It’s never too early to expose your baby to the great outdoors. In the beginning, your routine may be as simple as a nice stroller walk outside, but could eventually develop into detailed hikes with your little one as the tour guide.
Not only will getting out in the sun help you get some exercise in, the sunshine can help you and your baby get enough vitamin D. (Just be sure to dress your baby appropriately — long sleeves, long pants, and a brimmed hat — to avoid too much sun exposure and skin damage, espcially during peak daylight hours.)
Many parks have trails specifically designed for nature walks. But if you can't get to a trail, you can turn a neighborhood walk around the block into your very own nature hike. As long as you're getting out, walking around and exploring the environment, you're doing your kids — and yourself — some good.
Check out these tips for planning a nature walk that will have your kids ready to explore.
Turn It Into an Experience
To get the most out of your afternoon outdoors, do a little research ahead of time. Search for trails that can accommodate a stroller, offer you a learning experience, (or a workout if you want one!). Some parks have plaques along the trails that feature this type of information, and many parks even have clubhouses that contain learning tools inside.
Try to avoid being out when it’s unbearably hot or frigid outside — as you’re caring for more than just one.
Whether the sun is blazing or behind the clouds, make sure you and your baby are covered with a shade or in sunscreen (when their skin is ready for it). Bring the sunscreen for reapplication later in the day.
Don't underestimate the importance of wearing proper shoes. If your baby is walking, make sure they have sturdy gym shoes and stay away from sandals or any other shoe that could cause them to trip. You don't necessarily need to run out and purchase trail shoes, but you will need a pair that is both sturdy enough to make the trek and comfortable enough to keep your feet blister-free.
Carry a backpack with plenty of fluids and a few healthy snacks, as hiking can be quite a workout, and sometimes strenuous. You don't want anyone getting dehydrated or famished when you're far from the car.
Also be sure to stay near civilization — you’re not going for a backcountry excursion with a newborn on your back!
As always, bring a first-aid kit on hand for any unexpected emergencies.