To shield or not to shield? That is my question. Now that I'm on baby number two, I find myself racking my brain to remember how I handled Number One's first summer in the sun as far as protection goes.
My son was covered in an unscented, all-natural, department store-bought "baby" sunscreen along with a sunhat which he refused to keep on and one of those cute rash guard surfer shirts that claim to have SPF 200 or something like that. Basically, he might as well have been inside.
On top of the outfit and skincare, my friends and I would call and organize a plan to ensure someone was at the pool early enough in the day to get the "good" chairs-the ones under an umbrella in complete shade.
I should mention that my friends with daughters had a completely different experience. Yes, those friends still came early for the umbrellas, but their baby girls looked like they were going to the pool-that is to say, you could actually see skin. Between my son's long-sleeved swimming shirt, hat and trunks that hit at his little baby ankles, it looked more like he was going to ski school than swim lessons.
So why is it that the little girls get to shake their baby stuff at the pool but the dudes have to wear summer snowsuits? Does their feminine skin not burn? Do their parents not care? Or is it that the swimsuits for little girls are so damn cute that it's worth a little less time in the water? As a mommy to a baby girl, I'm going with the cute suits. My daughter is only 6-months old (tomorrow!) and she already has a few suits. Ok, she has a bathing suit drawer, but does my husband really need to know that? Trust me, the little black and white gingham two-piece and the navy blue one-piece with the little pink hearts will make hours of umbrella time worth every second.
And as far as my son is concerned, I think his 2-year-old body is ready to absorb some vitamin D. I'm thinking SPF 50 (one for the body, one for the face, one for the nose, eyes, ears and lips), trunks, arm floaties, and flip flops so his feet don't burn on the concrete around the pool. And although his bathing suit will most likely still hit at his little ankles and the floaties will cover both arms entirely, that toddler chest is in for some golden rays. But I'm still calling ahead for the good chairs.
Please note that doctors do NOT recommend sunscreen for children under 6 months! I am not a doctor, not married to a doctor, didn't even enjoy playing doctor all that much as a child. Please keep your tiny ones on the "good" chairs.