Baby’s First Vacation

by tinysneakers

beach trip with baby

This year on vacation there were no sunrise barefoot beach runs or hours of splashing and diving through the crashing ocean waves.

baby's first beach trip

But there were plenty of tiny toes digging into the gritty wet sand for the first time and plenty of pudgy baby rolls slathered in creamy sunscreen several times a day. There were endless smiles and belly laughs as tiny baby hands splashed in the pool for the first time and loads of funny faces as he experienced these amazing things for the first time- sometimes happy, sometimes not so much.

baby's first time in oceanbaby's first time in pool with float

We’re lucky enough to visit the beach every summer with my in laws. I’d just rounded the corner of a rough first trimester during last year’s trip when I vowed that we would be skipping the trip the following year. I had no interest in lugging all our junk plus a squirmy, sunscreened baby to the beach in the hot sun and sticky sand day after day for a week. No thanks.

I’m glad I changed my mind. So many parents will tell you that vacation with a baby is a lot of work. Honestly, it was no more work than vacation sans baby. There were still cars to unload and beach chairs to lug up and down stairs; there were still dinners to cook and dishes to wash.

But watching my son experience these new things for the first time brought so much joy that it didn’t matter about those other things. I’m sure next year’s trip will be even more work chasing a toddler around and trying to reign him in under the shade of a tiny umbrella, but I’m also really, really excited. Next year he’ll be able to dig his fingers into the sand, fill bucket after bucket with water and shells, and splash to his heart’s content in the shallow edge of the ocean.

baby napping on beach

So how’d things really go?

What Went Well

Napping on the beach. We brought a big tent that could shade both the baby and myself when he needed to nurse. Sometimes he was too hot to nap, but sometimes the lull of the ocean pushed him into a peaceful slumber as he lay in full on baby buff.

chubby baby armbabe relaxing on beachbeach nap

Sunscreen. I ended up choosing BabyGanics baby sunscreen. It went on easily and didn’t irritate K’s skin or eyes.

Toting stuff to the beach. I called dibs on carrying the baby most days. The loving husband diligently lugged all our crap to the beach and set up each morning with minimal complaints.


Getting beach time. I thought I’d miss laying out on the beach with nothing on my agenda but a stack of books to read. Usually the only thing that will drag me out of the water is the need to replenish my sunscreen. There was not a single page of reading this year, but no one will argue that playing with a baby is more fun than relaxing. I was able to sneak in the ocean a couple times while K’s doting grandparents made funny faces and let K jump in their laps in the shade.

baby with grandparents at beach

The drive down. We stuck K in the backseat with 2 attentive teenagers, aka paci-pluggers and bottle feeders. I pumped in the front seat. Awkward, but saved us lots of unneccesary stops.

What Didn’t Go So Well

Sleeping. Shocker.

Big group dinners out. While baby certainly doesn’t adhere to any rigorous schedule {yeah right, he’s got a mind of his own even at 5 months}, he does much, much better on a routine. That routine didn’t really fit into everyone else’s schedule, especially when it came to dining out. I got a little bit of good natured crap for skipping a endless seafood buffet dinner to stay home with a sleeping baby. It didn’t bother me one bit though, because I’d be the one dealing with a cranky baby otherwise.

crab dinner

Nap schedules. See above. When you have a baby that doesn’t sleep well, naps are absolutely paramount. Even if you do have a baby that sleeps, naps are vital. When it’s just me, it’s easy to work my day around naps. When there are lots of other people involved, it’s a little harder. It’s mostly hard getting other people to understand the importance.

baby monitor on beach 

The drive home. K was tired and cranky after a week of being out of his normal routine and he picked up a cold at the end of the trip. We stopped 129394 times to burp him, comfort him and give him {and us} a break.

holding hands baby

All in all it was a great trip and I’m so glad we decided to go for it. Having a baby doesn’t mean an end to the things you used to do, it just means they’re a little different. Better different. Good thing too, since we’re headed back to the beach soon.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Miz July 4, 2012 at 6:24 am

the sunscreen OBSESSION is the one thing I wont miss about baby time.
I made myself crazy 🙂


Nicole July 4, 2012 at 7:26 am

As a 6+ month pregnant lady I love this post. thanks for sharing that you can still go on vacation with a baby!


Heather July 4, 2012 at 8:09 am

I love babies at the beach, always adorable!!! looks fun!


Samantha July 4, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Love this post! We haven’t been on a long vacation like yours yet but we did travel to the beach recently. Everything you said is true for our baby as well. Naps were crucial, dinners were interesting, and the sounds of the beach knocked her out!
Glad you guys had fun!!


Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie July 4, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Im so glad you had such a good time! You’re little one is so precious! I hope he feels better soon!


Charissa July 4, 2012 at 4:43 pm

The photo of you & the baby holding hands is such precious!


Ruby @ Focus, Woman! July 6, 2012 at 8:00 am

I love this recap! I also love that you “dared” the vacation, especially with a not-so-awesome sleeper. I completely sympathize with the “naps are essential” thing, and people not understanding this. We always had the added problem that Amber is a very light sleeper, so not only would we have to insist on the importance of her naps, we’d also have to tell people to be quiet for two hours. :-S Things are MUCH better now though, thank goodness.


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