I love nothing better than to go on a really long hike somewhere beautiful in any weather. Some people enjoy retail therapy, some might enjoy a day at the spa, but for me the ultimate way to restore peace and nurture my soul is to get my muscles moving, breathe some fresh air and take in some beautiful scenery. Maybe it’s the goat in me as a Capricorn!
Getting out for a long hike with one baby is a challenge, let alone two! While I recovered from the birth and was getting used to life with twin babies, I ‘made do’ with some gentle strolls next to the sea. I couldn’t keep my itchy feet still for long though, and so gradually increased the length of our strolls to walks, and walks to hikes, and we have recently attempted a climb!
As mentioned in previous blogs, I’m a big fan of babywearing. It’s a great way to keep the babies calm and regulate their temperature, meaning longer uninterrupted walks for me.
When they were newborn, I used my twin Weego carrier to carry both together; meaning I could off-road it with both babies alone. I look back on those early days with such fondness; it was so so special to carry both of my babies at the same time; and they were so content being with me and together.
As they got bigger and the weather got hotter, my twin carrying days were over. Our walks were confined to areas suitable for a pram, or when someone could come with me. Thankfully there are no shortages of volunteers to carry a little baby, so we were able to get out often. We switched to the wonderful BabyBjorn carrier, which can be faced inwards with good head support for small babies, and outward for nosier older babies.
The bonus of the BabyBjorn is that when facing inward, the babies can sleep, and with a bit of manouvering, can even feed on the go! We really got our use out of the BabyBjorn carriers, using them whenever we were together – at the beach, at the aquarium, when shopping, visiting friends etc. I used to put everything I needed in a backpack on my back so we could walk hands – free.
As the babies got bigger, it became much more difficult to see where I was going, and after one horrible incident where I tripped and fell with my baby facing outwards (luckily she was not hurt but it could have been very serious) it was definitely time to switch to a backpack carrier.
Thankfully the girls made the transition to backpack carrying wonderfully and absolutely love to be in their backpacks! They have even fallen asleep in them several times which, when you consider how sleep-averse my two usually are, feels like a bit of a miracle.
The great thing about the backpack (ours are Macpac) is the amount of space for carrying other things. We can easily fit nappies, wipes, drinks, food, hats, suncream, spare clothes and a blanket with room to spare in just one of the backpacks. As we have two, then we almost never struggle for space.
How to carry your baby is the main thing to consider when going for a hike but there are also several key points to plan for:
- Terrain – the right footwear is essential, to avoid nasty accidents & being stranded with a broken leg in the middle of nowhere with two babies!
- The weather – we live in Wales and can easily have four seasons in one day so we pack for all eventualities
- Route – really study the route so you don’t get lost. Take a map and gps if possible, learn any shortcuts back in case it all goes wrong
- Cut-off points – we always time our walks and if the girls are starting to get really grizzly we will call it a day sooner rather than later – it’s just not worth a mega meltdown miles away from anywhere we can do anything about it
- Food and drink- take three times more than you think you’ll need, just in case. I usually offer mine a feed at the halfway point even if it’s not their normal time of day to feed, to pre-empt and prevent any meltdowns!
- Safety – a fully charged mobile phone, first aid kit, telling someone where you’re going, checking the weather, tide times etc are all normal parts of hiking safely, but become even more important when you have a baby on board.