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Child Carrier Backpack. How small of a baby?
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Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Child Carrier Backpack. How small of a baby? on 11/29/2012 04:09:19 MST Print View

Well, the wife recently popped out our first child 3 months ago, and well, I'm starting to go bat s*** crazy here.

So my question for all you parents out there, how young can you put a baby into a backpack child carrier?

She's at the point where she can hold her head and upper body up for a pretty good amount of time. And when you hold her burping style, she'll lift her head away from your shoulder and look around. Although, she still bobbles a little and will head butt you from time to time. The only thing I worry about is when she falls asleep, if she'll be in a bad position because she's not holding her head up anymore.

I work graves and watch her while the wife works, so it would be nice to take her and the dog to the local trails and spend the day hiking. Sounds more appealing than sitting around watching TV like I've been doing.

So what say you? Too young? If so, when will she be old enough?! Help a brother out here!
No hiking, running, mountain biking, I'm gonna end up in the looney bin soon.

Greg Pehrson
(GregPehrson) - MLife

Locale: playa del caballo blanco
front carrier on 11/29/2012 08:21:34 MST Print View

First off, congratulations! Welcome to a totally different kind of adventure. We took my daughter overnight camping at 3 months and started walking in the woods with her from the beginning.
Most child backpacks I believe suggest that you not use them until the child is able to sit up on their own (average ~ 6 months). What we did before then was use front carriers. This allows you to carry a backpack with diapers, bottles,etc too. There are a whole bunch of different front carriers--we mostly used a Moby Wrap at the very beginning and then Baby Bjorn with the head support extended. When they're this small they'll be facing in toward your chest which is comforting and they'll still feel, hear and smell the sensations of the woods. You may find a trekking pole or two handy since it's harder to look at your feet or you may prefer wrapping your arms around your baby as you walk. Have fun!

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Child Carrier Backpack. How small of a baby? on 11/29/2012 08:58:18 MST Print View

It depends on the baby - how big they are, how strong, etc. I have run the gamut with 3 babies. My first son was born preemie and tiny, I wore him on my front for months. My last baby, born this past Feb, was so big he killed my neck within 3 months. He weighs over 23 lbs at 9 months and is too tall to wear on front (he is over 100% percentile for height).
Having said that, the only front pack that works is the one that fits you and her both - no matter what anyone else says. For example, everyone loves Ergo ones, I bought one and hated it - my back injury couldn't take it - and all my babies wanted to look outwards by 4 months time anyways, and you can't with the Ergo. Where as, for us. a high end Bjorn worked well.

If you do hike with a baby in the front, use trekking poles - you can't see your feet.

And make sure they are wearing a bunting or similar, they get cold fast. Take them out every hour or so to stretch.

I use something called a Sammy Sack, which are made in Seattle, to go over the babies when front wearing (I also use it on their Bob Jogger stroller).

If anything at lest go outside with her and push a stroller around - at 3 months a stroller that takes a car seat is great. You won't want to do bumpy stuff for a few months more, but at least you get OUTSIDE.

Having said that, I took all 3 babies hiking at young ages. Once they can be in a back carrier life is easier. It goes fast though. I wear my youngest in a Deuter III pack (I have the Deuter rain cover as well which covers 90% of the pack). I won't lie, it isn't light. But it rides well. Cheap packs rarely ride well with kids.

PS: Now that we have a toddler (2.5) and a baby (9 months), I rely on my jogger more for getting out. I find if I get fresh air life is better. The toddler can walk nearly 3 miles now but I don't like taking them out with just me when hiking.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: PS, sleeping on 11/29/2012 09:03:36 MST Print View

The nice thing about front packs is when baby falls asleep (and they do it fast!) is you can gently postion their head so it is sideways. Or maybe boobs help with this ;-) Hehe

Gerry Volpe
(gvolpe)

Locale: Vermont
Same here on 11/29/2012 13:46:24 MST Print View

We also used a wrap or front pack for our daughter until six months or so then we moved to the Deuter III with rain cover. As Sarah said it isn't light but it carries great and is comfortable enough for her to sleep in for extended periods. At fifteen months she is already almost 25 lbs, add baby gear, water, food, and layers for both of you and you certainly aren't travelling UL and I need good suspension. She loves it though and spent over 5 hours in it on her way to her first peak without complaint.

Edited by gvolpe on 11/29/2012 13:48:03 MST.

Erin McKittrick
(mckittre) - MLife

Locale: Seldovia, Alaska
front carry is probably easiest on 11/29/2012 23:39:48 MST Print View

I agree that the front carry (in a wrap, Ergo, or other soft carrier) is probably the easiest way to get started. And it lets you carry a pack with the stuff. I did carry my second in a wrap on my back from 5 weeks on, but probably wouldn't have done that if I didn't have the experience from my first.

I've actually never switched to a baby backpack at all - I find wraps (worn on the back) to be more comfortable than frame packs even when they get bigger. Especially when they get bigger, really, since I can keep the weight closer to my body that way. I have friends who similarly prefer Ergos to baby backpacks (also into the older ages).

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
THANKS! on 11/30/2012 02:06:19 MST Print View

OH man, I never considered the front carrier with a backpack. I just figured I wouldn't be able to wear them both, but never tried. I will definitely do this next week!

Thanks for all the replies folks!!!

I'll just wait for the backpack for a couple months then. By then, maybe I'll have my REI credits to spend...

I have been just walking her in a carseat/stroller. Been doing like 30 min. walks around the block with her and the dog. Although, with our sidewalks, she's been going on bumpy rides since she was born, hope we aren't screwing up her brain.

Looks like I've got some googling to do. Sammy sack? Bunting?

Edited by stingray4540 on 11/30/2012 02:10:50 MST.

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
One more question on 11/30/2012 02:07:19 MST Print View

Just had a thought regarding being out longer than an hour or two. HOW DO I HEAT THE MILK?!?! I don't have a pair of milk bags I can just whip out whenever I want... Any guys out there hike during feeding time? How did you warm the milk?
Any of you ladies wanna be my hiking partner/wet nurse?! lol.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: One more question on 11/30/2012 08:20:22 MST Print View

Well, I have it easier I suppose - I bottle fed all 3 of my kids. Here is a secret: milk doesn't have to be warmed. Frankly, I have NEVER warmed a bottle after week 2 of my oldest. Now, if your wife BF's and pumps, then you might have some issues.
If you need to heat milk, you heat up water, put it in a mug and pop the bottle in, letting it heat. You can also find insulated bottle holders as well at Babies r' Us.

I did the front pack with a backpack on, it counterbalances the weight nicely. This is a great shot of Walker (my middle son) and me in 2010:
Photobucket

Btw: http://sammysack.com/sammysack/home.php I have both the toddler (full size) and the baby one. The baby one fits over car seats as well, great for strollers! You can also wear it over front carriers, and so on. They block the wind and rain.

As for buntings, even Carters makes nice ones. REI does as well, they are pricier.

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Feeding on 11/30/2012 08:39:42 MST Print View

Yeah the wife breast feeds when she's home, so she pumps and keeps a stock for me in the fridge. What I normally do is pull it out of the fridge, nuke a cup full of water and put the bottle in there.

So how do I microwave a cup of water on a hike?!

I suppose I could bring the pocket rocket, but seems it would make for a long pitstop for just a 2 hr hike...

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Feeding on 11/30/2012 09:59:28 MST Print View

Sometimes the pitstop is a good thing. Really! :-)

But I'll say this - you could feed her in your vehicle, before you start hiking. I do that on all hikes! Then you probably won't need to feed again. A pacifier (if you use them) can be brought "just in case". Most likely she will pass out for the hike ;-)

I bring a sit pad for me, a waterproof changing pad for the kids, so I have somewhere to plop the baby down. It gets way easier when they can sit up!

Greg Pehrson
(GregPehrson) - MLife

Locale: playa del caballo blanco
Feeding on 11/30/2012 12:01:50 MST Print View

+1 to feeding before a hike.
Also, you can bring a good thermos with you with hot water and drop the bottle in to warm it at feeding time.

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Thanks again! on 11/30/2012 19:29:56 MST Print View

Thermos of hot water!!! Greg, you are genius!!!
Oh man, I'm golden now. Next week here I come! Rain permitting... :(

Yeah, I would probably feed her right before, but just want to be prepared in case I want to just walk around for 5 hours or something. Got nothing better to do...
I don't mind pitstops, just don't want to sit around for 30min +

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Thanks again! on 11/30/2012 20:03:38 MST Print View

A cold bottle won't hurt her, if it comes to it ;-)

PS: if hiking in a large open area? Have an umbrella, preferably a medium golf one. Works great at covering you and them!

As for pit stops...not to scare you...but once baby is mobile you'll find yourself wasting 1-2 hours at break time so they can stretch and play. I enjoy it though!

Cary Dwiggins
(Cary75)

Locale: NW
Re: Child Carrier Backpack. How small of a baby? on 12/14/2012 10:10:28 MST Print View

Why not use a front pack? I greatly preferred a front carrier with small babies. You can even use a regular backpack for stuff (diapers, drinks) that way. II like to be able to see and feel how baby is doing. I have hiked with my daughter since she was 2 weeks old, and I currently use a soft backpack for her when needed, she is currently 3 1/2.

Happy hiking!

P.S. I find Ergo to be a great carrier, and much more comfortable than one with aluminum bars.

Edited by Cary75 on 12/14/2012 10:12:08 MST.