I wrote this blog many years ago, but I fing it is still applicable after 5 babies. And if you don’t agree with everything, that’s ok. Maybe you’ll find something that is valuable to you.
Ok, I know what the title says, but our vacation really wasn’t that bad! My hubby and I journeyed on night (yes, I said night!) to Panama City Beach, Florida, to vacation with his family. We all stayed in the same house, which was an adventure…eight adults, three kids, and a baby…what could be more fun??!!! It actually worked better than I expected…I am such a pessimist…but that does mean I’m pleasantly surprised when I’m wrong!
I was mainly concerned (Ok, about having a panic attack!) taking our three month old on this trip. I scoured the internet looking for tips on traveling with babies and babies on the beach. (Did I mention we were across the street from the beach?!!!) I was pretty nervous about baby and beach. But everyone came back sans-sunburn or any other malady of any sorts! YAY! Score one for mommy!
So here are a few tips for next time you (or I) vacation with a baby to the beach.
- Travel at night. Seriously, if you can, drive at night. We left at 11pm, and we had to wake our little man up after 8.5 hours of driving to eat (I was DYING!!!) or he would have slept longer. Ours is a great sleeper, anyway, and he loves car rides.
- Don’t over pack. Our car was a little crammed, so this would be a definite change I would make! There is no need to bring the kitchen sink, or every little toy you might think you need. Especially with one this young! We took a play mat, bathtub, bumbo, tons of towels, boppy, etc. If I thought I might use it, I took it. Pick a few things, and don’t overwhelm yourself with a bunch of stuff/junk/non-necessities. One tip I read was bring enough diapers for the road, then buy however much you need when you get there. (We didn’t do this, b/c I hate buying diapers!)
- Don’t get burned!!! This was the major stressor for me. I wanted to enjoy the beach, but I was so afraid of my little man getting burned!
- Get a tent. The shade of a UV tent is great! However, don’t leave it out on the public beach!
- Invest in good clothes. Rash guards, swim trunks (so cute!), sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat are all great investments at the beach.
- Don’t be too afraid of sunscreen! There used to be warnings about infants younger than six months not wearing it period. However, pediatricians now say it is ok to put sunscreen on babies in moderation where clothes do not cover them (hands, feet, etc…) My little guy did not have any adverse reactions to the sunscreen. And the sunburn would be way worse!
- Bath Tub! Our little man loves the water. We didn’t want him to feel left out when we swam, so we brought the tub, filled it with ocean water, and let him splash to his heart’s content! (We did take him out in the water a couple of times, but he didn’t like that quite as much…plus, we could keep him in the shade in the tub.) We also put him in it just to sleep (without water in it). This was so much more convenient than taking a pack and play all the way out there each time, clean up was easy, and it still kept him off of the sand. (I used regular diapers…) Also, one comment cautioned against leaving the baby alone…we always had an adult beside him when he was in the tub, with or without water. I am too paranoid not to!
- Prepare for rain! Obviously, it’s Florida! Keep an umbrella with you at all times…and bring your stroller with the cover. Board games are a necessity! You never know when your afternoon is ruined when the skies open up!
- By a travel fan! Our little guy is so hot natured! We had to go to Wal-Mart to get a battery-powered fan…there are some that go on strollers.
- Be prepared to wait an hour or longer if you go out to eat! This means at least one feeding to go out! I’d invest in good covers if you breast feed or make sure to pump before you go out. (Or make another family member to wait in line and get there when it’s time to be seated.)
- Be prepared to eat out of doors! This is why we bought the portable fan. Our little man was so hot! It was miserable for all of us!
- Tips I learned for breastfeeding babies:
- In the heat, feed as often as possible. I don’t adhere to any schedule, anyways. I feed my little man when he’s hungry, and I’ve never had a problem with him sleeping at least five to six hours every night. So, for us this was not a problem. This keeps your baby hydrated in the heat. (Also, remember to keep yourself hydrated!) I’d feed every hour to two hours while we were there. (I think he went through a growth spurt while we were there, too!)
- Cover-em-up! Ok, I’m not usually brave enough to feed in public. I’m so paranoid that I’ll show too much. I have a nursing cover, but it’s kind of awkward to use, at least for me. I found that blankets are great, as are beach towels! That is, by far, my favorite cover up! Also, the blanket they sent home from the hospital, with the little feet on them. My first feed in public was on the beach, with the beach towel. Second was in the movies. Again, my little man is really hot natured, so he doesn’t like covering when he eats (he sweats like crazy!!!), so I have also fed him in the car with the a/c on (also allows for a bit of privacy). My craziest on this trip was in the bathroom stall standing up. He was hot, tired, and got in a mood where he didn’t want to eat in the usual position. Since I didn’t have room (or privacy) to change positions sitting down, I had to stand up. But it worked! (This position works a good amount of time when he’s sleepy…the football hold is also one of his favorites…he’s such a boy!) You will try anything if you are crazy desperate enough!
*Edit* I know a lot of people are not thrilled about this tip. I still nurse my now 18 month old, and I still cover up. This is my personal preference, as it is my husband’s preference. My husband is a little jealous of my body, and does not want anybody else to see my boobs. That includes when I am feeding my son. So, to respect his wishes, and to not cause anybody to think anything improper about me and my body, I cover up. Yes, I still use the bathroom stalls, and my son doesn’t seem to mind. We have recently moved to Portugal, where they have family rooms where I can nurse when needed, although my son doesn’t need to nurse while we are out and about now. If you choose not to cover up, that is your choice. But I choose to cover my ta-tas.
- Baby Powder Gets Sand Off! Enough said.
- Enjoy Yourself! Don’t stress. Most people understand a crying baby. We even got a free desert from our waitress because she liked our baby so much (he was fussing a little…I think she felt sorry for us!) Remember you’re on vacation!