I live in the Southern hemisphere. Right at the bottom of the world… So it is a funny time for me to be writing about summery things… as we are heading into winter!
Our summer is is pretty normal by most standards… though we also have Christmas in summer which means beach days and BBQs! But, it does mean our winter gets pretty long without an exciting holiday to liven things up… perhaps this is why Christmas in July is so popular here?
No matter if you’re heading in to summer or you’re one of those lucky people who live in a place where it never really gets that cold (I really envy you!), a beach day is probably going to be on your cards very soon.
And that means you might be planning for baby’s first beach day! Super fun!!!
Planning is so important for those “firsts” in baby’s life.
Especially, since I’m sure you’ve realised since having your baby that you need a lot of extra things when you go ANYWHERE.
And the beach is going to be doubly so.
What do you pack?!?
And more importantly, how will you persuade someone to carry it all while you carry the baby?!?!
Be calm, my friend. We are here to help.
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Beach Essentials For Baby – What to Pack
This is in addition to what you would normally pack in your diaper bag. So, I won’t list the usual essentials of food/drink, a change of clothing, wipes, diapers/nappies and the toys your child likes to hold or suck on!
Here are the must haves you need for the beach:
Baby Swimming Costume
First off is what to dress baby in. I suggest something easy to change but suitable for water and with full coverage to keep sun off baby’s still very new skin.
- something with long sleeves AND legs – covering up rather than using sunscreen is advised for all children under 6 months. But it also shields baby from wind, sun and sand… and if the water is a bit cold!
- the highest possible UPF rated fabric – UPF stands for the ultraviolet protection factor – or how much they can protect from the sun. The UPF rating tells you how much sun can get through the fabric to your skin. So a UPF rating of 50 means 1/50th of the sun’s rays will hit the skin of your baby… giving baby some good protection from the sun.
- something that fits your baby (well enough) – many swim suits are made for slightly older babies and toddlers, so it’s a little tricky to find something for younger than 6 months but we did manage to find a few!
Not only did they think of a side zip for diaper changing but they also put a pocket to stop the main zip irritating baby’s skin. I like that thinking! Check it out here.
I love these bright colours!
A sunhat is vital. There are so many options I’ll only give you a few of the ones that you can use as a starting point in your search for the right one for your baby.
It depends on your style of course, but you definitely need one with chin straps so it doesn’t fly off.
This one has good ties and is white so can be unisex. A factor for me with a boy and then a girl who I wanted to hand things down to!
This one can adjust to grow with your child. That’s awesome so you don’t have to keep researching and buying the best hat all the time (baby’s heads grow sooo fast!!!)
Sunglasses for babies?! Surely not!
If you thought baby sunglasses were just moms and dads expressing their awesome fashion sense… think again!
The research says baby’s eyes are not fully developed so they need protection from the sun more than adults. So rock those sunnies together!
I do suggest a strap version so they stay in place and also don’t get pulled off!
A Beach Umbrella / Pop-Up Shelter
It always depends on where you are going as to what you really need. The beach you are heading to may have places for shelter. But most I know don’t. Especially when our kids were not moving around much we took something to provide shelter to play in the sand while they got used to the experience of being in a new environment.
This shelter has UV protection in it as well as keeping the sun off. The easy pop part sounds wonderful to me!
Or this one! If you are a family who like outings this one is a good buy.
And this one allows you to take baby to the beach, and then bring the beach to baby! You can fill a shallow section with water to make a safe pool for baby to be out of the sun but still at the beach. And then you can use it at home on hot days… sounds good to me!
Reading about sunscreen and moisturizers recently made me feel a little bit unwell with all the things that are put into them. I prefer to play it safe around unknown chemicals – even if those chemicals are FDA approved!
I’ve written quite a detailed guide to sunscreen for babies in my post on baby sun protection, hop on over and check it out!
Basically, you want to choose a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient. Those are minerals that block the sun well with a physical barrier and have been proven to be safe for skin.
Avoid oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate since these create a chemical barrier and are not the best for sensitive skin.
Here are a couple of my favorite options if you just want to grab one now:
- Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Mineral Sunscreen Stick with Broad Spectrum SPF 60
- Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen Lotion For Sensitive Skin With Broad Spectrum SPF 50
- Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen – Baby Sunscreen SPF 30+ Broad Spectrum
But, sunscreen is actually NOT considered safe to use until babies are over 6 months old. So make sure you stay covered and shaded!
Toys! Hooray! Surely a trip to the beach is not complete without something to play in the sand?!?
I love this set! It could actually be good for all ages, not just baby, if you have a big family day planned.
Stacking cups are awesome and these ones are perfect for the beach or at home.
This set will last you for a good few years!
And this toy’ll be a favorite when baby starts to get into pouring things!
You gotta have something to carry all this stuff in, right? Here are some perfect beach bags for you to try:
A mesh bag so that you don’t store lots of sand? Yes please.
But then this one has an insulated cooler section as well…
And this one has a fold up mat with it too! So there really is a bag for everyone, it just depends on what you are looking for.
Including your phone. Like this
Just in case you need to take photos when baby has the first step into the ocean. Or the first time of being held in it! But… you also want to be sure you don’t have to buy a new phone afterwards!
Something that’s got on my radar recently as an awesome addition to any parent’s beach kit is this:
The Beach Wagon
The worst thing about going to the beach with kids is the sheer volume of stuff you need to cart back and forth from the car – with a beach wagon, you can do one trip and still have an arm spare to hold the baby (though a baby carrier might be a prudent choice!)
The beach wagon folds down so it’s quite compact and easy to fit in your boot. It does tend to get a bit sandy (so make sure you give it a quick shake it before putting it back in the car).
Water Baby Carrier
I remember my first trip to the beach with my baby… I was so paranoid I’d accidentally drop him in the water!
I wish I’d had a mesh baby carrier to have that little bit of extra peace of mind!
These are great for using IN the water and also for getting baby beach side while still leaving your hands free to carry… I mean, pull your beach wagon!
Baby Float Toys
If you’re planning to take baby into the water for a brief dip – you might want to grab a baby float toy.
- Inflatable Baby Swimming Float Ring
- Infant Soft Solid Non-Inflatable Float Lying Swimming Ring
- Botrong Baby Swimming Ring
Or, if you’re more the boating kind, you can grab a life jacket for your baby.
Enjoying Baby’s First Day at the Beach
I can’t leave you without the one tip I was given that has been the best advice ever: keep expectations low!
Getting there may be all you do the first time around.
- Don’t expect to spend a long time sunbathing… you may get to, or you may not.
- Don’t expect your baby to love it… they might. But they might hear a seagull shriek at them thinking it’s going to get food, and get freaked out…!
- Don’t think you will be building sandcastles together… you may. Or they may decide they don’t like the sand!! Or they might decide they really like the sand… and eat it!!!
And remember that even if everything is going really well, being at the beach is actually tiring! So they may get grumpy on the way home.
Yeah, this is normal stuff for most outings with a little one, but it’s something I forgot the first time we went to the beach and it actually worked (after several failed attempts!).
But I hope these tips help you to make baby’s first day at the beach one to remember fondly!