Baby on the beach with beach essentials

Beach Packing List: 20 Beach Essentials for the Nursing Toddler

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Beach Essentials When Taking a Nursing Toddler to The Beach

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Have you ever found yourself desperately wanting to do something but never being able to find the time?

As a mom, that’s a familiar story and it usually goes like this:

Mom sets lofty goals like cooking dinner, organizing and cleaning the house, playing with the kids, doing laundry, and having adult conversation with her husband. But then nothing gets done.

Admit it.

You’ve been there too.

That was the story of my summer. There were so many things I wanted to do with my daughter but between work and life, it was hard to find the time.  But, the one thing I had to do was take her to the beach.

I would have felt like a failure of a mom if I didn’t! As much as I wanted to take her, I was also dreading it. Taking a boob obsessed toddler to the beach didn’t sound appealing! Plus, I had to figure out beach essentials for a nursing toddler. 

I’ll admit, I waited until the last minute to prepare for this beach trip. There was so much going on and before I knew it, I only had days until we were due to leave. I also planned this trip for the weekend after Labor Day so there were not a lot of beach supplies in our local stores.

I’ve never been more thankful for Amazon Prime. I literally didn’t start shopping until 3 days before our trip. That’s not like me at all! Amazingly, we had everything we needed for the beach.

Here is my list of 2o beach essentials when taking a breastfed toddler to the beach:

Beach Essential Must Haves for Babies and Toddlers

1. Breathable Nursing Cover

I have several nursing covers but I find that they always make my daughter sweaty, especially during the summer. It was going to be hot on the beach and I knew my other covers wouldn’t get the job done. We love muslin blankets and I have used them as a cover in a pinch. They have worked well but I didn’t think it would maintain my privacy on the beach. When I came across a nursing cover that was made of muslin, I couldn’t pass it up. I knew it would be lightweight and breathable, exactly what I needed!

I was able to nurse her on the beach and in restaurants without either of us getting overheated!


I initially didn’t think about getting a tent but I am so glad that I did! It served multiple purposes.We used it to store our belongings while we were out on the beach. So, there was no need to worry about sand getting all over everything. My baby had a place to play while also being shielded from the sun. The back has a mesh opening that allows a breeze to flow through, which was wonderful. You can also keep that opening closed. Surprisingly, the tent was able to accommodate me as well. I was able to use it to nurse privately! It felt great not being limited to the nursing cover.

The tent was really easy to set up. When you take it out of its box, it just pups up! It comes with a travel bag which made it really easy to transport. At first we didn’t realize it came with tie down pegs and couldn’t figure out how to keep the tent secured on the ground. Once we figured that out we were good to go!

3. Cooler Bag

We knew we would be on the beach for a while and did not want to have to travel back and forth to the hotel room. I used a cooler bag to keep our drinks and perishable snack items cold. I brought a bottle of water for my daughter and used this to keep refilling her sippy cup.

One of the things I loved was that the bag looked “beachy” and was also light weight. It didn’t take up much room in the tent which was another plus.

4. Water Shoes

Kenz just started walking two days before we went to the beach. It was important that she had a hard bottom shoe that could also get wet. She outgrew all of her sandals and of course the stores were no longer selling them. This water shoe was perfect. It provided the stability I was looking for and protected her feet from the hot sand. I’m not sure how well they will hold up overtime as I know she’ll only wear them one more time.

5. Swim Diapers

Before my daughter took swim lessons I was unaware that you shouldn’t use a regular diaper in the water. I know I can’t be the only new mom that didn’t know that! Needless to say you’ll want swim diapers on the beach. We use Pampers Splashers  for the pool and they also worked great at the beach. My main concern in the water is not getting pooped on. These diapers definitely prevent that from happening .

6. Sunscreen

We went to Disney back in the spring. Before that trip I did extensive research on sunscreen for both Kenz and myself. I decided on Neutrogena’s Baby Sunscreen. I like that it rubs in easily, is water resistant, hypoallergenic, and has great sun protection. Neutrogena also makes a sunscreen for adults. That’s what I use for myself, it works great.

It goes without saying the importance of sunscreen. Please don’t take your baby to the beach without it. According to the CDC unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun in as little as 15 minutes. Even if it’s a cloudy day, everyone still needs sunscreen.

7. Swim Suit

The swim suit is just as important in protecting your baby from the sun as sunscreen is.  I had no idea about rash guard swim suits before becoming a mom. I often wondered why people were wearing long sleeves in the blazing heat. Now I know they were wearing a rash guard. It provides an extra layer of protection from the sun. A rash guard swim suit should never replace sunscreen. Instead, the two should be utilized together.  I only buy swim suits for outdoor use that have rash guard protection.

8. Beach Towels

There was no way to know how many visits we were going to make to the beach during our stay. I wanted to make sure we had enough beach towels because there would be no way to wash them until we got home. The hotel sold beach towels but they were super overpriced! No way would we be using those.

The beach towels I brought were perfect and able to serve double duty. We used them to lay and sit on while relaxing in the sand. Then, we were able to dry off with them after getting out of the ocean. I also used them as a mat to keep sand out of the tent. They are very durable and will be used on future beach trips.

9. Sun Hat

We’ve been using the same sun hat since spring started. It’s very versatile. She has used it when playing outside at daycare, going to the park, attending an outdoor wedding, and now the beach. The ties are very helpful in preventing it from flying away. There was a quite a bit of wind during our beach trip so I was grateful for that. It also stops her from taking it off!

10. Wet Bags

Wet bags are great for transporting wet clothes and wet shoes. I keep them in my diaper bag as well. They come in quite handy for blowouts and when she’s spit milk or water all over her clothes. It’s a good way to separate dirty clothes from clean clothes as well. At the beach I used it for her wet swim suit and spare outfit.

11. Beach Toys

You can’t take a toddler to the beach without beach toys! Kenz is only 14 months so there was only so much “playing” we could do. She did enjoy banging the toys together though. The little buckets kept being utilized as a cup so we didn’t let her play with them in the sand. These are toys that she’ll also be able to use on future beach trips. Until next summer I’ll just let her play with them in the tub.

12. Mesh Bag

A mesh bag is a great place to store beach toys. When beach day is over, simply gather the toys and put them in the mesh bag. As you’re exiting the beach and rinsing your legs and feet off, rinse the toys off too. Once you’re back in your hotel room or wherever you’re staying, place the mesh bag with toys on the balcony and let them dry. We had small toys. You may want to opt for a larger bag if your have bigger toys.

13. Life Vest

I’m one paranoid momma, especially when it comes to my baby and water. Kenz’s dad didn’t think a life vest was necessary but I did! You never know what can happen. I’d rather be safe than sorry. The life vest we used is for babies under 30 pounds. If you need a larger one, try this life vest.

14. Cooling Towel

We have a cooling towel that we purchased at Disney and it works great. Luckily for us, it wasn’t extremely hot during our beach trip. We did not end up using the cooling towel this time. It is a must have item if going to the beach during the summer!

15. Beach Bag

That’s a lot of stuff you’re hauling to the beach. How are you going to get everything there? A beach bag of course! I packed everything neatly in this bag and transport was a breeze. I did have some help with the heavy stuff.

16. Portable Fan

A portable fan makes a great addition to your beach gear. It’s a nice way to keep air circulating and keep your baby cool. There was a nice breeze on the beach when we went so we did not end up needing this. We will continue to bring it on future beach trips and outdoor outings.

What do you need for you?

17. Umbrella

We ended up buying a beach umbrella once we got to the beach. It was on sale and I hadn’t thought to purchase one in advance. This was also the first time I ever purchased an umbrella for the beach and I made a rookie mistake. We didn’t know that we needed to buy an anchor! I was holding on to that umbrella for dear life as the wind kept blowing it over. But, none of the other umbrellas were blowing away. Finally, I asked the guy next to us and he let me know that we needed an anchor. We will definitely get one of those next time! I ended up holding the umbrella and it did provide the shade I desired. I know it’ll be even better next time!!!

18. Beach Chairs

There was a local beach shop that we passed after eating breakfast. They were having a sale on their beach chairs so we purchased two. It felt nice to have something to sit 0n. The chairs actually folded which made it easy to take back and forth.

19. Snacks

Snacks are a must for you and the baby. We filled up on puffs, fruit, and Go-Go squeeze pouches. For the adults we purchased chips, cookies, crackers, and gatorade. The snacks we didn’t eat on the beach were eaten later in the hotel room. No food went to waste!

20.Cover up

Things just don’t feel the same after having my baby. I don’t feel right walking around in a two piece bikini. Breastfeeding has taken away all of my baby weight so that’s not an issue. For some reason I just felt more comfortable with my cover up. It didn’t hurt that the cover up was cute too!

I hope that you’ve found my list of beach essentials helpful. Did I miss anything? What do you take with you to the beach. Share with us below! 

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