Most Popular Posts

Monday, February 25, 2013

Do or Don't: Naked babies at the beach

The last time we were at the beach, something surprising happened...

We didn't have Toby's swimsuit with us, so I just stripped off his clothes and diaper without thinking twice. He scampered around starkers, happy as a clam, putting his toes in the water and running on the sand. After all, the beach wasn't crowded, there were mostly young families, and he's only two years old. Plus, our cousins and I had run naked around the beach a million times when we were little, so it seemed like a regular part of childhood. Totally par for the course.

But.

That day, although the parents nearby were chatting with us nonchalantly, I noticed a few glances from other grownups. Maybe I'm imagining it? I thought.

Then a seven-year-old girl came over to ask Toby, "Why are you naked?" I explained to her that we forgot his bathing suit, so he was just swimming naked that day. She looked perplexed.

A few minutes later, we were walking down the beach, and I heard a group of young kids giggling and whispering, "There goes the naked baby!"

Wait, I thought with a forehead slap...was his nakedness a faux pas?

In the end, I decided to put his diaper on and let him run around in it, which was fine, even though it got heavy and soggy from the water. Of course, I didn't want to make people feel uncomfortable, and I didn't mind what he wore.

But it made me wonder...is it not socially acceptable to have a naked toddler at the beach? Maybe I'm just used to swimming in my grandparents' tiny village where everyone knows each other. Maybe it's less appropriate when you don't know the crowd personally? Maybe this crowd was more reserved than elsewhere? Maybe it's just less appropriate these days, in 2013?

I'm so curious and would LOVE to hear your thoughts! Maybe also mention where you're from, since it might be interesting to hear if various states/regions/countries feel differently. (Regardless, I'll remember Toby's swimming suit next time:) Thank you so much!
(Photos by our friend Sharon when we were in Fire Island last summer)

389 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 389 of 389
Vale Cervarich said...

What got me was the comments from the kids, too. They clearly hadn't had much/any exposure to naked toddlers before. So?
My guess is the Crazy Rampant American Consumerism. So many cute suits to buy! I can't stop myself from buying darling little bathing suits. Joanna has one, just forgot it. Everyone has them, and thus uses them... and now all the babies are suited.

Mishi said...

I'm from the Big Island (HI) and I think being a carefree naked 2 year old at the beach is totally harmless. It's the norm here. I do get a bit uncomfortable when they look older than two and I think that's because I was expected to teach my children what is and isn't appropriate for preschool around that age. Not a super big deal at all, that's just me!

Gentiana said...

My son is 19 months old and I never use diapers or other swimsuits on him , when we are at the beach. We live in italy and have a holiday house in the South of France and in both places kids and toddlers go naked without any kInd of problem, I breastfed him naked on the beach and everybody was smiling at me with huge comprehension and love towards my baby. This is something I really do not understand about Americans as I do think you are more free and open minded than us the Europeans :-) .

Carla said...

I didn't get through all the comments, but you mention that first you thought you were imagining judgmental eyes, then a 7-year old and some young kids were the only ones to comment, and all they did was express curiosity and then remark on his nakedness. This incident seems to have nothing to do with American prudishness in general but rather the author herself and her own hangups and fears.

And I'm born and raised in Los Angeles, and don't care about a naked child on the beach but I would be really grossed out to find myself in the water with a toddler wearing a sagging diaper--who knows what's floating out of that thing when it gets stretched out!

JessieMC said...

I'm from North Carolina and don't have kids. I think it's GREAT and freaking cute when babies and little kids are allowed to run naked at the beach. I can't say that I see it happen super often down here, but I think people are fine when it does happen. Most toddlers I see on the beach end up taking off their clothes at some point because having that sand trapped against your body is pretty uncomfortable. :) I'm glad when I see parents who just let it happen.

Also, in the NC mountains, it's pretty common to see naked kids playing in streams in the summertime. Maybe more "proof" that it's okay.

Lizzy said...

I got the idea from the story that the only people with an issue with his nudity were other children, not adults. I can see how kids would be curious or just a little embarrassed to see a naked little boy, if they're not used to nudity. I'd say it's universal that little kids can be naked at the beach. I have a 2 year old who I would let be naked and a five year old who I would not let be naked. It depends on age.

abby said...

rye, nh . . . full of naked babies.

Emily said...

I think my parents always had us in swimsuits, but I've seen naked babies at the beach several times and didn't even think about it! I'm from California, so maybe it's a west coast thing, but I just feel like it's none of my business, and it's certainly not hurting anyone.

chiara said...

I think it's totally acceptable and fine, I see nothing wrong with it - BUT a friend of mine had to hospitalize her 18 month old baby boy because he got a urinary tract infection playing naked in the sand at the beach. After that happened, I've always kept a diaper, bathing suit or even just underpants on my boys, just in case.

Sara said...

i had the same thought, less of a deal a the beach but i would never let my toddler naked in the pool or pool area for this reason! Especially since their are still breastfed, its not like their poops are easy to clean up (TMI)

Georgia Hewett said...

My mum has a series of photos of her three children naked on the beach as babies. I love those photos. It follows our travels as a young family since every child is on a different beach. My little sister is sitting in black New Zealand sand. We're Australian and I've always seen naked toddlers running around at the beach when I was growing up, but our national fear of the sun has seen babies covered from head to toe in recent years.

RR said...

I think I'm in the minority here but I think it's not appropriate - just because I'm concerned about the weirdos seeing my kid. I don't want to get someone interested in my kid at all (from a kidnapping standpoint) - I just want to blend in. Similarly, my 4-yr old girl will not be wearing bikinis anytime soon (1 pieces only) because I see no point in sex-ing up a child. I personally see no problem in a toddler in just a water diaper though.

Amy P said...

I'm from Vancouver Island (BC, Canada). I have a 21 month old, so now I don't think twice about baby nudity - doesn't bother me in the least. A few months ago though I posted a photo of my naked daughter (backside, not front) on facebook and received flak...so I guess it's just not acceptable. I do remember that before I had kids I felt slightly awkward around a naked baby. Kind of a don't-know-where-to-look feeling.

I don't think it's wrong, per se, but I think it will make some people feel awkward to see a naked toddler/child. It's personal choice as to how much you want other people to feel comfortable around your family - some people couldn't care less about what others think; others are more willing to accommodate.

RR said...

Also, what about sunburn in that sensitive area? I was just in Hawaii last week and found it so refreshing that nearly everyone wears rash guard swim shirts (children and adults).

Ryan and Bea said...

It's so interesting that the adults you were talking to were nonchalant about it, but the ones further away stared. I find this is usually the case - once you actually approach someone and talk to them, judgment quickly dissipates - both ways! - Bea

kiki said...

ha! I think it's totally fine...however; funny story to go with this. We got married on the beach here in Oregon, where all beaches are totally public. That meant we just staked out a spot of sand for our ceremony and the rest of the beach was not closed to the public. That was totally fine, it was just a small low-key group. However! There was a family right behind the whole ceremony that let their kids run around totally naked for the whole thing. Didn't bother us a bit...until we got the pics back and realized the photographer had to photoshop naked kiddos out of almost all of our wedding pics! LOL. poor photographer, but I really wouldn't have wanted that memory forever in the background of our wedding ceremony. hahaha

Sara said...

I grew up south of Seattle and we played in the water naked all the time with our friends up until about age 5 or 6. I definitely let my daughter swim naked last summer at a nearby lake and in the Puget Sound (she's 1) and plan to let her this summer as well! I can't believe people gave you looks! Little girls in bikinis bother me more than naked kids!

fancyalterego said...

I'm from Ohio, used to be a lifeguard, and this has always been my rule of thumb:

It's cool until they're in school.

For most Americans, that puts the kids at about 4-5 years old. After that, it gets more socially weird for the kids themselves. I have noticed from my years of lifeguarding and teaching swimming lessons that kids don't seem to care much about social "norms" until they start going to school on a regular basis. Make sure to cover them with a good coat of sunscreen, especially those parts that don't usually see the sun! Nothing like a bad sunburn on their butt to ruin a perfectly good day/week!

Just make sure that, in a pool setting, they're ALWAYS wearing something. Nature is meant to handle your kid dropping a poop in the ocean...pools are not.

~Heather P.

Sanja said...

I used to be naked on the beach as a kid, and I still see kids up to 4-5 years old naked. I'm from Croatia (Europe), btw. I think people are becoming overly sensitive to things like that and making a problem where there wasn't one in the first place.

Mags Pomichowski said...

I don't see a problem with it and I wouldn't judge someone else for it personally. But I would not let my child run around naked in public. My reason for this is, b/c there are a lot of wierdo's out there and I wouldn't want someone even looking at my child and having strange thoughts. Kids are too innocent and the world is too messed up, sadly. Just my opinion.

xoxo
Mags
http://magsmind22.blogspot.com/

Jojo A. said...

I live in Oakland, CA and don't think it's strange at all for some nakey time for a baby/toddler...I wonder if people have a certain age in their mind that the nakedness becomes taboo? I think it helps reinforce a positive body image at an early age for kids to be allowed to have naked time.

a said...

free the baby!!! ;-)

stacy said...

I;m from Austin, TX and in general, find that we don't really seem to bat an eye if there;s a naked baby/ toddler on a beach/at a lake. I used to let my daughter run around the beach from time to time without her swimsuit/diaper, but now that she's four, if Im honest, I think it would be a little inappropriate. Im not sure what the "cut off" age is for good taste on the matter, but maybe till they are 3?

Nancy Cavillones said...

This is a tough one for me. Even though I have no problem with baby nakedness, I do get uncomfortable thinking about what kind of attention that might attract towards my child. I think if I were at a private late or beach, I would feel better about it but if I were in a very public place, I would leave the swimsuit on. I've also fooled myself into thinking that wearing a swimsuit helps to keep sand out of all those tricky spots...which of course is not true. LOL

Kimber said...

I agree -- Europeans are SO much more comfortable with this sort of thing. My grandparents are Hungarian. Even though my family is quite religious, nudity was just not a big deal for us. We didn't watch R-rated movies, but we definitely spent a lot of time at topless beaches!

www.fivetdsisters.blogspot.com

Rebecca said...

I would say it's completely ok here in Australia, but things do seem to be changing. We had a huge sculpture of a naked baby on Bondi Beach a couple of years ago and it had to be covered up because it was considered by some to be sexual! Bizarre if you ask me! I can't see why little people can't be naked at the beach, it seems ridiculous, and inconsequential to anyone else.

Elena Ni said...

I come from Spain and as Nomadic D. says, its the most natural thing in the world! and not only in Spain, in Scandinavian countries you can even see naked kids playing in the park or any fountain when the summer is too hot.
I think the problem relies on the people who sees any obscenity on a kid's body...

Lindsey McLean said...

Of course he should go naked!! I am from the Northwest, living in Switzerland. I'm going on a yoga retreat in Ibiza in May with a bunch of friends. One of the things we look forward to most is letting our toddlers run around naked on the beach. It's one of childhood's quintessential moments. xo

Shelly said...

Totally acceptable to me.

Catherine Masi said...

I grew up in the northeast- where I think people would have been split on the concept of baby nudies. But I have no issue with it. Let 'em run happy and free nekkid... wish I could get away with it!

Catherine Masi said...

p.s. Those Toby photos are lovely.

Adam, Belinda & Rondo said...

From Australia and the only reason people would look twice is if it was a boiling hot day and we didnt have him covered head to toe in a rash vest and sunscreen!

Bakehouseblog said...

I'm British and it is a major DO!
Little bare bots?
Yes!
They spend so much time in nappies..letting fresh sea air in is a must do.
And lots of sunblock natch

J V-Ney said...

Lord, if you can't be naked at the beach as a toddler, when can you be?? I'm from So Cal and it seems totally fine to me!

kati said...

eek, this seems like the kind of thing you just do and don't ask first. :)

Shauna El said...

I live in Australia near the beach and you often see little kids running around in the nud at the beach. Although I will say over the last few years the numbers are dwindling, due to our climate and massive hole in the ozone that seems to be situated right over Australia and NZ, it's juat far too dangerous to do it nowadays. Unless you have early morning trips to the beach and loads of sunscreen.
But I grew up at the beach and even did Surf Life Saving in my early adult years and you'd constantly see naked kids running around. No one said a thing except we've lost the freedom to take it all off. Like many European beaches.
But like many people you can't trust the people you don't know at the beach. You never could but it seems pedophiles have it a lot easier these days with the digital world.

Shauna El said...

I live in Australia near the beach and you often see little kids running around in the nud at the beach. Although I will say over the last few years the numbers are dwindling, due to our climate and massive hole in the ozone that seems to be situated right over Australia and NZ, it's juat far too dangerous to do it nowadays. Unless you have early morning trips to the beach and loads of sunscreen.

But like many parents I think now you can't trust the people you don't know at the beach. You never could but it seems pedophiles have it a lot easier these days with the digital world.

Janan said...

From the States: I don't have a problem with naked babies or toddlers. My own 4 were really only ever naked at home though. At pools, lakes they wore at least a swim diaper. No pooping in the water please:)

Joanna. said...

I'm from the North of England, so it's rare that it's warm enough for kids (or anyone) to go swimming in the sea, but when it is a lot of toddlers go naked and a lot of little girls go topless. Even though Brits are looked at as prudes, I don't think many people would bat an eyelid at a little lad like Toby running about having a whale of a time. I agree with other commenters though, that maybe the social awareness of pedophiles has darkened the view of letting kids enjoy themselves, but when I have kids, I'll be letting them roam freeeee! (You should let Toby run about free in the future too!) xx

peaas.blogspot.com

Benedicte said...

I am in France and I noticed that there are less and less naked babies at the beach. I think it's 2013 spirit.

Courtney Adamo said...

Here in Europe, I definitely let my babies be naked on the beach. But I always notice when we go to the US for the summer, that the nudi-ness is less accepted. In fact, my boys (now aged 7 and 5) always wear the tighter brief-style swimsuits which are super common here in Europe... but when we go to the US, they always get teased for wearing their 'underwear' at the beach. So silly! After all, they are just little kids! And even if they were wearing their undies... who cares?!

SLOmygosh said...

I'm from Kauai, where beach baby nakedness is totally standard. The tourists don't do it much, but we tend to disregard their opinions anyway- since they're on our island. When my daughter was around 3 I had her wear a bikini bottom.

When my children were 3 and 5 we moved to California and here they've always worn suits- it just seemed to be the norm, and therefore more comfortable for everyone. I definitely think it's a cultural issue, and (mainland) Americans seem to be weirdly conservative about it.

Carol said...

It's not only acceptable (to me anyway) it is important to have diaper free time. Bulky diapers actually affect the hip development of children and it's important to let them have play time without one. Next time just tell them to mind their own business because there is absolutely nothing wrong with a 2 year old running around naked. I wonder what would have happened if you'd tried to breastfeed him! (Toronto)

kel said...

I'm from California but have lived various:
Naked babies at the beach is pure. freedom. joy. we should all have so much fun! ;)
it's sad when we have to live with disapproval, pedophiles and the like...can't we just let the babies have their fun in the sun (with sunscreen) ;)

Iliska Dreams said...

The only reason I don't let Jarvis go naked at the beach more is Queensland sun cooks little bodies. But if it is late afternoon or early morning, then I let him play naked. If I put a nappy on him, he takes it off (he has been taking off his on nappy since he was 12 months). With our beach culture, maybe we are more relaxed about kids, well being kids on the beach and playing naked.

http://iliska-dreams.blogspot.com.au/

Lindsay Rondo said...

I had my son in Hawaii and I don't think he wore a bathing suit much at all for the first 6 months of his life. This last summer when my son was 2, I let him run around naked at the beach and the lake. He would always start in a bathing suit but not always end up in it. And what is cuter than a little nakey bum? I say who cares! It's too cute.

Laura said...

I think Kendriana hit the nail on the head. Maybe the reason why people seem less OK with nakedness is because we generally see nakedness in the context of half-naked adults in ads (read: nakedness = sex, as opposed to nakedness just being nakedness). Also, is nakedness a word? ;) Maybe we're so entrenched in this culture of public sexualization that even an innocent little toddler running on the beach naked is seen as improper. I don't know. I feel like there's a duality to the whole modesty thing, though. Covering up is seen as a way to preserve innocence, but the need to cover up is in and of itself a kind of sexualization of the body. It's an acknowledgement of the body as something other than this totally natural, innocent thing. Well, maybe there's a difference between private & sexual. Maybe it's just that we believe that certain things are meant to be private, even (or some would argue especially) for children. I don't know. I think it's complicated. But I do think there has been a shift in what we believe is proper, and it has a lot of do with how we view children & innocence. Kids grow up a lot faster these days, but why & it what ways? What caused the shift? Maybe I'm reading too much into this. I don't have any kids yet, but I don't know what I'd do, at what age I'd think it inappropriate to run around naked on the beach. I grew up in Puerto Rico in the 80s, and I definitely spent time as a toddler just naked on the beach. I remember being 5 or 6, and wearing only a bathing suit bottom to the beach in Italy. I have a distinct memory of realizing that every other girl my age was wearing a different kind of bathing suit & asking my mom if I could wear one like that. And she got me one, but I'm pretty sure I wore it for half a day or so until I switched back to what I was used to. I guess it's interesting that, even though my parents were born in Italy & we spent nearly every summer there, I was still most comfortable in my American bathing suit. p.s. these photos of Toby are beautiful!

Claudia said...

Totally disagree with you. This sounds as in italian beaches, family don't play with their children, naked or not. Ridiculous. When I go to the beach with my children, I dedicate all day to family activities and playing around with them. We garantee that we avoid the hottest sun hours and give plenty of protection to their skins... And this, i do, wether there're naked or not. It's important to love your body, to be natural and not full of fears and prudiness... An this I try to instill in my children.
Oh, and perverts will allways be. Be alert and protect them in a way that they can be happy and free as possible. Live and let live!!!!

Jessica Quadra Photography said...

another american living in spain here and i agree that the modesty that goes along with this seems very american to me. i see naked babies/kids and topless women on the beach here in barcelona and no one bats an eye, which is great. that said, i am definitely one of those modest americans (raised in orange county, california, first generation american, nicaraguan family, catholic grandma, aka not a naked house:) while i wouldn't / don't mind seeing naked babies playing, i think i'd be self conscious about letting my baby (if i had one!) play naked around strangers. lots of creepers out there! but again, maybe that's a total american fear?! bottom line, i think where you are and who you're with can dictate your decision.

GOSIA said...

where's the logic? You see celebrities in full make up, glittering tops and than only pants (underwear) on and this seems to be perfectly acceptable for everyone + en vogue, on tv tits of various tv hostesses almost explode out of their 'humble' outfits and it's still ok. But if you slightly expose your breast to feed your baby or let a 2 yo run on the beach than it's dirty. I don't get it - can anyone enlighten me?

sweetbetweens.com said...

I was born in Paris, France and in ALL of the pictures of me at the beach from birth to age 3, I am stark naked. My parents have stories just like yours of kiddos coming up to me and asking why I'm naked and me just looking at them as if to say "why not?". Must be a Europe vs. America culture thing.

abigail jane schrag said...

Interesting thought. I live in Bellingham Washington and I don't think anyone here would even flinch at a naked toddler at the beach. But we are sort of a hippy haven (like Portland's nerdy younger brother) so it's par for the course.

Emily said...

Joanna, it sounds to me like everyone at your beach thought it was ok as well! The girl who came up to you was just 7, and the other comments you heard came from children commenting on the naked baby. And there was a naked baby! Sure, you got some glances, but no-one approached you or said anything. Glances at the only naked baby running around on the beach, are to be expected, but I don't think anyone seemed rude or overly puritan, especially when you consider that you yourself usually have Toby in a swimsuit. No-one thinks its wrong, but Toby is old enough (approaching three, meaning old enough to probably explain to the girl himself that he was naked, which I would say is a solid standard) that its out of the ordinary. I wouldn't read too much into it.

Sarah Raaen said...

It's totally normal to see naked babes and toddlers at the beach, here in Australia (although perhaps not on a large crowded beach like Bondi). It may just be our 'laidback' attitude to these sorts of things, but I can't see the harm in letting your child swim naked. Why worry about what others think at the expense of your child enjoying himself.

Sar x

Rob and Amber said...

I live in Hawaii and see naked babies at the beach ALL THE TIME, including my 18 month old son! Well, usually when we're getting ready to leave we give him a bit of "free time" because we're so anal about the sun/sunscreen. But he LOVES it, and it never even occurred to me that anyone would even care! No one has ever said anything to us, and I've never noticed anyone staring/giving us awkward looks either.

natalienoods said...

I think it's fine. I grew up in Ohio and I have glorious memories of running around the sprinkler in just my undies with my siblings--in the front yard, no less! People who butt into your business like that need to learn how to live and let live!

tragicsandwich said...

I think that if you can't run around naked on the beach when you're a baby, when can you? My only concern, really, would be sun exposure.

Baguette has been known to wear only a swim diaper. Shocking!

Rose Catron said...

When I was in preschool (so I must have been younger than 6), my little friends and I were pretending to sunbathe at the school. The teacher at the preschool took me aside and told me I had to put a shirt on. When I asked her why my friends didn't have to wear a shirt (they were all boys), but I did, she explained that girls were different and we couldn't go around without a shirt. I remember a distinct feeling of shame and embarrassment that I didn't have before.

Guess all I am saying is that time where you can run around sans clothes is kind of precious. With all of our weird things about bodies, isn't it refreshing to see a little kid who is just joyful and enjoying the day?

Clairsy said...

Here in Australia I ran around nakie til I was about 7! (Ok by the end some of the older kids started teasing me so I stopped!). My 1 year old was nude a the beach yesterday, until I started to worry about burning his bot.
I think the US is more conservative than us - I recall a popular children's picture book here had an illustration of a little naked boy at the beach, and when they published it in the US they had to draw little swimmers on him (he was only a small detail in a whole beach scene).
It's a bit sad I think.

DoodleArtsbyAlecia said...

I am from Austin and recently had a conversation about this with a friend. With all of Austin's lovely swimming places, naked babies are often part of the scenery. But that doesn't mean people don't stare and judge. I came to the conclusion that it opens the door for inappropriateness. I would rather put bottoms on my child then have someone snapping pictures (mental or real) or making remarks with inappropriate intentions. That being said, I have no problem with girls not in tops as long as they are comfortable. Then again, its legal for women to be topless all over Austin, so maybe that is local culture influencing me.

fleur_delicious said...

I grew up in Oregon and I remember I was five when my mother insisted I could no longer run around topless outside on hot summer days - I remember, because I was SO MAD because my older brother got to but I didn't! =)

I was also a very tall kid, so I might have seemed older than I actually was. I think my mother started dressing us according to American cultural standards as we entered school.

- Jessi - said...

I don't see a problem with it, but personally, maybe because I have a daughter, I don't let her go naked at the beach. Only our yard at home. The reason is there are too many creepers and weird, child molesters everywhere. The last thing I want them looking at is my naked 2 year old.

liquidlucids said...

It´s totally acceptable and natural, and I think most people from my country would agree with me!
(Denmark)

A Student Cook said...

In the UK it totally noramal for children under 5 to run around naked. Even in city water parks. Even on the Southbank in central london when they turn the fountains on.

Me and my siblings always wore tshirts abroad, even if nothing else, to protect us from the sun.

But at home in England, I guess we never have the problem of worrying about sun protection too much. :P

Ana DeStefano said...

People should mind their own business!!!! I know sometimes things can be cultural, but really???
Everytime I see people rolling eyes it reminds me annoying in-laws :( Pepto, please!

MaeMing82 said...

Interesting replies! I don't think it's offensive at all and on the beach it shouldn't be an issue...but knowing all the perverse things that go on in this world I would never allow my child to do it.

Rea said...

I love Europe - naked babies at the sea/lake/pool and breastfeeding moms with them.. life is so normal!

Effie said...

I think I would prefer to see toddlers in swim suits, but its not that I find it morally objectionable or wrong. Its just people have different comfort zones...I think it comes down to the fact that (at least where I live - Minneapolis/mid-west)it is a social norm for people to wear at least some clothing at the beach and although I can see why a toddler might be exempt from that, it still can bring about the same feeling/reaction that something is out of context or strange and therefore may make others uncomfortable.

Melissa Gaggiano said...

Sadly we live in a world when mothers are being told they are immoral for breast feeding in public and babies are being told to cover up.
When it is a hot day my children't don't want to have their clothes on. Granted my eldest is not a baby anymore and I make sure she has some degree of modesty in the public area. But on a quiet day at the beach, in the home, backyard, with family I let my girls "be naked and beautiful" [as my eldest likes to say].
The thing I don't get is, why is it not okay for a baby to be naked, but then 12 year old girls are encouraged to dress like street walkers?

raquel said...

do it of course! i have a 10 months old baby and a 2 years old baby. im from portugal and like any other european country thats soooo normal!
last december i was in florida and my 2 years old was running naked, people were watching, and one of my friends who understood scream so everyone could hear: "she's european...i guess its fine!!!" do you think i went to put the diaper or swim suit on? no! i dont see any problem, they are children...they are free! also i have a house in fire island if you go there and see 2 little girls running happy naked...very possible to be mine! the only reason i will put anything on its too protect them from the sun! i just want to live in a place of freedom and peace and if everyone starts to worry so much about anything you just going to lose everything!

{ jenevieve } said...

I just returned from a trip to Maui, HI where a few babies and toddlers ran around naked and most people seemed very charmed by their cuteness, but this was on smaller, more 'local' beaches. I've never seen a naked baby in my home, Seattle, waters, but it's also too cold up here most of the year. I wouldn't be offended at all, anywhere.

TriciaR said...

Same here! What a pain to get my 1 year old daughter into a girly swimsuit, and why bother?

I do think that babies need to wear swim diapers at the beach. As someone who deals with water quality issues for a living, I know that poop in the water (esp a swimming area) is bad news.

E. Michelle said...

I am from Texas, but i live in New Jersey. It's the kind of thing I would want to do, cause I think its cute and carefree, but I know that there would be the reaction that you and little Toby got... =)

Christina D said...

I think this is more to the point . . . that CHILDREN thought it was funny. I am from the US and I think most adults in the US wouldn't have a problem with an under 3-year-old running around naked, but other children might find it embarrassing and giggle. My kids are 9 and 7 and I can see them having a similar reaction, not because they have been taught to, but simply because they are at the age where nakedness is becoming an issue. They are AWARE of it.

Sarah and lily said...

I am 16 (a girl) from San Francisco and I think it is totally appropriate to have children naked at the beach... up to 7 years or so, I'd say. I am comfortable nude at nude beaches (Fire Island :). I also go to camp in the summer (in Ontario, Canada) where we bathe (all girls) in the lake and almost everyone goes without swimsuits.

Käthe said...

I'm not weird about naked, but I won't let my girl (almost 3) go nude at the beach. Topless, but not bottomless. Not even sure why I made that rule, but I did! But a true infant I would let go naked. I'm born raised and still living in CA.
But to each his own and if naked suits you, then go for it!

kristine said...

I'm from Canada but was raised by my german grandparents (instead of babysitters) - and they had me & my cousins naked / girls with only bottoms on till we were about 7.

However; I found it uncomfortable for my 7 year old female cousin not to have a shirt on when I was 11 because she already knew about sex & etc. & was running around singing xtina's dirrty.

SO I kind of felt that at that point it was different depending on the maturity of the child?

I want not to care about nakedness at all - but I do. If a baby was naked I might question it for a moment - but I'd get over it quickly.

However I agree with some previous commenters about appropriate dress for the occasion: if you aren't going to carry your baby naked around to the grocery store, why would you have them naked at the beach?

to sum up: I would bat an eyelash momentarily for a baby - but I'd quickly get over it. However I can't say I would personally have my kids naked in a public area.

Chloe Simone said...

Sorry, it grosses me out. I was with a friend in Venice Beach (of all places) and after changing her two year old's diaper (poop) on the beach in front of tons of passerby, she let him run around naked -- I was just beyond grossed out since while she'd cleaned him, it was a bit TMI. I live in San Francisco where there it seems like parents don't seem to bat an eyelash bringing a screaming child to dinner at a trendy restaurant, so I just think my parents forget that the world doesn't revolve around their children? Not trying to sound harsh, just sometimes it seems people forget about their impact on their surroundings.

Candree said...

I am from California, near SF and have lived here for years. I don't have children and my parents are European but we live in a world of newfound sick people who love children a little too much. Makes us wonder who is smiling and for what exactly ... If I had children, I'd let them run around and be carefree at home, where they know it is ok to be naked.

Ana said...

It's totally acceptable in my country and never makes any problem, but personally, I prefer babies with swimsuits : )

from Georgia, Tbilisi.

Jessica @ Team Wiking said...

I feel like it's an American issue to gawk at nakedness. It's totally acceptable in my book, I've let mine run naked a few times as well. Who doesn't like QT baby butts?

Gabrielle Mitchell said...

I find it so weird that people would look twice! Definitely normal in my eyes.

Inga Cat said...

Hi! I am writing from Germany, and it is totally accepted as "normal" for toddlers to run around naked at the beach over here in good old Europe! And I am convinced that no one should feel affronted by the sight of a naked toddler - is there any more innocent thing than a little boy or girl playing naked at the beach? Those people staring do have a serious problem!
Kind regards - Inga

*** KITSCH *** said...

My son is 3 and a half now, he always is naked on the beach, not at the swiming pool... If i try to put a bath suit on the beach he gest ungry, naked mama, this is the beach!!!
I love little kids naked on the beach!

*** KITSCH *** said...

My son is 3 and a half now, he always is naked on the beach, not at the swiming pool... If i try to put a bath suit on the beach he gest ungry, naked mama, this is the beach!!!
I love little kids naked on the beach!

suzy said...

I live in Australia and we have pretty much grown up on the beach naked (until a certain age that is lol). We were at the beach last week and my daughter (3) and friends children (4-5) where naked for awhile. No one battered an eyelid (or at least i think they didnt) and if they did well so be it. Thankfully we are very lucky to live in a free country...Peace x

Sarah_Marie said...

I am totally shocked that a 5 year old girl hast to wear a top at the pool!!!

Anne said...

Yes they do, Jennifer (sell tops for little girls bathing suits). However, to me it seems ridiculous to put a top on a little girl who hasn't got anything to show yet. My toddler wears either a suit, or a t-shirt, or just the bottom. But no bikini top, as to me it feels like putting emphasis on a femininity that isn't there yet. She should be allowed to be a little girl first. :)

.oººo. said...

Hi! I'm from Spain and in the beach is normal to see naked children and I remenber when I was a toddler all kids have pictures nacked, was a traditional picture...but last year we lived in Mexico and I also forgot the swimsuit of my 2 years old daugther, she was naked and they looked at us weird.
I think sometimes it depends on the mentality of society but especially the era in which we live and some things that the people have in mind.

Rosalind said...

You will find lots of babies starkers on Australian beaches!!

Jen said...

I was in St Lucia last summer and a young french family were swimming in our hotel pool. I couldn't have cared less about the little girl running around in only bottoms as I used to run around naked all the time at home when I was little in Asia, but I have to say her topless mother shocked me more. Loads of the young local children were swimming topless so I'd see it as perfectly acceptable.

O ESTABELECIMENTO said...

When I see I naked toddler at the beach I get kind of envious. They look so free and confortable! My 2 girls were naked until they felt confortable with it (4 years for the youngest, the oldest had to be told to put on a swimsuit, because she always felt confortable without!). I think a child has the RIGHT to be naked at the beach!

Linda said...

Babies & toddlers have to run around naked!! Please let Toby run around in his birthday suit as long as pleases... okay when he's 16 it might be a bit awkward ;)

Oh and it's absolutely no big deal where I'm from; The Netherlands!

Mary said...

Love this reply too! Just goes to show how overly- obsessed our culture is with sex, whether it be a scantily clad female selling a flash car, a lady feeding her baby/small child in public, a small child running naked on the beach or a heightened fear of paedophilia. They are all different manifestations of the same thing and you're not the one who is nuts, even though of course you wondered if you were!

Sally Cage said...

UGH, so strange!!

I am in Brisbane, Australia now but grew up in a beachside holiday town about 2 hrs North of here...and naked babies is SO NORMAL! Not only that, but definitely little girls in bottoms-only swimsuits too. I find the modern bikini swimsuits for little girls kinda sick compared to just a cute, carefree girl in swimmer bottoms and a bare chest, My do people feel the need to sexualise little girls by making them feel that they should cover up their chests at such a young age? (3,4,5,6 years old). So sad and strange to me! I loved the freedom of playing on the beach and not being "a girl" but just being "a child" so I am 100% naked babies!

Having said that, I have a very fair complexion and am sun smart, and therefore covered a lot of the time, but it has nothing to do with Puritanical ideals of modesty ;)

Great topic, Jo! Xx

Sally Cage said...

UGH, so strange!!

I am in Brisbane, Australia now but grew up in a beachside holiday town about 2 hrs North of here...and naked babies is SO NORMAL! Not only that, but definitely little girls in bottoms-only swimsuits too. I find the modern bikini swimsuits for little girls kinda sick compared to just a cute, carefree girl in swimmer bottoms and a bare chest, My do people feel the need to sexualise little girls by making them feel that they should cover up their chests at such a young age? (3,4,5,6 years old). So sad and strange to me! I loved the freedom of playing on the beach and not being "a girl" but just being "a child" so I am 100% naked babies!

Having said that, I have a very fair complexion and am sun smart, and therefore covered a lot of the time, but it has nothing to do with Puritanical ideals of modesty ;)

Great topic, Jo! Xx

Sally Cage said...

I grew up in a beachside holiday town about 2 hrs North of Brisbane, Australia, and I find it SO CREEPY how uncomfortable some people are about naked children! It's sad!

I am all in favour of naked babies and toddlers (mind you, I also live under a big hole in the ozone layer so need to very vigilant with sun protection!) and I wore bottoms-only swimmers until I was probably 6 or 7. (and I would say it's fairly normal around Australia).

I find the androgynous appearance of young children dressed (or, undressed) in this way so much more natural than little girls in bikinis! I find toddler & young girl bikinis absolutely creepy. Why must young children be forced to consider their bodies as sexual or shameful or discomfort-inducing when so young? Bizarre.

Great topic, Jo xx

Sally Cage said...

I grew up in a beachside holiday town about 2 hrs North of Brisbane, Australia, and I find it SO CREEPY how uncomfortable some people are about naked children! It's sad!

I am all in favour of naked babies and toddlers (mind you, I also live under a big hole in the ozone layer so need to very vigilant with sun protection!) and I wore bottoms-only swimmers until I was probably 6 or 7. (and I would say it's fairly normal around Australia).

I find the androgynous appearance of young children dressed (or, undressed) in this way so much more natural than little girls in bikinis! I find toddler & young girl bikinis absolutely creepy. Why must young children be forced to consider their bodies as sexual or shameful or discomfort-inducing when so young? Bizarre.

Great topic, Jo xx

Sally Cage said...

I grew up in a beachside holiday town about 2 hrs North of Brisbane, Australia, and I find it SO CREEPY how uncomfortable some people are about naked children! It's sad!

I am all in favour of naked babies and toddlers (mind you, I also live under a big hole in the ozone layer so need to very vigilant with sun protection!) and I wore bottoms-only swimmers until I was probably 6 or 7. (and I would say it's fairly normal around Australia).

I find the androgynous appearance of young children dressed (or, undressed) in this way so much more natural than little girls in bikinis! I find toddler & young girl bikinis absolutely creepy. Why must young children be forced to consider their bodies as sexual or shameful or discomfort-inducing when so young? Bizarre.

Great topic, Jo xx

Sally Cage said...

I grew up in a beachside holiday town about 2 hrs North of Brisbane, Australia, and I find it SO CREEPY how uncomfortable some people are about naked children! It's sad!

I am all in favour of naked babies and toddlers (mind you, I also live under a big hole in the ozone layer so need to very vigilant with sun protection!) and I wore bottoms-only swimmers until I was probably 6 or 7. (and I would say it's fairly normal around Australia).

I find the androgynous appearance of young children dressed (or, undressed) in this way so much more natural than little girls in bikinis! I find toddler & young girl bikinis absolutely creepy. Why must young children be forced to consider their bodies as sexual or shameful or discomfort-inducing when so young? Bizarre.

Great topic, Jo xx

Mash said...

In Europe, this is not an issue at all. I've lived in Spain and France but am from Slovenia originally. To be completely honest, I think it would be weird if someone came up to me and asked me to put a swim suit on my 2 year old on the beach here.

www.stylelemon.com

GOSIA said...

Jo, it would be interesting to hear your voice on a different topic, too. Recently a friend (German)told me how she was surprised to see a mum of her kids' friend (American) to freak out when they both discovered the kids happily sharing their interest on THESE body parts. How is it seen in US? Do you treat 5,6,7 year olds' interest in sexuality/ body issues as normal or is it beyond normal? My friend was pefectly ok with the fact that her daughter and brothers were showing their intimate parts to the other girl.

JuržolėŠoka said...

I am from Lithuania and naked babies at the beach is totally normal. I used to run around naked on the beach when I was a toddler and I think it's completely ok. My roommate is from Latvia and she said that it's also ok there :) I think people are too stressed about the anatomy thing.. I don't get it, at all!

JuržolėŠoka said...

I'm from Lithuania and it's completely normal to see naked babies running around on the beach. I used to run around naked, my cousins did too. It's the only way little kids can feel completely free and happy! My roommate is from Latvia and she said that it's perfectly OK in Latvia too :) I guess people are just too stressed about it..

Neus said...

In Barcelona (Spain) it totally ok!! Usually if they are less than four (aprox.), they don't wear any bath-suit!

Alli said...

We were at the beach in Australia a few weeks ago & naked toddlers are a ok. I think it says more about the families of the other kids than it does about you x

Gemma said...

I have absolutely no problem with babies and toddlers being naked on the beach and am pretty sure we were when we were little.

Funny story - on the day we got married in NY it was super hot and we headed up to the High Line at around 4.30pm. I decided to take my shoes off and put my feet in the tiny bit of water that runs along the edge of the walkway and while I was standing there a naked little boy came running along, skidded to a halt in front of me and then ran back the way he had come while his Mum screamed in the distance 'oh my God, get your underwear back on!' We were bent double laughing.

Zala Letnar said...

Totally agree. The majority of young kids in Slovenia (Europe) also run around naked when on the beach. It's common and in my opinion seems more appropriate than toddlers in skimpy adult like two piece swimsuits.

thedirtyknitter said...

My guess is the people who were uncomfortable have never been out of this country, although I have to admit to feeling a little uncomfortable at a beach in Jamaica with the comletely nude quite tan older gents wandering around! I have 2 toddlers & if they can't run around naked now, when will they ever be able to! People need to lighten up!

thedirtyknitter said...

My guess is the people who were uncomfortable have never been out of this country, although I have to admit to feeling a little uncomfortable at a beach in Jamaica with the comletely nude quite tan older gents wandering around! I have 2 toddlers & if they can't run around naked now, when will they ever be able to! People need to lighten up!

Lynden Laundry said...

Personally my three little boys would be naked all day if I let them, but I would imagine at the beach it might not go over well here. We're from Boston and frequent the beach in the nice weather and I honestly don't recall seeing naked babies running around ever. Although I wouldn't be offended if I did, maybe times have changed because back in the day I'm sure I hardly wore clothes either.

http://lyndenlaundry.blogspot.com/?m=1

Mesh said...

All my cousins, and siblings and I had our naked fun at the beach several times back in the days! And I still see some children run around commando in the beaches these days. The number had decreased, yes, and I think it's because parents would rather dress their kids with these fancy baby bikinis and mankinis. I actually would like to think it's supposed to be part of being a kid (take pictures so he could see it when he's much older!).

I believe that we should not put malice in this toddler activity, kids should be carefree!

To quote Nikki (one of the people who commented):"When else will they be able to be carefree in their lives?" preach.

from the Philippines, by the way.

Mariana Pereira said...

It is absolutelly normal in Brazil and all South America.

Unknown said...

haha, this makes me laugh. I grew up in east germany were everyone, old or young, went to the beach naked. One of my school friends told me, when she went to Italy with her family for the first time, she asked her mum why everyone is going swimming with their clothes on ;-)

Laura Connelly said...

My family was in Germany for the summer when I was 7, my sister 5, and my brother <1. All the young kids at the pool were completely naked, and my sister and I begged our parents to let us take off our suits. They of course had no problem with this, so that's how we swam for the whole summer. I don't remember swimming naked in the US when I was little - maybe on the beach when no one was around but my family. I think it's normal, but not 'the norm'.

NOURISH said...

It's not something I would likely even notice. I can't get clothes on my SIX YEAR OLD daughter without bribing her, on the best of days. But when we were in Mexico our friends that came with us did, at one point, comment on her lack of clothes (usually hung out in the villa in her underwear). I lived on a small island in B.C. in my late teens/early twenties. The first time I went swimming there I wore a bathing suit (god forbid) - I was made fun of. Lol. Everyone thought it was ridiculous I was wearing a suit - it was so normal and natural there to be naked. It took me a while to get used to it but eventually I also thought it was normal (it is). I don't think kids ever wore clothes or bathing suits there - EVER.

Rita Teles said...

Portugal here: it's a baby, it's the beach, the nature, of course is natural! Here is very common. If they can't be free at that age when will they be?

APratt said...

Perhaps it's not a modesty / nudity / sexuality issue at all.
Perhaps some people think of it as a public health concern. For the same reason that dogs are not allowed on most beaches - some people don't like the idea of their swimming water becoming toilet water.
For the record, I love skinny dipping - when we used to have a pool we did it all the time - even during the day, as our yard had a lot of trees and short-sighted neighbours.

Essence said...

I'm from Indianapolis, a city girl. So there are no beaches directly close to us. But I thought deeply on this. Its a good question. I'm 21 and far from having children, but i think I would my toddlers do so... But then again, these are my hypothetical children we are talking about!

So when in doubt, I called my mother.
And here is what she said,
"Not only is it inappropriate, it’s unsanitary for the baby and other people. The same reason why they make toddlers where those diaper covers in the pool. Can you imagine the baby playing in the sand and pees or poops in it. And other children start playing in that sand. And what if your child is a girl and she sits in dirty sand and gets it in her who-ha. And, what if you have a boy and you take him in the ocean and something crawls up his urethra. Just saying."

Whoa, my mama is quite opinionated ;)

deb said...

Here in Portugal we have everything. children wearing nothing, little girls wearing women bikinis... but naked toddlers in the beach just sounds so natural to me! but personally, I would rather have my (hipotetical) babies wearing some kind of swim suit on because of the sand getting in places it shouldnt be... I mean, the pollution isnt allways visible... that and to keep them from being susceptible to the wrong kind of look...

Happily CF said...

As far as it being "socially acceptable," I don't think there's anything wrong with it when the child is very small. (Frankly I don't think there's anything wrong with it at any age, but of course you need to be with a like-minded crowd at the right beach.) From a safety standpoint - who knows what kind of weirdos are around, so I wouldn't just let him run off (and it doesn't sound like you did.)

That said, nothing you've described really suggests that anyone other than young kids thought anything was weird about it. You suggest that you thought you might be imagining glances from other grown-ups, none of whom said anything about it. It was only little kids who giggled or outright addressed the issue. I wouldn't say that indicates a reserved crowd. Kids over a certain age always find nudity odd/funny. Now if a parent had come up and berated you, then I might question whether it was a social faux pas.

Gardise said...

Re nudeness=lower class arguments:
Although it was the Baroque Aristocracy, who well twisted body care...incidently dresses/clothes became supersexy by emphesizing curves.
However interestingly it was the upper class, better educated/informed, modern rich people with lots of free time who started beach holidaying and going on spas and retreats etc in the 18th Century here in Europe. FKK, Naturalism, (or Vegetarism) etc popped up between modern Aristocrats (e.g. naked swimming as he greeks/ romans was promoted be a Lord Mondboddo. Later the Nazis instrumented some of the these Modernisms for their new "Herrenrasse" theme (Sports, Nature, Health, Superiority(?) and spread this widely throughout Germany/ Austria, also by ridiculing the church and its prudency. You can see a more spread nude beaching in the East of Germany where the church were still opposed by the communist leaders until reunification, whereas most of Western Germany went back a rather private nudeness after the war.
IMHO everyone do as he/she pleases at least unless we are guest and the hosts set a standard either way or it is regulated otherwise, which latter I would just try to avoid going.

By the way in Sweden a covering up policy was at no time in place. They also saun naked like most Europeans (again except for the British) as wet cloth touching skin for too long is understood as unhygienic and a health threat.

so leaves just the sun awareness as a reason to restrain anyone or of course in grown ups(!, mostly women) a wish to be sexy in a nice bikini.

sashley said...

Personally, I find it completely normal. However most Americans I know don't. I think it's sad how the human body has become such a taboo thing in America. I'm from NW Indiana.

Maayan said...

What a great post and what great responses! I was born in Israel where there were never any social barriers to naked baby-ness (and there is extensive photographic evidence that even when my mom brought my bathing suit, I preferred the naked route as a toddler. But I grew up mostly in Massachusetts, which can sometimes be a little more prudish or conservative (and before I got too old to notice or care, I still ran around naked at beaches and in yards). Now I live in Chicago, and have a nearly 8-month old little girl, for whom I will definitely buy bathing suits (for the cuteness factor, of course!), but who will also definitely be allowed to do her thing -- bathing suit or diaper or nothing at all!

Jenna | The Paleo Project said...

From the US and have worked with children forever - personally it wouldn't cross my mind, but I do have a more reserved boyfriend and when we took the kids I used to nanny to the beach, I let them strip before rinsing them in the shower (3 yo boy, 4 yo girl) and he was appalled. He thought it was so inappropriate.

Marissa Rangel-Biddle said...

When I was potty training my kid, people come to my ( husband friends) and exclaimed Nake Baby!!!!!!! Like they never saw it. It was disgusting and almost killed my chances to potty training my kid when he was almost 2 years. It is disgusting how Americans are uncomfortable with nudity.

Now they think I'm weird and just claim that my Brazilian heritage make me feel ok with babies naked on the beach, for example..... :(

Cara Crowley said...

I think it's totally acceptable. For goodness sakes, he's two not twenty two. People are funny about nakedness though. When my nephews were little, they would come to my house in the summer time and they would run around the back yard naked as jay birds playing in the sprinklers, filling buckets with the hose and would spend hours just hanging out. One day my sister came back early to pick them up and she was clearly uncomfortable that I let them run around sans clothes. It really is interesting how people respond to something so natural and normal.

Unknown said...

I am from Spain, totally normal, in fact I ma surprised that it is not normal in the States. Also normal, here, all ages woman with only the bikini bottom.

Nancy said...

Hi, I'm from the Netherlands and I think too many people have been brought up with too much self conscience and shame, that is why kids find it funny when a toddler is running around naked on the beach - not because they think it's funny, but because they have learned from others that it should be weird and funny.
I think we Dutchies will not cover up a baby, but I don't really know because I don't often go to beaches in my homeland (too cold!) but in France I do and I go to public beaches and beaches where you can walk around naked even if you're an adult. Most people find that very odd, so normally I don't share this information... Apparently people immediately think you're a pervert, which is a shame. I went to these beaches since I was little (when I was a toddler I would walk around naked on the beach as well) and always wore my bathing suit, but when I got older I sometimes felt like walking around naked as well. Might want to add that on these beaches people are so much friendlier and more free in their opinions, so it's not focussed on the nude. I saw a lady walking around naked on the beach who had her breast removed because of cancer and I thought she was the most powerful woman I had ever seen. You also see a lot of small children walking around naked, they are so young and I think they don't really need bathing suits when they are so little - unless they ask for it themselves because they get a bit ashamed...

My parents have been really free in my raising and I have seen both my parents and my brother naked, more than just one time. When we were little we would walk around naked on beaches as well and still I made the decision my own on a very young age to have a bathing suit, my brother didn't want one. Since everybody has been so acceptable around me, I felt so much more free in my own body than most kids in for example puberty do. So I am thankful for my parents to have given me this 'gift' to feel free when you're young. So toddlers naked on the beach? Yes of course, that's no biggie. It's even heartwarming to see them like that - no care in the world! :) You can see these little children don't care how they walk around, they care about how they feel. We could learn a lot from their being - and why should we shame them, THAT would be just a shame.

XOXO
Nancy

Nancy said...

Still running around topless! LOL But only when we are without friends. I would feel uncomfortable when my boyfriend's best friend would see me half-naked.

Jenna Bryant said...

I'm from Hawaii and this is totally normal :) It's a part of being a kid!

primjillie said...

I don't think it of it as prudish or uptight, some people are just more modest than others. I wouldn't let mine run around in public naked, mostly because I don't trust people like I used to. I also wouldn't want the sand and sea water in all their private bits. But offended, not at all. To each his own!

Tina Lovely said...

My daughter is almost 2 and this last summer at the beach in Brooklyn she would totally run naked! We were also at the naked hipster beach so no one looked nor cared. If anything they smiled and thought she was cute playing in the sand with a huge hat and naked bum. I'm from California and although I don't remembered running naked my mom has said it was mine and my brothers favorite thing to do when at the beach. I say it should be no big deal but I guess in the context of who is around you it can make it uncomfortable if people are looking at you like its weird. I personally think why not.. I mean they are just babies. I also think American culture overthinks things like this and make the situation weirder then it really needs to be.

Alison said...

don't you mean you'll remember his honest swim diaper? c'mon got to keep up with the endorsement posts girl!

Carol said...

I think this comment might get buried, but I will try...here's an article on child development from my teacher Katy Bowman (who has a 21 month old and a 2 month old). I hope you have time to read it. There's a video of her son playing naked :)
http://breakingmuscle.com/family-kids/katy-bowman-and-biomechanics-human-growth-necessity-monkey-business

Gardise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marissa Rangel-Biddle said...

When I was potty training my kid, my husband friends who shows at hour house, says things like `` Look, a naked baby!!!'' - they were very unconfortable with the situation even when my kid was playing around in deapers - in our house. People here are very unconfortable with nudity. They make comments about when they see a naked baby in the beach. They cannot take their eyes of the kid, the situation..

I'm very confortable seeing a naked baby - kid in a beach. I just do not stop to think Oh, the baby is naked!!!

Nowdays, living here in US, my husband's friends point that I'm confortable with nudity because I'm Brazilian - the old steriotype, of course.

Sad.

Angharad said...

Funny story...
I'm British and was visiting St Augustine in Florida once with some friends when we decided to go for a swim (I was 20 at the time...). As I was splashing in the waves, a big wave crashed down and my bikini top got all tangled up so I just took it off and held onto it. I'm fairly modest about nudity but I just thought, "no big deal". Walking back up to our towels topless I noticed a lot of people staring - even though the beach wasn't very busy. As we were leaving the beach (and I was dressed again) a group of young guys and girls whooped as I walked past, shouting, "yeah! you go!". I said something back along the lines of not having much to offend people with (I'm small chested) and one girl turned to another and said, "I told you she had to be European". Ha! Cultural lesson learned. Going topless on American beaches will not garner the same nonchalant reaction that it will in France or Spain. :)
As for kids, I think the reaction you experienced is kind of absurd...but then I'm a brazen European... ;)

Jessica Pearson said...

I have to say I would feel a little uncomfortable if I were there. Like you said, it would be totally different for me if it were with my family or close friends, but I would hate to expose my baby to strangers. You never know now-a-days. There are disgusting people out there.

Jessica Pearson said...

Oh and I'm from Vegas. Also, just to clarify, I think it's even more inappropriate for women and men to be indecent. There is something to be said about modesty. I think this world has gotten way to giving of their personal lives and their personal bodies.

Shanti Knight said...

I'm from Indiana, and I would think *nothing* of it!

Ashley said...

I remember living in apartments in Tulsa, Ok when I was 4 and my mom called for repairs on our AC unit. When the tech came I was romping around in panties and thought nothing of it. But I was always in a suit at the pool.
Later, however my parents became very strict Christians and didn't allow "mixed bathing" and they probably would have been out off by naked babies around us kids who hasn't learned the "birds and the bees" just yet.
Personally, I see nothing offensive about bare bottomed toddlers, but I might try to be sensitive of the company I'm with.
But in your case, I see nothing wrong with letting him go nude. Especially since you wouldn't want him to miss out on the water play or make him uncomfortable in a soggy diaper.

Camryn Naomi said...

My Mommy is from Key West and she was a naked beach baby at times! Follow my blog. :-) I am a toddler fashionista exploring life...one country at a time! My mom has followed this blog for 5 years and loves it!!! www.camrynnaomi.blogspot.com

Podcast profil said...

Tottaly acceptable at beaches here in Croatia, especially for preschool kids (later on they want to be covered themselves). I really thought it's normal everywhere, so your post definitely surprised me!

Spencer and Michelle said...

Also from Vancouver BC and I wouldn't think a thing of a naked toddler/baby, even child. I think its freeing and fun!

sarah said...

I see naked toddlers at the beach all the time here in Australia! Perfectly acceptable :)

canopenergirl said...

That is just awful. For the love of God, he's a two year old. I'd say pants need to be on after 3 in Australia. If there's any public tut-tutting, it'll be about the lack of sunscreen!

canopenergirl said...

As a previous commentator said, the stigma in Australia is about the use of sunscreen, not so much nudity. Nude two year olds are fine, I'd only start fussing about pants after four. And for little girls, topless is definitely preferable to bikinis.

Darcy said...

I grew up in Hawaii and kids NEVER wore swimsuits on the beach... I suspect the attitudes might be different in New England. But then perhaps people should loosen up a bit!

kimberly keith said...

My father is a born Dutchman, but after meeting my mother-a devout upstate New Yorker-we grew up in New York. My aunt, who still lives in the Netherlands, would visit with her three daughters from time to time. I remember one summer was excruciatingly hot, so my aunt sent my cousins (the oldest was ten, I believe) outside-in just bottoms-to run through the sprinkler; a perfectly acceptable act in the Netherlands. My mother was appalled. She quickly instructed the girls to return inside to ensure no neighbors saw this indecency!

Personally? Let the babies wade as the good Lord made them. :)

H.L said...

I live in Sweden and I don't mind naked babies/toddlers on the beach, all though (from my experience) I don't see it that often.

Jennifer said...

I am usually pretty modest but when it comes to naked babies I am a sucker! I just watched my guy wriggling away from his night time diaper all free as a jay bird. I think when they are so young there is a sweet innocence to their nakedness. I would have probably been staring with a dopey "he's so stinking cute" grin plastered on my face. He's only 2 once!

Brett girl said...

So it's ok for them to be naked but not in a cute bikini? A bit contradictory.

Laura said...

Come to Hawaii. Our keiki (kids)are always naked at the beach. I read that it boosts their self esteem to be naked, too. I mean, what toddler doesn't like to play on the beach without a soggy yucky diaper?

Kell said...

It wouldn't be an Australian beach without at least one naked baby/toddler running around.

Feelgoodlookcute Miriam said...

In my opinion it has no sense. He is a toddler!
I mean, in Spain is absolutely natural and common to see children running nacked in the beach.
There's nothing wrong with it...


Justine said...

Of course he can be naked on the beach. He's only 2. In france, I don't think people would pay any attention to that. However, there are always people who can be narrow minded and it's true that I am careful that people don't take photos of my kids!

Anji said...

Yeah its cultural to even give it a second thought I think.
Most of my life was spent in the US. But now I love in France.
While I dont think I would let my little one run around naked ...(I would become too hyper vigilant to have a good day at the beach)...all his little friends (including girls) run around sans clothing and I see it as a new normal.

McKenzie said...

I'm 14 so I don't really know much about adult's thoughts on it, but to be honest, it doesn't bother me, I think it's a usual thing to see, up to a certain age of course! It makes me laugh anyway, because babies have such a carefree sense, not a care in the world and they are more focused on getting in the sea and rolling in the sand more than anything, I think it's nice to make the most of that innocence at that age and let them roam around freely, haha x

http://currentlylovingblog.blogspot.com/

maticki said...

wow, the story of the couple where manager came to their daughter aged 5 for not having a top on! I would write a complaint and ask for an apology!

move to Europe, its normal to have toddlers running naked on the beach (unless you are a prude Brit). I lived in Germany where grown up ppl stripped topless in the middle of the park during the lunch break to sunbathe.

I think u need to have serious issues oif the sight of the 2yo naked child is making you uncomfotable

danielle19 said...

I'm a nanny in Massachusetts and I've been surrounded by naked babies at the beach for years all around the cape and islands, plus trips to various other places. I honestly think it's totally acceptable. 3 and under? Let them run free. As with any decision, someone may have another opinion. If people around you raise an eyebrow, who cares.

Charli said...

i think its absolutely fine. if people have an issue with it perhaps they are the ones with an issue. We were all born the same way! xx

Erica @ Acire Adventures said...

I was in Hawaii last week and we saw the occasional naked child on the beach. It was a little surprising as we didn't do it growing up and I've never really seen it here in Canada. I don't have a problem with it, but I keep my son well-clothed to protect him from the sun (especially in Hawaii). It's definitely part of the culture here in North America to keep kids covered up, especially with all the "stranger danger", fears about pedophiles, etc.

Roxanne made some really funny points about our contradictory attitudes towards how we clothe our kids, well said!

lisacng @ expandng.com said...

Agree, some adults' bathing suits aren't even really covering up all that much! I personally wouldn't let my kid walk around naked or exposing "private" parts because I don't know how's lurking around. Creeps me out.

Teresa said...

In Portugal people don't mind at all if a two year old isn't wearing anything at the beach. I really don't see what the problem is. And I didn't wear the top of my bikini until I was like 9 and even though most girls wore it, nobody cared I didn't.

R.Anne said...

In Australia we aren't so conservative as to expect babies and toddlers to be covered up at the beach. Beaches are such a huge part of our life and I can't imagine having to put a costume on my daughter for years. It's sad to think you should have to cover up children because of freaks and weirdos. I don't think it's a case of better safe than sorry- society and individuals lose a lot more of our freedoms through fear of relatively uncommon events than we do from said events actually occurring. Most children are abused by people they actually know rather than random strangers. Stay vigilant; don't kid yourself that because your baby is wearing a nappy that they're safe. And there's nothing grosser or more uncomfortable than a baby in a soggy disposable.

R.Anne said...

In Australia we aren't so conservative as to expect babies and toddlers to be covered up at the beach. Beaches are such a huge part of our life and I can't imagine having to put a costume on my daughter for years. It's sad to think you should have to cover up children because of freaks and weirdos. I don't think it's a case of better safe than sorry- society and individuals lose a lot more of our freedoms through fear of relatively uncommon events than we do from said events actually occurring. Most children are abused by people they actually know rather than random strangers. Stay vigilant; don't kid yourself that because your baby is wearing a nappy that they're safe. And there's nothing grosser or more uncomfortable than a baby in a soggy disposable.

Holly said...

I'm from Hong Kong and i personally have no problem with naked babies at beaches... but to be frank I think I have never seen any naked babies at my local beaches....

Desi McKinnon said...

I live and grew up in California. Naked toddlers at the beach or park or wherever happen. Why would you care?

My husband and I were walking at the beach last weekend and I was saying I think women's bathing suit tops as a requirement are so dumb. I saw a ton of man boobs on that beach and no one was telling them to cover up.

Unknown said...

I don't think there is anything "wrong" with it, but I wouldn't have my 2-year-old naked if it could be helped for two reasons: first, I cover as much as I can for sun protection on our super pale family and second, my mom would have a stroke because she is constantly afraid of perverts with camera phones.

micha bernard said...

I am a Brazilian living in Sweden. Here we see toddlers going around nakey all the time at the beach, unlike in Brazil. I agree with you it is not common, but Brazilians wouldn't bat an eye at a naked kid playing on the sand. I see Brazilians, especially those with kids, as very picky people in terms of hygiene (Europeans are much more laid back!), and that's why they prefer to put swimsuits on their kids!

liz @ bon temps beignet said...

Am I the only one who would rather my kiddo be in a soggy diaper than be naked? If we were at grandmas' house by the pool or at an empty beach I'd totally have our little guy (who just turned one) run around naked. But at a public beach, you better believe I'd cover up those little buns.

Too many weirdo/perverts out there!

abbey said...

i think a baby should most absolutely be naked at the beach! a wet diaper? ridiculous!

Erin at thesparkle.net said...

everyone must have been jealous - we all want to be naked at the beach!

Sally Cage said...

I grew up in a beachside holiday town about 2 hrs North of Brisbane, Australia, and I find it SO CREEPY how uncomfortable some people are about naked children! It's sad!

I am all in favour of naked babies and toddlers (mind you, I also live under a big hole in the ozone layer so need to very vigilant with sun protection!) and I wore bottoms-only swimmers until I was probably 6 or 7. (and I would say it was fairly normal around Australia, at least in the less-fashionable 80s when I was that age).

I find the androgynous appearance of young children dressed (or, undressed) in this way so much more natural than little girls in bikinis! I find toddler & young girl bikinis absolutely creepy. Why must young children be forced to consider their bodies as sexual or shameful or discomfort-inducing when so young? Bizarre.

Great topic, Jo xx

LISA said...

my son is 3 and we always have his swimsuit and he always takes it off. something about the cold wetness of it when he gets out of th water. his dad is Italian and just moved to Canada 4 years ago. in Italy it's completely normal for kids to be naked.. Stefano (dad) doesn't notice the bay eyes we get at the beaches in Canada, but I do!

killforcreativity said...

Here in Germany it's totally normal. I grew up in the eastern part and nudity was everyday business. At the baltic sea there were so many people bathing naked all the time, especially the older people. Teenager are mostly a bit self consious though, but I think that's normal.

Babies and little kids are naked all the time. I remember wearing no bikini tops til the age of 10 maybe. Even when I was swimming with my friends from school, I mean there was no point to that. I haven't had breasts til that time and looked like a boy anyway ;)

Rebecca Norris said...

It's completely normal! He's a baby for goodness sake! (English, living in UK)

Interestingly though we used to visit relatives in Long Island, NY, regularly as a child and one day we had a sitter while the adults went out. I must have been ten, completely pre-pubescent and took off my bikini top to lie on my front and tan my back. I did it very discreetly and nothing was on show (aside from the fact there was nothing to show!) but the sitter asked me to put my top back on because I made her feel uncomfortable. I have never been so mortified. It seemed like a completely over the top reaction.

ROK said...

Growing up in the non-beach South (in AL), it was considered "Low class" and associated with poor people (like you couldn't afford a swim suit). My mom was a hippy from and had relocated with my Dad to AL, and she would decide to play by the rules based on where we were and people's comfort. Can you see any of the "bad guys" in the Help letting their kids run around naked? There was rarely a public pool or swimming hole that did not expressly ban it ("Children must wear swim suits"...and sometimes they banned cut-off pants). Honestly, from my parent's critical take , it was to keep certain people away from the pools at public parks and to impose their world-view on others. But in a post-WalMart world, the ability to afford a swim suit is a much lower bar than it was in 1969....I think they keep the signs up b/c the super awkward conversation of when is it too old to go naked is one most city councils want to avoid.

Lecca Roberts said...

I think it definitely depends on how you were raised and where you are from. I grew up in Hawaii and almost all of my baby photos on the beach cerca 0-3 are nudies. I find on the east coast in particular that naked babies are not as common on the beaches here. I will fight the trend when I have a little one!

Lecca Roberts said...

I think it definitely depends on how you were raised and where you are from. I grew up in Hawaii and almost all of my baby photos on the beach cerca 0-3 are nudies. I find on the east coast in particular that naked babies are not as common on the beaches here. I will fight the trend when I have a little one!

Ana M* said...

I'm spanish and here it's completely normal for babies to be naked on the beach, sometimes even 5 year olds... It's also true that we don't bat and eye at topless women anymore...

linds488 said...

Grew up in Northern California where we had a beautiful river and children are naked there all the time (not to mention many adults in many parts). Naked babies are often common on the shores of Lake Tahoe and no one cares.
As far as all Europeans being much more open with nakedness...I went on vacation with my Danish cousins to Greece and they couldn't believe the topless women. They said people just don't do that in Scandinavia and were much much more uncomfortable than I was.

frances said...

This makes me very sad! It breaks my heart to think that a child might be made to feel uncomfortable about their naked body. I definitely grew up being naked on the beach (in Canada).

JMR said...

I'm Australian and naked beach bums (for babies and toddlers that is) is a normal occurrence. In fact, I believe it's almost mandatory for every family photo album to have naked beach bum photo or four. Once children reach pre-pubescent it isn't seen as often, but I feel our country has a fairly liberal approach to the human body.

Mother Goose said...

I live in WA, Australia with my son and he LOVES being naked! Naked babies on beaches, near lakes, in parks all seem fine to me... I have had some people look twice if my son is going nappy free, but it only occurs very rarely.

e8b8d436-cee6-11e2-9b3f-000bcdcb8a73 said...

Is it really going to hurt your child if pics of them are on the internet?... really think anyone is going to be like OMG your the 2 year old who is on the internet naked at the beach you cant have this job!.

Sure, people who enjoy those photos for purposes deemed immoral have issues. But i don't see how it is hurting your child any. Unless you do it every day and people have a chance to obsess over your kids i don't see what that's a rational fear.

I think that's a part of the issue people cannot rationalize the fact that some pedophiles want to physically/emotionally harm children. Those are the ones you need to be worrying about. I think the more taboo we put behind something the worse things get. Which is why we have more problems in the US than most countries we try to hard to make things taboo.

Most states it's not even illegal for adult women to walk around topless(and in some states you can sue if someone makes you put a top on, such as the case with the las vegas kid). Unless they ask parents to put tops on their sons they are opening themselves up for a legal liability.


anyway, the way kids grow these days it's silly to have to buy a new bathing suit just to have it only be good for 2-3 months. Let em run free.

leonie said...

Hello there,

I think it is the most natural thing to be naked for young children, and we could learn a lot from them - how to feeel good and natural in your body.

I also think that covering up, especially putting a bikini on a girl without actual breasts to cover (under 8 or 9) makes you think that there IS something to cover / to be hidden. I think this sexualises our society more and is more "pervert" than some free & naked babies.

from germany

aimeecartier said...

Our son always runs around naked on the beach. He is also two. We live on the West Coast in Washington, which I find is much more laid back than the East Coast of this country. However, no one mentions it to us. On the island where we live (in the Puget Sound) there are often naked kids on the beach. In Seattle, sometimes he's the only one-- but people don't seem freaked out by it at least. And he enjoys it soooo much. I often try to put the bathing suit on him but he always prefers naked. I can't blame him-- and since I feel like this is his window where he actually can get away with it-- I just let him.

«Oldest ‹Older   201 – 389 of 389   Newer› Newest»
Site design by Apartment One
Federated Media Publishing - Style