‘Hike it Baby’: Outdoor advocates help parents connect through hiking
We spoke with Jessica Carillo Alatorre, the director of baby walk, to see how the outdoor get-together organizer for new parents has evolved over the years.
“When you become a new parent, there are a lot of things you will hear about your doctor and our culture in general that can make you afraid to come out,” Alatorre said. “You are very afraid of what is acceptable to do with this fragile little human.”
Through group outings, to city parks and popular trails, new parents can gather outdoors and share tips and experiences to help more families connect with nature.
baby walk is just one of many community organizations and outdoor advocates supported by Merrell and featured in our Hello Hiker! series of profiles. Merrell has even collaborated with the parent group on a variety of children’s shoes.
Discover the Merrell x Hike it Baby collab
Alatorre joined Hike it Baby in 2014 – his debut. She was still a young mother, and the project spoke to her. Additionally, it offered a way to “engage your adult brain” without the commitment of a full-time job.
Hike it Baby grew from there, and so did her role. She became operations manager. And in 2017, when the founder of the group retired, she took over as general manager. It is now a full time job.
For her, part of the initial appeal of the project was its contrast to what she experienced from medical professionals. While she was still in the hospital with her newborn baby, the nurses made her watch a video about inconsolable babies.
His mother was at his bedside and gave a different opinion: “You can go out. This is something that will always work.
That stuck with Alatorre, and she’s worked to spread that message ever since.
“As soon as I started seeing, it was something useful for me and my baby, and it made us feel better,” Alatorre said. “It’s something I want to communicate as much as possible.”
Like many new moms, Alatorre went to several groups for parenting advice. However, she preferred the less structured events organized by Hike it Baby. Gathering with other parents outdoors, whether walking on a trail or even just sitting in the park, she felt a much more natural connection.
In fact, the people she met in those early Hike it Baby encounters are still the moms and friends she hangs out with today.
“On the one hand, Hike it Baby wants to serve these parents as soon as they have had their baby. There’s not much there that supports new parents and new babies in those first months, or even the first two years,” Alatorre said.
“But, often, we find that families who have started with Hike it Baby don’t want to give up.”
Currently there are more than 270 Hike Baby Branchesmainly in the United States, but also in Canada.
Building a local chapter or community starts with a volunteer applying to become an ambassador through the group’s training program.
There are a few simple guidelines before planning a hike. These include safety factors, like the type of terrain, to ensure there are no steep drop-offs or circumstances that would shorten the hike. Access to parking in a dedicated car park is safer and easier than, for example, roadside parking.
Likewise, the organization Family trail guide applies ratings to trails through the prism of parents.
Other small logistical hurdles to plan for include varying ages of children and even varying nap times. These little things can add a wrinkle to group outings.
Fill a gap
Alatorre said there has been a push to hold more get-togethers in parks and natural areas near cities “so that families who don’t have a strong sense of belonging outside can experience welcoming experiences in green spaces”.
She said she sees new groups popping up in cities where nature is more difficult to access as well as in more remote areas in Alaska and Canada, where the outdoors are everywhere, but not a community of new parents. .
Local chapters may plan longer efforts or camping, but the organization focuses on day hikes and often invites local nature awareness organizations with a wildlife showcase or hands-on exhibits to join. at meetings.
“Generally, if you put what you want to do there, it’s likely someone else will want to join,” Alatorre said.
These get-togethers often help members share tips and common mistakes to avoid on first time adventures, especially with young children. There are also more tangible benefits in certain encounters.
For example, some Hike it Baby gatherings have a “library” of baby carriers. These become trial sessions that allow new mothers to get an idea of the different models of baby carriers on the market and help them decide which one to buy.
The Merrell Connection
Merrell is a longtime partner and supporter of Hike it Baby. Currently, there is even a shoe collab featuring Hike it Baby branding on some of Merrell’s popular kids’ shoe styles.
Additionally, the brand supports the group’s efforts with funding and, more recently, shoe donations.
It’s part of Merrell’s goal to help real families hike.
Tips for new parents on the go
Alatorre gave us some of the most common tips she gives parents for hiking with their children:
- Light pack; you probably just need water and a snack.
- Don’t forget water and a snack for you too.
- Start with familiar places. Choose trails with an easy way to turn around early in case you get tired or the baby starts crying.
- Start small. Sitting outside or walking around the block always acts as a break with fresh air and sunshine.
- Find a friend to motivate you with – and to help you.
Discover the Merrell x Hike it Baby collab
This article is sponsored by merrel. Visit his website to learn more about the baby walk cooperation and others hiking boots.