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Adventures in ParenthoodBabies First Outings

Tiso's Supported-By pair, Ross and Rachel, believe an "adventure doesn't have to be an expedition" and any time spent outside is important. Since their family has grown by one, we chat to Ross how their approach to the outdoors may have changed.

by Ross McLaren

Ross and Rachel are teachers from Ayrshire who love to get out hillwalking, paddle boarding, cycling and even scuba diving.

@outdoors.mclarens

Having a baby is possibly one of the biggest life changing events you can have. Suddenly you are now responsible this tiny human for the rest of your life. Naturally life has to change, of course it does. But does that mean you have to give up everything else in your life?

Well if we'd had listened to the majority of people, then the answer is yes, apparently it does.

When Rachel and I announced we were expecting a new arrival we were naturally absolutely overjoyed and so was everyone we spoke to. We were so excited to add to our wee family and plan our adventures together as a three. However, it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows… so many people kept telling us “that'll have to stop” and “you won't be doing that for another 20 years”. Now, I know many were meaning it in jest, but after the hundredth time (certainly felt like it anyway) it started to get a bit frustrating. I'm not going to lie, it did start to put doubts in our minds and put a little bit of a downer on it all, but social media came to the rescue!

We've always tried to follow people we feel inspired by, people we feel we can (let's be honest) steal adventure ideas from and by pure coincidence, 3 of the couples we followed had recently had babies. Following their journeys have given us the confidence we need to start getting out and about with Hannah. All three did things very differently, and in ways that suited them and it helped show us not only was it possible to still have amazing adventures with a wee one in tow, but also that there was no “right or wrong” way to go about it either. The key message was getting outside, whether that be a wee walk down the park or climbing a Munro, at the end of the day it really didn't matter.

With Hannah only just reaching 11 weeks we haven't quite felt confident enough yet to climb a hill or get away for a night in the van, but we've been gradually building up our days out.

In the first couple of weeks even an hour walk along the cycle path next to us felt like a big expedition. Did we need to take a bottle? What about nappies? Sudocream? Don't get me wrong, I LOVE kit and new gear, but a baby comes with a whole new level of accessories! We always say “an adventure doesn't have to be an expedition” but with the amount of gear and planning we did for those short walks it sure felt like it at the start.

The first couple of walks might have been slightly stressful getting out the door, but once outside it was amazing. Naturally Hannah doze through most of it, but it gave us time as a family to enjoy a bit of fresh air which did us the world of good.

After the first couple of local walks it was time to plan a full day out further afield. Again they weren't expeditions (Dumfries House and Cuzlean Castle), but the first one sure felt like it. Like the walks, the most stressful part was just getting out the door, but once we were there and exploring again it felt amazing. This time we took Hannah in her carrier/sling, and again although she slept all the way through it, it built up that wee bit more confidence and showed us we can do this!

These small adventures might not seem like much to some folks, but to us (and I'm sure one or two others as well) it made us realise that we can still do the things we loved, except now they're even more special with our daughter! Will things have to be adapted and changed slightly? Yes, naturally. But do things have to stop completely? Absolutely not!

See more from Ross, Rachel and family over on Instagram:

@outdoors.mclarens

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