Our little guy is a beach baby. He didn’t have much choice in the matter really, his dad’s a surfer and I, well, I am more of the soak-up-the-sun, beach bum type.
Fortunately for us he loves it, for now at least. Until his first pubescent pimple appears, he turns emo and decides midnight black is the new ocean blue… So for now we relish it.
Going to the beach with a little one can be tricky though. But our frequent trips have taught us how best not to have to pack up and leave 5 minutes after you’ve unpacked and settled. And as the summer holidays are on our doorstep, I thought I’d share some of our hard-learned tips with you.
So let’s jump in shall we.
1. Lather the Little One Up at Home
Shit can get crazy quickly when you get to the beach. So smothering your little monster with factor 50 at home gives you one less thing to worry about when we get there. The ‘controlled’ environment gives you a chance to do their whole body, not just the exposed bits, before they get covered in sand.
Don’t forget to take the sunscreen with you so you can reapply, as well as all other obligatory sun protection, rash vests hats etc.
2. Pop-up Tents Rock
Get yourself a good-quality Pop-up Beach Tent. The one I have has side vents so the breeze can pass through, and pouches at the bottom that you fill with beach sand to weight it down.
Ethan naps pretty well in it. I suspect that has a lot to do with the ocean sounding like his sleep sheep on steroids.
3. Beach Sand Makes the Perfect Bumbo
The days of hopping into the car with just a beach towel and bikini are long gone. Nowadays, going anywhere feels like you’re moving home. We’ve had to learn to streamline and improvise, like trading the Bumbo in for beach sand.
If your little one isn’t sitting on their own yet, dig a whole in the sand and put a towel in it to create a comfy seat. The sand backrest will support them and keep them cool.
4. Baby Powder Beats Beach Sand
At the end of the day dust your little one’s limbs with baby powder and the sand will fall right off. I used to think it was magic, but have since learnt that it absorbs the skin’s moisture, which stops the sand from sticking.
The sample-size powders you get at the clinic are super handy for this, so stuff your nappy bags (but don’t say I said).
5. A Spray Bottle of Water is the Solution, Always
You’re at the beach, so it goes without saying nothing is safe from the sand. That’s where the spray bottle comes in. Baba drops his bottle and it lands teat-first? The spray bottle’s got it sorted. Just make sure you get one with a bit of power.
6. Pack an Inflatable Baby Pool
This might sound crazy given there’s a whole ocean and all, but trust me on this. Your little ones will ‘splish splash’ in the umbrella-covered sea water (and sand if you like) the whole day without noticing for a second they’re actually in a little inflatable prison, I mean playpen, I mean happy place.
7. Ziplock Bags Keep me Sane
Wet, sandy clothes need a place to live that isn’t my hand/nappy bag. Ziplock bags work wonders. Need I say more?
8. Fill a Small Cooler Bag with Every Snack Under the Sun
A surefire way to ensure an abrupt beach trip is to forget your little one’s food. Pack easy-to-eat snacks like Squish packs, cut fruit and cheese if your babas are of age, or pre-pack your formula pots if not.
If you opt for finger foods, take lots. The sand is no mans’ friend. And remember to keep it all cool. Which brings me to my next tip…
9. Freeze a Bottle of Water or Two
A frozen bottle of water doubles up as an icepack to keep your snacks cool, and cold drinking water. It’s a must on a hot day. Do it!
10. What Not to Bring
If your little ones are anything like mine, they’re are going to get dirty. Particularly if they’ve discovered the joys of independent mobility. Expect them to face-plant, eat food that’s fallen in the sand, and rub mud in their beautiful, brand new hair. There’s no stopping them.
Trust me, you’ll enjoy your day a lot more if you leave your OCD behind!
Oh, and strollers are a bitch to push in the sand, so they can stay too.
Kate Royce is an advertising copywriter, co-founder of Mammas Meeting Place and adoring mother to little Ethan whom, she is convinced, is set to be the greatest adventurer and explorer the world has ever known. Her dad once described her as “having the ability to find beauty in the strangest places,” which she thinks is the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about her.