Beach days can seem overwhelming with a baby. No longer can you lay carelessly snoozing in the sun enjoying the fresh sea breeze. Although you won’t be able to relax nearly as much as you used to, going to the beach with a baby can be even more fun!
Babies benefit a lot from being at the beach. They’re able to explore all these new, interesting textures and sounds as they play with sand, water, seaweed, shells, and rocks. Being at the beach can even help your child develop a long-term appreciation with nature. Plus, salt water is great for reducing skin irritation! Here are some tips to help make your family beach day easy and enjoyable.
1. Create the Perfect Swim Outfit
A good swim outfit for your child will protect them from the sun and keep them comfortable. Get a swim shirt with a minimum SFP of 50 so you don’t have to worry about applying sunscreen all over them. Also, a properly-fitting sunhat will shield your baby’s sensitive face from the sun. If your baby tries to pull their hats off, find one that includes a chin strap. Water shoes can be a useful addition to any child’s swim outfit since these protect tender feet from hot sand, broken shells, and sharp rocks.
Importantly, get some nappies designed for swimming instead of using your regular cloth nappies. Cloth nappies will absorb water from the ocean and become fully saturated which can cause your baby’s waste to escape. Nobody wants to deal with nappy leaks at the beach! Luckily, there are plenty of cloth swim nappies to choose from. We love these adorable, printed swim nappies available in the Little Piglet store.
2. Set Up Good Shade Coverage
Baby's skin is very sensitive and can burn easily, so you need to provide sufficient protection at the beach. If your baby is younger than 6 months, keep them out of the sun completely. If your baby is older, you can let them play in the sun. Just make sure they’re well-covered with protective clothing, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
Babies aren’t as good at regulating body temperature as adults are, so set up a shady place where they can stay cool at the beach. Sunshade tents work well, but umbrellas or other forms of pop-up shelter can also be used. Even if the sun isn’t that hot, you should still use a shade shelter to protect your child from UV rays. Just make sure your baby isn’t getting too cold in the shade if it’s a cooler day.
3. Use Quality Sunscreen
When you go to the beach, avoid using your own sunscreen on your baby. Spray-on lotions and powders can be harmful to babies, as well as those that contain oxybenzone or vitamin A. Instead, look for baby-friendly sunscreens that use zinc or titanium. These sunscreens provide high UVA/UVB protection without the use of harmful chemicals. You can also get a sunscreen stick for face applications, so you can avoid getting it in your baby’s eyes and mouth. Remember to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours!
4. Bring Some Toys
Yes, the beach is a place that is already full of entertainment for a young child. But, if you don’t want to spend all your time running after them as they chase waves and interesting beach objects, pack some beach toys along. This will encourage them to play in the sand next to you as you sit and relax in the sun. Provide endless fun with some of these simple beach toys:
- Sand moulds
- Watering can
- Beach balls
- Plastic blocks
Place all your beach toys in a mesh drawstring bag so you don’t have to worry about sand getting all over your other things. Just place wet and sandy toys in the bag at the end of the day, and the sand will fall out of the bag as it dries.
5. Be Prepared with Food and Drinks
A shade tent is a perfect place to breastfeed your baby at the beach. If you’re formula feeding, and your baby prefers warm milk, bring freshly boiled water in a thermos and make your formula on the spot. If your kid is on solids, be prepared with plenty of snacks, food, and drinks for hungry and thirsty children. Bring a large beach blanket so you can keep sand out of your picnic. Hand your child one items of food at a time, so they don’t set things down in the sand.
6. Don’t Forget Your Baby’s Nap Time
It may be difficult to get your baby to nap at the beach, but you don’t want to face a grumpy child later on! Bring along your carrier if your baby can’t sleep on a blanket or towel in your shade tent. Don’t try pushing a stroller through the sand unless you like a challenge. If your baby really won’t sleep at the beach, plan your trip around their nap times instead.
7. Bring a Wet Bag for Damp Towels and Swimsuits
You're going to have plenty of wet towels and swimsuits to bring back home with you. Instead of bundling them up into your bag of beach supplies and getting everything wet and sandy, pop them in their own wet bag. You can pack a second wet bag with clean swim nappies, towels, picnic blankets, and any other bulky items that you need to tote around.
Don’t let your baby keep you from enjoying a wonderful day at the beach. You child will enrich your beach day with their pure excitement and wonder as they discover and explore a whole new environment. Just make sure you come prepared with everything you need to keep your baby safe and comfortable.