Are you about to take your baby on their first beach trip? Our first beach trip with a 4 month old baby was quite an adventure. I learned a lot in those few days of what to bring, what not to bring, some tips and other information that might be useful.
A little story
When I learned about hurricane Florence coming for the Outer Banks right when we were supposed to leave for vacation, I was devastated. My family goes to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina every year since my mom, aunt and uncle were kids.
Last year we were unable to go because I had just started my new job and discovered I was pregnant. We have a lot going on right now but I was determined to make it to the ocean at least ONCE this year! With some last minute planning and discussion, Brendan and I decided to make it work…but then came Florence.
My heart and prayers go out to those affected by the storm in southern North Carolina. But luckily, the hurricane only caused minor damage to the Outer Banks and we were able to still go. Our trip was just cut short by a couple of days.
We found out very last minute we were still able to go, so the packing and planning was super quick and unorganized. Which, if you are a mom, you know that normally doesn’t work in your favor with a baby.
We decided to leave Tuesday after Brendan got off of work. We left around 5pm, hoping that driving through the night would allow Hadleigh to sleep most of the way.
About halfway through the trip I discovered the first mistake I made. I realized I had forgotten the flanges to my breast pump. GREAT! Yes I did bring some extra frozen milk and some formula samples, but I didn’t want to waste all of it before we even arrived to the beach.
So the moments that she did wake and become hungry, I ended up slouched over her with the car seat digging into my ribs in order to nurse her. Lovely.
Luckily, my mom brought me a manual pump since it was about midnight when I made this discovery and all the stores were closed. By the way, manual pumps are the worst! I’ve never been so thankful for my electric pump!
Thankfully there was little water and sand once we hit route 12 (the main road on the island of the outer banks). Then, around 3:30am, just 2 miles from the beach house, we got pulled over for speeding. LOL. Definitely a rough start, but so worth it!
One of the things I love most about Hatteras is the ability the drive on the beach. It’s a pretty popular fishing beach, so many people drive their trucks and jeeps all up and down the coast and cast in their reels from the shore.
We did this all three days we were there in Brendan’s F150, although we didn’t fish much. We were a little preoccupied with the little babe. My family, however, is a big fan of ocean fishing. One night we had crab imperial stuffed drum caught by my uncle and his buds. SO GOOD.
The weather was absolutely perfect while we were there, with little evidence there was ever a hurricane just a few days prior. I will say it was pretty windy, but that’s to be expected.
Hadleigh was a big fan of the ocean and sand, thankfully. But getting her to nap with all of the stimulation was a challenge. The pack-n-play was definitely a life saver for the beach, which is where she would nap or hang out…or just scream for a bit.
Since Hadleigh is a little over 4 months, she is starting to teeth pretty badly. This is another reason why she fussed a bit during the trip. She was very clingy and wanted to nurse most of the time. This got a bit challenging but was still manageable since she would get distracted by the ocean and all of the people.
Cape Hatteras is my favorite place in the world. I love the small town feel, the beautiful lighthouse (which is tattooed on my hip) and all of the good memories it holds from my childhood. I am so happy I got to share it with my daughter and can’t wait to take her back in the years to come.
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What to bring
- Pack-N-Play. This was definitely one of the most useful items we brought with us. We were able to use it on the beach and for when she slept at night. It’s easy to set up and break down and pack up in the vehicle. We like this Graco Pack-N-Play because it has a changing table that comes with it which is super helpful.
- Umbrella/popup canopy. Don’t forget to provide some sort of shade for your baby. Even with SPF 50 applied multiple times she still got a little color to her. We really enjoy this popup canopy because it comes with a little wind breaker.
- Baby sunglasses. Help prevent sun damage to her corneas! I recommend getting sunglasses with straps so they don’t get lose!
- Baby sunhat. We brought several for extra sun protection. This little sunhat is one of my favorites.
- Multiple onesies/swimsuits. One day we showed up to the beach and after 5 minutes she had a poop explosion all over her swimsuit. We had to wash her suit in the ocean and leave her naked while it dried a little. Definitely doesn’t hurt to bring some extras in the diaper bag just in case.
- Sunscreen. We love this sunscreen
- Breast pump, extra milk & formula. We used all three of these. She never had formula until this trip but I brought some samples we got in the mail because you just never know. One day on the beach I wanted to have a couple of adult beverages so the extra formula and breast milk came in handy. Don’t forget extra water to mix with the formula too! Also, I have a good post with breast pumping tips with linked items if you’re interested!
- Manual pump. If you don’t feel like getting hooked up to your electric.
- Lots of toys. If you are going to be driving or traveling long distance, have plenty of toys for entertainment. This was also good to put in her pack-n-play on the beach to distract her while I got a break. She gets bored easily so having options helped a lot.
- Aquaphor. I love Aquaphor. It’s good for so many things. Being in the heat, sand and salty water can irritate her sensitive baby skin, so this was nice to have to apply to the irritated areas. It’s also good for sunburn.
- Baby powder. This helps to easily get sand off of the skin without irritation. I like this talc free baby powder by Burt’s Bees.
- Big quilt or blanket. If you want to let your LO roll around on the sand instead of putting her in the pack-n-play, this can be helpful. This is a nice, large and compact beach blanket.
- Medicine stash! Thankfully I brought Tylenol for infants since she was teething so badly! I only gave this a couple of times when her fussing got really bad and she looked like she was in pain. This would also be good if your baby got sunburn or got sick on your trip. You never know! I also brought a thermometer just in case! Side note, I discovered Camilia teething drops which has been a lifesaver these last few days! They are all natural and work very well.
Last but not least, DON’T bring any expectations! If there is one thing I have learned as a new mom it’s that sometimes you have to learn how to go with the flow. Even if it means breaking your ribs and risking your life to breastfeed your child!
Hope this was helpful or at least gave you a good laugh.