Mountain Mama: Babies in the Backcountry?

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Dear Mountain Mama,

When my little boy was born last January, going outside is just what we did. Whenever he got fussy, the cold air soothed him. As he became more aware, he loved to look at the green leaves unfurling and flowers blooming.

But what about taking him on bigger adventures? Is it selfish if I take him along? Are babies even aware that they are in a different environment? Is it worth disrupting his schedule and all the extra effort to lug baby gear along?

 Yours,

Craving the Snow

 

Dear Craving the Snow,

I struggled over the same questions, and continue to grapple with the answers. When I first became I mom, I readjusted my life around his schedule, and became dogmatic about his nap time and our evening routine. But I didn’t feel like me. A big part of who I am stems from my connection to the outdoors. I craved outdoor time, in part to bring the best qualities of myself to my parenting and in part to cultivate my son’s relationship to nature.

At times taking a baby or toddler along can be tough. I have forgotten to bring a bottle to the ski slope and breastfed in an awkward corner of the lodge. I have remembered spare clothes for my son, but forgotten extra clothes for me, which resulted in me rubbing his puke into my clothes, over top the poop that I’d already smeared into my jeans.

Raising a child to be comfortable in the outdoors requires parents bold enough to incorporate these outings into an already jammed-packed-schedule. I remind myself that mishaps and soiled clothes are little bumps in our road to adventuring together. Outdoor adventures require some flexibility, as Mother Nature sometimes throws a wrench in even the most carefully thought out plans. Bigger adventures might result in a missed nap or skipping baths for a few days.

Craving the Snow, be bold enough to bring your little guy along! Remember that adding a young adventure partner into the equation often results in an outdoor experience being twice as challenging. Plan accordingly, give yourself extra time, and readjust your expectations.

Bundle up and get outside!

Mountain Mama

Read more about Ky Delaney and her writing at kydelaney.com

 

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