When you yearn for the woods and stream, looking to get back to nature, camping may be the ideal way to relax with the family. If your family includes a little one, the sleeping arrangement may get a little challenging. A baby is generally quite portable, sleeping in whatever sleeping space you create.
Specialized Camping Bed
A specialized camping bed can serve a variety of purposes to keep baby comfortable during camping. These portable beds have an inflatable mattress, mesh sides and top to protect baby from insects and a cover over the top that can also shield baby from harmful UVF rays. Portable beds usually fold up compactly for easy storage and toting out to the camp site.
Instead of spending money on a specialized camping bed, a standard playpen can serve virtually the same purpose, offers Jayne Seagrave, author of “Camping With Kids.” Set up the playpen in your sleeping quarters, following Consumer Product Safety Commission recommendations for keeping the playpen free of quilts, comforters and stuffed toys. Dress your baby appropriately for the weather, with a blanket sleeper if baby needs extra warmth. Do not place anything on your baby's head while sleeping, warns the CPSC. An advantage of the playpen is the sleeping area sits above the ground to keep the baby warmer and drier.
Baby Carrier Napping
If you're awake but baby needs to sleep, you might place the baby into a sling or a baby carrier to hold your baby close while he sleeps, suggests Alice Cary, author of "Parents' Guide to Hiking & Camping: A Trailside Guide." With the baby in the carrier, you can putter around the campsite, play a board game, hike or just relax. Sling napping enables baby to have a safe sleep while you continue your activities.
Sometimes a baby needs the lulling motion of a stroller to drift off to sleep, advises Seagrave. Buckle your baby into the stroller, tucking her in snugly for a nap. Push your baby around the campsite or around the campground to enable her to drift off to sleep. A gravel road may be especially soothing for a baby, thanks to the gentle motion it provides as you push the stroller. Your baby can catch a nap while you get a little exercise.