This will focus on how to deal with scorching Australian summers.
Tip #1-don't go camping!
It's hard work! But you knew that so now that we've got that out of the way, let's get to the real suggestions.
Tip #2-take a second-hand pram
*it must recline* this was a godsend. I know you are probably thinking, I'm going bush, not shopping, so why would I need a pram? During the heat of the day my bubba would not settle in the stifling tent, however two minutes of motion in the pram and she was out. I set her up in a mesh gazebo so I could see her face and that she had the breeze and she slept really well. We also used it instead of a high chair=less to pack.
Tip #3-buy a portacot with two levels
My girl is 7 months old-there was no way I'd be able to keep getting up in the night to try and settle her back to sleep with the low base mattress, I'd almost have to get in it with her! The second level was great-she actually had far too much fun rolling around in it. It really did help when she wouldn't go down quickly or woke up during the night. (Don't forget a sheet and waterproof protector just in case...as we needed it!)
Tip #4 All about food!
it depends on what your baby is up to in regards to food-whether they are still on breast/bottle only or have progressed to small meals. My 7-month old was having a mixture of purées and mashed up fruit. In Australia the Rafferty's Garden sachets are a great buy as they don't require to be kept cold and have no other additives-just the fruit and vegetables listed. I also took bananas, avocados, peaches and mangoes for quick easy mashed-up meals. (Mixes worked really well-banana/avo, banana/peach). Small bowls with lids (so the flies don't get to it) and a zip-lock bag of spoons and her water bottle were all I took. Oh and one of those mesh dummies for fruit. She absolutely loved smooshing peach into her face! If you are using formula, obviously you then need to consider your sterilisation system and how to dry your bottles. The travel drying rack is really small and handy.
Tip #5-get a big bucket/tub!
If you are by a river but don't want to keep putting sunscreen on bubs for the couple of minutes they'd be exposed, just get a bucket filled up with some river water and dip them in for a quick play whilst under the shade and protection of a gazebo. Our bubba loved it as it was too bright down by the beach. She'd have a quick dip before feeding her and sleeping so that she'd stay cooler for longer. (When she did go down to the river, we used Moogoo's sunscreen and bug spray. We love their range as it's all natural.) Store things in the bucket when packing the car.
Tip #6 invest in good fans!
We used three of the Aldi battery operated fan and lights and they were pretty good. Lasted all night, every night and were great to clip onto the roof. You just need to get creative when putting it near the portacot-we ended up using a nappy box and rested it on its side. However, when breastfeeding a hot little muffin on a 37• day, they just don't cut it. I either used the large rechargeable fan or escaped to the air con of the car. You don't want to pass out whilst your little one is on you so you have to do what works.
Tip #7 don't forget a warm blanket
We went in the height of Summer but there was one night that it got down to 14 degrees. We had the muslin on her and just a singlet for most of the night but then had to go to the car to get the dream blanket for her and warm mink for us! Muslin wraps, 0.2, 0.3 tog sleeping bags were great.
Tip #8 bring medication
So it turned out my bubba cut her very first little chomper whilst we were away camping with 11 other adults and 5 children...she woke up many times and wouldn't settle quietly. When we realised what it was and gave her some Panadol she actually slept through until the noisy bird woke us up. She then needed it another night to sleep a little easier too.
Tip #9 be prepared for the routine to change!
If your baby doesn't already get up at the crack of dawn, or 6am, when camping most likely they will. The birds are so noisy (cockies and kookaburras...need I say more?!) and tents don't really block sunlight! To respect my fellow campers, I just fed her to try and keep her quiet even though she normally feeds at 7. Also, remember that they may be thirsty from potentially sweating throughout the night. Daytime naps were ok once we got the pram system in place but nighttime was another matter entirely. It is so bright and warm still at 6-7pm. The tent is uninhabitable. You just have to go with what works and put them to bed when it is possible to do so.
Tip #10 bring a camera
Phones go flat-take a digital or Polaroid to capture those precious moments of your first camping trip of many.
Finally, last thing is to have fun. We had such a wonderful time with our family. They were able to really see Poppy for the happy little girl that she is, rather than the shy or tired girl she is when out for dinner or at big family catch-ups. So many cuddles were had and her little cousins were just so adorable with her-always singing to her and giving her toys. It was such a precious trip that we have recorded in a letter in My Birthday Book to give to her when she is older. Not a monochrome baby book, this colourful memory book will follow her likes, loves, hopes and dreams each year until she is an adult.
Next year shall be interesting as she will most likely be walking...!
Any further tips? Leave a comment below!