Beach days and coastal vacations pre-baby were fairly simple — not a lot of gear to tote as you hit the sand for a day in the sun. It's no surprise that a baby changes everything! There are more things to prepare and more to gather before you can safely go, but the sun and the sand will still be waiting for you when you arrive outfitted with your baby beach survival kit.
Don't head out until you've applied sunscreen — to yourself, and more importantly, to the baby. It's just easier to slather it on a wiggly baby indoors than it is outside. Use sunblock all over a naked infant so you don't miss a spot! Doing this before you dress the baby allows the sunblock time to be absorbed into the skin before exposure to the sun. Don't forget to treat the scalp, sensitive ears and the part in your baby's hair. Pack the sunscreen with you so it can be reapplied as needed when you're at the beach. The baby should wear a hat with a visor to shade his eyes.
Don't take your baby's favorite toy to the beach where waves can carry it away! Buy a few inexpensive beach toys to tote along.
Your beach bag or diaper bag should be well stocked before you go. Baby powder is a must-have for dealing with extra moisture from salt water during diaper changes, and sprinkling it on the child before wiping it off with your hands will remove sand that sticks to damp skin. Have plenty of diapers for changes, and consider swim diapers if your little one will be in the water. These special diapers will contain solid waste but are not meant for regular wear, as they do not absorb urine. They are meant to substitute for regular diapers that get big and heavy when the baby is in the water. Just change the baby out of regular diapers before a "swim" and back into normal diapers when they come out of the water.
Have a big towel or blanket for your baby to sit on. Sand temperatures can be too hot for little ones, so it's smart to also bring shoes to protect the soles of their feet. You'll need toys to keep the child busy, so tote along a few inexpensive beach toys. When your baby naps, find some shade. A beach umbrella or nearby cabana with good air flow is ideal. Watch to be sure the baby isn't sweating too much while sleeping. If they appear overheated, get them to a cool place immediately. If you can bring a portable crib with you, it makes a safer and easier nap time possible.
Don't forget food and, most importantly, hydration. Salt and sand can quickly lead to dehydration, so it's critical to give plenty of water along with formula and breastfeeding.
Finally, a few hours at the beach is more than enough time for babies. Don't keep them out too long, and stick to your normal routine of feedings, playtime and naps.
Need more great ideas for spending quality time with your baby? Check out Baby's Day Out City Guide — you'll discover all the top baby-friendly destinations and how to enjoy them with your little one.
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