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Lucky me. I’ve given birth to a beautiful baby girl and I cannot be happier. And as the months go by, I am wondering when can I take my baby to the beach? Surely, there should be an easy answer. I feel there is a lot of conflicting messages out there from well-meaning parents, bloggers, doctors and nurses so in this article I will drill down the main points that I find interesting about this topic and let you know what I find. Interested? Let’s go and figure out what the title of this article signals and why this is such a hot topic at the moment.
When can I take my baby to the beach? Let’s explore
Seriously? It never crossed my mind I would be so conflicted. So here’s the deal. You visit the beach in the summer months. You don’t visit the beach when the weather is cold. And you don’t visit the beach when it’s winter. So there is the catalyst of this whole article. We visit the beach in the summer, when the sun is blazing and crowning in the midst of the sky. So immediately, I think of the heat and the sun and as you suspect, that is a no-go for a newborn. Babies even at 6 to 12 months have extremely soft and sensitive skin that is highly affected by their environments at home as well out in nature. In fact toddlers and older children also have sensitive skins that need to be well cared for too.
Research according to the baby centre
The Baby Centre recommends that when babies are 6 months or older they are alright to visit the beach but on the condition it is before the hours of 11am and after 3pm when the sun is at its lowest exposure. Personally, I think this is wise advice. I certainly would not like my baby to burn even if I did take all the recommended precautions. Babies are far too susceptible to burning. And it can be quite damaging to your baby to suffer from too much sun exposure. Believe me, I understand the ethics to this predicament and I ensure you I am very careful and deliberate in my decisions.
Preparation for a day out on the beach
Dress your baby in cool cotton clothing that also covers their arms and legs. It sounds overkill but is necessary to stop harmful sun rays from burning their skin. Ensure they wear a wide-brimmed hat across their face and neck to shade them from the sun. And make sure you apply a special sunscreen lotion specifically formulated for babies all over their bodies. And keep reapplying it every two hours. This will ensure that your baby has the most protection they can have.
Outdoor items needed at the beach
There’s a few nifty items you can use for your beach outing. I would highly recommend you buy a windbreak that will shelter the sand blowing from the surrounding winds. An umbrella will offer shade from the hot sun and will cool down the hot temperatures for your baby. And another great, innovative invention is the popular baby tent or kids sun dome. This is a perfectly sized, easily transportable and compact baby tent sporting a base flooring so your baby can shelter from the sun or wind and even take a nap. A picnic blanket is also a great way from stopping your baby from rolling in the sand. It can dismay a young baby if they are exposed to the sand as it notoriously gets into all sorts of places and can be very uncomfortable to your baby. The important thing is to be prepared with everything your baby might need so you aren't scrambling when you arrive at the beach.
Make sure to hydrate your baby
Sounds simple. And it is. Don’t over complicate things. Just ensure you have enough milk, breast milk, formula or water to give your child. You may notice they may require more than usual so ensure you to take plenty. Some mothers also breastfeed at the beach too. Whatever takes your fancy.
There seems to be conflicting opinions on taking out babies younger than 6 months old to the beach. Although I came across a few people that have done precisely that, I found it went against my inner belief system. My research did however, reassure me that babies over the age of 6 months were alright to be taken to the beach as long as I had as much protection I can afford for my child. So it appeased some if not all of my fears and doubts.
This is not a one-size-fits all. Every parent has the ability to decide for themselves what they want to explore with their own children. What I advocate may not coincide with your own inner thoughts and feelings on the matter. Those choices are yours to make and yours alone. I just wanted to shed a light on some of the information being shared on the internet by people who care for babies and by parents who have the experience.
Megan Jones is the lead author of Seaside Planet. She is an avid surfer, scuba diver, and travel enthusiast who takes any opportunity she can to spend time in the ocean. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.