/ ARTICLE: Bouldering with Babies
The thing with having a baby is that it gives you several months to mentally prepare yourself for what is about to come. Of course, there's nothing anyone can say that can actually prepare you for it, but it does give you a chance to think and try and figure out how you want things to work out for you.
I thought I'd add my 2p here as a new Dad (since 5 weeks ago).
You can take the 'other' option, which is to actually continue climbing regularly with other climbing partners other than your lover. A couple of 2 hour sessions a week ain't going to harm anyone, in fact the space is good for everyone.
If both of you are die hard climbers, a session each a week individually, coupled with a session/day together (when you can recrute a babysitter) will scratch the itch for climbing.
My daughter's just over 9 weeks and I'm just about to get 3 months shared parental leave, so please keep the tips coming, especially for Inverness area.
She's on the boob at the moment, we do a bit of expressing, but think we're going to have to add a bit of formula to allow mum to get away.
We've found that a midgie net comes down to her waist, and carry one in case they're about. She went up stac pollaidh at about 3 weeks in a front sling, for me it was as sweaty as having the rucsac on the back and she needed a onsie change once we got up there, a bothy bag is great for that and nappy changes. The plan had been for her to go in the sling and me wear a jacket with a panel over the top, but I think she's better in her own waterproof suit on the outside, it's too sweaty inside when exerting yourself.
Good article. I agree with all of it except that I'd have never considered leaving my little man (now almost 2) in the car seat. It's unnecessary anyway as they are bloody heavy so I'd have needed the wheels - at which point you can put them in the pram.
The point about taking advantage of the first few months is key - you may feel tired from little sleep, but it's your best opportunity. I had mine come bouldering with me at 2 weeks old. Once they can crawl, you really have to have another adult with you who knows what they're doing.
Crag P is a good option for people who live in the peak district.
Oh - there is also a bunch of useful info in the long-running ukb 'goodadvice' thread
Interesting article. As a mum of a now 6 month old I have to say that our local climbing wall have been amazing at letting us in, my husband and I use the auto belays and take turns on baby duty!
We did our first outdoor sport climbing with our baby when she was 5 weeks old, as the article says this is the key time to get out, they just eat, sleep and poop anyway so it we didn’t have to entertain her. A friend of ours came with to help with belaying. The biggest help to us, imo, was having a good pram - I specifically bought a bugaboo cameleon 3 (2nd hand!) as it has good suspension and foam filled tyres so no punctures because I suspected the baby would come along with us on some unusual for buggy terrain. This planning paid off but not in the way I thought, we actually took baby out of the buggy (too much bouncing) and put the heavy kit and ropes in the buggy, which worked amazingly well. We had never walked into a climb so fresh! Once there we used the buggy as intended and the bassinet was good for baby to sleep in etc.
Whilst I definitely approve of parents being out climbing with kids I thought it was important to say that babies shouldn't be left in car seats whenever they're not in the car - it's a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome. It's only acceptable in cars as the risk of being without a car seat is obviously much higher! And like someone else said, they're really heavy!
Thanks all for the comments and the support, great to see people agree and have found this a useful article!
I would like to clarify the car seat conversation a little as you are both right in that it is NOT an ideal solution, it is suggested as an option and one that worked for us quite a few times. Prolonged periods do indeed lead to further risks and complications and i would in no way advocate leaving them in there for any length of time.
The reason we did originally? She was asleep when we parked, i knew this was my best chance to get some climbing done, while she was napping and the walk in was short enough i wasn't phased about the weight/awkwardness of carrying. It certainly isn't a good option for anything more than a five minute walk in that isn't pushchair friendly.
Critically though it stops them rolling off down the hill and is something you're unlikely to forget. Our second has used a Baby Sleeping Pod and this would solve that problem and could be another option.
However, again, the point raised by jaderosanne regarding sudden infant death syndrome is certainly an important one and whatever method you use to house your infant, make sure you check on them, cuddle and move them and enjoy them being there with you as often as you can.
Scottish climber Robbie Phillips has completed the 'Alpine Trilogy', a trio of the hardest multipitch rock climbs in Europe, by climbing Des Kaisers neue Kleider 8b+ in Austria.