Rock Mums is a platform for climbing mums and mums to be, to share relevant content, connect with our community and support one another.
Finding information and research regarding pregnancy and postpartum recovery for climbers, can prove tricky. This page aims to compile and share content others climbers have found helpful. As well as being a supportive space to help each other on our journeys back into climbing, after pregnancy and birth, and navigating climbing with tiny humans in toe.
Please get in touch or post on the Facebook page, if you have anything you would like to share or any questions you would like to ask our community.
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Here are some articles by fellow climbers you may find helpful;
Birth and Post-partum
InformatioN, links, Tips and hack for climbers about motherhood;
Carrying baby to the crag. We mostly used an Ergo baby, which is a well supportive structured fabric carrier. We also had a heavier framed carrier but we did not use this much as we had enough weight with the bouldering pads and all the other baby and climbing stuff, we wanted to keep it light but also easy to get on and off. If you are buy one of these second hand ( I highly recommend getting most thing second hand, if you can, because they grow out of it so quickly) look out for the new version which supports the hips properly when baby is face out position.
Push chair (aka stroller); Ours was not really used for the baby but mostly to help us carry all the kit (bags and pads) along the pushable paths, on the way to the crags/boulders. An off road version worked best. This was not really an essential bit of kit for us as we used the slings/baby carrier more and it definitely didn’t get taken on all our trips.
Lizzie Williams Kindly shared photos of the baby pop up tent that her daughter sleeps in, at the crag, now she has grown her baby cocoon.
How do you manage your climbing after having a baby? It can vary depending on preference and circumstance so we have asked a few climbing mums out there…
I made the move to only bouldering because it seemed simpler for us and fitted into family life easier.
In the early days we would often go to the crag together and give each other a big slot of time to climb, an hour or two, rather than switching between goes and holding the baby. We found we didn’t climb well or parent well, if we were keeping half an eye on the baby whilst waiting for our go to climb.
Now our kids are bigger we tend to go out separately to climb, when we are focused on our own climbing. Then when we all go out to the crag together, it will mostly be about the kids climbing. My husband and I will full focus on what the want to climbing. All our attention is on supporting, spotting and climbing with them, rather than trying to fit our own agenda too.
We tend to pick crags far more carefully now, without big walk in, loose rock and death drops. A crag specification would change with the age of the child, what’s suitable for non mobile baby can change drastically once they can get about.
We absolutely love the challenge of incorporating Ollie into our climbing and we are able to take him with us pretty much anywhere. When he was a baby, all we needed was a pop up tent, warm clothes and a supply of milk!
As a family, we decided to only boulder, as it is easier to pick shorter walk ins and its easier to alternate who climbs whilst the other looks after Ollie. In the early days, we would take it in turns and plan the day around Ollie’s naps, so we would each warm up, then using our pop up tent, put Ollie down for a nap then boulder together, both trying a harder problem or a problem where you want a spot. You realise what you can achieve in a short space of time! Then when Ollie woke up go back to taking it in turns.
Then as Ollie got bigger we would use a rucksack carrier to get him safely into the bouldering spot but we needed to also get his pram there, as that’s where he preferred to nap. So as long as we had the energy to carry all the stuﬀ into the crag, then we would take it in turns to climb, always basing it around Ollie’s nap.
When we went on trips to Font, my husband James, would get out early, try something hard and utilise the cold weather and I would have Ollie, we would then swap and I would climb with James looking after Ollie. As I started to climb more and get ﬁtter and stronger. We found it easier, during the week, to climb separately, getting out in the Peak for the last hours of light/night sessions, especially when the temperatures where perfect for Grit. I have learnt to climb diﬀerently, as I don’t have a spot, but this has pushed me to become more conﬁdent and be selective in what I try, seeking out low lines and traverses. Most weekends we usually climb as a family and Ollie loves to join in!
Naomi is one psyched mum and a real inspiration to us all. She continues to climbing impressive hard and has worked tirelessly to get back in shape after she had her first child as well as her twins.
She has kindly shared with us some wonderful photos of her climbing life, with her three wonderful daughters.
A few words from Naomi…
The biggest change with climbing since having children is about focus. You have so much less time that you make better use of the time that you do have, and actually find that you become stronger as a result. It is generally easier to boulder with small babies and toddlers than route climbing, so a combination of a bit of training, rather than general climbing sessions, and bouldering, means that you actually get stronger and improve your technique. I know many Mums and Dads that have climbed harder since having children, and that's certainly true for me and my husband. I'd have never believed it before I had children though.
Main tip - you will feel really tired a lot of the time (especially in the first 6 months) and hesitate about going out climbing but just go. You will always feel better for getting out, you will usually climb better than you think and your baby will sleep better than you think at the crag. If you go out regularly enough with your children, you will work out what works best for you logistically and find that most sessions work out well.
A few key tips for managing the Kids at the crag
1. Getting them to sleep - for us it was the phil and ted cocoon that made all the difference. Once a bit older, having an out n' about pushchair was helpful in places like Font, Albarracin, some Peak District locations e.g. Curbar. Top tip - babies always sleep better outside and we'd often get about a 2 hour nap during the day. It never impacted on night time sleep and they often wouldn't nap as long as that in the house.
2. Clothing - they need to be warm enough. We found the Spotty Otter clothing to be fantastic in the Peak District with an all in 1 down onesie with a waterproof onesie over the top. Snow booties and thermals from Decathlon (quite cheap) and woolley hats & tights.
3. Entertainment - we take a small selection of toys (in a little rusksac that Eleanor loves to wear) with us, and they're the crag toys, that only get played with at the crag and not in the house, so there's some novelty factor. A set of 4 rubber ducks, some dinosaurs, stacking pots and spoons (for playing in the dirty), a small ball and some cars).
4. Teach them crag etiquette from as early as possible so everyone's safe e.g. no walking on the bouldering pads unless we say it's ok, always look up to check no one's above them if we're routing, no walking near Mummy or Daddy if they're bouldering (so they don't get squashed if we fall off!) etc., importance of taking out our rubbish.