This past weekend, we packed the kids up in the car and headed to the beach. It was my son’s first time to experience the sun, sand, and waves – and quite honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. I packed up as many things as I could think of to make the trip easy, fun, and enjoyable, but I knew there were some things I wasn’t thinking of.
While my car full of baby beach essentials was sufficient enough for a fun day on the shoreline, I looked back, wishing I went by some sort of checklist to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Now that our beach vacation has come and gone, and even though our baby had an absolute blast during his first beach trip, here is a list of beach essentials I highly recommend to take with you. Especially if you have a baby younger than 18 months old, these are must-haves for your tropical outings this summer.
1. Beach Tote and Separate “Wet Bag”
A beach tote is an obvious must, mainly because it’s big enough to carry everything – from towels, to toys, to snacks, to sunscreen. Getting a tote that is wipeable or easy to clean is a must – because with all that sand and water, it’s bound to get quite dirty. I also recommend bringing a separate tote that you can designate as the “wet bag.” With this bag, you can throw in used towels, swimsuits, or shoes that you don’t want touching all the clean, dry stuff.
2. Good Sunscreen
Sunscreen with a high SPF for baby is a must, especially one that protects against UVA and UVB rays. But, even more important, is picking a sunscreen that contains baby-safe ingredients. Recent studies have shown many potential dangers of chemical sunscreens, including skin irritations and health risks that can jeopardize your baby’s wellness. To prevent these hazards, consider purchasing a good organic sunscreen brand, or a mineral sunscreen for baby’s sensitive skin. You can find many good organic brands at your local Target or Walmart in the baby section, or even on Amazon.
3. Hats and SPF Swimsuits
While my son was not a fan of his swim hat, I’m so glad we made him wear one. I myself did not wear a hat that day, and my ears, forehead, and nose were lobster red after a few hours, even with sunscreen. Keeping baby’s head and face protected and shaded is very important while they’re out there enjoying the summer sun. I also bought my baby some swim trunks and swim shirt that not only covered him well, but it had SPF within the fabric itself. That also gave me peace of mind that he was being extra-protected from those potentially harmful rays.
4. Swim Diapers
Moms – NEVER go to the pool or beach without bringing swim diapers! I’ve made that mistake way too many times with my kids, and I always regretted it. Now remember, swim diapers don’t act like regular diapers – they will leak when baby pees – but they’re designed to hold everything in, especially poop, while baby is playing in the water. Have baby wear a regular diaper on your way to the beach, switch it with a swim diaper (like Pampers Splashers or Huggies Little Swimmers) once you are ready to play in the water, and put a new regular diaper back on when you’re ready to leave.
Some sort of flotation device for your baby is not only safe, but it makes your time more enjoyable and carefree. If your baby is not in the walking stage yet, get a blow up flotation device with leg holes for them to sit in. If they’re walking and running, bring a puddle jumper or arm floaties. Keeping their faces above water is going to be crucial, especially with waves that can knock them over and salty water that can sting their eyes and nose.
6. Water and Snacks
Something about swimming and playing at the beach brings about a whole other level of hunger and thirst. Make sure you have plenty of snacks, juice boxes, water, formula, bottles, and sippy cups with you when you go. Having those readily available on command is necessary for our little swimming babes! Plus, keeping them hydrated is important while out in the heat.
7. Umbrella and Chairs
This is one thing we didn’t bring on our beach trip, and I kicked myself the entire time. How nice it would have been to pitch our own umbrella and sit in our own lawn chairs when we wanted to take a swim break! There were moments where baby wanted to rest a while and drink his bottle, and it was quite impossible to get him comfortable with me sitting on the ground and under the blazing sun. If you don’t want to purchase or haul your own umbrella and chairs, many places on the beach have ones you can rent for the day. If that’s an option – DO IT. You won’t regret it. Also, bring a portable fan!
8. Towels and a Blanket
Obviously, towels are crucial. Important to lay on the sand and prevent your belongings (and your baby) from getting sand in every nook and cranny, but also important to dry off and keep warm from the cool water. But on top of that, also consider bringing a lightweight blanket with you. Baby might want to take a nap while on the beach, and having something airy yet protective to cover his little body will be a big life saver.
9. Beach Toys
There’s only so much baby can do at the beach, and most times they’re too young to truly enjoy the choppy waves. So, be sure to bring some beach toys to keep them entertained. Toys that help them build little sand castles, or dig holes, or collect seashells. Giving them cool toy options that will make the experience fun for them at any age is definitely a must!
10. Water Shoes
This is also one thing I wish I would have done for my son. We failed to put shoes on him, and that sand can be HOT! Find some cheap water shoes with good soles that will protect their feet while walking and running. The cool thing about water shoes is they are lightweight, and make it easy to play in the water as well. And on top of that, they protect the skin on the tops of their feet from getting burned, too. Even if your baby isn’t in the walking stage yet, water shoes are still important!
With these ideas, you’re sure to have an awesome beach experience with baby this summer. As for you, Momma – bring your energy. Because you’re going to need it.
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