My family goes to the beach for a week every summer on vacation and we also spend a lot of time at local beaches, we usually go on whale watching long beach tours once every summer. So, ever since I have had a child, babywearing has been a big part of those beach trips. Here are some lessons that I’ve learned along the way – but most importantly, there are tons of different carriers and we recommend you bring your favorite! If you have options, are looking to purchase, or want to check something out from the lending library; here are some ideas to consider!
Pick a carrier you are comfortable using (or carry you are comfortable with). When you are far from home with kids who are probably not napping great, you don’t want to be fiddling with a carrier you aren’t well versed in. This is the time to take your tried and true carriers. And ditto for wrap carries….I have tried and failed to do a carry I am not that great at on the windy and sandy beach. Usually I end up bailing and starting over! Not a wrapper? Then definitely don’t try to learn at the windy beach! Bring your ring sling, meh dai, or SSC. They can all be washed when you are done!
Pick a wrap or carrier you don’t mind getting messy. I wore my first child for long walks on the beach at nap time – in fact, those long beach walks were the ONLY time she would take a wrap nap and the ONLY way I could get her to nap at the beach, so win-win! At that point in my babywearing career, I only had wraps and ring slings. Since our walks were often over a mile and in soft beach sand, I preferred a shorter length sturdy wrap. Something I wouldn’t mind getting sand and sunscreen on during the course of the week, and that wasn’t so long it’d be unwieldy to wrap with in windy beach conditions. Get a feel for what carries you can do comfortably and quickly with a shorter wrap before you leave home and pick a sturdy wrap in that size to bring with you.
Water carriers are great, too! I never had one with my first child, since she was almost 2 years old on our second beach trip and too heavy for wearing comfortably in most water-friendly carriers. But this year, I took a 5 week old to the beach – so water carriers were great! I used a ring sling a ton at the beach. It also was great for soaking, wringing out, and laying under baby in the bouncy seat to keep him somewhat cool, using as a shade, and even using to cover his legs when I wore him in the Boba Air! The Air was great for longer walks, and the Wrapsody Duo water wrap allowed me to take a dip in the pool with my 3 year old.
Bring carriers for off the beach, too. If you have an extra, I recommend bringing at least one other carrier for shopping, wearing around the house/hotel, etc. The carrier you choose to use at the beach may get kind of gross, but you don’t want to have to wash it daily. So keeping a spare clean carrier to use when you’re not at the beach will make things much easier. I chose to keep a ring sling in the car for shopping trips, eating out, and other outings, and a wrap (in a different length than the beach wrap, for versatility) at the house. SSC or MT would be a great option for quick ups, too.
Bring a carrier someone else can use! If you are going with family or friends who may want to wear your baby, consider bringing a carrier they can use and/or the one that is described above. My mom enjoys using SSCs with my kids.
What about when baby is not in a carrier? Depending on how you beach, you may be able to take some other items for baby to chill in. We take a 4-wheel drive vehicle to the beach, and have learned a few tricks! For our 5 week old, we brought a small fold-up bassinet and a bouncy seat for him to sleep in when not sleeping on a person. Both worked great and took up little room when packing. Even if walking to the beach from a parking lot, one of both of these items could be easily carried if the bouncy seat is small. When we took my firstborn at 9 months, she was crawling but not walking and LOVED eating sand (to my horror). I am so very glad we brought a collapsible exersaucer for her on that trip. She bounced around to her heart’s content while not consuming the entire beach. We also always bring a large shade canopy for both my babies (and my redheaded husband) to lounge under.
And most important, enjoy yourself! Babywearing at the beach has been SO convenient for me over the years, and has definitely enabled me to enjoy both the beach and my babies together!!