Beach Babe

A fan suggested that I do a roundup of gear that makes taking a baby to the beach more manageable.  I obviously loved the idea because here I am…doing just that.  Thank you dear friends for being my brain when I have none.

Back in the beginning of July we went to Orange beach (still haven’t blogged about it…oops!),

 

and recently we just got back from Destin…

 

so I feel like we have a pretty good handle on exactly what we need to make it successful-ish with our eight month old.  And it should be known that if there was an item on Amazon that was liquid patience….it would be numero uno on the list.  You will need TONS of patience.

But since that is a little harder to buy, let’s get to the items that you can purchase to keep your hot tot made in the shade…

Beach Bag –  We have an oversized Lands End bag that is AMAZING for beach gear.  In fact, it works so well that now it is our official beach bag and we use it year round to store the beach toys.  The best thing is that the inside is big enough to tote all the toys, snacks and towels.

Canopy –  Jer’s folks gave us a canopy last year (not this exact version but similar) and it is perfect for keeping your kids out of the sun.  It’s nice for a big group to take breaks under plus Weston spent 99% of the time under the shade of the canopy.  Not all beaches allow canopies so definitely check with your location.

Oversized Beach Towels – A few years ago we decided to buy a couple of these beach-towels-for-two from Bed Bath and Beyond.  We didn’t know at the time that they would be a great investment when it comes to kids.  Most towels get completely buried in sand in three-point-seven milliseconds.  But these?  They are big enough to spread out and keep the center relatively sand free…which is really nice when you are trying to get an infant to sleep.

Beach Toys – For Weston there was nothing that kept him happy like a bucket full of saltwater.  He would play with a small handled shovel for a few minutes but then back to the bucket.  By the end of the week, there was constantly a designated rinse bucket and a dedicated Weston bucket.

Sunscreen Stick –  I don’t know about anyone else but sunscreen is only gonna go on my kids faces if I use the stick.  Every other thing makes them cry.  I don’t even need to actually start applying it before the tears arrive.  But the stick is a different story.  It’s a must have.

Spray Sunscreen –  After the initial sunscreen application (we typically use the stick on the face and spray or lotion on the body), there is this challenge of keeping their little skin protected.  We have found that the Coppertone Kids Spray is our current favorite.  You have to make sure you get the mist…not the spray lotion…and that it is in good condition (if it gets dropped hard enough on the nozzle, it can clump the spray)…but it’s easy enough to reapply because the kids don’t even need to stop their sand-castle-building-challenge for you to spray them down.

Hat –  This is obvious.  Sometimes you can find ones that have a strap under the chin…but we have found that we like linen and cotton ones without straps because they are fast to rinse and dry.  My tip for training them to keep it on?  Stay close enough to put a palm on the crown of head every time they go to yank it off.  After five minutes, they give up.  And you win :)

Swim Diapers –  We like the Little Swimmers diapers but we also dig the reusable swim diapers made for babies (like this version that Jessica Alba sewed with her own two hands).  I bring an extra diaper just in case my little guy decides to make waves.

Swim Shirt –  We love putting our boys in swim shirts for extra sun coverage.  We learned that Weston slept best when we completely stripped him down for a nap, so making sure that the clothes were easy on and easy off was helpful.

Take & Toss Cups –  Weston is just now getting the hang of sippy cups.  He has taken two bottles in his life so he needed a little practice but eventually he sucks out of these just fine.  I like the price (it’s usually a few bucks for a set of four) and that they now make versions with spout lids and even handles for locking the top on.

HappyTot food –  Weston is obsessed with these baby food packs.  Most of them are of an applesauce consistency if you are new to the baby-food-world.  These are easy because they don’t require refrigeration, can be resealed and are easy for a baby to suck the food right out (no spoon!  no bib!  no mess!).  I like it because they have versions with great organic foods like spinach and kale and green beans.  Their convenience is priceless.

Fruit Cups –  My little guy is doing great with our modified version of baby led weaning and these sealed cups help him get fresh fruits in while he’s having fun in the sun.  The great thing is that adults like them too :)

Baby Powder –  My favorite clean up tool is baby powder.  I just pour a bunch in my hand and start wiping the kids arms, legs, and body down.  It makes sand fall right off.  And the kid smells pretty fantastic too.

Fan – This mist fan is awesome for cooling off babies.  That’s the point, right?  But it’s also nice because when you are rocking a child to sleep under a canopy and all you want to do is jump in the water, you can be self-air-conditioning and stay cool.  Remember that little things that make you more comfortable help the kiddo relax too :)

In the end, we learned that getting Weston to sleep was key in our beach survival.  The first day took three hours of rocking/nursing/soothing to get him down.  The next day was five minutes.  After he learned that the beach was a fine place to nap, he settled into his ‘towel nest’ with his comfort items (his lovie and paci) and we had a much more fun and relaxing day.  Of course, every baby and family is different but for us, we thought of the entire process as an investment.  I am sure that if he didn’t improve going down the second day, we would have no problem scheduling our day or changing his naptimes so that we could do it inside.

In the end, we loved our little beach babe and appreciated that we could spend the entire time together as a family soaking up that salty air and listening to the rhythm of the waves and the shrieks of joy from our boys.  Do you have any thing that is a must-have for beach fun?!  Or something that makes the beach more bearable?

 

Comments

    • says

      I started doing a little more strength training (only about twice a week) but I feel like it helps me firm up some of that jiggly bits. I still have a lot of mass though :)
      xo – kb

  1. Lindsey says

    All great ideas, just wanted to point out that, if you are going to use baby powder all over like that, make sure it’s cornstarch and not talc based. Pediatricians recommend not using talc powder at all anymore because of the risk of inhalation and lung ailments. Just wanted to throw that in there. Glad you had fun at the beach!

  2. candy says

    Great list! We also take their wagon so that we can load our things and the babies in it and all we have to do it pull them along!

  3. candy says

    Great list! We also take the kids wagon so we can load our things and the babies in it and then all we have to do is just pull them along.

  4. Carrie says

    Great tips! Wish I would have come across the Baby Powder one before our beach trip this summer. We took our 7month old (along w a 7 & 5 yr olds), to the beach and shade is a definite necessity. We also lugged a baby pool, which was perfect for her to sit in and splash without waves and minimal sand. Also, we ended up purchasing a small inflatable boat ($5 at WalMart) that was perfect as a makeshift bed for nap time on the beach.

    • says

      We always bought an inflatable baby pool at the dollar store and took it to the beach when they were little too – it was a life saver to be able to put the little ones in the shade and play with the sand and water.

  5. Lindsey says

    We love to bring a small inflatable baby pool. We fill it just a little with water and place it under the umbrella or canopy and my babies would sit and splash for the longest time. A little bulky to carry back and forth from the beach but worth it in our opinion. I’m going to have to look into the oversized towel for our trip in October.

    • Scarlett says

      I like that idea! One of my friends did something similar, but with a shower curtain. They dug a hole in the sand and put the plastic shower curtain over it and filled the hole with water. Enjoy your trip. October and April are my favorite beach months.

  6. Audra says

    Thanks for posting this! I really love the canopy as opposed to umbrellas that blow over in those beachy winds.
    An Atlanta girl myself, I found myself in Jacksonville on a business trip during a tropical storm a few months ago. The day after the storm I drove to the beach (strong winds, filthy water from being churned, 8 foot waves…) with my tween and then 6 month old. We just wanted to walk & collect shells. I wore the baby in the carrier. Only my feet touched the sand, yet when I sat down to nurse, I found sand in the carrier, in my bra…I realized nursing at the beach was nI picnic. I dont know how you did it. You’re a trooper for 2 beach trips with a baby.
    Thanks for sharing the deets of the Destin trip with YHL…I totally can’t wait to try paddleboarding.

  7. says

    Iplay makes fantastic beach/outdoor gear in my opinion! (Just one of many I’m sure people will have!) my favorite sunscreen is Soleo and it is organic! And it works and you aren’t pasty white (bc most natural sunscreens stay on tip of the skin, therefore leaving a white film…I’m white enough, thanks!) My big kid is 6 so we are bringing a lot more “gear” to the beach. Hopefully someone will leave their opinion on the best wagon/big wheeled cart to use!!

  8. Scarlett says

    We have been at our beach house (and by our, I mean my parents’) more this summer than our real house. Yay for marrying a teacher! I agree with everything you posted. Our son is 16 months old and my nephew is 10 months. My SIL and I went to the beach during nap time. They slept 2.5 or 3 hours. We played when they woke up and then went to the pool. My piece of advice is don’t go over board with the toys. One bucket and shovel per child is all we needed.

    • says

      Well, I got an email from a girl that said she was a huge fan of the blog…so I assume she reads it but you know what happens when you assume :) She asked for this info.
      xo – kb

        • Stacy says

          I can’t understand why people do this. Did their mama’s not teach them if they have nothing nice to say then they should say nothing. Plus, what a huge waste of time to go hatin’ on someone’s blog.

  9. Nelle says

    Brilliant tip about the baby powder! Didn’t know that one! Thanks! I’m in Australia so we are still in winter but so looking forward to our beach days starting again!

  10. Melissa says

    Hey Katie!

    In regards to the canopy, do you guys take several trips back and forth to bring things to the car? We have always tried to avoid multiple trips, but I must say, that canopy is fabulous and will help us stay longer as well.

    XO Melissa

    • says

      We usually try to do everything in one trip. We have a rolling cooler that we pack down with everything and then it saves us the extra trips.
      xo – kb

  11. LauraCinIndy says

    I’m really getting tired of reading all the snarky comments on this and over on YHL from alleged fans of the blogs. If you have to nitpick every little word please take it somewhere else.
    Your negative energy is really bringing it down. I personally enjoy the blogs and the happy energy on them. And I am a BIG FAN.. thanks for all the info you post Katie.

    • Nelle says

      Well said!!! They’re always seems to be a snarky comment these days… Don’t like it, don’t read. Haven’t you all been told, don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

  12. Will says

    My sisters son also enjoyed eating the sand when he was Weston’s age. She used to bring his bath tub and fill it with water so he could sit in it and play. Made a huge difference when he was that young.

  13. says

    We live with our BOB Ironman at the beach (aka the reservoir). It holds everything and more, and it moves very smoothly along rocks, hills, sand, etc.

    We use a cloth diaper for a swim diaper (bumGenius 4.0 without the liner), and we always have a few changes of clothes.

    Cloth wipes are huge help, too- for putting snacks on, general de-sanding, playing peek-a-boo, etc. (We don’t think much about them as they live in our stroller.)

  14. Melanie says

    I don’t have kids but I agree with you 10000% on the baby powder! I recently discovered the magic it does on sandy hands and feet from Pinterest. It is definitely a beach bag must!!

    I don’t know how it works but it is so helpful on the beach, especially if you bring snacks and food in a cooler :)

  15. says

    Love this post, I am totally getting myself (and my 2 besties) that beach bag! We just spent the day at the beach yesterday and while the kidlets had a blast (once my youngest adjusted) it would have been nice to have a bag big enough to pack everything. I also learned that a cooler is essential for survival if you are spending all day. This one here looks awesome

    http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/63759?feat=cooler-SR0&page=softpack-cooler-family

    we don’t have that one but as I learned yesterday a hardtop cooler is a lot of work when you are beachin’ it up with 2 young ones. I think having a cooler that you can carry on your shoulder would be helpful for sure.

  16. says

    I can’t believe how amazing that sand is! While we won’t be going to the beach until next year, I love the tips – especially the baby powder – genius! Aren’t the Honest Company swim diapers the best? Our kiddo has worn his a few times to the lake, and they’re great!

  17. Lisa says

    Thank you so much for this post! My little one is only a week behind Weston and I can’t wait to finally find a day to take her to the beach. I really appreciate you keeping it real and letting us know that it took 3 hours to get him to nap the first day. Sometimes blogs sugar coat their adventure with kids and I always appreciated your honesty with the good, bad and ugly moments. It helps!

  18. Gena says

    We are on the beach right now with 3 kids. My youngest is 7 months old. Bought the Go Pod by Kid Co. It’s a portable exersaucer type gadget that folds up into a bag and has loops to attach beach friendly toys. This is a must have to keep your crawler off the sand when you need to be hands free. A+++ rating by me! Wish they made it when my older kids were babies.

  19. Leslie says

    Great ideas! I have a 7 month old and am 17 weeks pregnant. A fun surprise for us! Ha, more like shock! So, we have that in common. Your mention of nursing W to sleep sparked my curiosity about your supply. I have experience a huge drop in supply and have a very fussy baby. I’ve had to supplement with formula. Do you have any tips on successfully nursing while pregnant? Kelly Mom and LLL articles I’ve searched reference nursing Mom’s with much older babies. Now that we’ve introduced solids and formula my supply is even lower:-( I totally understand if this is too personal but I just can’t find much info on the internets.

    • says

      So far, so good. I just try to eat loads of healthy food (like greek yogurt with granola, extra egg for breakfast and lots of fresh fruit and veggies) and so far I haven’t had much trouble. I’m down to three to four sessions a day which is what Will did at this age so I feel confident we will ween close to a year again. Weston loves him some solids :)
      xo – kb

  20. says

    We have an old double bed flat sheet that we take with us to lay out which is nice because it is big and also folds up really small in the beach bag and keeps our towels sand free. A clump of sand in the four corners will hold it down :) Great tips!

  21. Nikki says

    @Amelia we use a flat sheet, too. King sized! The sand shakes out and your towels stay sand free until you are ready to dry off.

    We use the kids bucket: fill er up, carry to the walkway/sidewalk/boardwalk to dip your feet into before you put on your shoes.

    ps- haters going to hate. #haterade

    nik

    • says

      I read that too after Fox News reported the story but at the end of the day, our dermatologist said it was better to use any sunscreen if it means that the kids will avoid burns than to only choose a certain type that might be impossible to apply or wash off in seconds. I can’t wait for the day that they come out with a good product in a spray!!
      xo- kb

  22. RBC says

    Just got back from a week in Mexico with our 5 month old (left the toddler in the land-locked province we call home….{with the grandparents}) and we took this little tent with us for her: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/2013-Kidco-PeaPod-Portable-Infant-Child-Travel-Bed-Tent-Sunshine-w-Carry-Case-/350845952036?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item51b00c6024&_uhb=1
    It was really great and shockingly, she slept great in it! It zips closed, so I imagine it’d be nice for camping too or anywhere there might be lots of bugs. The canopy would be great shade for everyone! And I have to add that I agree with you about the sunscreen – it’s way better to not get burned. Well and we use it so little since summer lasts about 5 weeks here, I don’t really care {and my husband is a doctor}.
    I also can not believe that people go through the trouble of leaving negative/nasty comments. I can hardly muster leaving a positive comment (usually because I am reading while holding/nursing a baby and only have one free hand) so it’s hard to comprehend why people leave negative ones. Get a life! If you don’t like the blog, don’t read it! I, for one, enjoy it and read it daily. And having kids a few months younger than yours (both of them…though hopefully I’m not pregnant lol) I like the kid-related posts. Keep it up! xo

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