Beach Vacation with an Infant
We just got back from our first family vacation to Myrtle Beach with our little boy. He's 4 months old and I was worried about how to protect him from the sun while still keeping him cool. In my never ending late night researching, I compiled my go-to items to help make it an enjoyable experience for everyone and we had a great time! A few things to keep in mind: every baby is different and what worked for us may not necessarily work for your little one. Be flexible and try not to over plan your vacation. Also, manage your expectations. Babies can be unpredictable and they need time to relax their mind and body too, so try and plan just one key thing per day and leave plenty of time for naps (or plan naps into your schedule) and down time before bed. Also, Atli is exclusively breast fed, although he does take a bottle from time to time when I am away photographing weddings. I don't have any tips on managing bottle feeds or pumping while on vacation although I do use this pump at home to pump between feeds and build up my frozen supply of milk. That way when we decide that I'm going to ween him, there will still be plenty of frozen breast milk for him.
We have an UPPAbaby Mesa infant car seat that is secured in our vehicle with a quick release base but it can also be easily secured with a seatbelt which makes it perfect for getting in and out of vehicles while travelling. We also have the UPPAbaby Vista stroller in Jake (matte black) that the carseat attaches to with one simple click. You can gate check these for free and they make for nice cart to carry your things while navigating through the airport.The stroller comes with the toddler seat attachment which is great for when your little one gets a little bit older. I also recommend getting yourself the cup attachment for your drinks! We also have a Fjallraven Kanken backpack in black that we use for travel + as a stylish diaper bag.
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Airport & Flying Tips
The very idea of flying with an infant can seem stressful and daunting. Being well prepared is the key to surviving your first airport experience with a baby. Here are some tips to get you through:
- Give yourself plenty of time. Matt and I always like to get to the airport with enough time to get food and relax before boarding our plane. There's nothing worse than one time I mixed up the time zones and we realized our flight from SF to Toronto was leaving in 1 hr and we were still on the opposite side of the city. We arrived with 15 minutes to take off and go bumped ahead in security and ran to our gate as they were closing the door. We were sweating when we got on the plane and had to take whatever seats were available. Since then we have been diligent about checking and double checking flight times and leaving early enough that we won't experience that again.
- Wear your baby when going through security. I use this baby wrap.
- Nurse your baby during take off and landing. If nursing times don't align with take off and landing, having a pacifier or something for baby to suck on will help soothe them and helps with their ears.
- Pack extra diapers and at least 2 outfit changes in your carry on for unexpected blow-outs or flight delays.
- Pack a baby kit in your carry on as well. Important items: thermometer, nail clippers, nose bulb or Frida nose, infant tylenol, extra chew toy, antibacterial wipes & sanitizer.
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Packing for the beach is pretty easy. Some key items for the babe: reusable swim diaper, swim trunks, a few onesies, t-shirt, a few pairs of shorts, a sweater for at night and some hats. I have a couple ball cap style hats and I also have some bucket hats. Since they take up no space, I packed a few of them in case Atli preferred one over the other. I like to have options.
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Sun Protection & Beach Fun
Babies should be kept out of direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time prior to 6 months. Before heading out, we did put sunscreen on Atli and also got this amazing sun blanket to put over the stroller when walking around. It's UPF 50+, washable and doesn't wear out. When on the beach, we made sure to sit in the shade and placed him in this little pop-up sun tent when hanging out.
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Sleep & Nap
We don't co-sleep and at home Atli sleeps in a bassinet at my bedside. When traveling it can get tricky where to put him when sleeping so we have this amazing pack 'n play that we have for future trips where an infant crib or bassinet isn't available. It is the most compact pack 'n play out there and it sets up in less than 30 seconds. We also have a snuggle me organic that he sleeps in at night. At the beach this can be set up under an umbrella and it's the perfect little nest for him to lounge in.
We also prefer nighties / footies that zip. They are easier to do up when he's squirming around and also easier to take off for diaper changes. We love these ones by Burt's Bees Baby.