7 Insider Tips for Hiking With a Newborn

Having a baby will make your whole life look different, including your hiking lifestyle. It can be easy to think your hiking days are over or at least on a long break. You may be thinking it is impossible to manage a diaper blow out or a crying spell on the trail.

However, even though things may look a little different, you can still have a fun family hike with your baby. Here are a few tips for a fun and safe outdoor adventure with your little one.

Girl pushes stroller on a hike

Know Your Limits

Hiking with your new baby should be something that is fun and not stressful. Seeing how many miles you can cover when you are on your own can be exciting, but with a baby, things are different. Start out small and go slow.

Do not try to take your baby out if they are too young. I recommend waiting at least 2-3 weeks before trying any type of hike. This gives you some time to heal and adjust to having a baby at home.

When the time is right, find a short trail close to home and take your time. A paved path around a pond around at your local park is still a hike! If you think your stroller might not work on a certain path, don’t push it.

If the short hikes go well and your baby is over eight pounds, you can try slightly more challenging hikes because you will be able to use a baby carrier. If I am going on a hike that requires a baby carrier, I use the Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Baby Carrier. Not only is the carrier affordable, it is practical because it works for children 8-32 pounds.

The goal is to bond and create memories with your baby, so knowing how much you can handle is key.

Create a Packing List

It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. This cliché definitely applies when it comes to hiking with a baby. Just don’t stress too much about the list to the point that you have too many things weighing you down.

I found out a toy was a necessary item to bring on a hike when my son began to cry loudly halfway through the trail. I tried to soothe him with a pacifier and singing, but the crying got worse. Luckily, I looked down and realized I left his favorite toy in the bottom of the stroller. He stopped crying immediately when I shook his toy in front of him. That toy was a lifesaver and I never hike without it.

Making a list can remove stress and make sure you only have what you need. Here is a list of my essentials:

  • Diapers
  • Your baby’s favorite toy
  • Water
  • A mosquito net for your stroller
  • Phone

Those are the things that work best for me, but no one knows your baby better than you. Make sure your list meets your unique needs.

Be Flexible 

Plans can change quickly when spending time with a baby outdoors.  It’s great to go into the hike having a plan, but it’s important to remember to be flexible and patient when things change. Remind yourself to stay calm and navigate the challenge to the best of your ability. Just because one part of your plan may change does not mean you did not have a successful hike.

Girl pushes stroller on a hike

Take a Practice Hike 

Your hike will go much better if you are familiar with the route you plan on taking. I like to find as much information as I can about the trail before heading out. Check the reviews on AllTrails or Google to see if anyone else had a successful hike with young children. Going on the hike ahead of time will allow you to have important information such as bathroom locations and parking availability.

One of the biggest reasons to go on a hike ahead of time is to know about the terrain. Some trails are paved and great for taking your newborn out, while some trails are better suited for when your baby is much older. Knowing about the path ahead of time will free up your mind and allow you to focus on having fun.

Be Safe

Safety should be a priority with any hike, but bringing a newborn along requires a little more attention. One of the biggest ways to make sure your baby is safe is to know the weather! Babies can easily get overheated, and it’s best for them not to be in temperatures over 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the cooler months, bring an extra jacket and blanket in case the temperatures drop during your hike. You also don’t want to hike in the dark with your baby. A rule I go by is: start all hikes before 10 a.m. That way I know there will be cooler temperatures and we won’t be hiking in the dark.

Another thing to consider is the popularity of the trail. Popular trails often allow you to run into other hikers in case you need help. Also, pack your fully charged phone and text three friends your location before beginning your hike as an extra safety measure. Having a safe hike will give you peace about taking more hikes in the future.

Go With a Group

When you are first starting your hiking journey with a baby, it may be more relaxing to go with a group. Plus, going with a group of your friends or family creates a great opportunity for the people closest to you to have a photo opportunity. Going with a group is also great in case you forget something or need a helping hand.

Once, in the middle of what seemed to be a perfect hike, my son began to get fussy. I could tell he just needed a break from the stroller. I was able to pick him up and soothe him, while my friend pushed the stroller the rest of the way. Having friends on that hike made things much smoother. It’s easy for new parents to be nervous going outdoors with a new baby so having friends can make it memorable and ease some nerves.

Take Breaks 

A break will help everyone involved in the hike. You can plan what spots you want to stop at or just take a break when you feel like you need it. It can be hard to break out of the mindset of going as fast as you can during a hike, but taking a break can allow you to really enjoy the nature that is around you. During our hiking breaks, I always try to show our baby a new flower or plant.

Seeing your baby’s eyes light up with all the new things they see during a hike will make the extra effort worth it. Your hikes may be different now—but different is good.

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Comments 6

  • Tony Barbour : Sep 22nd

    I’m well beyond having a newborn, but I enjoy a hike. Thanks for a great article!

  • Ashley : Sep 22nd

    Great article and helpful tips !

  • Julia : Sep 23rd

    Really great ideas! I love the reminder that even a walk around the pond can be a hike! It’s so important to do what works for you and not feel pressured to go too far too fast.

  • Erin Duden : Sep 24th

    Thought this would be an helpful article about actually hiking with a little one. Instead I find it just a “fluff” piece, something written just to fill space.

    • Chris L. Robinson : Sep 24th

      I thought there were plenty of helpful tips in the article. As a father, I thought it was helpful. What areas of hiking with a little one do you think she missed?


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