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I don’t know about you, but in an ideal world I could live at the beach.
But having babies means that a beach trip requires a lot of preparation.
You need to plan out your timing, how to combat the heat and the sun, as well as the items you’ll need in order to make your tip fun and drama-free.
The first time we took our first son to the beach he was not quite 3 weeks old. I’m embarrassed to say we had a full van for that weekend trip. Though as new parents, the fact that we over-packed was not a huge surprise. Now, however, we’ve gotten it down to an art.
So what exactly are the beach necessities you need for your baby?
I love this swimsuit. It’s easy to slip on, with a zipper in the back. The material is light and breathable, but the SPF coverage helps momma feel secure with a little bit of sun exposure. A swimsuit is, after all, a necessity for any successful beach vacation with a baby. If you don’t need a full swimsuit for your kiddo, a rash guard is a great addition because it provides your baby with additional spf. Please remember, even if you have a rash guard on your baby, you’ll still need to apply sunscreen on a regular basis.
Umbrella and Tent
If you’re going to keep your trip super short, then you can probably get away with just an umbrella. However, if you’re going to be spending any significant amount of time at the beach, then you’ll want an additional place for your baby to play and sleep that is safe from the sun.
I prefer this tent/play yard because it’s lightweight but sturdy (we’ve tried other tents that would flop around with the slightest bit of wind) and it has a UV protective cover, but it can also be used in the house with its inflatable mattress.
Mineral sunscreen is great for children, and there are a lot of baby-specific sunscreens available on the market. We have tried a lot of them and prefer ThinkBaby or Babyganics to some of the other brands available. They both apply fairly smoothly without a ton of streaks. If you’re not sure how to pick a safe sunscreen brand, the Environmental Working Group’s (“EWG”) website or ThinkDirty’s app are both great places to start.
Make sure that you pick a hat for your little on that covers their neck as well as their face.
Towels and Large blanket or fitted sheet
In addition to a towel for yourself, you should pack a towel for your baby as well as a blanket or a fitted sheet. With a fitted sheet you’re able to put items in each corner so that they become walls.
Beach Chair for Mom and Dad
Let’s face it, Mom and/or Dad is definitely going to spend some time holding onto baby at the beach. Whether your kiddo sleeps in your arms, just wants to snuggle, or wants to play on your lap, having a comfortable beach chair for yourself is as important as having items exclusively for your baby.
Snacks and Water
If your baby isn’t eating solids yet, or drinking water, then these beach essentials are more for mom instead of your baby. Especially if you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need to continue to eat and hydrate in order to keep your milk supply up in order to keep your baby hydrated.
If your baby takes a bottle, whether you breastfeed or not, its usually a good idea to pack an extra bottle or two for your baby. Remember, its easy for babies to get dehydrated, so you’ll want to be prepared with more milk than you would normally provide your baby if you plan to spend much time at the beach.
You really don’t need a lot in terms of toys for your baby when you’re gathering your beach essentials for your baby. The beach is interesting on its own for most babies, but consider bringing a bucket and shovel at least. And if you have the space for it, blow-up pools are great additions that keep your baby cool without you needing to protect them from unexpected waves.
A good fan is definitely a necessity for all of our family beach trips. You’ll want on like this, which has enough power to circulate enough air (which is especially helpful if you hang it from your tent or play yard during baby’s nap), but also doesn’t have large gaps that your baby can easily put their fingers into.
In addition to a good fan, having a spray bottle and cool water are also helpful when you need to keep your baby’s temperature regulated.
Before having a baby you could get away with a smaller beach bag, but once you’re considering all of the beach essentials you need for your baby suddenly a much larger bag becomes necessary. A large mesh bag is great for packing a lot of what you need, and letting a lot of the excess sand spill out rather than coming home with you.
Depending on the number of beach trips you plan on taking your baby on, it may be worth investing in a beach wagon. It will make carrying all of your beach essentials a lot easier and, especially as your babies become toddlers, it will be helpful to carry the kids when they refuse to walk.
Swim diapers (and spare wipes)
You can either use disposable swim diapers or purchase reusable swim diapers, but either option is preferred over leaving your baby in their every-day diapers. Their regular diapers will expand, becoming bulky, whereas swim diapers will not. And don’t forget your baby wipes!
Bag for swim diapers
If you choose to use reusable swim diapers, a wet/dry bag will be helpful when you need to change your baby. A wet/dry bag has a compartment for spare dry diapers as well as a separate compartment for the dirty diaper. If you don’t use reusable swim diapers, then you’ll want to make sure you bring plastic bags for those dirty diapers!
Sunglasses are helpful items to have for your baby when you bring him to the beach, but let’s face it, your baby might be unwilling to wear them. If you’re going to try to get your baby to wear sunglasses during their trip to the beach then I’d suggest getting a pair that comes with a strap so that they don’t fall off on their own.
If your baby is walking, then you may want to consider brining a pair of swim shoes instead of sandals for your kiddo. The sand is hot and swim shoes will offer them better protection than other footwear.
Floaties are important to consider as well, particularly if you’re will be going near the ocean (even under your supervision).