Before my little one came along, my husband and I filled our weekends with hikes, swims in the river and tents pitched wherever we happened to toss down our backpacks. Though I knew our travels wouldn’t be as carefree once our baby was born, I hoped we would still be able to get outdoors and enjoy nature as much as we did pre-baby. Our first year with our son taught us that, while getting outdoors with a little one is tricky, with a lot of forethought and some great planning we can have just as much fun as we hoped!

The seven tips below have helped us have fun outside and introduce the great outdoors to our great new addition:

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Strollers have their place, but if you’re off-road or pavement, a good baby carrier is a must. We use our Ergo Baby almost every day. Its supportive back strap and comfortable shoulder straps make it as useful now (with our son weighing in at over 27lbs.) as it was when he was a tiny newborn.

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When we started getting outdoors with our son we picked shorter hikes an hour or two away and used them as practice for longer trips. On these shorter, closer-to-home hikes, we refined our hiking-with-baby skills and built confidence for longer trips to come.

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As most new parents know, babies come with a lot of gear. Maximize your ability to relax and have fun by minimizing what you pack. Only bring things you can’t go without, and leave the “maybe’s” behind.

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Make sure you have the basics you always need if you’re out with baby: your carriers, one more set of clothes than you think you’ll need, diapers and wipes, a good sun hat and your first aid kit.

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When you’re away from home, it’s extra important to make sure you provide a safe sleeping space and surface for your little one. Consider a portable crib, a co-sleeping basket or a firm mattress with no extra blankets. Check with your pediatrician for more information on safe sleeping spaces for your little one.

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Babies are unpredictable. Come with a Plan B ready in case you get to your location and your usually snuggly little one has no interest in the carrier. Pack a picnic, bring along a blanket, and enjoy the sunshine!

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The whole point of getting outdoors is to have fun and bond with your family. Relax and enjoy this special time. Soon your little one will be out of the carrier and loving nature just as much as you do!