By Christina VanGinkel
Summer time at the beach is always fun, but it usually involves dragging tons of stuff along, including blankets, toys for the kids, umbrellas, coolers, and much, much more. However, when you add an infant to the mix, your gear multiplies even more. Some people at this point just give up the idea. They find it to be just too much work. Why head off for some so called summer fun when it is much easier just to keep baby and all that gear at home? Well, for one thing, it is just plain old fun! In addition, packing up does not have to be a chore each time. With a bit of planning, you can save precious time, and sanity, by only repacking certain essentials, and keeping some items stored and ready for your next run to the beach.
Before heading to the beach or pool with infant in tow, make a list of all the essentials and extras you will or may need. Remember to bring along a cooler specifically for baby, with extra bottles of water, formula, and juice. An extra umbrella or baby tent to keep baby in the shade as much as possible, plus infant safe sunscreen for those times baby will be in the sun. If your infant will wear sunglasses, pack them a pair for those times you just cannot avoid the sun. If a stroller is accessible to the area, definitely bring one along, otherwise an infant seat with carrying handle to keep baby up off the sand or the hard cement of a poolside. Make sure to pack your essentials at the same time, a book for enjoyment, change for the concession stand, sunglasses, and a few snacks. To top it off, if you are going to have any other children with you, make sure to bring along another adult. Never trust yourself to keep an eye on both baby and toddlers, or young children, where water safety is concerned. What may be a simple accident elsewhere, can be a devastating incident pool or waterside. If the other children are old enough, provide them each with their very own beach bag, and have them pack it themselves. Provide a bit of help by telling them they need to bring along one or two toys for water play, towel, suit, sunglasses, cover-up, and water shoes or sandals.
All of this work, just to head out for some summer fun may still seem like it is just too much labor. Keep in mind though that a bit of sun is good for everyone, including new mothers. If you take the time once to pack all of the needed essentials in a beach bag / diaper bag, it will be easier next time. Only unpack those items that cannot stay in the bags, such as bottles and wet towels. For the rest, provide them a permanent spot in the trunk of your car for the next time you get a last minute idea to head beach or poolside.