than the gate to back round! Also I get annoyed having to faff around with adjusting the carrier after my husband has been using it! As Stacey above says I often get my hat stolen if I wear one or my ponytail pulled too!
    Thanks for linking up to #HowtoSunday 🙂 x

    Reply
  • stickymudandbellylaughs stickymudandbellylaughs September 28, at 21:21

    We love going out and about with living out in the country.
    And certainly going to invest in a carrier, but like Jenny said above, my 10 month old is very quick at grabbing things, so my hair bobble would definitely do one.
    Great tips, thanks for sharing 🙂 #HowtoSunday

    Reply
    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker September 29, at 18:01

      Yeah…I spend most of our walks fending off attacks from my 8 month old! I always think at least he’s enjoying himself 🙂

      Reply
  • Well done for not giving up on the walking but bringing baby along with you, I must say I did the same though I ended up doing country lanes with the triplets in a buggy as a carrier for 3 was impossible. I love the distraction techniques, I remember doing these too: making up songs and giving them bluebells to wave like flags from the pushchair! fun times, I look forward to more of your adventures together. Thank you for joining in with Country Kids.

    Reply
    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker September 29, at 18:07

      Ha yeah I’ve got it easy with just one to contend with! It’s been fun so far, so hope we can get out on lots of adventures, 🙂

      Reply
  • Jenny Eaves Jenny Eaves September 30, at 12:01

    Popping back over from #Whatevertherweather! Love this post, so many useful ideas here, thanks so much for linking up. 🙂 xx

    Reply
  • Keri from Baby Globetrotters Keri from Baby Globetrotters October 01, at 08:56

    This is a fabulous post, thanks for sharing. So many things I think we put off with kids waiting for the right moment but good on you for getting out there still and making it work, I wish I was so brave when I only had one! #whatevertheweather

    Reply
    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker October 01, at 09:16

      Thanks, for your lovely comments. It’s certainly easier said than done, but I realised that I have to make the most of what little free time I’ve got, or I’d spend all day in the house! #whatevertheweather

      Reply
  • Mummy here and there Mummy here and there October 02, at 12:14

    Nothing beats a good walk outdoors, great helpful list X

    Reply
  • chloelifeunexpected chloelifeunexpected October 04, at 20:54

    These are some really great tips! I wouldn’t have even thought about the potential to grab things without you realising, or the hat for your hair until it was too late haha. We’re planning on going hiking soon with Evie for the first time so I’m definitely going to use all of this. She’s a walker, but she doesn’t usually last for very long so we’ll definitely need a carrier. Thank you for linking this post to #whatevertheweather xx

    Reply
    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker October 05, at 08:04

      I didn’t think about a lot of the hazards until it was too late! Luckily I got the hang of it pretty quick and we manage now without too many mishaps! Hope you enjoy your hiking with Evie, I look forward to reading about it 🙂

      Reply

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