Are you planning a beach vacation with your baby and wondering what to pack? I felt overwhelmed the first time we traveled to the ocean with our little guy. I remember driving home after that vacation and wondering why I was nervous. More than likely if you forget something, you can just pop in a store and buy it at your destination. Now I am planning our vacation for our fourth baby’s first trip to the beach, and I’m excited to share my list in the hope that it makes your beach prep a little easier.
Typically it is not recommended that babies under six months of age wear sunscreen. Don’t panic, because there are some good options to keep baby covered and protected from the sun. But, it is always a good idea to talk to your pediatrician and see what they recommend for your baby.
Again, use caution and check to see if baby is old enough to use bug spray. There are some great natural options available.
Aloe/ Coconut Oil
We always put moisturizer on baby after baths while we are on vacation. The sun, sand, and water can irritate baby’s skin.
Baby’s scalp can burn easily. A sun hat can help protect baby’s head, neck, and face. This is one of the really good options for babies that are not able to use sunscreen yet. Look for a hat with UPF (ultraviolet protection factor).
Long Sleeve Rash Guard
Again, if baby is too young for sunscreen, this is a great way to protect his or her skin. We love the long sleeve rash guards for all our kiddos when we go to the beach because of the long hours we spend in the sun. Extra protection allows us to stay out longer.
Reusable Swim Diapers
Reusable diapers are a great way to save money. You can have two or three and use them all summer rather than having to spend money every time you finish a pack of disposables. These can easily be washed and rung out to use again.
*Note that swim diapers (cloth or disposable) are not meant to hold pee! Layer a regular diaper over the swim diaper for in the car seat or stroller to avoid a pee mess.
Disposable Swim Diapers
It’s totally fine if reusable diapers aren’t your thing! Take a pack or two of disposable swim diapers with you. If you are a first-time mom wondering why you can’t just use regular diapers, let me fill you in! The absorbency of real diapers will attempt to suck up all the water in the pool, lake, or ocean, and your little one will be dragging a giant load on their bum. I learned this from experience (insert hand to the face emoji).
Wipes are needed for diaper changes, but they will come in handy for other beach messes as well.
Diaper Rash Cream
Being wet more often than usual can contribute to diaper rash. Eating sand and having sandy poops can irritate sensitive bottoms. No worries, just use diaper rash cream and allow baby to air dry when possible.
A hooded beach towel is good, but if you can find the hooded beach towels that drape over the front and back, that is best! I can’t tell you how many times I have had one hundred things in my arms as I make the journey from the water back to the condo or hotel and I have had to also fight to keep my baby’s towel on. No Thank You! I learned a few years ago to buy the kind that drapes and actually stay on so that I can focus on one less thing.
Water Socks or Water Shoes
If baby is starting to walk, water socks or shoes can help baby be more comfortable. The sand can be hot. The water can be cold. Seashells can be sharp. Plants can be pokey. Bugs can be scary. You know the drill. We are just trying to avoid meltdowns.
Waterproof Wet Bags
There are usually some things I don’t want to get wet and sandy like my cell phone, wallet, and keys. I keep those things in a wet bag to keep them safe. I also have an extra wet bag for diapers and wet things that I don’t want soaking other things in the stroller or wagon.
Over-sized Beach Towel or Blanket
If baby is crawling, they probably won’t stay on the blanket, but I always like to have a home base to come back to. Let me give this bit of advice while I’m on this topic. Have fun with your baby! Get messy and dirty. The sand will wash off I promise!
Decide what activities you will be doing and pick good options for in the water. When we are on a boat we always choose a life jacket to make sure baby is as safe as possible. For lounging at the pool we use a float seat. As baby wants to explore and do a little swimming we like the puddle jumpers.
We always travel with baby carriers because we babywear often. Choose a carrier with good support for walks on the beach or activities you will be doing. Find a good mesh carrier if you want to wear baby in the water.
KidCo Go-Pod Activity Seat
If your baby is already sitting up, I love this seat! Baby will like having a place to hang out, play with toys, and have snacks during a day at the beach. It folds really compact, so it is easy to travel with. The material is wipeable and easy to clean. To save on space in the car, we use this as our highchair while on vacation. Anything with multiple uses is great for saving space while traveling.
Infant Travel Bed (KidCo PeaPod or Joovy Gloo)
If baby isn’t sitting up yet, an infant travel bed makes a great space for baby to hang out at the beach. And it obviously makes a great spot for naps!
Bring some age-appropriate toys. Make sure they are alright to get wet and can easily be cleaned.
I like to take the stroller out to the beach not only to push baby but to help tote all of our things. Use carabiners to hook bags to the handle bar to fit more on the stroller. The stroller makes a great place for baby to nap if you don’t bring an infant travel bed.
If you are breastfeeding, make sure to take plenty of water for yourself to stay hydrated. If you need a coverup, bring that too. Muslin blankets are breathable and a good option in hot weather. If baby takes a bottle, bring a cooler for breast milk, or water already in the bottles for formula. A portioned container for formula can make it a little easier.
Bring whatever snacks your little one likes. Keep in mind that foods that melt easily are not a great idea unless you bring a cooler. Don’t forget a spoon if you are feeding baby purees.
Sand can be difficult to get off. Baby powder helps dry the skin to allow the sand to fall off easier. The Powder Pouch Sand Remover is great to throw in the beach bag or keep by the door to wipe off sand as you enter.
Patience and an Open Mind!
It is important to remember that with baby, plans won’t always go exactly how you expect, but that is ok! Be flexible and move on with a new plan. Vacation will be different with a baby, but there are lots of fun things to enjoy!
Have a wonderful vacation and make lots of beautiful memories!