Who says you need to be able to walk to go on a hike? Infants make great nature buddies, says Jeff Alt, author of Get Your Kids Hiking: How to Start Them Young and Keep It Fun. “It helps them to grow up thinking, ‘This is how you have a good time — outside,’” says Alt. We’ll show you how to do it safely and keep it stress-free:
Ditch the stroller
Wheels restrict you to paved or fat surfaces, but a baby carrier allows you to tote your child anywhere your feet can go. For babies ages 6 months and under, go for a moisture-wicking, mesh-front carrier or sling, which is unlikely to chafe. (Ouch!) The lightweight Ergobaby Performance Carrier ($139, Amazon.com) is one to try.
Time it right
Set realistic goals: There’s no need to take a daylong trek. A half-hour is a good place to start. “The walk itself may only last 15 to 20 minutes, but setting aside 30 minutes factors in time for putting on your shoes and diaper-changing your baby,” says Alt.
Go for long sleeves
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that parents hold off on infant sunscreen until 6 months of age. (Some bug repellents aren’t recommended until a child is at least 3!) Instead, dress your baby in light-colored, loose-fitting long sleeves and pants — and a wide-brimmed hat to shield her sensitive face and neck.
Choose a path
“When you’re starting out with a baby, keep it as simple and practical as possible by going to your local park,” suggests Alt. Feeling more adventurous? Go to Traillink.com, type in your zip code, and find a route near you.
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