Packing for a vacation with baby is never easy. I’d like to share what we learned from going on our trip to Mexico. I am hoping this post will help other parents embarking on their first beach/pool/hot weather vacation!
If you’re going to be out in the sun, you need to protect baby’s delicate skin! Our pediatrician did not recommend any sunscreen for babies under 6 months old so please check with your baby’s doctor for their recommendation.
We consulted the EWG Sunscreen Guide which rates sunscreens on effectiveness and toxicity of ingredients. We chose the BabyGanics Cover-Up Baby Sunscreen, SPF 50+ which is very highly rated on the EWG Sunscreen Guide and is fairly inexpensive. It has a hazard score of 2 which is considered a low hazard item. The best score is 0, and worst score is 10. Be aware that the commonly sold size is 6 oz so you won’t be able to bring this in a carry-on bag.
We also brought along a hat with a strap since our little one tends to rip hats off her head.
Bug Protection and Treatment
Since we were attending an evening wedding, we had issues with mosquitos the night of the wedding. I got absolutely eaten ALIVE! I think the problem was that I was sitting in front of the wedding lights which were attracting tons of bugs. In the first 5 minutes sitting at the dinner table, I got about 10 bites on my legs and feet! A friend got bitten so many times her ankles swelled up dramatically! Thankfully, my little one did not get a single bite. Also thankfully, one of the other moms was prepared with an organic bugspray that was safe for babies. My friend with the swollen ankles quickly ran to the hotel convenience store to get some anti-itch cream. Fortunately, they had something. Unfortunately, we didn’t recognize any of the ingredients. I really wish we had brought our own supply of hydrocortizone that our doctors have told us is safe for breastfeeding and for babies. I took the risk and used a bit of the topical gel on my bites but I am just glad I didn’t have to decide whether or not to use that questionable gel on my daughter. Next time, I’ll be packing the hydrocortizone that I know is safe for her.
Pool Essentials — Toys & Diapers
A friend brought along their baby spring float toy and this thing is a lifesaver for playing with babies in the pool! Since our 1 year old doesn’t know how to swim yet and can’t use a regular donut pool float, this made it really easy for her to sit and enjoy the pool while mom and dad splashed around her. Without this, we would have to always have 1 arm around baby. By using the pool float, we could stay within arms reach, but still have our hands free. This is one reason why we love hanging out with other parents — we always seem to learn something new from them!
To hang out in the pool, you’ll also need a supply of swim diapers. Swim diapers will contain your baby’s poops, but not pee… so don’t put them on until you’re ready to jump in the water! You may have a warm accident otherwise We use Pampers disposable diapers though there are lots of great reusable swim diaper options as well. The nice thing about the Pampers ones that we use is that the sides tear away. I think several of the reusable options also have this feature. Friends have told me that they recommend the Charlie Banana brand.
Food and Snacks
Our little one is eating table foods now, though we still like to give her puree pouches since she still can’t chew crunchy veggies very well yet. For breakfast, she ate eggs and banana off my plate. For lunch and dinner, she would eat cut up chicken and beef and puree pouches. All of that was available from the resort. We also brought puffs and dried fruit bars with us. She really enjoys Happy Baby Organic puffs and Ella’s Kitchen Nibbly Fingers Bars. There was no problem bringing any of that with us into Mexico. The other baby we shared with seemed to enjoy these as well.
In Case of Emergency
One thing that I truly hope no parent experiences is a medical issue while on vacation. Not only are you worried about your little one, you are now faced with dealing with it without your regular pediatrician and perhaps in a foreign country with medical professionals speaking a different language. A friend gave me this tip long ago that I hope that you’ll find useful as well–bring baby tylenol and a thermometer with you on all your trips! You don’t want to be trying to find a store that sells this in the middle of the night when your baby has a fever. Also, don’t forget to bring the information that lists the proper dosage amount! Our pediatrician provides us a leaflet that lists dosage amount of tylenol by the weight of the baby. I keep a copy of this on my phone, though I should really keep a printed copy tucked in with the bottle of tylenol as well.
Did I miss anything from my vacation essentials list? I’d love to hear your opinions!