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M Backpacking with a Newborn

by Danny Milks & Kristin Tennessen

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Article Summary:

Does starting a family mean your outdoor time is limited to the backyard and the city park down the street? Not necessarily. Your days of 20-plus miles will be on hold for awhile, but hopefully this article, and others like it on BPL, will inform and inspire you on how to continue having adventures with the added bonus of a family.

We first took our newborn son, Brock, backpacking when he was 5 weeks old. I was desperate to get outside and retain some characteristics of our previous lifestyle. Backpacking seemed physically possible because I had a completely natural birth with no complications and I had been walking and running since the baby was one week old. With Danny's consent, I reserved the campsite and planned the logistics. Unless both parents are extremely excited about backpacking with a newborn and feel ready for the adventure, I wouldn't recommend it at all.

We deemed the first trip a success because Brock didn't fuss much, we all slept relatively well, and both parents thoroughly enjoyed the outing. So, we backpacked two more times when he was 8 and 11 weeks old.

Before we discuss how to backpack with a newborn, there are two criteria that should be met before considering such an activity.

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