Monday, September 08, 2014

First Camp

Camping with nine week old Milla. Happy Father's Day. 

After a feed, Howqua River behind. 
I have certainly spent a lot of time on forums and searching for tips about living an outdoors adventure life with a little one. Now I have my own story.

It's a happy story.

Fair to say there's been significant build up to this event. The question of how to continue our outdoor adwentures was present before I got pregnant and as I became less able during pregnancy, it was more pressing.

A colleague told me a tale about caravan camping with a four month old this Easter. The little one got cold and woke, and was fed to resettle. Months later her sleeping was not recovered and she still woke to feed throughout the night.

So Milla was dressed warmly. She was very cosy, our tent had ice on it and was about 5 degrees inside. But she was warm as pie.

We camped at a familiar spot, in Sheepyard Flat by the Howqua River. A four hour drive, the last 30 minutes on rough corrugations. We camped by the river to provide white noise for Milla and maybe a wall of sound for neighbours.

We were joined by Charlie's parents who brought with them a nifty little caravan with an annex. Having their company meant we didn't need to worry about making dinner during the witching hour.

After an Ergo walk, where we followed a very calm wombat along the river, we ate dinner, Milla had an epic feed and then we placed into her little bassinet - a familiar sleeping spot from home. She was layered in merino leggings, vest and gown and then in a silk sheet for a swaddle and a custom made sleeping bag and the Icelandic wool blanket she sleeps with every night.

She looks so sweet and so cosy with a tiny little cheeks poking out from the layers. We placed the bassinet on a foam mattress in the tent by our Thermarests and she went to sleep at about 9:30pm, a little earlier than normal time. 

Being unwrapped in the morning. 
We went to bed, both stayed in our clothes, secretly fearing we'd be up and down through the night. I was anxious. At 3:45am she woke up. I was ecstatic. I declared the trip a success. Charlie quickly warmed a bottle for her as I gave her a breast to keep quiet. We resettled her and were back asleep at 5am. We then got up around 6:30am. It was just like camping. I took a walk along the river with Milla in Ergo and Charlie went mountain biking. We watched birds, took photos, had cups of tea. 

Misty morning, ducks on the Howqua.
Lessons learnt? Recommendations? 
  • Have a nappy bag ready to go, rather than sorting through the duffle for the changing set up. 
  • Have a thermos for the midnight bottle. 
  • Don't forget the swaddle blanket (yikes, that was a panicked moment). 
  • Ensure there is down time from the stimulation of the new environment. 
  • Have a pre-made dinner.
  • Undress so I could be comfortable when trying to sleep! 

Things we might have done right? 
  • Went somewhere familiar, and spacious, where it was easy to go for a walk away from other people.
  • Went when the weather was great, no rain or wind. 
  • Kept Milla warm. 
  • Tried out all the clothes on Milla before the trip. 
  • Had Milla sleep in her familiar bassinet. 
  • Didn't try to breastfeed in the tent (I always feed in a chair).  
  • Had activities for us so we felt like we got away. 
  • Went with people! Who could hold Milla, help us out with meals, etc. 


edificite said...

Exceedingly useful camping with babies advice Jessie! I particularly appreciate you warning about over-stimulation... its something I hadn't thought of, but we'll definitely need some 'quiet play time' for Ella on our next trip :)

Bonnie Conquest said...

Glad it's useful! After the past trip, I'd also say it's best to go for 2 nights (rather than 1), particularly if it's just the 3 of you. It's too much setting up/packing up otherwise.