Visions of happy little podgy toes splashing in the surf is what all of us Mum’s dream of for our baby’s first outing to the beach. The reality can be somewhat different with an exhausted, overheated baby covered in sun cream and sand. So here are our top tips for taking a baby and little people to the beach so that you can ensure those picture perfect moments.
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1. Paddling Pool: With the sea a mere toddle away, you may question the need for lugging a paddling pool to the beach with you but it really is a must. The sea can be an intimidating place for a little one with the waves, noise, other people and the splash, so fill a paddling pool with water, put it under the sun umbrella and let your baby splash about in the shade for a while. This gives them some time out from all the stimulation the beach has to offer and you some much needed tanning time!
2. The sheet trick: So the number one thing that needs to go in your suitcase when going to the beach with a baby is? A double fitted sheet!!! Why? I hear you cry. Well what you do is position your cool box, umbrella, pile of towels and beach bag at each corner of the fitted sheet. This pulls the sheet tight and creates a sand free play pen complete with shade! A great place to apply sun cream in a sand free environment and a great place to try and put the little one down for a nap.
3. A foldable bath chair: This tip comes straight from the horses mouth. Aly utilised this trick with baby Gus this very summer. Where do you put babies down when on the beach without turning them into a sticky sandy mess? If you don't fancy the sheet trick, this is for you! Whilst a bouncy chair would be ideal, it isn't the most portable, so Aly purchased a foldable bath chair from Mothercare. Genius! It folds down to the size of an A4 pad and means the babies can be on beach free of sand and even paddle their toes in the sea.
4. Sun cream: Trying to re-apply sun cream when on the beach can be a major pain so make sure you buy a one application sun cream. Having tried a few we find P20 the best as it has great coverage for up to 10 hours. It is suitable for babies and for adults so it means you won’t have to re-apply either and you won’t have to lug around multiple bottles of sun cream.
5. The talc trick: An unexpected addition to the beach bag is Talcum Powder. When you need to de-sand a baby or the kids before going home, simply put talcum powder onto the wet sand, rub it in and wipe it off, voila the sand comes off with the talc – genius!
6. Frozen fruit: A day at the beach can be a long slog so along with plenty of water put some frozen fruit in your cool box. Babies love to suck on the ice cold fruit (also great for teething) and it means that it will stay cool all day. Try watermelon, melon, strawberry slices, pineapple.
Sam, who hates sand with a passion, would like to add the following for when you have a toddler in tow:
Choose your spot wisely. Base yourself near a beach bar so you have somewhere close to head to for a drink/food when the toddler has had enough, and of course toilet breaks. Somewhere close enough that you don’t have to walk on red hot sand for too long.
Make shade. Take your own umbrella or two. It really really helps being able to make your own shade and hats and sunglasses are a must.
Towels are key. Take an over the head towel for the toddler. They can be naked underneath, shielded from the sun and cool at the same time
Water. Take a bottle of water or two. There will always be a sand in mouth and/or eye scenario to deal with.
Try to relax! Easier said than done I know. Sand is the enemy but you know at some point you will stop finding those little granules EVERYWHERE, so you win eventually.