Summer is in full swing, and for many families, the annual beach trip is right around the corner! Like almost everything else in your life, vacationing changes once you have a baby. However, with the right preparation, going to the beach with baby can be an enjoyable experience you will not want to miss! We have some great tips from those who have done it before for your baby’s first beach vacay!
So, set out the sunscreen and pick out your best floppy hat as you listen to the Beach Do’s and Don’ts that may make or break a vacation!
DO pack the right gear — and a lot of it: Remember those days of heading to the beach with your towel, sunglasses and a bottle of baby oil? Well, this is not that! If you’ve ever spent time on a family beach, you see moms and dads wheeling that collapsible wagon around – and trust us when we tell you those contraptions will be your new best friend! Taking baby to the beach should involve a sunshade – whether it’s an umbrella, tent or small cabana. Chairs are also helpful, especially if you want to get your child out of the sand for a bit. Fluffy towels (one for Baby to lay on and one if you need to dry off), beach toys, swim diapers, a change of clothes and the list goes on. Suddenly, the importance of the wagon is very clear! Seriously – bringing baby to the beach does involve a lot of “stuff,” but these are the items that can make those hours on the beach very comfortable — or very miserable– for everyone!
DON’T assume Baby can stay out all day: Yes, your child will be wearing sunscreen – keeping in mind that children under 6 months of age should not wear sunscreen. Nevertheless, even with sunscreen, hats, and SPF protective rash guards, you want to monitor and limit your child’s time in the sun. Their delicate skin is more prone to heat rash (and subsequently diaper rash) and little ones can become easily dehydrated. A few hours should be plenty, and not to sound like your grandmother, but it’s a good idea to avoid peak hours of 10 am – 2 pm. Going early in the morning or later in the afternoon often works well with Baby’s meal and naptimes, allows you to avoid the crowds and ensures that you’ll have a better overall experience.
DO keep everyone fed and watered: We mentioned snacks and like anything you do with your child, you want to come prepared. Babies older than 6 months should have plenty of water (the recommendation is approximately 50% more water in hot weather than in cooler seasons). If your child is 6 months or younger, opt for formula or breastmilk rather than water as their hydration source. (Parents.com).
DON’T throw in the towel without trying: Hopefully, your baby’s trip to the beach will be an idyllic, Normal Rockwell-esque moment. Or maybe not! As a mom, the best you can do is try and have fun with your child. Dip her toes in the water and let her feel the coolness of the ocean. Play in the sand and let it run through her fingers. If she can sit up, dig a hole (aka, a beach play pen) and let her experience that. The wind, the waves, the sand, the surf is a plethora of sensory delights for your child, and if you’re having fun and engaging her, Baby will enjoy it even more! Now, keep in mind that is your hope. My family’s first beach experience had our toddler running into the waves while one infant screamed bloody murder and her twin ate his body weight in sand. Obviously, our moments were short-lived but we tried it. And we did better each time we came back!
DO bring a camera: All too often, we don’t get good beach photos because you don’t want the sun, the water and the waves to ruin a good camera… But, your baby’s first beach trip (and all those subsequent trips) is a moment you’ll want to capture. So, research a good camera to take the beach and get it! Keep in mind it may be as simple as Ziploc freezer bags. Regardless, don’t let the moments pass!
So there is our Beaching with Baby 101! As hectic as it might sound – and despite the fact that you may think you need a separate car just for the gear – beach vacations are often ideal for families. You have the freedom to come and go as you please, it’s easy to still keep Baby’s schedule, it’s simple and doesn’t involve tickets, admission or any added expenses. So get out there — feel the wind on your face, taste the salt air, feel the sun on your face and the sand between your toes. Best of all, experience it all through the eyes of your child.