Camping with a baby is a lot of fun. We camped with our first daughter when she was 6 weeks old and with our second daughter when she was only 3 weeks old. I have to say the first time we went camping with a baby we were excited but also nervous. The experience helped to write one Born to be Adventurous’ most popular posts 10 Tips for Camping with a Newborn. One of the biggest worries is baby sleep while camping. Will your baby sleep?
First off, many parents love camping when children are babies because they are portable AND they already often do not sleep perfectly so why not go camping. Even if your baby sleeps well through the night they are constantly teething, growing or getting colds that effect their sleep. That being said baby sleep does not have to be hard while camping.
Baby Sleep while Camping
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Do the same routine while camping that you do at home. If you wash their face, read a book, put them in their sleep sac, breastfeed and then put them to bed at home then do it while camping too.
Don’t forget to bring your babies favourite soother or Lovey. If they sleep in a sleep sac or while swaddled then bring those to be used while sleeping. Bring along any white noise or music that you use at home. If you do use those items then bring along EXTRA batteries.
Unless you are backcountry camping then I suggest using a large 6-8 person tent. This will give you room to play in case you want a place to play out of the elements during the day but also give space for your little one to have their own bed. Trust me you will be happy to have the extra space.
If your baby sleeps in their own cot, bassinet or crib at home then bring along a sleeping bed for your baby. When our babies were very little we slept them in their Moses bassinets or a laundry basket (use at your own risk). As they got older we had a small sleeping tent cot similar to the KidCo P4012 PeaPod Plus Infant Travel Bed, Midnight. We hardly co slept with our babies and so we loved having our daughter sleep in her own tent style playpen.
Camping Pajamas and Sleeping Bags
Dressing your little one will be a constant debate before bedtime with camping. The biggest challenge is if they go to bed when it is warm outside only to have it cool down. Weather varies from place to place.
We put our youngest daughter in a thick sleep sac I had gotten from a friend(see above pic). If I did not have this sleep sac I would have gotten the Baby Sleep Bag from Woolino, 4 Season, Merino Wool, Infant Sleeping Sack, 2m – 2yrs, Dream (Lilac Gray). It is made of Merino wool which regulates body temperature helping keep your baby cool when its hot and hot when its cold! We have one now for our 2 year old to keep her warm or cool at night.
If it stays warm at night then keep them in there diaper or onesie with the Woolino sleep sac. When it is colder then layer up with a onesie and a sleeper. Even better if they are made of Merino wool.
For those frigid spring nights or while camping on the Icefield parkway in the Canadian Rockies then consider a fleece bunting suit. These fold over cuffs will help keep your little ones hands warm. We also have used the Patagonia Puffball suit for colder nights instead of a fleece bunting suit.
For colder weather add a wool toque when your little one goes to sleep. A toque is also helpful on the nights where it starts off warm but cools off. Adding a toque in the night is quick and easy .
The First Night
If this is your first time camping with a baby then expect the first night to be challenging. This is not necessarily because they are not sleeping but because you might be worrying about whether your little one is too hot or too cold. With my first daughter I was checking her constantly on her first camping trip at 6 weeks old. When we camped with my second at 3 weeks old I slept soundly and so did she. I guess the experience of camping with little ones made it feel normal and easy.
Stay Multiple Nights
Babies that are older tend to have a hard time adjusting to a new environment. Camping for more than one night can help your baby adjust. While the first night is challenging the rest will become easier helping you enjoy more of the camping experience.
I know this can be challenging but go to bed when your baby goes to sleep. Going to bed with your little one will help make sure that you are getting the sleep that you need to enjoy the days. This is especially true if they are waking up before right when the sun is rising during those short summer nights.
How do you sleep your baby while camping?
Check out the post Toddler Sleep while Camping for more sleep tips!