*** This article originally appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of Traverse Bay Family Magazine. It is reprinted with permission. ***
While my youngest is more of a toddler than a baby at this point, it seems like only yesterday that we were carting a little 6 month old all over hill and dale in search of family friendly summer fun. It never failed that I forgot SOMETHING that I knew I should take to make our summer day out more enjoyable for all of us.
1. Sun Hats.
No matter how much hair a baby has it’s essential to have a good sun hat to keep the sensitive skin on their face, neck and head from burning. I’ve found that the kind of hats with snaps on the straps are best because baby’s have a hard time getting them unsnapped. Sun hats with a little Velcro works great, too. The best places I’ve found affordable children’s sun hats are Old Navy and The Children’s place. They usually have a wide selection of colors and styles and best of all, several sizes so it’s not sliding over your little bundle’s eyes!
2. Slings or Baby Carriers.
No matter what your parenting style, there is nothing more useful than a baby carrier or sling in the summer. Slings are great during times when crowds are so thick that you can hardly move. It’s nice to not have to force a stroller through a throng of people. It’s also useful if baby gets fussy or sleepy and isn’t interested in being in the stroller. My personal favorite is an adjustable ring sling, but others I know love Mai Tai slings or Baby Bjorn carriers. You can test out different styles of slings compliments of Grand Traverse Natural Parenting (http://on.fb.me/TrySlings).
3. Baby Legs.
I’m a big fan of being in the sun as much as possible. After all, there are only about 75 days where you can absorb enough Vitamin D to get you through the winter! When they’ve been out long enough, I like to cover them up when possible. My favorite things for covering up baby’s sensitive arms & legs are Baby Legs (http://www.babylegs.com). Baby Legs work great on their arms AND legs. Not only does it keep the sun off, but it’s useful for dealing with mosquitos and the cold, too.
For those times when covering up isn’t practical, sunscreen is also a must have in your summer baby gear. If you go for normal commercial sunscreens, even the baby ones are only recommended for 6 months and up. If you are in interested in natural sunscreens, check out Kitchen Stewardship (http://bit.ly/KSNatSun) – she tested over 40 different natural sunscreens/sunblocks!