Beach Baby Essentials

After posting “What’s in my Potty Trained Bag” last week, I received an e-mail requesting I do a post on tips for taking a baby to the beach. I don’t receive requests like this very often, so I was a little excited. Sorry in advance to all you people in a polar vortex right now. This post will be geared towards infants, but I’ll probably post a toddler version closer to the Northern Hemisphere’s summertime. ūüôā

I’m actually very surprised I’ve never put together a post like this before, seeing as Eva has probably been to the beach the majority of days of her life, starting at just three days old, but better late than never! Here’s what I like to have handy for a baby’s day at the beach:

1.¬†Beach Bag– The Mexican shopping bags I’ve acquired in Mexico and South Texas are my favorite beach bags. They’re usually quite large and have holes in them so sand and water can drip out relatively easily. We get them for very low prices back home, but if you don’t live near the border you can still find them for a slightly inflated price on Amazon.

Tip: A bumbo is a really good thing to bring to the beach if you have a baby who can’t sit up on his/her own yet, but it won’t fit in your beach bag!

2.¬†Neutrogena SPF 60+¬†Pure and Free Baby Sunblock. I’ve tried the sticks, sprays, etc., but I really feel the most comfortable using regular ol’ lotion. Eva has grown up in places very close to the equator, so we always try to use at least SPF 55. I reapply sunblock after every hour, because I’m paranoid like that. I’ve also never taken my chances with organic-style sunscreen, as I was warned by other mamas in Hawaii and Tanzania that it doesn’t work as well in our UV index.

Tip: Apply sunscreen when the baby is nakkers. It’s easier not to miss a spot.

3.¬†Swim Diaper– Honestly, a swim diaper is something I could take or leave. When Eva was a baby (omg, am I really saying that?!), her poops were pretty consistent. She usually pooped once in the morning, and that was it. So if we were headed to the beach and she had already pooped, I’d usually let her go diaper-free once we arrived. If not, I’d throw her in a Little Swimmers Diaper, and eventually a Charlie Banana Swim Diaper once I started cloth diapering.

4. Swimming Costume– If you do have your baby girl in a diaper, getting her in and and out of a one piece can be quite the pain-in-the-butt. That’s why I preferred letting her wear a bikini or a one piece from¬†SnapMe Swimwear, which has snaps like a onesie for diaper changes (I don’t know why all kids’ one pieces don’t have that).¬†For Damian I think I’ll buy a pair of Quiksilver Baby Boardshorts because they’re just too cute. And sometimes you just gotta let them go naked.

5.¬†Reef Grom Sandals– If you have a walker, you’ll need sandals for the hot pavement or sand on the way to the beach.

6. Sun Hat РFor Eva I used one of these pretty white eyelet sun hats. Eventually she got to the age where she refused to wear a hat, but I tried to keep it on her for as long as possible.

7.¬†Baby Sunglasses– Because they’re cute. Especially if they match Mama’s.

8.¬†Rashguard– For days when you’ll know you’ll be in the sun for hours, it’s best not to take your chances. It beats having to worry about reapplying sunscreen on those super exposed little backs and shoulders.

9. Mist FanРWe always brought a mist fan to the beach with us on hot days.

10.¬†Beach Nursery Tent– When Eva was first born, we bought one of those big pop-up tents that we could all sit under as a family. This might be okay if you go to the beach every once-in-a-while, but we’re everyday beach people, and putting up a pop-tent is a hassle. But you know what else is a hassle? When your baby reaches the stage where she just wants to crawl as far away from you as possible and eat as much sand as possible. Once I resorted to bringing my “baby cage” to the beach with me, which worked really well but it wasn’t convenient. If you have a regular play pen, that might be easier. Eva refused to be in a playpen, though. For Damian I think I’m going to try out one of these Beach Nursery Tents, that way I can sit on one side of it and prevent him from crawling out when he reaches that explorer stage. It’ll also be a really nice place to put him down for a nap.

Tip: This is too much work.

11.¬†Beach Blanket– This is another thing I prefer using from Mexico. You really can’t beat the size and comfort of a serape for the beach. If you don’t live near the border, you can also find these on Amazon.

12.¬†Cooler with Drinks and Snacks– I really like this Roxy one¬†because it has separate spaces for both wet and dry snacks. My favorite beach snacks are fresh fruits. And maybe some potato chips and a cold beer if I’m feeling naughty. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water!

13. Floatie with CanopyРEva LOVED this little floatie and so did we. I especially like how it had the canopy for extra shade, which could also be removed like so:

14.¬†Sand Toys– If you forget to bring these (or even if you don’t), your child will try to steal them from other kids. Santa brought Eva this wagon set for Christmas and it has been her favorite so far. A dumptruck is also an essential beach toy, no matter what gender your child might be.

15.¬†Hooded Towel– For when it’s time to dry off!

16.¬†Travel-Size Baby Powder–¬†Baby powder makes it so easy to get sticky sand to come off both mommies and babies.

17. Wet BagРTo keep those wet swimsuits separate from everything else in your beach bag. It also comes in handy as a pillow, apparently:

18. Coverup or Change of Clothes– For the car ride (or if you’re lucky, stroller ride) home where your baby will almost certainly crash. My favorite thing to put on Eva is a Mexican dress (also available on Amazon).

19. LifeProof iPhone CaseРA waterproof iPhone case (or a waterproof camera if you feel like splurging) so you can forever remember days like these:


  1. We are expecting our first baby in April. Did you put sunscreen on Eva when she was 3 days old? How did you handle the sunscreen when she was 4 months old? I love the beach and don’t want to miss out on our vacation.

    • Great question! I definitely should have addressed this in the post…. I might have to go back and edit it. I did not put sunscreen on my baby until she was about 1 month old. Instead, I kept her in the shade the whole time we were at the beach (except for a few pictures). After about 6 weeks I only put it on her when I knew there were times she’d be exposed a little longer (which really is inevitable when you live in Hawaii). At closer to 3 months old, it was warm enough for us to take her in the ocean so we started putting it on her more regularly. I know some organizations recommend that you shouldn’t put sunblock on a kid younger than 6 months, but that recommendation has been disputed since studies have found there has been no harm done (see here: I tend to be on the less alarmist side of things when it comes to stuff like that so I went for it. I was more paranoid about the negative affects of a sunburn. I also didn’t think staying indoors or avoiding direct sunlight for six months was healthy for any of us. But I definitely understand the concern and see why people wouldn’t want to put sunblock on their infants. The decision is really up to you. If you’re just going for a vacation, I wouldn’t worry about it. Personally, by four months I was definitely lathering it on my baby.

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