There’s a book I’m sure everyone knows, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”, where the mouse’s list grows and grows. When it comes to the babies, it’s easy to get carried away with all the baby gear, baby products, baby things. What you THINK you need ends up snowballing until it’s such a daunting list that you decide to forgo the baby and skip the beach vacation completely.
Well I’m here to tell you: YOU DON’T NEED IT ALL. I have 5 kids and we head to the shore at least once a year, sometimes two (if I can bribe my husband). In fact, we just returned from the Outer Banks of NC with our 11 month old (And 4 other kids. Don’t worry, we didn’t leave them behind. They’re just old enough to carry their own beach chairs.).
I’m a minimlist when it comes to taking littles to the beach. You really don’t need that much to have fun. Here’s a list of 10 items I suggest taking (anything else you insist on hauling down to the sand is on you and I’ll say, “I told you so” later):
- Really good sunscreen that’s clean and efficient
I’m a Beautycounter snob and almost exclusively use this brand for all my hygiene needs. They also have REALLY GREAT SUNSCREEN. It’s not oily, a little goes a long way, and it actually works. It’s good for babies 6 months and up (and for adults). They also have a lip stick and a face stick.
- A hat
Bonus, babies look adorable in floppy hats, unlike most adults.
- Swim Rash Guards
These suits are perfect for littles. While they might not be as “cute” as a traditional swimsuit with ruffles and straps, they’re super efficient in keeping baby’s skin covered up from the hot sun. Boys just need cute swim trunks and a long sleeve swim shirt!
- Beach Bubble
If you have a tent or umbrella, this works just as well. But if you can find one, the half tent is a perfect cocoon to keep the baby out of the sun or a private place to nurse! They almost all just pop open, come with their own shoulder carry bag, and some even have a built in “pool” area.
- Sand & Water Toys
Depending on the age of your babe, you might not need anything to entertain them other than a few squeeky toys or rattles. But if you baby is a bit older or a fresh toddler, sand and water toys are a must. BUT keep is simple. Don’t take the weird waterfall toys or expensive bath toys. A plain dollar store bucket, shovel, and rake are all you most likely will need. Remember, their attention span is about .5 seconds and you’ll spend more time keeping them from eating the sand than actually digging in it.
- Baby powder
Sprinkle some on, and it magically helps the sand fall off their little hands and toes!
- A clean, non-sandy towel for diaper changes (and a few grocery bags for disposal)
Nobody, I mean nobody, likes sand in their parts. Including baby! Our family goes through “fresh” beach towels like they’re going out of style. So be sure to stash away in your bag a FRESH, CLEAN towel to lay down on your beach blanket for changes!
- Swim Diapers
If you’re planning on taking your baby into the surf (or heck, even just sitting on the water’s edge), you’re going to need a swim diaper. They are amazing. They contain the poop and are easy to pull on and rip off.
- A small cooler for baby snacks
Babies need to stay hydrated at the beach even more than big kids. I suggest taking a small cooler just for baby’s needs. You can put an ice pack in there and keep water for formula, a sippy cup of juice, yogurt pouches, packs of baby puffs, or even small, proportioned containers of chopped up fruit or veggies! If you’re nursing, don’t forget lots of water or Body Armor for yourself to drink!
- A portable phone charger
Because let’s face it, there’s nothing cuter than a baby at the beach!