The business mobile phone is constantly ringing, food is left unattended on the stove, and, the little one is pulling the cat's tail again! The mountain of cloth nappies won't go by itself into the washing machine, despite the toddler group, musical group and baby massage. Sometimes there's only one thing for it - turn a blind eye, let your hair down and head for the countryside! Because a little time out from everyday family life never hurt anyone. On the contrary: a hike as a family will actually do you a lot of good. And the best thing about it? Hikes are often possible close by. You don't have to climb the closest Mount Everest ;-)
Time in nature calms - mom, dad, and the little ones too
Birdsong instead of street noise and exercise in the fresh air help parents to calm down and relax. A feeling that is transferred to the children in the carrier. At the same time, they get to see something different - at least until their eyes close with the pleasant rocking.
Hiking as a workout?
Indeed. It's not just mom and dad who develop stamina, balance and dexterity when hiking. The baby or toddler in the carrier benefits even more. A properly fitted carrier or sling promotes the development of the postural muscles. In addition, the parents' movements contribute to the development of the balance system and motor maturation.
In many families, it is mostly the mothers who carry the baby in order to have their hands free - for the older siblings, the household, the dog leash or for the daily nap walk. Especially while the babies are still small. But when you're hiking, it's a good idea to let dad have a go when the baby is a certain size or weight. He will love it. And so will the baby or toddler. It's not for nothing that they say "carrying is the breastfeeding of men" - because when dad carries, he can strengthen the bond with his child through the close physical contact. And at the same time mom is getting a break. Not only physically, i.e. her back and pelvic floor. But also emotionally, because she can give up some of the responsibility for a few hours.
What should parents consider before going on a big hike?
Start slowly after the birth of your child. You can try out a short, easy walk to see whether mom is fit again and whether the baby enjoys it. If you want to be absolutely sure, ask your midwife or gynaecologist beforehand whether the strain is already okay again.
Especially when mom is still breastfeeding, tendons and ligaments are softer and more elastic due to the hormone oxytocin. This can quickly lead to twisted ankles or other injuries if you take a wrong step. Walking sticks can help you to walk more safely.
Carrying your baby on your back also gives you security, as you have a clear view of the ground and a secure step. If necessary, ask a babywearing instructor in your area to show you how to safely carry your baby on your back and which carrier or tying method is best for a hike.
Think about weather protection. Depending on where you are travelling, the weather can change quickly and wind or moisture protection for you and your baby will be necessary. Depending on the weather, we recommend breathable, wind- and water-repellent jackets or covers that can be stowed compactly so that you have as little luggage as possible. The onion principle has generally proved its worth when hiking, as it often gets cooler and wetter at higher altitudes. A babywearing jacket or cover saves you an extra layer for the little one you are carrying.
When choosing a route, keep the age of your child in mind. Babies a few months old are relatively uncomplicated companions. They enjoy the closeness of their parents and the rocking, and if they are still breastfed, they don't cause any luggage apart from nappies. However, if your passenger in the carrier is a little older or if there are older siblings, it is advisable to choose an exciting destination, such as a cable car ride, an exciting suspension bridge or a lake to splash around in. Also plan enough breaks for exploring, playing and romping. And maybe one or two stretches can even be walked on by little feet.
In the end, one thing remains to be said: we are not surprised that hiking is becoming increasingly popular. But also, or rather especially for families, it is a perfect balance for the turbulent everyday life.
Have you already been hiking with your mamalila? We look forward to receiving photos and reports of your experiences. Link us on social media or send us an email.
And now have fun on your next / first family hike.
Amelie & Yvonne from the mamalila team