I grew up going to the beach in the summertime on Cape Cod. From personal experience, I know not all babies like the beach and was nervous Tommy might be one of them. I’m on Cape Cod for the week and am happy to report back that we in fact have a baby who loves the ocean, and I guess the beach too.
We headed down to Cape Cod last Thursday night right at Tommy’s bed time. I put him in his pajamas and he fell right asleep as we hit traffic. He slept the whole way and didn’t even wake up when we transferred him to his Baby Bjorn Travel Crib (the best travel crib EVER).
What We Brought To The Beach
For our first beach visit, I brought the jogging stroller with car seat and a sun shield in case Tommy wouldn’t nap in the Gengi Tent my mom bought years ago for my nieces and nephews.
Tommy wore a Baby Gap long sleeve rash guard with 50 SPF and an 18 month old bathing suit we bought last minute at Target because he didn’t fit into any that I bought for a 6 month old. He also had his iPlay sun protection hat. Rookie mistake, we put his sunscreen on at the beach. I used Babyganics Sunscreen Spray 50 SPF. You should do it at the house before you get to the beach. I learned this the hard way and had to attempt to put sunscreen on feet covered in sand.
We forgot our swim diapers but had one in our bag. He ended up just wearing regular diapers or no diaper at all since the swim ones only keep in #2. Once he had his movement for the day, I felt confident letting him go free in his swim suit. This method has worked fine the past 4 tries but I did buy an iPlay bathing suit which has a reusable diaper built in via Amazon that is waiting for me in Boston.
We did bring a few little toys but he was more interested in empty water bottles and solo cups. For us, we just brought towels, chairs, food and sunscreen because we knew there would be no reading.
The first few days, Tommy slept in his car seat in the stroller and only napped for 20 minutes at a time. We walked him down on the flat hard sand until he fell asleep. He did enjoy sitting in the little tide pools and by the end, would cry if we tried to go up to our stuff on the beach to dry off.
The damn Gengi tent felt impossible to collapse at the end of the day as well. We had to YouTube it and finally Nick got it but man, that thing is hard and clearly other people have difficulty too because the video had thousands of views.
We continued to bring the tent, but left the stroller and car seat home. Nick ended up letting Tommy nap on his chest under an umbrella. This increased the naps from 20 minutes to 1-2 hours long! It also helped Tommy enjoy the beach that much more when he was awake since he was well rested. He loved the water more and more every time, as well as eating sand and crawling around on our towels.
Best of all, Tommy slept through the night for the first, second and third time without wanting a night feeding. He slept first 7-4:30 am (went back to sleep until 6 after), then until 5 and then 5:30 am. I guess the beach tuckered him out.
Things I Did Not Bring But Wish I Did
I wish we had a towel that stayed put. We almost bought a monkey mat but didn’t because there were poor online reviews. If you have a solution to this, leave it in the comments below!
We saw a few Sport-brella Umbrellas that we are planning to buy at our beach. They appeared easy to put up and were less awkward than the tent to put away. Also, it’s easier to sit with the little one and socialize with others when sitting underneath. See it in action below.
I also wish we had somewhere to put Tommy where he wasn’t in the sand. Maybe like an inflatable mini pool or one of these KidCo Go Pod portable activity chairs. This is my friend Erin with her son who is a month older than Tommy. She has an older son and is a veteran beach mom. She said she got the chair on Zulily for less than I found on Target.
One of us had to hold Tommy or keep an eye out for eating a handful of sand at all times which was fine with two parents and one child, but would be helpful if parent to child ratio was 1 to 1 or even 1 to 2 or 3!
Instead of bringing our nice jogging stroller onto the beach, it also would have been nice to have a little wagon to shuttle bags and and everything. We carried the baby via Bjorn carrier one time and just with our hands and made several trips another. This one has cup holders when you place it upside down and will be crucial when we have to bring down more toys.
I do wish we had an infant float as well but Tommy did not like the baby rafts I tested at my sister’s pool. The water was a little chilly but so is the ocean which Tommy loves… now. I may have to try again.
I did go to the beach without Nick and it was a challenge not having an extra set of hands. You can do it but it wasn’t fun and I needed help. Luckily I had family friends nearby to watch Tommy and I made two trips to pack up the car. I also brought down the umbrella stroller which Tommy napped in.
Did I miss your favorite beach necessity? Share yours below to help our fellow new moms.
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