Baby’s First Beach Day!
Baby’s first beach day (or pool day!) – such an exciting time! Having been so blessed as to grow up on the beach, I know how utterly amazing it is for a kid. The beach provides endless adventure and learning for kids. My brother and I occupied ourselves playing on the beach and in the ocean day after day – I still have such fond memories of those days.
There were however a couple of questions that came to mind when contemplating bringing baby to the beach.
“How can I get baby used to and comfortable with water?”
This one is kind of a no-brainer. Of course you give baby baths, and this hopefully helps them to get used to water to some extent. But I actually started showering with Makoa pretty early on. It was just easier for me than setting up his bath time in the kitchen sink. Holding him against me in the shower is also an amazing way for us to bond. Really, when do you get to be totally skin to skin with your baby if you don’t bathe with them?
If you haven’t tried it, I would really recommend it, unless your clumsy and prone to dropping things. A wet and squirmy baby in the shower can be dangerous, so maybe try it first with someone like your partner or your mom if you’re nervous. Have mom or your partner wash baby while you hold him or her, or vice versa. Come up with a method that is easy and comfortable for you and baby. If you’re curious as to my exact steps, just ask and I’ll be happy to share!
I believe taking showers has made Makoa more used to moving and running water. It has also made him more comfortable with water because he is experiencing it in the comfort and safety of my arms.
Of course, there are also just some babies who hate the water. My mom says my brother screamed any time he came into contact with it, but now he is obsessed with surfing and the ocean. So of course, this won’t work for everyone and baby will have to get used to it another way!
“What is an appropriate age to take a baby to the beach and into the water?”
These are really two separate questions. You can take a baby to the beach the day they’re born, but it all depends on exactly what you plan on doing at the beach and what you’ll have with you. If you’re taking an evening stroll when the sun is about to go down, just be sure to bring something to keep baby warm.
If you’re thinking of going in the middle of a sunny day, be sure to bring baby-friendly sunscreen, suitable clothing for baby, a hat for baby, a towel for baby, and some sort of good cover for both of you whether it be a pop-up tent or beach umbrella. The worst thing that could happen is for your baby to get sunburnt. Even as adults it can be very painful. We wouldn’t even want to imagine having a baby experience that! Aside from the pain, it can be very damaging and affect them later on in life as well. Protecting baby’s super sensitive skin from the harmful sun is so important. All of this also applies to a trip to the outdoor pool!
As for when to take baby into the water, you can google all types of answers on this, but my answer is, go when you feel baby is ready. For me, I waited until Makoa was about 3 months old until I was comfortable to take him into the water.
We picked a great day – minimal wind if any, the sun wasn’t too intense, and the water was calm.At 3 months old, Makoa is aware enough to be able to either embrace or reject the water, and he would let me know either way. He is also old enough and has enough chunk on him to where he won’t freeze in the cool water. A newborn baby is definitely not ready for a dip in the pool or the ocean. Even their baths need to be at a comfortable temperature.
Makoa was gifted the cutest swim outfit including swim shorts and a swim top by my family in Florida, and he fit perfectly into it despite it being size 9M! Not only was it insanely adorable, but it protected him a lot from the sun. I applied baby-safe sunscreen to his exposed skin, including his face, ahead of going into the water.
I brought my large hat to wear to shield us both from the sun while we were in the water, and later put his hat on him to further protect his little head (I have the one below, but I cut off the thick black ribbon – it’s men’s but who cares!). He is so fair, and I want to start good habits with him in regards to sun protection.
Lucky for us, Makoa LOVED the water! I introduced him slowly and peacefully to it, holding him chest to chest snugly, and gradually went deeper into the water so as not to surprise or scare him. Surprisingly, in a matter of minutes, he was asleep! Without any fuss, he had fallen asleep on his own. I guess the sound and the movement of the water lulled him to sleep. Needless to say, I was a proud and happy mama!
“What if my baby hates the water?”
Things will eventually change! Whatever you do, don’t force your baby to do anything that makes him or her uncomfortable or afraid at such a young age. The key to making baby comfortable in the water is them knowing that they can trust you. Make sure your energy is calm and confident. I remember swimming with adults as a young child before I was a good swimmer, and being able to sense whether that adult was capable of keeping me safe in the water or not, and of course I would react accordingly! Kids are way more intuitive than we might give them credit for.
Let your baby ease into it, and when he or she is ready, they will make it clear.
One last tidbit that I should share is, respect the ocean. When you’ve got baby with you in the ocean, don’t turn your back on it. Don’t go out any further than you need to. Just don’t take any unnecessary risks. Have fun, be safe, and make some awesome memories! Last but not least, don’t forget to take pictures 🙂