Summer Is Here. Sun's Out, Buns Protected.
I remember my beach days before kids. A trashy novel in one hand and a cold bottle of Corona in the other. Occasionally, I’d put down my book, gaze toward the sea, and watch waves lap the sand. I’d take a walk, collect shells, or soak up the sun’s rays.
Fast forward a few years—I have a sand-covered baby in one hand and a warm bottle of formula in the other. How did I get here? And why wasn’t I better prepared?
Your baby’s first trip to the beach needn’t be something to fear. You can survive a beach holiday with your baby with the right gear and advanced prep. You may even enjoy it.
Summer has arrived! And with it, thoughts of a breezy beach tempt our sun-starved bodies.
Want to be prepared for a stress-free beach outing with your baby? Read my tips and tricks below. And don’t forget your sunscreen. We’re beach bound!
Gear Checklist: Having the right gear will save you last-minute panic. Even Amazon can’t deliver a beach canopy in four hours. Google ‘printable beach packing list for babies’ and begin stocking up on necessary beach items. The list will undoubtedly have things that slipped your mind. Baby-friendly insect repellent, dry bags for wet, sandy clothes, and Band-Aids, for example.
Timing: Check the weather a few days ahead. Plan your visit around the time of day when the sun is less fierce—early morning or late afternoon.
Pack it up: Start organizing your diaper bag. Packing in advance will save you bundles of time and stress on the day of travel. PaperClip’s Willow diaper bag can go from messenger bag to backpack, making it ideal for the beach.
The Day Of
Choose light, easy-to-change clothing. Nothing is more frustrating than wrestling with a baby in a tight, sticky onesie. Bring an extra set of clothes for unexpected accidents.
Apply sunscreen to your baby before you get to the beach. You will thank me later. Be sure to reapply often, as your baby’s skin is delicate and has had little exposure to the sun. Even if your baby is under a beach umbrella, sunscreen is a must. The sun’s rays are harsh, even on a cloudy day.
Pack water and snacks. Bring more than you think you’ll need. Hydration is one of the secret keys to ensuring a successful beach day with your baby. And as we all know, a well-fed baby is a happy baby.
Remember, some form of shelter for your baby on the beach. Whether a traditional blanket and beach umbrella or a baby-friendly beach canopy, providing shade for your baby’s sensitive skin is critical. A good reminder for all of us!
On The Beach
Hydrate! Getting dehydrated at the beach is too easy, so bring plenty of water and offer your baby sips throughout the day.
Your baby’s nap time is your downtime. Keeping your baby on its regular napping schedule at the beach (or attempting to) is essential for their temperament and gives parents time to relax and recharge.
Exposing your baby to the beach while young can create a lifetime of enjoyable family trips. Bring beach toys, build sand castles, and splash in the surf.
Reapply sunscreen often. A wet towel with water is a great way to cool your baby down if you notice any signs of overheating.
Pack up. The beach is messy. No doubt you’ll find sand in unimaginable places when you arrive home. Packing need not be pretty or organized. Fatigue has likely set in at this point, so go easy on yourself. Get your baby settled and comfortable for the journey home first. The rest can wait.
Take care of your baby’s skin after a day at the beach with one of the many available after-sun lotions. Cool compresses can also help soothe their skin. Check with your baby’s pediatrician for questions about the best treatment.
Keep hydrated. The sun is exhausting. Make sure your baby keeps hydrated well after you’ve arrived home.
So, In Sun-ation...
Whether you have a 3-month-old or a 3-year-old, being prepared for a day a the beach will make the experience more fun and worth repeating. My kids are older now and no longer want to build sand castles. I look back on those early beach days wistfully. Nothing beats watching your baby fall in love with the beach, no matter how sticky, sandy, oily, or hot.
So, enjoy your baby’s first beach days. It may get messy and sometimes stressful. You may wonder if all the preparation is worth it. Take my word for it—it is.
Written by Jamie Edwards
Jamie is an avid traveler, travel writer, and photographer. She launched I am Lost and Found, her adventure/luxury travel website after 25 years of living and traveling around the globe. She has lived in both NYC and Tokyo. Today she resides in Washington DC with her husband, two kids, and two black labs. Jamie’s goal is simple: to inspire travel.