Hike It Baby encourage families to get out into nature and breathe fresh air as often as you can with your baby. The reason being & that not only will your baby benefit mentally and physically from the outside time, but connecting more with nature has been proven to combat anxiety, depression and obesity, which are all common issues new moms and dads face.
I had the pleasure of talking with Emily Grant, the leader of Hike it Baby Aurora, and mom of two. She learned about Hike It Baby through a mom group on Facebook and started driving to Douglas County to participate. It became obvious that there were some great places to explore with new friends that were closer to home and so she started leading the Aurora group just two months ago. There are now more than 300 members in the Facebook group!
Emily explained that “hike” and “baby” are both used loosely. The hikes and walks all range in terms of difficulty and some are even toddler-led. We shared a laugh over this as I explained a trip around the block with my toddler takes about an hour! In addition, older kids are all welcome at Hike it Baby events as well as dads, grandparents, friends, nannies and anyone else who is interested in spreading healthy habits.
I asked Emily about what drew her to this organization. With a background in psychology, she understands the value of peer support and recreational therapy. And when her doctor recommended Vitamin D supplements for her new baby (breast milk does not transfer this vitamin from mom to baby), she learned that 20 minutes of sunlight a day would also meet this need and so she committed to exposing her baby to fresh air and natural light each day.
Emily has a book recommendation for any parent wanting to learn how direct exposure to nature is essential for a child’s healthy physical and emotional development. The Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv shares evidence linking the lack of nature in children’s lives and the rise in obesity, attention disorders, and depression.
How can you get involved? Hikes are happening almost every day. Visit the national site: http://hikeitbaby.com/find-a-hike/ and put in your city.
What are the rules for leading? Simply go to one hike and learn about the Hike it Baby guidelines then go on the website and post a hike. The great thing about Hike it Baby is that there’s a strong emphasis on “leave no mama behind” so all of the hikes are about the journey, not the destination or how fast you get there.