Baby’s first beach trip should be a special memory full of laughter and photos, sandy fingers and toes. You want to make sure you have everything you will need to protect your little one’s skin from the sun, keep everyone hydrated and full, and prevent potential meltdowns. But how do you make sure you don’t become the crazy bag lady who brought everything she owns plus some? Not only is bringing a car full of supplies unnecessary, but it’s also a hassle to transport everything from your vehicle to the beach and back again after a long, hot day in the sun.
1. Packing It Up
Try to limit yourself to just one transportation device, such as a rolling wagon. They are easier to carry and transport through the sand. Plus, placing restrictions on yourself will deter you from overpacking. Also, be sure to bring your favorite baby carrier so you won’t have to mess with a stroller. Then, you can wear your baby on a serene beach walk.
2. Keeping Cool
Being on the beach means you are going to get hot, hot, hot! Shade for your little one is a must to avoid burns and also keep him happy. Remember, babies younger than six months cannot use sunscreen, so shade is your baby’s best friend. Pop-up beach tents and umbrellas are a must. Other tricks include freezing baby food the night before and putting sunscreen in the cooler. When you freeze the food, it becomes a cool treat for later in the day, and chilled sunscreen is much more pleasant to apply than sunscreen that has been baking in the sun all day.
3. So Much Sand
Rough sand on soft baby skin is definitely not fun. However, baby powder makes sand fall right off. Pack a bottle or even a small plastic bag of baby powder and throw it in your beach bag. Pack a couple light blankets and several towels to cover as much sand as possible. You can also bring a fitted sheet to use as a play area if you anchor the corners with coolers or beach bags. It is also a good idea to bring a change of clothes. Wet, sandy clothes are not comfortable, and a new outfit might be just what your fussy baby needs to keep enjoying his time in the sand.
4. You Might Not Need It
The truth is, half the things you think you should pack, you will end up not using. Don’t waste space, and instead, question everything before you pack it. First of all, don’t bring too many toys. The beauty of being at the beach is that you can make your own fun! Build sand castles, look at pretty sea shells, or go for a stroll along the shore. Pack a few buckets or shovels and then let imaginations run wild. Also, do not pack too much food. Just because you are sitting in the sand doesn’t mean your baby will eat twice as much as usual. That food will probably go to waste, and it is taking up extra space in your bag.
Remember that pop-up tent you brought for shade? It’s also the perfect place for your little one to doze off after an exciting few hours of play time. Even if you choose not to bring a tent, somewhere for your baby to nap is necessary, and it should be in the shade. Treasure these precious beach naps. You’ll only get them this age this summer.
6. Beach Day
Adjust your expectations of the phrase “beach day.” It might be “beach hour” or “beach five minutes” or even “beach you are never allowed to leave.” If you are used to spending all day at the beach and soaking up the sun, reframe your idea of beach time. This year it will be different, so just be flexible and enjoy whatever time you have. Also, shoot for your beach trip before 11 a.m. or after 2 p.m., to avoid the hottest part of the day.
7. Do What's Best for You
If you decide you want to have more than just the basics, that’s okay too! What’s most important is feeling comfortable and prepared. If being minimalistic stresses you out, you should do what you think is best.
Beach memories will stay with you forever, and we all want to remember the cutest and sweetest moments. Hopefully, these tips will alleviate some stress and allow you to enjoy your beach day or beach hour, whatever the case may be. ■