Postpartum hiking advice for new mums

In celebration of Mother’s Day (10 March), we hear from #TeamMontane’s Montana Hull to find out about her postpartum journey so far. Discover her advice to other new mums who are eager to get back into the hills…

Are you a new mum eager to get into the great outdoors again, but unsure where to begin? The postpartum period, which comes directly after childbirth, can be a challenging time, as your body recovers and you adjust to life with a newborn. For active women who love the outdoors, this essential time of rest and recovery can be a particularly daunting prospect. 

Having recently given birth to her daughter Marley, new mum Montana Hull found herself struggling to find information to support getting back into the hills safely. Discover Montana’s postpartum story and her essential advice for new mums who are eager to explore the outdoors during their postpartum…

Okay, let’s rewind to the end of 2022… what a year! I had just completed 3 ultra runs including a day at the Dragon’s Back Race, the Ultra Trail Snowdonia, and Montane Cheviot Goat. Sadly the latter was my first DNF, which came off the back of a gruelling training schedule through the winter months. 

Fast forward to February 2023. I was in South Africa, trail running in the Table Mountain National Park, preparing to hit the training again when I returned to North Wales. I was feeling optimistic and fit. But, this didn’t go to plan … and 4 weeks later I found myself peeing on a stick to find out my partner and I were expecting a baby! 

Excitement and nerves rippled through me. I was going to become a mum for the first time. This was something I had always dreamed of but I didn’t want to lose myself in the process. Through pregnancy I was googling like mad, trying to find some inspiration for how to be an ‘outdoorsy mountain mum’. I can’t say there is a lot out there, but there were a few mums who had taken to the internet and had given me some hope. On the 20th of November 2023, our little healthy girl, Marley was born.


Getting back into the Hills Postpartum

Nine months. It takes your body nine months to grow a baby and in that time it goes through incredible changes. In my case, by the end, I looked like half an avocado, my boobs had expanded (a lot), and I spent the first 3 months feeling sick. 

So expecting to be as you were before pregnancy is not realistic. I really drilled this into my belief, as I didn’t want to put pressure on myself. Starting slow, I was taking short walks 10 days postpartum with Marley in a sling. By 3 weeks, I could do decent walks in the hills and by 2 months I was taking her up into the Welsh mountains!

Mentally it’s been hard to take it slow during this time. But I’ve loved knowing I’m exposing my baby girl to the magic of the mountains at such a young age. I am excited to show her photos when she’s older of her and her mama out on the hills when she was a tiny baby.

Becoming a mum

Everyone says how difficult it is, but no words can prepare you for the change. As an outdoorsy adventurous type, it was hard to accept that life would be in a lower gear for a while. The first 2 weeks were so hard, mentally and physically. I was very in love with my new addition, but finding the transition difficult.

The outdoors has always healed my mind, the mountains are my happy place. It became apparent to me then that this beautiful environment allowed me to not only be a mum, but totally myself. Being a mum is so special but it doesn’t have to define you. Including the new love of your life in this wonderful world is equally rewarding and enriching.


Priority Change

Pre-pregnancy I loved nothing more than going up the most dangerous scramble, getting out in all weather and hiking or running for long periods. Postpartum, my priorities have changed. 

Since Marley was born in the winter, the mountains are typically cold and snowy, but that didn’t stop us. Of course safety comes first and making sure Marley was safely swaddled close to me was important. The summits have also eluded us, as suddenly something that was very “do-able”, is now not worth the risk. I have found getting out at low levels is great for both of us. Swapping the height for distance!

You breastfed where?!

I have chosen to breastfeed Marley, which does come with its challenges, especially when out and about adventuring. Breastfeeding is amazing, but difficult! I was assured it would get better and it did. The first few weeks I was just learning and so was Marley, but I hung on and it all fell into place. 

I have breastfed in some random places now, including during a Christmas light trail, in the middle of a National Trust hall and on top of a hill. I now find it almost a game of where’s the most random place to breastfeed. Saying that, bottle-feeding expressed breast milk also really helps. If the weather is too cold or wet, it meant I could still feed Marley whilst out and about. 

Dehydration is also definitely more of an issue when breastfeeding. I have made the mistake of not drinking enough and my milk supply has suffered. After a hike it’s also important to suitably refuel -  it takes a lot of energy to create all that milk!


Top tips for hiking with a newborn baby

  • All the gear, no idea: Yes, your baby might have no idea that they are on a hike, but you will need the right gear to stay comfortable and protected from the elements on the move. I suggest investing in a Merino wool base layer for your baby. I feel much more confident about her body temperature regulation if Marley is wearing this when out in the hills.  
  • Trust ya gut!  If it doesn’t feel right don’t do it. The route, the weather, the baby… any indication that today is not the day, follow that feeling. I promise that one day it will feel right.
  • Boobs and bottles: bottle training your baby will help you to feed on the go when the weather isn’t so kind to you. When it’s nice weather, breastfeeding is my go-to.
  • X-large: Invest in a wet weather, lightweight waterproof jacket that can cover both you and your baby when carrying them in a sling. In my case, I nabbed my father-in-law’s during pregnancy and it’s still serving Marley and me well!
  • Don’t forget that your body is amazing: Be kind to yourself and enjoy the hills… you’ve just grown a human!

Mother’s Day Gifts

Don’t forget to save the 10th of March in your diary! Whatever adventure she loves to take on, we’ve got an array of lightweight, durable clothing and equipment guaranteed to make her day and enable her to explore more this year.

See our Mother’s Day Gifts to get inspired.