Before having children, my husband and I went camping. Not a ton, but some. I was never a diehard, “hike for miles (uphill in the snow) while carrying all my belongings on my back” kind of camper, but was all for the “load up as much food and snacks as possible into the back of your car and drive to a place in the woods with a bathroom nearby” kind of camping. So, every now and then we’d do just that.
Once we had our first baby, we asked the doctor if there was any reason we should wait until our son was older before going camping again. He was two weeks old at that point. The doctor assured us there was no medical reason not to go and that really all we needed to be careful about was keeping the baby warm enough. No problem. We could do that and we were only camping an hour or so from town, so it wasn’t like we were going to be in some remote wilderness location (see the comment above about not hiking in for miles).
I was nursing, so there weren’t any issues with trying to warm up bottles or dealing with formula, and I think we’ve already firmly established that I was a nursing pro. Really, all we did differently with bringing the baby along for the camping trip, was pack warm layers for him and a cute hat that I knitted for him and was determined he would wear in spite of the sweltering August heat. Now I had doctor’s orders to keep him warm while camping, so clearly he needed the hat.
Anyway, we drove to our campsite, set up camp, laughed with our friends, and did all the normal camper-y type things. When it got dark I nursed the baby and we all went to bed (I can’t remember what the baby’s bed set up was at this point?)… and we slept like rocks. even the baby. for hours. and hours. really, a lot of hours. It was the first time we had slept through the night in forever. Ahhhhh.
Enter “the knockers.”
Now, you probably read that “ahhhhh” as a relaxed, oh I’ve slept so well, kind of sound. And, yes, the sleep was wonderful. However, based on previous nights, my body (translate, boobs) anticipated nursing every couple hours and then replacing the milk that had been removed with the same amount again. That meant that during my wonderful night of sleep my body had reloaded my boobs probably three times without letting any milk out. Now you know that sound was not a relaxed “ahhhhh,” but rather a painful “ahhhhh.” Skin can only stretch so far and mine had reached the point where I honestly don’t know why my breasts didn’t explode. I rolled over and felt like I was laying on bowling balls, both the size and consistency matched.
I have never wanted my baby to nurse so badly in my life. I can only imagine the fear and confusion my baby must have felt when presented with bowling balls from which he was supposed to summon milk. Good thing he was naturally such a good nurser (NOT!- see previous post about Tea and Beer). Somehow, though, we managed; he did nurse and my breasts deflated to a less frightening size and consistency. And, neither of us experienced any long term side effects… as far as I know.
So, tips to take away from this:
1. You can camp with your newborn (ours was 17 days old on his first camping trip and he still loves camping… but fears bowling?)
2. You need to choose between sleep and pain (I still probably would choose the sleep… masochistic or sleep deprived?)
3. If you ever envisioned yourself as a pin-up girl, but never did the time, bring your camera and your low cut top, because this is the photo-op for you (just don’t text it or post it on the Internet, because it will still be there when your brain comes back and you are thinking rationally enough again to realize that may not have been your finest hour)
- Camping with babies and toddlers: gear up for summer season! (pitstopsforkids.com)
- Activities For the Family – What to do With Kids that Won’t Bust Your Budget (firepitboss.wordpress.com)
- The Motherhood Manual- I have all the answers. (twyste.com)