Jul 03, 2023
Going on a beach vacation with a baby is doable and can be both enjoyable and relaxing. However, you have to plan right and bring the baby beach essentials. Whether you are heading to the lake beach or the ocean beach the same applies!
Baby’s first trip to the beach can be an exciting time for a new family. You might be wondering how your baby will react to the sand and water and how you are going to have a baby nap at the beach. There are some tricks and tips I have for you based on my trips to the beach with my 3 babies.
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There is no right answer here. I have taken my 7 week old newborn to the beach and found that easier than when she was 4 months old. Babies are notorious for changing moods and sometimes you won’t know what you will get. But planning for success will hopefully be able to combat a baby’s bad mood.
A newborn at the beach, (a baby 0-2 months old) will need to spend a good portion of the time sleeping. A baby beach tent will be a must have for an infant at the beach.
As your baby gets older, especially after the first 4 months and their digestive system has settled, you will understand your baby better and have a better feel for their moods. You will get a feel if they nap okay in new places and overall how they act in new situations.
A baby younger than 6 months should not wear sunscreen according to American Academy of Dermatology. A baby that young has super sensitive skin which will be more likely to react with a rash. Sunburns at this age can be dangerous and increase their chances for skin cancer later in life.
Once a baby is older than 6 months you can start applying sunscreen. This should not be the only protection for your baby. Make sure you reapply throughout the day!
The best thing you can do to protect your baby’s skin from the sun at the beach is to put them in protective clothing, provide shade, sunscreen for babies 6 months and up and avoid 10a.m. to 2 p.m. when the sun is strongest.
Babies overheat quicker than adults do and you will want to think through how to keep your baby cool on a hot summer's day.
Sand and diapers do not mix. Some people throw around the term beach diapers, but really people are talking about a swim diaper. A swim diaper doesn’t repel sand just made to get wet and is a great idea for the beach.
You will want to create a sand free zone to change a baby’s diaper when on a beach vacation with baby. I like to use my baby beach tent as it also works to protect my baby from the sun. I lay down a towel and have plenty of space to change the diaper out of the sun’s rays. Afterwards I use my hand sanitizer.
You will want to pack diaper bags (think poop bags) to place any soiled diapers into and tie off. If a trash can is nearby I would take the diaper bag directly there after a change. If there is no public trash I combine all my diaper bags into a plastic trash bag to take with me at the end of the day..
Another option is to take your baby to the restrooms. Most restrooms have a baby changing station you can use and then wash your hands.
You might be wondering how your stroller is going to stand up to the sand. Most strollers won’t do well at all and the wheels just won’t turn.
My personal favorite beach stroller for sand is the Bob Revolution Flex Jogging Stroller. This stroller is made for all terrain with thicker tires. I use it on roads, trails, grass, sand and rocks.
Once I had my second child, 18 months after my firs, we got the Bob Revolution Double Stroller. Although heavier it still works great on the sand for all the above reasons. I still love it! It even folds easy for transportation and fits in the trunk of my car.
Another choice you have is to not bring a stroller. All my babies have loved being worn and I find that bringing a baby wearer works great! You can bring a water carrier and even wear your baby in the water!
The one thing you won’t have is that extra storage the stroller allows. Although if you have multiple kids you might have a stroller or wagon for one or two kids and then just wear your baby.
10-2pm is when the sun is the strongest and UV rays are intense. Keep your baby shaded or inside during this time if possible.
My babies always wake up early, and it seems this is common. Why not head to the beach early before the sun is the strongest and while temperatures are lower. You can then come back for lunch and naps and head back to the beach later in the day.
If driving to the beach just for the day you can plan to arrive around 2. This will still give you many hours on the beach with your baby while avoiding the hottest part of the day.
There are many adorable baby swim outfits that as a mom will temp you. However, the best swimsuit for the beach is the suit with the largest coverage.
Don’t buy a one piece no sleeve swimsuit for a baby girl. Yes it is adorable, but exposes most her skin. A one piece with full arms will protect your baby better.
For baby boys I would recommend a one piece with full arms and legs. The picture of the cute baby on the beach in just their baby is cute, but not practical.
For the baby's head bring a sun hat with a wide brim. This will protect your little one’s head and face.
Babies do best on a schedule. A schedule allows them to anticipate what is to come and for their body to get used to sleep times.
Keeping to the same schedule and routine while at the beach is your best bet to getting your baby to nap. At home I changed my baby's diaper, breastfed my baby right before nap time and then turned on the sound machine. At the beach I executed the same pattern before laying her down.
Or if that doesn't work a snuggle nap sometimes works.
It might be tempting to keep your baby up longer, but a tired baby is not a fun baby!
Pro Tip: If you are at the beach for longer than one day, each day will get easier. Your baby will start adapting to the new environment and new nap spots. Anticipate a harder day one.
Shade is super important for a successful day at the beach vacation with baby. A place to lay a little one for a nap or a safe spot to play out of sun’s rays. I additionally use mine to change baby’s diaper, nurse in private and a sand free space to eat.
Some shade tents also come with a small pool ring to cool off the baby. These are great but will only serve one purpose, water play and shade at the beach. A non pool baby beach tent can be used for multiple purposes and handy while not at the beach. A great overall outdoor baby gear product.
We use the Multifun UPF 50+ Easy Pop Up Beach Tent on all our trips!
If you want the pool option I would suggest also having a multipurpose baby tent for the beach.
Normal diapers will expand when wet, absorbing the liquid. Pee will inflate diapers and when placed in the water will bubble up.
A swim diaper is designed to pass through liquids and retain any solids. However, it won’t keep diarrhea long, therefore you should change your baby as soon as you notice a soiled diaper.
Swim diapers are made to be wet without puffing up. You have the choice of a reusable swim diaper or a disposable one.
My personal preference when at the beach is a disposable swim diaper. A swim diaper at the beach will not only get wet but most likely be covered in sand. Transporting these diapers back home to clean, although eco-friendly, isn’t always worth the effort. However, I do like the reusable swim diaper for the pool!
Feeding a baby is 100 times easier when your baby is strapped in a seat. Trying to feed a baby while also holding them can be frustrating to say the least.
I have used the Hiccapop Omniboost travel highchair with all three of my babies. It comes with an attachment for the feet which works great on sand. The removable chair allows the baby to practice their pincer grip.
The chair also works great as a safe seat for babies. Pop your little one in, set the tray on and place a toy for your baby to play with. Or maybe your baby is happy to just sit and watch the waves crash.
On a hot summer's day it is important to keep your baby hydrated. This often means feeding your baby more often than you do at home.
If your baby has started drinking water, normally after 6 months old, you can offer their water cup often. Not all babies drink water, my daughter didn’t till after a year! If not, offer breastmilk or formula.
If your baby is on solids be aware that he/she will get some fluids from that as well! Fruit is great for hydration.
A baby younger than 12 months won’t play with sand toys very much. A simple bucket and shovel is all a baby needs at this age. Otherwise, you will end up carrying way more things than is practical.
Of course if you have other children, you will be bringing additional toys anyway so don’t bring anything specific for baby in this situation.
Sand Toys are best transported in a separate bag. I like to use a simple drawstring bag to keep the sand toys away from my other beach items.
You never know when teething is going to hit. Or maybe your baby is coming down with something. If your pediatrician has approved your baby Tyonol or Ibuprofen you will want to pack it. It can’t hurt to be over prepared and it barely takes up any space in your diaper bag.
If you know your baby is teething you will want to bring a teether as well!
A nice mom hack is to pack talc-free baby powder. The baby powder absorbs the liquid and makes sand removal a breeze.
You can either bring in your beach bag or leave it in the car. Best to only use it before going home, otherwise you would be removing sand from baby’s feet all day!
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