If you are a new mom and think you need to put your life on hold, think again. Hiking with an infant is not as hard as it seems. My best friend, Crystal, recently had her first child. She hit the trail within the first month after giving birth.
Hiking with an infant
I am an outdoor lover and knew I wanted to pass this love on to my child, Aubrey. My babymoon was an epic trip to Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park and the Badlands – with stops in between! So even before she was born, she was going places with us. 🙂 Once Aubrey was born, via an unscheduled c-section, I knew I wanted to get back out hiking ASAP.
My first venture in hiking with an infant out was to a local state park, Devil’s Den. Because she was not even a month old, I wore her in a Boba Wrap from Target. I heard these were great for newborns. However, it took me three tries to get her in a good position before the hike started, and as I walked I felt like I was constantly adjusting her. I only walked for about a quarter of mile, but knew this was not an option for longer hikes for me.
When she was about 1 and half months old, I went on another hike with Hike Like A Woman’s local chapter. We went to Petit Jean State Park and hiked the Canyon Trail to the Blue Hole. For this excursion, I utilized a soft structured carrier, a standard Tula.
Aubrey, still under 15 pounds, required an infant insert (many find this a downfall). Once I positioned her satisfactorily, and managed – with a little assistance – to get the back clasp clipped, I was ready to hike. With the Tula, she was not sliding askew and I wasn’t forced to continually readjust her position, and it was easier for me to check her head position. Furthermore, the Tula provided Aubrey better support while walking on the hike.
I did not anticipate being out as long as we did, so I made a couple mistakes… First, she got hungry. Luckily, I was breastfeeding, so I was able to feed her on the trail. I didn’t pack a cover, but thankfully it was an all woman hike and they did not mind. Secondly, I failed to pack any diapers for her. She decided this hike was a good time to make a poo. We were already on our way back to the trailhead, so she did not have long til she was changed and happy.
In March, Tula released a Free to Grow (FTG) version of their carrier. What made this carrier so special was that no infant insert was needed. Because I was so happy with my standard Tula, I bought one of these. Without the infant insert, this FTG afforded a much easier Aubrey-loading process. We took a few hikes during spring in the FTG canvas variant and we both got warm. I knew it was still a cooler option for hiking with an infant than the standard because we did not have an insert to add to the mix.
As the summer months quickly approached, I bought a FTG coast. This had the same shape as a regular FTG but the middle of the carrier was comprised of mesh to allow extra air flow and facilitate breathability. This did keep Aubrey cooler, but it was inevitable for us to get hot during summer.
I then purchased a clip on fan from Amazon to keep her cool. The fan worked wonders for her, but made my load lopsided. The fan would pull on the straps on that side, forcing me to perpetually adjust them. I knew she benefited from the fan, so I tolerated these inconveniences for her.
From about a month on, Aubrey has been involved in our outdoor activities. I tried many carriers and finally settled on a couple Tulas as my go to. The wraps did not work for me, which may have been user error. That being said, I did not have the patience or mental energy to continue to solve the myriad challenges the Boba served up.
After I researched other carriers and found some that were less complicated and offered better support, I did not look back. I am so happy with the Tula line. That being said, Tulas do cost quite a bit more than a Boba wrap, but I thought it was worth it (Enough to buy three!).
With the FTG coast, fan, and a bag packed with Aubrey’s necessary essentials, we went on many successful hikes this summer.
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