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10 Tips for a Fun and Safe Beach Trip with Baby

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A beach day or week is a beautiful thing. And it's now altered by your little one's presence, which you will track like a hawk, making sure she does't get burned, eat a gallon of sand, or crawl off to play with dolphins. But the beach can still be a blast—not an "hours of reading US Weekly and dozing off" type of blast, but still, fun. Maybe even more fun than ever. Here's how to enjoy it all and be safe on the beach with baby.

1. Be Flexible

Babygirl and babyboy kissing on the beach

First of all, adjust your expectations of the phrase "beach day." It might be "beach hour" or "beach five minutes" or "beach you are never allowed to leave." Whatever it is, know that you probably will be baby-chasing or baby-rocking or baby-feeding more than you will be diving into the new Jennifer Weiner novel. And that's OK. Accepting this will help.

2. Dig a Shallow Pit

mom digging sand at beach

Uh-huh, it sounds nutty, but some moms swear this is the way to go—dig a circular "pit" about eight inches deep and a few feet wide, toss a giant sheet over it and voila—instant playpen. That's not to say you can leave baby there while you get a bomb pop, but it will buy you some moments in which he is not actively trying to eat sand or beeline for the sea.

3. Bring Lots of Sunscreen

Mother putting sun screen on baby

If your baby is older than six months, go heavy on the sunscreen. Make sure it's safe for baby. The Skin Deep database has some great info—Think for baby and Blue Lizard for baby rank well there. Apply 15 minutes before, and reapply after baby goes into water, and often in between. If baby is younger than six months, skip the sunscreen and just keep her out of the sun—think tent, hat, and full-body baby rash guard.

4. Grab a Really Big Blanket

a beach blanket on the sand

You'll want to have room to sprawl out as a family, and a nice giant blanket (like this one at Amazon) will do the trick.

5. Bring Some Gear

Colorful baby sand toys on the beach

Moms love the following for getting through a baby beach day happy:

A sunhat with a wide brim for baby

A beach tent. Baby can even nap in here if you keep it well-ventilated and cool.

Watershoes. If baby is walking either with or without you, shoes can help protect those tender toes.<br> -

Swim diapers. You can go the disposable route or try these popular Bummies.  

A swimsuit that's a full-body SPF-heavy rash guard—more coverage = less sunscreen.

A baby carrier. Wearing your baby for beach strolls is one of parenting's finer pleasures.

Sand toys. If baby is playing with toys, get baby-sized stacking pails—we like these from Melissa & Doug.

6. Go at Off-Hours

mom and baby at the beach at dusk

If you get to the beach before 10am or after 2pm you'll be skipping the day's most powerful rays. Bonus: You may get the beach to yourselves.

7. Take Photos (with a Waterproof Camera/Case)

a little boy sitting on the beach

You'll want to document this trip, especially if it's baby's first beach visit. Just make sure your camera is waterproof, or if you're using your phone, that it has a rock-solid waterproof cover like the Lifeproof case.

8. Pack Snacks

Healthy sandwich on the beach

If baby is drinking straight from the breast, a light sarong will do as a cover-up if you want one. If baby is hitting the bottle, place supplies in a cooler. If baby has started solids, bring enough puree or finger-foods. Also, if baby's older than six months, bring that sippy cup—you'll want him to stay extra-hydrated. And remember, a fed and hydrated mama is a happy one—pack snacks and water for yourself too!

9. Dress Bright

Little baby boy on tropical beach

If your babe is mobile enough to scramble out of your line of vision, even for a second, consider neon your new best friend. Dress your baby loud and you'll be able to spot her no matter how crowded the beach.

10. Keep an Eye Out/Relax

Human feet buried in sand.

We know, contradictory! But you'll want to make sure your baby doesn't eat too much sand. (Turns out it creates sandy poo, which leads to diaper rash. But as far as we can tell, as long as baby eats a few grains and not fistfuls, and the sand isn't contaminated, which it usually isn't, all will be well.) Also, fully supervise baby in and near the water. That said, it's the beach! Smell the salty air, be soothed by the blue sea, feel the sun on your skin and enjoy—and enjoy watching your baby discover a world of sights, sounds, and textures.

 
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