Hiking with a young baby can be a daunting task. Lack of sleep and the extra gear that you need to remember to bring with you always adds an extra level of effort to your day. However, the work that it takes to go on a hike with your little one we have found is worth it. We have found that being outdoors has been great postnatal therapy for both our mind and body. Since we were both outdoorsy before having kids getting outside on a hike post kids helped us to feel more normal again at a time when our life felt completely different. Not only can getting outside and exploring the outdoors with your little one be a great bonding experience but there is something about the fresh air that feels fantastic.

Note: Make sure you are cleared for postnatal exercise which typically ranges from 4 – 6 weeks.

Here are a few tips to help you with your first time hiking postpartum/postnatal.

Go with Someone 
For your first hike with your baby plan to go with your partner or a friend. Have them carry the gear and/or the baby. After your body heals a few months post-baby you can start to carry the baby and/or a gear bag as well. There is no reason to push yourself right away if there is someone else to help carry the load! Now that I have a second child I’ll carry the new baby while my husband carries the toddler. I have found that by carrying the baby I am able to stop and breastfeed the baby more easily without disupting our toddler. I also have found that mom’s tend to worry more about the baby. Having the baby close will help your mental well-being as you will be able to monitor the baby closely on the hike. Another bonus is that as your baby gets older and heavier they also add some fitness challenge because you are carrying extra weight!
Newborn Hike, 1km Trail
Newborn Hike, 1km Trail
Start Small
Start with a short easy hike that you could do easily before you had your baby. Annika’s first hike was Quarry Rock in North Vancouver and she remembered being bagged after completing  the hike. Plus ….. the two hour hike turned into a full day affair when changing, diaper blow outs, breastfeeding, etc came into play. Karen’s experience has been that hiking with babies and children often increase hiking times by double the suggested times in hiking books.
Daddy Carrying the Heavier Load First Hike Postpartum
Dad Carrying the Heavier Load First Hike Postpartum

Fitness                                                                                                                                                                               If you plan on completing a hike that is classified as moderate to difficult make sure that you have already done enough activity to complete the hike safely.  Also trust your body. The day before having her first daughter, Annika was doing full push ups and still running. Post baby fitness was more of a struggle for her because of torn abdominal muscles and tearing from giving birth. It was important for her to take the time to heal to prevent injury and lengthen the healing process. Talk with your doctor or a good postnatal fitness instructor if you are unsure.

Enjoy the Hike                                                                                                                                             Whether you make it to your destination make sure to take pictures of your little one and you hiking. Enjoy the process and if you don’t make it up to your destination don’t worry. Remember that you are a family now and that the hike is about experiencing it together however the experience unfolds.

Mom and Baby Enjoying an Outing
Mom and Baby Enjoying an Outing
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