When I’m preparing to take my baby to the beach, it sometimes feels like I’m packing for a desert expedition rather than some fun in the sun. While many little things go into taking care of my baby on a beach day, I know you can still be well prepared without loading up a pack mule. Here are my absolute essentials to keep my baby safe and happy (and keep myself sane!) at the beach.

Sun Protection in all its Forms

Baby skin is sensitive, so make sure you bring plenty of protection from the hot sun or other irritants that could cause sunburns or diaper rash. My son has sensitive skin and the last thing I want is him in pain from a sunburn. Sunscreen is the obvious choice, but for very young babies it’s not recommended. I use long sleeve shirts, hats, and even bring along a baby beach tent. The tent gives ample protection from the sun and an enclosed space for napping.

Breathable Baby Carrier

Ditch the stroller and strap on your baby for a fun walk on the beach. Before my son grew out of his baby carrier, I would carry him literally everywhere, including the beach. Consider a mesh or warm weather baby carrier so you and your baby don’t get overheated. Pick a carrier that can withstand going in the water if you’d like to splash in the water with your baby.

Food and Water

Think about how long you’re going to spend on the beach and pack snacks for you and the baby accordingly. Use a cooler if you’re bringing pumped milk or formula to maintain ideal temperatures.

Before 6 months, babies shouldn’t be drinking water and even when older, they can usually stay hydrated with breastmilk or formula. Bring water for yourself though, especially if nursing as it can make you thirsty. Speaking of nursing, if you plan on breastfeeding on the beach, bring a blanket or nursing cover if you’d like some privacy and protection from the sun.

Diaper Bag Essentials

A well-stocked diaper bag is probably your best friend at the beach. I double- and triple- check my diaper bag before I leave for even a short beach trip.

Make sure you pack both swim and regular diapers, a change of clothes (or two), enough wipes for an army, and diaper rash cream. Even if your baby’s bottom is free of diaper rash, putting on something like High Street Formula’s cream with zinc oxide and beeswax prevents diaper rash from developing, which is always a risk when baby is cruising around in wet swim diapers.

Baby Powder

Although it’s not recommended you use baby powder in diapers anymore, it can be plenty useful for cleaning off your baby after he’s grabbed, rolled in, and tried to eat sand. The powder is a non-irritating way to get the sand off your little one. Just rub it on the sand-covered spots for quick removal.

While you can always pack more toys or accessories, the items recommended on my list are enough to cover the basics of baby beach travel. Have any baby beach accessories you can’t live without? Leave a comment below!

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