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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:

1 – 200 of 389   Newer›   Newest»
Julie said...

I wouldn't bat an eye at it, personally!

Fancy Pants said...

I see no problem with it whatsoever, personally. I'm from Ohio and I've seen small kiddos running around nakey at our lakes and internationally on my travels. No big deal! People are overly cautious.

SamanthaJanay said...

as someone without kids, it would kind of make me feel awkward, but i would never stare and definitely wouldn't say anything to you/think anything of you/it. and since he was running around having a grand ole' time, i imagine i would overlook his nudity because of his cuteness! (from Austin)

Nomadic D. said...

Funny, living here in Spain, all toddlers run around completely naked at the beach and it's the most natural thing in the world. Forehead-slappingly natural. But I have to say when I first saw it, my inner American sort of was shocked. I tried to justify it in my head by worrying about all the sand getting in all those sensitive places, but I think it really was just a cultural gap. Funny these cultural taboos and customs and how they shape us...

www.nomadicd.com

AimeeRegina said...

At Jericho Beach in Vancouver B.C. toddler nakedness is fine, but after all it is hippy central!

Kit said...

well i don't think it's a big deal. i'm american but i grew up in france and germany, which may be why i don't think anything of it :)
personally though, i wouldn't do it because i hate when children tease each other. it can be very hurtful.

Manda said...

I think they were just a bunch of boobs!
If you didn't mind & Toby didn't mind...and there was no sign upon beach entry that read, "NO NAKED TODDLERS"...then- why not?!

:)

Love,
Manda from Eat Cake

EC said...

Those people are ridiculous! I'm pretty middle of the road when it comes to modesty, but babies are a completely different story. Let them be free when they can, before they grow up and people start judging even more! Shame on those people, placing standards for grown ups on a child.

Kelly said...

I did it all the time with our 2 year old last summer at our lake. No one seemed to be bothered!

Found-Food said...

I am surprised you got so many looks! He's TWO! But then the question is at what age is it not OK to go nude? I remember going on vacation at age seven and befriending a girl from France who would run around all day topless. I was just a girl from NY, and to me this was mind blowing.

Erin said...

I can't see the big deal, and I'm surprised at the reaction from those children! Chalk it up to their attitude problem, not anything to do with Toby. If you're going to be a naked 2 year old anywhere, the beach seems like a perfectly acceptable place. I'm sure he had a blast.

margaux said...

i wouldn't have a problem with it at all! what's offensive about a naked baby?!? i'm from michigan, and i vividly remember going to an outdoors beach boys concert when i was 3 and romping around in the buff b/c it was a super hot summer day.

Alyssa Gapske said...

I personally don't think there is a problem with it, but society gets really freaked out by nudity, even if it is just a baby. I would say now that he's 2-3, swimsuits probably are a good idea.

Like I said though, I never would have a problem with it. Why not let them be free!

Sophie said...

im from sydney and little kids always run around the beach naked. i've never thought twice about it.

kelly zellers said...

I think naked babies and toddlers are totally fine. Although as a new mama, I've often wondered how I'd handle it from a pre-potty training standpoint. That's the only thing that would give me pause. But as far as baby nudity, who would be weirded out by that?

Lindsey said...

There is nothing cuter than a naked baby at the beach! I live in Santa Cruz, CA and see naked babies living it up at the beach quite often. I hope this isn't becoming a no-no, as it is SO innocent and SO fun for the kids. Happy Monday!

Karelys (Beltran) Davis said...

Well, personally I wouldn't care but I can't speak for everyone.

I know this might be a no to you but next time you should fashion a loin cloth with a washtowel and a shoe string.

Seriously, how often does a kid get to wear one? it'd be hilarious and adorable! And no soggy diaper to weight him down.

mfelenyuk said...

I think it's totally fine and acceptable and should be done all the time, but I'm a foreigner. In my travels there's nothing cuter to see at the beach than some naked baby bums! What makes me super uncomfortable is seeing girl babies in bikinis. That is just wrong.

mfelenyuk said...

I ran around topless until I was 8 or 9. :) All around the Black Sea.

LMM said...

I'm from Massachusetts originally and don't live near a beach now, but spend a lot of time on Cape Cod. I've seen this a lot in my own family and others', and it doesn't bug me at all. I'll totally let my little boy run around nekkid at the beach once in a while, once he is running around that is!

joana said...

here, in portugal, it's normal to see naked babies, not at all an issue!

mamalooks said...

It must be a cultural think, I think in Europe it's not an issue, I am trying to think why on earth someone would think that's inappropriate!

Jay said...

I think it's much more common in Europe - in Gabon, the French families had their naked babies running around all of the time. But then again, many of the women were also topless.

startingonsaturdays said...

In South Africa it's quite normal to have bare babes on the beach :)
Sometimes I think parents are pushing it too far once it's kids (not even toddlers), but for little ones I think it's still acceptable.

Jennifer said...

OK - I live at the beach in Florida and if we are right by our house where it is very private then absolutely no problem with the nudity. It is not completely private, people are walking by with dogs, jogging, biking, etc. but these are all residents and it is by no means crowded. We are also members of a beach club that is attached to a resort hotel. I would not let my girls run around naked there, too much of a mixed crowd. My kids are 4 & 7 and would love to be naked all the time. In Europe they don't even sell tops for little girls bathing suits!

jm said...

I am surprised that anyone balked at all. i would have thought it was perfectly normal, but perhaps not for everyone. When I was little, I swam in Lake Erie in just swimming suit bottoms until I was about 5. However, if people notice, then I would be inclined to have him wear a suit, just so no one says anything to him or makes him feel weird. Too bad though. A naked baby at the beach seems like the most natural thing in the world to me! I think Europeans may be more laid back that Americans. We have a bit of a Puritan streak!

Mary Kate said...

I think America in general is way too uptight about nudity (I'm from New Jersey). In Europe everyone's naked on the beach (well except for me ... I couldn't bring myself to take my top off when I lived in France, because clearly growing up in America has made me way too uptight). Live and let live!

Jelena said...

in my opinion this is the most natural thing in the world. sadly - natural things haven´t much place in our society anymore. I also think this is an important thing for the personal developement. Children mustn´t learn from the beginning to feel uncomfortable with their own bodies - this will happen soon enough.

Elizabeth Spraitz said...

I live in San Francisco and my little nephews are naked at Stinson all the time. It isn't a big deal at all and I think people should lighten up! It's just a baby!

Lena said...

I don't let my kids do nakey but that's more because I am scared of pervies taking photos or something. If we were at a private beach I totally would, but we live in Chicago so we are at crowded public beaches or parks.

Kleoptra said...

Hello Jo! I am from Angola, Africa and I have lived many years in Portugal, Europe and in both countries is absolutelly normal for toddlers to run around naked at the beach!! No one even blinks at suh sight and I find kind of shocking to know that some people do find it strange... It's a baby!!
Cultural gap indeed...

annaofgreengable said...

Lovely photos! I would love to be able to have my toddler run around naked on the beach. But I know what you mean about weird glances. Let them just be kids, innocent and free.


xo annaofgreengable

Zoe said...

As a girl, I don't think I ever swam naked per se, but there is a picture of me in our photo albums of me swimming in the ocean just in my underwear. I was probably between the ages of four and six. And every time I show any one our photo albums, I am very careful not to show those photos. I know it is/was pretty acceptable for young children to swim that way, but it just makes me incredibly embarrassed now that I'm older and know that adults aren't supposed to swim naked! I'm from California and I really don't think it's regional in my case, just personal.

sumslay said...

I think it's totally normal! However, if I were, say, 8 years-old and there was a toddler boy at the beach naked, of course I'd giggle....because that's what kids do.

Also, I was afraid this was going to be about people freaking out about sunscreen. Forget bottoms, i figured they wanted a hat on him. :P (for the record, i'm sure he was lathered up, i'm just guessing about some people's reaction.)

Jessica said...

go ANYWHERE in europe and kids are naked and even as they get older, little girls only wear bottoms and not tops. When my family moved to the US and I was a 9-year old, totally flat-chested, little girl I wore my bottoms-only swimsuit to the lake. I was teased and my mom was told that girls "shouldn't go topless" and kids told me "your boobs are showing"

The fact that little kids and adults aren't comfortable with nudity in a toddler and that 1-year-olds are wearing bikinis has a lot to do with our strange relatioship with sexuality in this country. On the one hand it's everywhere, on the other hand no one talks about it. A small child naked or a little girl with no shirt on has nothing to do with sexuality or inappropriateness. It just makes me sad. Being naked and running around is a joy of childhood and it should be preserved.

Take Toby to France!
Jessica

Mary said...

Sadly, it is something that is becoming a tough call. Though there maybe noting "wrong" with it, people are much more protective (they have to be) and thus the culture is shifting to where this would be uncomfortable for everyone, including other children who are being taught to not be naked, especially around strangers/in public.

courtney said...

Oh, Americans--we can be so prudish sometimes. I think a naked baby is totally fine! And adorable.

Chianne Hood said...

I'm from the Midwest and I personally am not offended or bothered by nudity. However, when you don't know who you're dealing with exactly, like in a beach setting, I would feel more comfortable keeping my child covered. xx

http://thehonestfox.blogspot.com

Raia said...

I have a two year old as well and we've let her run around naked in our condo complex yard, in and out of her inflatable swimming pool and with the hose. We live in southern CA. No one *seems* to mind, but I have also wondered what is socially acceptable and for how long. One of our neighbors commented that there are only so many years in ones life when it's OK to run naked, so enjoy it while it lasts!

melettapardo.com said...

This has to be an American thing. Living in Europe I can say it's totally normal to have naked babies/toddlers/children at the beach.

Maybe it's because everyone has a camera/iphone nowadays that people get nervous?

Heather Hartmann said...

Totally normal in Germany as well, and not even just for toddlers. I went to an outdoor "sense experience" exhibit at a park here in Nuremberg last spring, and since it was an unseasonably warm day and a lot of the exhibits involved water, there were a ton of kids running around naked. The kids were probably up to at least 10 years old. I was a little surprised (repressed American alert!), but my Polish friend didn't even bat an eye.

Emma said...

Oh those people seriously need to get a grip. I grew up in Europe, but still, that is just ridiculous. The other little girls giggling at it makes sense, developmentally, at some point. But the adults? Come on.

Nothing cuter than baby buns running around!

Hannah Meyer said...

He's a toddler, I don't see the issue at all. I think you did what most parents would have done, let him be naked he is only young. Its strange that you were given looks and people made comments - especially adults! I am from Vancouver, BC and like you used to beach naked. When I was a Nanny and we were on vacation if we forget the swim suits then they would also go naked..

Sophie Lorraine said...

I think it's people today. Personally, I wouldn't bat an eyelid - as long as the wee thing is wearing sun screen, haha. I think people are just overly cautious these days in regards to these kind of things.

Katie said...

Objectively I think I don't have a problem with it, and then I imagine if I actually saw it I might. I have no reason for this so it must be my very American sense of modesty..?
I do know I do not like it when babies are in just their regular diaper. I think it's just associating a diaper with a DIRTY diaper, but I'd much rather the baby be naked or in a swimsuit.

Anna said...

It`s funny because almost the exact same thing happened to me/my parents. I`m German and live in Hungary where I spent many summers as a kid, but then we moved to the states (Washington, D.C. area). I was always naked or wearing only my bikini bottoms which used to be totally acceptable here in Europe. But when we came to the States, we were asked: "what`s his name?", "she`s a girl" my parents would say. "But why doesn`t she wear a bathing suit/bikini top?" was the response (I was 3/4 at the time, my parents didn`t think any bad about it).
Now I come from a culture where a few years ago the whole families including parents, young adults, seniors would go to the beach naked. In Germany we call it FKK or Freikörperkultur, which translates into Free Body Culture, but it disappeared almost completely (thank god).
Personally, I don`t mind seeing babys/toddlers naked at the beach, but I understand why some people mind it.

Delphine Rivière said...

Hello Joanna I live in France, and your article totally made sense to me. I'm sometimes having the same issues, I mean, we forget bath suits or don't have them with us because we were just not thinking that we would actually have a swim and finally, we do...and let me tell you that I feel exactly like you, I don't even care about my little ones being naked, BUT I have to tell that even if I don't care, because I don't think that a naked baby can actually be considered as a faux pas, I think this is less appropriate because we are in 2013. I usually don't do that because we hear so much about child abuses and so on, that I just don't want to invite any perverse grown ups to have a look on my kids nakedness. Though it is totally true what Anne is saying that in France, we mommas, do not like at all seeing our little girls with bikinis tops for as long as possible. It introduces a "sexy" notion in the all shebang, and we just don't like our little girls to look "sexy" like a teen or a grown up girl.Kind of a paradox in what I'm saying, don't you think?! Haha Anyway, do not worry for a second about it all, Toby is so darn cute, you absolutely can't consider his nakedness as a faux pas Xx

Proo said...

Hi, I'm french and I live in Brazil. I think it's definitly normal to let your two years old baby naked on the beach.
Here people prefer to use swimming suit too and event little girls use a top and I definitly don't understand... In France it's really common to see toddlers naked, even my nephew, he's five years old, enjoy to be naked at the beach. In my opinion it's a lot of hypocrisy. Why can you see women at the beach with a thong (I live in Brazil remember?) and why can't you see naked toddlers...??? Well, the USA are a little bit more puritan but I still can't understand why it will so big deal... If they not enjoy this freedom now, when could they do?

curvy Tini said...

Hello :)
it never would have crossed my mind to find a naked toddler funny or strange. I am from Northern Germany and it's the most normal thing to have toddlers, but also older kids, run around nakedly on the beach. But then again we are quite relaxed about being naked, have beaches were everyone (including adults) will be naked. Not a big deal really.

Inari said...

I think if they are young enough to still be in diapers, they're innocent enough to romp around with a naked bottom! So long as they're never out of your sight, of course.

curvy Tini said...

FKK is still very much part of the Northern German beach culture and I personally don't think there is anything wrong with it. It's just human bodies ;)

Malia said...

A naked baby doesn't bother me. I think what would bother me is the idea of a baby pooping in the water...yet peeing in the water I wouldn't give a second thought.

Pamela said...

Call me a prude, but I think that's odd. I'm not sure why I think this, intellectually. Like, he's a baby. Who cares? Totally natural. But ... Idk, that makes me uncomfortable. I'd be more okay at the beach, but I'd definitely be unhappy seeing a naked baby in my community pool. I guess I think of it as a show of decency ... a form of social contract. We wear swim-appropriate clothes when swimming just like we wear work-appropriate clothes when working. (See? This doesn't apply to babies though, so I have no clue why I'm feeling this way.)

Emily C said...

ohh this makes me so sad. Toby is super lucky to still love his body and what it can do and I'm glad he hasn't learned to be ashamed of it yet. At his age, I don't know how anyone could feel uncomfortable with his nudity. I think worrying about what other people think has contributed to our feelings of shame about bodies. He would be lucky to put that off for awhile!

Angel said...

Its not a real beach day without a few naked babies enjoying the water. I find it totally normal, I did it, my cousins did it, my friends did it.

Rachel S said...

Seeing baby nudity wouldn't bother me at all. However, I would be grossed out about the potential for peeing and, even worse, pooping in the water or in the sand. I know baby swim diapers can still leak but at least there is some sort of barrier to keep poop and pee off the beach. Obviously, as moms, we all deal with a LOT of poop and pee. However, I think the ick-factor is definitely worse when it is someone else's kid as opposed to your own.

Rachel S said...

Seeing baby nudity wouldn't bother me at all. However, I would be grossed out about the potential for peeing and, even worse, pooping in the water or in the sand. I know baby swim diapers can still leak but at least there is some sort of barrier to keep poop and pee off the beach. Obviously, as moms, we all deal with a LOT of poop and pee. However, I think the ick-factor is definitely worse when it is someone else's kid as opposed to your own.

Jennifer Boyd said...

We did this many times, mostly because the swim diapers got water logged and fell off!
www.FripperyVintage.com

hooleywithaz.com said...

i don't get what's weird about it...naked babies are adorable, and especially if you've forgotten swim gear, go for it i say! also, let's be honest, it's easier to get the sand off them by dipping their little nude tushes in the water than trying to get it out of a diaper later! :)

Amber Dushman said...

I grew up in the Midwest and studied abroad in Spain. On my first visit to the beach in Valencia, my girlfriends and I (all raised in America) were discussing naked children at the beach and all came to consensus that it was fine. They were uninhibited children and what was the big deal, right? (If I recall correctly, the American guys weren't as comfortable with the nakedness.)

Fast forward a few years, and I'm sitting on the beach in San Diego with my in-laws (who are from the west coast) and we observed a family next to us with a naked girl and a few my family members were visibly uncomfortable. They didn't say anything but it was clear through their body language and glances.

I agree with mfelenyuk, little girls in bikinis makes me very uncomfortable. I think it just goes to show everyone has different level of comfort so parents just have to be prepared with a bathing suit.

Mornings with Milo said...

We have let our 2 year old be naked on the beach since he was teeny, tiny. I grew up on the coast, and honestly my sisters and I just wore bikini bottoms until we were at least 7 or 8. I understand the concern with pedophiles, etc, but I want my child to feel free and not encumbered by a big, sandy wet bathing suit when he's only a small babe. There will be a time, soon I fear, that we will hoist some board shorts on the boy, but for now, I love that he can run around and be carefree. The few ties where we have insisted that he wear one, he couldn't get it off fast enough!

Alena said...

Babies/toddlers are naked at the beach in Hawaii all the time. I've NEVER even heard of the slightest whisper of an issue with it. This post was actually surprising to me. I didn't even know that opposition existed. And I'm not talking about weird hippie beaches that people think of in Hawaii. I mean Waikiki where it's stuffed full of people from all over the globe. I grew up in California and saw plenty of naked babies, although it was usually too chilly to run around with your bum hanging out. I'm eagerly looking forward to becoming the mother of naked beach babies.

magda_n said...

I live in France and I let my daughter play on the beach naked but now, when she is 3, she wants to put a swimming costume (as it's cute for her and she's becoming a little bit "coquette", she wants to be like older children)

Jen said...

I still can't believe they sell triangle tops for babies and little girls! I don't mind tankinis (makes it easier for little girls to go potty).

HM said...

From France: let the babies/toddlers run naked at the beach, and little girls can go topless until around 9 or 10 (but usually they want to wear a top before that, to do like the grown ups ^^) I really can't imagine what could be wrong/offensive about a baby running butt naked at the beach...

Ecotruism said...

I'm 30, don't have kids yet, and live in RI. If I saw a naked two year old on the beach I'd think I'd be a little jealous he got to be so free and have so much fun :) I'd think it's awesome his parents let him have the experience, being naked outdoors is the best!

green eye gurl said...

I think its more of an issue of personal safety as there are creeps out there who sadly, are interested in kids. my hesitation would be that you don't really know who is watching. sad, but true

GBlanche said...

Just the title of your made me laugh ! I'm French and naked babies are quite a common thing on beaches over here. My US friends joke about it saying ... ohhh when we'll have babies, we'll come spend summer vacations with you and let them run around naked ! It was the most hilarious sight for them seeing a bunch of french toddlers waddling starkers along the shore ! Same thing regarding photos of tiny babies being bathed at home ("first bath" etc.) I found it weird that US nurses recommend "concealing" a child's "modesty" with a wash cloth or a toy (?????!!!) when taking pictures so as not to embarrass the child once he is older. Seriously? I don't mind one bit looking at pictures of me naked as a baby. Would you guys be shocked at seeing yourself naked as a baby? IS this a cultural thing?

Martie @ Spunkyrella said...

I am from Vienna, Austria and I am 30. I grew up being naked most of the summer time and I loved it as a kid but today I figured people think it´s inappropriate when you have a small girl - like Toby´s age - and she would only wear panties but no bikini top. I mean it´s a baby right?!
On the other side a coworker pointed out that there are a lot of perverts these days just watching kids which gives me shivers.... I guess the innocent childhood I had is over when it comes to nudity!

Then again we have a naked zone at the Danube Island in Vienna where the bike path runs through and no one seems to be fazed by that.

Crazy world.

In your case I didn´t think you did anything wrong. There will always be weirdos out there though.

Martie

PaolaQz said...

I am from México. Completely normal to see a toddler naked. Although in some snob areas it will raise some eyebrows. I had my toddler (2) with underware once because I also forgot her swimsuit, and I noticed some people were frowning upon us... I guess, it all depends in how pretentious the beach is. Cancun, not accepted. Playa del Carmen, ok. Acapulco, it will determine your economical status; Puerto Escondido, totally ok.

Jordy said...

We took our 5 month old daughter to Goa and ALL the babies and children (up to about 8 or 9 years old) were naked. The only weird part was how freely everyone took photos of our kid (asking to pose with her, cuddle her... it was really quite sweet after you got used to it and you don't think about it too hard).

leah ruth said...

i am from philadelphia, and mine has gone naked, but only in my own backyard, of those of family and friends. i honestly think i would have done the same in your situation and let her go naked if the beach wasn't very packed and it was all families, why not? let them be little (and naked) while they can! i have had people give me looks for allowing my toddler daughter to be topless - her chest is no different than little boys! how silly to make a fuss over a naked baby!

Unknown said...

Twelve years ago living in San Diego my kids ran around the beach naked without too much attention. We moved to Seattle and have had stares and uncomfortable looks from folks with my younger ones. Its sad that people associate sexuality with a toddler. There are conservative people everywhere you go....I have put clothing on my children not for comfort of those judging but to protect them from the negativity directed at them. Frustrating and sad.

Kate said...

I think it's totally normal to let babies be naked anywhere like a beach. Maybe folks there were just extra conservative?

Rachel @ Existation said...

Dude, he's two! I think it's totally fine. People are so weird sometimes. Also, that last picture of Toby is the best ever.

Danhiskka said...

Well, you culd take a bag with you, that's what my parents used to do!

Moonlight said...

Well first of all, generally in Cyprus where I live, we don't mind when people look at babies/toddlers/kids, laugh with them, play with them, or offer them something. I think we trust the eyes of people here, still. We think we would know if someone has something bad in mind, and we don't mind when people stare or smile at babies in strollers.
Having said this, in the summer we see all the above on the beach: naked babies, babies in swimsuits, little girls in monokinis, and my personal least favorite little girls in bikinis.
No one really minds, some thing of the hygiene of it, but really if a kid is sitting in the sand, playing, even while wearing a swimsuit, how hygienic can it be? :)
It certainly does not depend on whether you know the family or not, or if the beach is crowded or not! Also, take into account that our economy is mainly based on tourism, so this is a multi-culti image i'm trying to give!
And last but not least, to explain myself, I do not particularly like bikinis for little girls as since they don't have boobies, it moves and it seems cheap and trashy to me. But this is just how I perceive it, not everyone!

Erin said...

My mother was a painter and used to get so disgusted with what she called "American prudery"... and she wasn't wrong :) We're such an uptight country about things like this. I'm very modest as an adult (besides - I got the WORST sunburn sunbathing topless in France - you can imagine the shade of pink on areas that had never seen the sun!), but I think naked babies are too precious for words. It's bad enough they'll have to wear uncomfortable tight/sloshy suits as adults - let them have fun as kids. My little guy will totally go naked on the beach this summer :)

Erica C. said...

When I was studying abroad in Mexico and later in Spain I saw naked kids (up to age 9 or 10 even) on beaches, in pools, and in fountains all the time! I think a lot of other parts of the world are much less uptight about nudity in general that we are in the U.S., and that translates to their beaches as well.

bisbee said...

You are absolutely correct - Europeans are much more open about nudity and always have been! We in America are very Puritanical compared to most other "developed" countries in the world!

I guess the "safest" thing to do is to put Toby in a bathing suit or swim diaper when in a public environment. Not for others around you, but to make sure he doesn't feel like there's anything wrong.

Carrie said...

In a crowded public beach I just don't think it's safe -- totally normal and should be ok, but when your friend works for the FBI in cyber-crimes, you hear a different perspective :(

Iris said...

I think it is normal! My sisters and cousins ran around naked on the beach up until we were 3 or so and I don't remember it being an issue. I plan on running my little ones around in whatever they like when we go on the beach, naked is most comfortable! It would be a different story if I saw a naked 10 year old galavanting around on a public beach, but thats neither here nor there. From San Diego, CA!

Susan Tran said...

There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying the beach in the buff ESPECIALLY when you're a toddler and in some cases even when you're an adult. I attend a dinner party over the weekend and the topic was how everyone spent childhood family vacations. Most of the stories consisted of some sort of frolicking on a beach naked!

KJ said...

Completely agree with both of these comments!

Ines said...

Until I was 12 in Portugal! :)
I grew up in the 70's and was soooooo natural to always be naked at the beach and a "the sun is good for you approach". Now I have a 5YO girl and me and my friends are much more concerned about the sun - of course - and surprisingly, many of my friends are much more concerned about nudity. Up until B was 3 she would always have stints of being nude at the beach. Last year less and people do start to look and stare (at a 4 year old!!!). So she would always (almost always :) have her swimsuit on. Next year she will ask for a bikini, which I think is so unconfortable to play in....and makes me wonder if kids aren't growing too fast.....
Inês, Lisbon - Portugal

Bean said...

Hey Joanna,

Interesting post, as I was at P Cove yesterday and saw you and your family there! I love Cup of Jo and so much wanted to say hi to you, but I felt awkward about doing that. As someone who lives in LA and sees celebrities going about their lives regularly, it's just not that cool to go up to someone who is enjoying time with their family to say "hi, love your blog!" But I do. I actually noticed Toby first while you guys were waiting for your table, I was the lady by the lobster tank talking with my young daughter about why lobsters don't want to be touched! I bet you were wondering why I was wearing rain boots!? It's because this time of year, tide pooling in rain boots is the way to go. Your feet don't get freezing cold and you can splash around looking for shells much longer and more comfortably. Anyway, nice to have seen you in my neck of the woods!

As far as letting Toby go naked at the beach, it's saddening that in our society today this is an issue, but I get it. I think that people in LA know there are so many disturbed people out there, and especially pedophiles, that we have to protect our children from being looked at and/or photographed by people that shouldn't be around children. That is the sad truth, especially in large cities like LA. So that's what we're thinking, even though we wouldn't tell our children so. I've been to that beach a million times and have felt the urge to let my daughter go sans clothes on a time or two but have not allowed her to do so as the thought of someone abusing her image is as strong a deterrent as anything could be.

Anyway, wishing you and yours well. And congrats on that baby bump, you looked great by the way!

Best, Jess

Amanda Smith said...

I think those people were so ridiculous! Being naked as a toddler is such a special time. He's just a baby. I would have said to those kids, he's just a baby and doesn't know any better.

laurenfoode.com said...

I agree, I think it's an American thing to find naked toddlers (and young'uns in general) indecent. I was at a pool in Las Vegas once where a Spanish couple and their little girl (who had to be at least 5) were lounging and the little girl just had bottoms on. A manager came up and asked the father to put a top on his little girl.

Georgia Christakis said...

I am so so surprised that this happened to you. Sure, it's not Europe, but I hardly think naked baby is even remotely scandalous or inappropriate. I see babies and toddlers run free like this all the time, and Boca Raton, Florida is not exactly a judgment free zone. I would have thought nothing of it, and I am quite surprised that the some people are not ok with what is basically national symbol of Coppertone sunscreen.

Giulia said...

i'm from Barcelona and kids run around naked if they want to, especially babies. in the city, because of the dirty water and beach mostly, they tend to wear bathing suits but in more natural beaches, many go naked.
what's funny is that here in spain, so, so many women go topless: girls, teenagers, moms and old ladies. and it's not a big deal, at all. even though when i lived in the US, i would never, ever, think about going topless.
i find it strange that they looked at poor little toby weird.
culture differences...

mpellegrini said...

I don't do it with my own 2.5 year old, but not because of the nakedness thing -- only because it's more sun exposure to worry about and thus more sunblock to keep reapplying, and also because I don't trust him not to poop in the water or in the sand.

Melinda said...

I think it's totally fine on a modesty level. But, I do agree with the above comment about poo. No one wants to boogie board into a brown log! I've seen naked toddlers take a dump on the beach which is not cool. So if there's a way for a parent to control that I say it's fine, but if not it's unsanitary.

Carrie Lynn said...

Last summer I was with my cousin and our daughters at a mall splash pad here in Salt Lake City, Utah. My cousin was changing her daughter into her bathing suit and security was all over us saying we had to go to the bathroom because naked babies were against the rules. Children there also can't wear bathing suits but have to instead where a tshirt and shorts or a dress to play in the water. My cousin, being Finnish, later expressed that a culture offended by a naked baby was offensive to HER culture. The security guard later agreed the rules were a bit silly but that they were put into place because there were people photographing children who "should not have been."
I would think a beach would be different than a mall splash pad though, eh? Also, Utah is very conservative.

Kendriana said...

It's strange, half naked adults can appear in ads on family networks but children can run innocently in the nude enjoying a little sun.

I don't get it!

J E S S I C A - R A Y said...

I'm 22 and have no kids, but I also ran around naked as a kid (even have many an embarrassing video tape that my Dad still loves to show new boyfriends. sigh) But I am in school to be a nurse, so maybe that makes me less sensitive. I wouldn't really worry about it....people need to get over their fear of naked bodies!

Courtney Suzanne said...

My little sisters used to run around our neighborhood naked all the time. You couldn't keep a diaper on them in the summer. I am sure I did, too. My mom never cared. The neighborhood kids were the only ones to say anything, and it made me embarrassed. Kids are usually the only ones bothered about it, probably because they are just learning about social cues and what is "appropriate" in public.

onesilentwinter said...

I was on holiday in St-Croix and was invited for the day to spend it on a beautiful beach on a resort. there was three young girls between the ages of 7 & 10 from italy without their tops on, i could not believe the whispers that were taken place, all i could think is how free they are, when else in our life can we do that. My mom always let me go topless on the beach as a young girl, or wear jean overalls without a top underneath. I think if the parents sare comfortable with it that is all that matters, I feel as North America makes such a big deal and maybe that could easily be changed if we just stop caring what others think when it comes to our child. it is after all the most natural state to be!

Erika said...

I think it's more a matter of privacy. I personally wouldn't care if my 19 month old son (or any other young child) ran around naked at the beach. Unfortunately there are sick people out there who do see small children as sexual objects. I feel like with the Internet, it's a whole different scenario than when we were children. Hypothetically speaking, anyone could take a picture of my son and post it on the Internet....that freaks me out.

Erika in Seattle

JessieRutland said...

In Saint Augustine, Florida some toddlers skinny dip and some wear head to toe UV protection suits. My little guys frequently swim naked and we get looks occassionally, but I don't sweat it.

Teri said...

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, no one ever let their children or toddlers roam around naked or even barefoot. This was looked at as very low class. It also opened you up to criticism about your motives (e.g. do you enjoy looking at naked children?). I do not believe they are right, but you do have to respect your neighbors, even when you disagree.
Everyone seems to know what is best for other people's children, and they aren't afraid to say so. It's become rather sad.

lahana said...

I am from Turkey, it is normal to see naked toddlers and summer time is potty training season on the beach :)

Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
paper friday said...

Good point Kendriana, I totally agree with you. It seems like a very natural place for little ones to be 'free'. I live in England, and although we usually need coats and Wellington boots at the beach on our odd hot day I definitely feel happy to have my little ones nappy-less! Great post!!

Lady Grey said...

I honestly wouldn't think twice if I saw it. It's a naked baby/toddler for crying out loud! Sheesh, people can be SO uptight!
~ Vanessa (Montreal, Canada)

Gardise said...

Hey, sorry to hear you worried about this. But really this sounds ridiculous times many! Honestly, why bring culture into this, most of Americans pride themselves having European roots, aren't you.
Over here If you are taking kids (any age until they themselves worry, which in my experience comes naturally when they mature and usually earlier than anyone actually thinks any of it), then have them enjoy the experience to the fullest. Swimsuits are a nuisance when swimming, even when grown-up, you always are reminded to change out of the wet cloth stuck to your delicate skin and maybe even giving you a cold, if there is a fresher breeze.
So really the bigger worry is sun exposure these days, but then just put a T and cap and good sun blockers and tell them to let you know before they run into the water.

Unless your little one shows consciousness about it, I would care about his fun then some "modest" prudes.

These are kids make me sad, it is way to obvious where they are heading when it comes to being confortable with oneself.

I am from Germany, and have travelled/ beached all over Europe, I am certainly not a Nudist German, but I consider myself practical;b.
xg

irbid world said...

nice topic

Caroline Perrin said...

Yes! Totally agree.

Sharla said...

my thoughts exactly Kendriana - i see people basically naked and more on the beach and at pools all the time and no one bats an eye, but God forbid a BABY be naked!

Crosby said...

I'm from San Francisco, and think beaches and nudity go together like PB+J! Babies, toddlers, kids, adults, who cares?! There is nothing as sweet as feeling the sun on your skin. I understand not everone can get behind full-blown nudity at the beach, but I think we can all agree that an adorable kid running around in his birthday suit is just that, adorable!

Anke Maria said...

Hi, I am from Germany and I think it is or at least should be absolutely no problem to let your two year old child play naked at the beach.
Have a wonderful day

J.Mill said...

I agree with you, Pamela. I don't have children, but I think seeing naked babies at the beach would concern/distract/gross me out. I would thinking "have they put sunscreen EVERYWHERE on that kid?" or "What if sand gets in their...?". I also think that it might invite unwanted questions from kids in other families like "why cant I be naked" or "mom, what's THAT? (referring to genitalia)".

It's a free country, so do what you want. But be considerate.

Anni Ts said...

Hi!
I am from Germany and here it is more than normal and ok and accepted and no big deal at all if young children are naked at the beach. As long as the kids don´t feel uncomfortable(usually that happens around the age of 4 because children get more self-aware of themselves and their surroundings around that age) it is the best and most normal experience for a kid. I do not feel that things habe changed from my own childhood( I am 26 now) where being naked was fun and normal for us here in Germany and during our summer holidays in Sweden.

Margaret said...

I think being naked to go in the water is totally fine, but I don't think I'd let my babe be without clothing for general beach play, depending on how many people were around and how close by they were. I just feel like there are too many weirdos out there with iPhones.

Kerry said...

I see no problem with naked little children at the beach. It was much easier for me, when my son was 2, than having to worry about swim diapers etc. Besides, I figure it's only for a short time before they start to become self conscious of themselves and their bodies. Let them be free!

Jenna Senter said...

This is so surprising to me.. As progressive as America has become, it is still so conservative! I am glad to see that most of the comments so far are in favor of naked babies at the beach! They're too cute!

Miki B said...

We live in Southern California and when it's warm enough our two year old runs around naked at the beach all the time, along with his other little friends. It's pretty sad if we as adults get hung up on innocent toddler nakedness. And as for other older children it's probably more a curiousity. There will be years ahead when our children will feel more inhibited and awkward in their bodies so I say when they are little let them be naked at the beach!

Sara said...

As a toddler, it's fine. My friends and I did whisper when we saw a naked 7 year-old at the beach!

Samantha said...

I think it's weird that people gave you sideways looks! But us Americans tend to be a bit prude about nudity in general. My mom is from Greece and we used to go there in the summers as a child. I would usually just wear bottoms at the beach until I was about 8 and my 3 year old sister was naked the whole time. But so were all the other children. Of course, all the beaches in Greece are topless if you want for adults so a naked baby is obviously no biggie.

Meadow said...

In Europe it's more socially acceptable to have a naked baby at the beach... in North America people are way more prudish. You see 3 yr old girls in bikinis... kinda ridiculous.

The only concern I'd really have would be if he starts to pee etc. right there... that isn't too sanitary for others.

littlepotatoes said...

Ditto over here on Vancouver island!

Meadow said...

Same here in Canada... my parents are European and we had some topless females in art around our house, and we'd get whispers from not just my friends, but the parents too... pretty ridiculous!

Stephany said...

I'm surprised there are so many people who are A-OK with it! I'm a single girl in my 20's, and it would just make me feel a bit awkward. Maybe because I haven't had children yet, but it's someone I don't know naked!

Sure he's a child and that is different from a random naked adult, but especially with other children you don't know on the beach (the other child who commented) - I just don't think it's appropriate. I wouldn't say anything to you at all, though! Too joyous of a place to be THAT rigid!

zhenusik26 said...

When we first moved to the US, my parents would have my brother (4 years old at the time) swim in basic undies rather than swim trunks. They would just change him right after swimming (while still at the pool). Someone came up to them and said that it was inappropriate to change a child in sight of others. This was in Cincinnati, OH. We were all flabbergasted -- so much so that I still remember this episode. I think it's perfectly fine to be naked at a beach for a kid. It teaches him to not be ashamed of his body.

Paige said...

I'm from Arizona so we have no beaches haha but we do have lakes and whenever we go my nieces and nephews are always naked and nothing has ever been said to us. I do have a toddler but we haven't encountered this yet so I'm anxious to see if it happens, how people react. It's really interesting to me to hear that older kids were mocking him for being naked. I ran around naked til I was bout 8, but I was a very free spirited child!

hannah joy said...

i would agree in thinking that naked babies on the beach is completely normal.

kendra meserve said...

oooh this is so American! currently living in Normandy and I knowww my friends would just let their little ones run stark naked and have a grand ole time! This totally falls under the anglo saxon attitude towards sex category, a whole other topic in and of itself...

littlepotatoes said...

Ditto over here on Vancouver island!

Tasha said...

I'm from Florida, but live in NYC now. In Florida, naked babies were not a big deal. I remember stripping naked at 5 or 6 at the shower stalls to get sand off my body and then being wrapped in a big fluffy towel (one of my strongest memories actually)but this was the 80s. Not sure how it really is now since I haven't lived there in a while, I wouldn't hesitate to strip my babies naked at the beach. But at the NYC playgrounds, I've just been changing my 3 year old into a swimsuit and gotten looks so maybe it is a regional thing after all! I just don't get it really. I think naked bodies are lovely (especially babies!)

wizzou said...

I just think it's sad that people nowdays can find a baby's bottom offensive. I'm from Romania, and I've never heard anyone complaining about seeing a baby naked at the beach. In fact, it would be weird to see a 5 year old girl with a bra. What is there to cover?

Melanie said...

I was born and raised in America by two of the most conservative parents on the planet and I ran around naked as a toddler and not just at the beach.
I will never understand why people in this country get so bent out of shape about naked bodies! No wonder girls grow up to have such body image issues!

Nicole said...

Let your baby be naked! It's a baby. I find it strange that people are having issues with naked babies.

jo said...

we americans are so weird. naked women on billboards are fine, but naked babies at the beach! oh the horror! hand-clasped-to mouth!

kim said...

I dont' see anything wrong with it but honestly it does make me a bit uncomfortable. I was raised in a household where we were never really naked though so perhaps that has something to do with it. I'm from Massachusetts

HelloKorin said...

When I was young and living in Georgia, my mother would let my sisters and I swim in our panties. When we were a bit older and living in Germany, I noticed many children (sometimes up to age 5 or 6!) swimming naked. Thinking about how I want to raise my future children, I see no problem with it! I don't think children that small should be taught to be ashamed of their bodies.

Lana said...

I think it's awful that people would have a problem with this! Being that comfortable with your body only happens for a few short years. "Let it all hang out while you still can!" is my motto! LOL!

Sarah Clark said...

i love naked babies on the beach! i didn't have my son's bathing suit one day this past summer (bay head nj) i don't think anyone thought twice about it. later that day in town, someone pointed to him and said "there's the naked baby from bridge ave beach!".

Judy said...

As a mother of a 2 year and 2 month old I wouldn't let him be naked (because of other people looking at him) and I wouldn't like seeing other kids doing it either. He already knows his body parts and we are teaching him that some things are private (that people shouldn't look at you or touch you there). It would be awkward to have to teach him not to point out other kid's privates and it would turn into a whole, "we have to watch him and try and teach him" day instead of a relaxing day on the beach. However, it IS a public beach so I wouldn't stare at the parents or anything. If it bothered me enough that day we might just find a new spot. Nobody is ever going to agree with other people's parenting skills entirely anyways, so personally for me I never judge other parents, we just do what we think is best for us.

I may be overly cautious though because I had something happen to me when I was little and my parent's were right there, so I think it makes me want to teach my little one everything to avoid something bad happening to him in the future.

eKim said...

I wouldn't think a two year old running around naked at a beach was a big deal at all. But maybe I'm jaded to the nakedness since I live in San Francisco and we see naked people all the time w/out batting an eyelash!

Nora N said...

We live in California, and i personally don't like my baby running around at a public beach/lake/etc naked. I don't feel comfortable with it. We never did growing up so it's just a thing. If it's just Us tho, in our backyard or inside the house whatever, they're free to lounge around however they want, especially in the hot summer

Judy said...

Oh, and I forgot to add that I think naked babies are probably the cutest thing on the planet, so my opinion has nothing to do with that! Unfortunately I just think it is the world we live i these days that makes us all so cautious. :/

Aya said...

I think nude babies and toddlers at the beach are totally normal and fine. I actually think the strange part is people's reactions against it!

Sara Geidlinger Photography said...

joanna, looooooove these photos! so once we were told off by a man because our 3 year old daughter was naked at the beach while his off leash dog pooped in the sand nearby. Ah, to each his own right? ;)

Lori Jenkins said...

I dont have a problem with it - but I'm curious if any of you worry about pedophiles? it's a sad world we live in today...

Nekes said...

I agree totally. Covering up toddlers is socializing them to associate their natural bodies with shame. Our bodies should be a source of joy and babies get so much joy from just running around naked. No soggy diapers at the beach!

Cathy said...

I'd be worried about "toilet" accidents etc. That's where my head went.

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Alicia Marie said...

Growing up in MI, it was not a big deal for babies. Now, as a mother of two, I would probably NOT do it on purpose. Not because I feel it is wrong, but because I don't trust the people around me. I would never want anyone to look at my child with anything but complete innocence.

Heather said...

I've never thought about it but if I saw a toddler running around naked, I'd probably be taken aback at first but then secretly scold myself for even inadvertently staring. I'm from Virginia and I see naked babies all the time at the beaches here, which I don't bat an eyelash at, but I think of toddlers as little people and generally just expect them to be clothed. I would probably have a more open mind if I were a parent though! Kerry's comment above makes a good point - let them embrace it and be free while they can!

emily said...

I do not see an issue with it at all. We swam naked as kids all the time and I didn't wear a bikini top until I was about 5. It might be different in different places but on the west coast of canada it seemed to be fine. It is usually not acceptable at a pool but I do not see an issue with the beach. I think some pre-teens might have noticed and commented because at that age they are vary aware of their bodies and nakedness is an uncomfortable thing.

Schenck cath said...

well, in France, naked toddlers at the beach are everywhere, so...
I really don't care and I think I let my kids run around naked at times, I don't even remember; toddlers are changed from wet to dry clothes without any cover too, so... I don't see what the big deal is, maybe the problem is that they might pee all over the place?
I honestly don't know. THose pictures are gorgeous!

Leslie said...

It's our American Puritan background.
I think it's rediculous to care if toddlers (or that topless 5yr old) are naked playing in the water. Makes me crazy.
Wish I lived in Europe sometimes.

Jessica Brown said...

When I took my little ones home to Nova Scotia I let them play in the ocean and lakes naked. Only a small window when you get to run around free!

shararehali said...

Well in Germany you wouldn't get a bare stare for that. And in my journeys to Turkey you can see naked toddlers at the beach even there. In the Netherlands everybody is topless.
Just because of sunburn people cover their kids up more now than when I was growing up.

Scout and Rice said...

I wouldn't think much of the nudity itself, but having grown up in Australia we learned early on that the sun can do terrible damage to your skin, so my only concern would be that a little one's skin should really be protected when they are under the sun.

Shelley said...

I'm from Georgia & I think I'm pretty modest and conservation after ready the comments on this post. As a mom of 3 boys I get where you are coming from. A two year running around nude is not a big deal (and your little fella is adorable I must say). My boys have played in the sprinklers in the yard nude, in the privacy of our home. But I also see it from the other side. Some people are uncomfortable with it, and then there are those who are after our children. I think more for the protection of my children I won't let them go without anything on in public.

ScarlettM said...

I live in Denmark, and here, naked kids on beaches is completely accepted - right up until they themselves get too aware of their own bodies to feel comfortable in the buff.
I think it's so important to remember that the body is a lot of things and not project sexuality into everything - I can't believe that people would have a hard time accepting a frickin' two-year-old happy and naked on a beach!
This new puritanism - I hate the fact that some things seem to be moving in a decreasingly, not increasingly free direction. It's actually the same here, to a lesser extent: breastfeeding used to be completely accepted everywhere, including public places like restaurants and shops, but now we're seeing an increasing number of places with “nursing stations”, which of course is another way of saying that breastfeeding is not a totally acceptable thing to do everywhere. It might seem like a small thing, but to me, growing up with a mom who breastfed my brothers everywhere, it felt very limiting and almost degrading when I had my daughter that some places would not accept what I saw as the most natural thing in the world. I ended up avoiding those places because I felt like they saw breastfeeding mothers as gross and inappropriate, like they were just assuming that women, given the chance, would pop out both boobs and start lactating all over the place. Sometimes, breasts are just food, and sometimes, a naked little boy is just the most practical solution at the beach!

Liron said...

I'm currently living in Hungary with my husband and toddler but grew up in the States. Here, children run around naked even when they're not on the beach. They'll just do it when they're on a play date and it's totally normal. I don't mind but I do find myself looking whereas other people around don't even glance...I guess we Americans are somewhat prudish... Love the Toby pics!

Desiree Fawn said...

Naked is normal, I say go for it. I'd never think twice about my kiddo romping around naked at the beach. :) Do what YOU'RE comfortable with, for sure :)

monica mulhern said...

I am Portuguese and grew up on the beach. Naked babies rule! I did come to visit my dad in the states when I was nine and my step mom was asked why I didn't wear a bikini top? In Portugal most of the beaches are topless specially with kids so i thought that was very strange...most Americans are just very prudish. I think Toby's photos were awesome.

Clara Artschwager said...

Oooh my goodness this breaks my heart a little! My brother and I were such naked babies. My mother always tells the story of how I threw a tantrum at the Bronx Zoo when I was really young, all because I wanted to take my clothes off. She made me keep them on but to this day wishes she hadn't! Then again people can be so uptight and aren't afraid to voice it, and I wonder what that does for the child... ideally I'd hope they were completely unaware, but who knows? I grew up in Brooklyn and then Rhinebeck. My parents are also artists.. so perhaps moe liberal!

mariniere said...

I'm an American, living in Europe (currently Austria, previously France). Babies and small children (even 4-5 year olds) run around naked at the beach. You just have to remember to put sunscreen EVERYWHERE.

Nataliya said...

naked 2 year old, wouldn't bother me. a naked 5 year old girl running around with 7 year old boys at a carribean resort recently bothered me infinitely.

considering I hate the frilly bikini kind swimsuits for little girls, I thought a tasteful one piece would have been more appropriate than a naked 5 year old girl. Especially in the company of older boys on a resort.

but, no, a naked two year old doesn't bother me.

Po said...

Hello,
I'm from France too, living in England and I totally agree with the bikini tops on little girls - why?? Once my step daughter (6 at the time) turned up wearing a "bra", I acted as if I didn't mind so she wouldn't feel odd but it was definitely weird and wrong in my mind. After all, she's just a little girl; let her be, there's the rest of her life to wear bras and be sexy!

Carol said...

I live in MN but I'm from Ireland originally.I remember when I first moved here my husband told me I couldn't change back into my dry clothes out on the beach (using a towel of course),in Ireland thats what you did!
I have a 1 1/2 year old and again he is not comfortable letting her in the pool/beach without her swimsuit on.
I think its an american thing. In Europe naked babies on the beach is totally normal.

Tui said...

I'm from New Zealand and the kids in my family all love to run around on the beach and in the back yard sprinkler with no clothes on, it seems so natural. Our only problem is we are directly under the ozone hole and it takes about 3 minutes to turn into a crispy raw red strap and we have to cover them up to protect their delicate skin.

I honestky dont think you would of gotten a second look if Toby was running around on a beach here sans diaper, in fact he probably would of just had other little kids come to join him playing in the sand & surf.

As far as everyone is concerned with the lack of bikini tops on girls I dont see why it should be an issue, bikini tops are actually only there to hold & cover developed breast and no child/toddler I know has those.

AP said...

I grew up in Miami, lots of South/Central American and Carribean influence. We went naked at the beach until we were 5 or 6. Suited up as kid/teen, but then went right back to naked (topless in the U.S.) when i hit college. ITS THE BEACH AFTER ALL!! I think its hilarious when a little naked baby goes toddling by!

Nina Leung said...

I haven't experienced this yet, but I think it would be perfectly fine to allow toddlers to be naked on the beach. I'm in the Bay Area where it's a little cold throughout the year to allow a toddler to be naked on the beach, but if I were somewhere and a toddler were naked or I forgot my son's swimsuit, definitely go naked. I think it's weird to be uncomfortable with a toddler's nudity.

Kristen D said...

This should be very acceptable if you were at Fire Island :) naked beaches galore!

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allie said...

I was naked as a kid FOREVER. And you know what? I kind of attribute the no-big-deal attitude my parents with how comfortable I feel about my body, naked or otherwise, as an adult.

I think it's really sad that nudity is so automatically sexualized in the United States...

Betti said...

Haha I guess in Europe this is much more relaxed. Most children develop a sense of indecency by themselves. Plus we even go in the water naked ourselves when there is none at the beach (though some of the people I know are pretty "hippi"). But we had some local discussion when the opened a new fountain in town and some parents let their toddlers play there naked.

Jessica said...

Whoa. Weird. I grew up in Virginia and my parents have lots of funny stories about me getting naked at the beach all the time (like I would come ina little baby bikini and strip it off immediately). Apparently, all the adults thought it was funny and cute and because I was A BABY. If any adult has a problem with a naked baby, that is on them and they are forcing their own issues on you. A naked baby is not the same as a naked adult. Do your own thang.

VeronikaS said...

I have two-year-old twin-girls and the only reason I put shirts on them is to protect from the Sun. I think naked toddlers are adorable. What I find _really_ disturbing is toddlers in two-piece swimming suits. And that comment about a manager in Las Vegas asking a couple to put a top on a 5 year old! That's what sounds perverse. Last summer at the local park in Santa Monica I saw a European couple with a boy and a girl (both under 7 y.o.), both running naked under the sprinklers - I thought it was liberating (while I'm a modest person) to see children being children. Of course, they've got everyone glancing at them. I am scared of my children growing up in the society that has enormous build-boards with naked women laying on top of each other, holding bottles of Champagne (symbolizing you know what), while a 2 year old cannot enjoy some nature in his most natural state. Sigh.

Fenke said...

To me it sounds like a typical american thing - no offence - to be a little prude with nudity, even if it is a toddler. I grew up in germany, but our visits to the beach were mostly in the netherlands, since it was closer than any german beach. it was (and still is) the most normal thing to have a toddler run around naked. now we are living in berlin, and at a public pool we were asked to at least put a diaper on when being in the pool, to prevent it from becoming a public toilet. sounds fair to me :-)

stephanie said...

In Spain it is normal for small children to be naked at the beach or the pool, also for women to do topless - but not as common as in France, there even older women do topless and I think it is great even if I am too shy to do it!

Seattle Intern Guru said...
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Vivi said...

I find it interesting that when I take my 18 month old son to swim classes - he is the only one not in a bathing suit. Yes, he is wearing a swim diaper, but all of the other 10 or so babies are wearing bathing suits OVER the diapers. What's the point? It makes no sense to me especially since we are at an indoor pool so no one is worried about sun protection. I also find it interesting that all the girls are wearing "girl" bathing suits.

Bethany said...

Living in Minnesota (Land O' Lakes!), we see naked babies at the beach all the time. I don't think there is ANYTHING wrong with it and am, frankly, shocked that people were so disapproving. I think once a child reaches school age, they should probably be wearing a swimsuit and I definitely would be shocked if there were adults running around naked :)

Heather said...

It's not the nudity that would bother me, but the chance he could poop and I'd get a floater near me. :)

The Slow Pace said...

In Spain is totally normal. Toddlers are naked at the beach, not in swimmingpools though.
I guess it's totally cultural...

www.thwslowpace.wordpress.com

linz said...

Here is Ontario, woman can legally walk around topless, so I don't see any problem with a naked toddler frolicking on the beach!

Kaytie said...

We are living in Germany and the first time we went to the pool I noticed the babies and small children without bathing suits. At first I was caught off guard (I'm from the states) but after a few minutes it was totally normal and actually made sense, since they are so small. Also, body image of adults is completely different here also. Cover-ups were rare and bikinis were promanent, no matter the body type. None of the women seemed self conscious, but at the same time no one was really even looking at each other. It was a nice change from the pool scene back home where it seems like a constant competition!

Louise Dodd said...

I personally wouldn't mind naked babies but I would be concerned of other people watching. If I don't know the people I would be very cautious. I would be scared of people taking photos of my kids which out me knowing.

simplystylishmom.com said...

Agree with a lot of the comments: we live in Europe and nakedness is WAY more normal: at the beaches - kids and adults, public baths, don't get me started on the gym change room... but ppl don't even bat an eyelid and some of these Northern Europeans can be VERY reserved... but with nudity and particularly with kids - nothing. But in Australia/Canada/America.... I probably wouldn't have done it!

Seattle Intern Guru said...
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Jessie said...

i don't think it's a big deal if your toddler is running around naked. doesn't bother me. however and it must be said, there are sick people in this world all over that prey on little kids. i wont let my toddler run around naked for that reason alone. i don't want any pervs to come across her. it's sad but it's how the world is these days...

Noelle McLaughlin said...

I absolutely think it shouldn't matter and is totally fine.

But that being said I do think these days people frown on it. Generationally we seem to be getting more and more strict about our kids and how much "freedom" they have in public (or even how much freedom you have to parent in public...).

(Buffalo, NY)

Eleanor James said...

What an experience. I don't know what I would have done. We cloth diapered, but when we went to the pool, my little one only wore swim bottoms- no diapers. Anyway, I wouldn't think twice about it being immodest, really. BUT, on the other hand, I'd never let my toddler (or child of any age) run around in any public place without a diaper (or clothing) and the biggest reason for that being pedophiles, they come in all shapes, sizes, cultures, and classes. Additionally, I wouldn't want anyone snapping pictures of my toddler, whether it was an innocent photo or not. It wouldn't make me uncomfortable from a modesty aspect, but I'd certainly be concerned about creepy onlookers. I'm from the Midwest. :)

Marie (Mrs. Dalrymple) said...

A lot of Americans are so puritanical when it comes to nudity but they don't bat an eye at watching horrible violence on tv or in movies. I don't think there's anything wrong with a 2 year old being naked on the beach. P.S. I am Canadian.

Roxanne said...

Our society is so weird in North America! This would never be an issue in Europe or South America!! It's a baby! It's a naked body! Hello, how beautiful! And normal! And guess what, everyone's naked under their clothes!
It's totally ok for tweens to have push up bras and wear stamped-sized shorts and skirts but a naked baby at the beach? Shocker!
I think it's awesome for children to see other children naked and see that they have the same things going on or that the opposite sex has other things going on and it's no big deal.
This is part of the reason why we have unprepared people getting pregnant or having difficult/scary sexual altercations: no one has a clue what's going on underneath and it's because of the lack of something as simple as casual nakedness in childhood.
As for people worried about pedophiles: they are out there no matter what and you have to look after your kids no matter what. Them being clothed or naked is not stopping or spurning on these sick people.

MaKaela said...

I'm from South Dakota and I'd say when you're on a secluded part of a beach where you know everybody it's ok, but in a more populated area, I'd make sure they have a diaper on. Not only because some people might be uncomfortable, but I worry about all the 'bad' people who might be watching your little one. It's sad to say it, but that's the world we live in today.

Roxanne said...

Love this reply! Agree wholeheartedly!!

willtherebecake said...

I might snicker or stare for a moment but only because it's probably ADORABLE. Not out of being offended.

willtherebecake said...

Oh PS, I'm from the Midwest, US.

Seattle Intern Guru said...

I have only been to American and Italian beaches, and the way people use the beach couldn't be more night-and-day. American beaches are all about FAMILY FUN, which explains why Americans just want to cover baby up and focus on building a sandcastle, playing frisbee, etc.
Italians were all about THE TAN! That is why I found Italian girls in only bottoms disturbing, because it was like they were instilling the value of the tanning culture on little ones.
But both sides here are arguing the same thing-- that babies aren't sexy, and should have fun at the beach. Just two different approaches to it.

Swimming pools are a whole different story. I worked as a lifeguard at both public and private pools. Swim diapers were always required for hygene.

A Place to Bee said...

I have 2 girls. When they were little they wore swim nappies at the beach - they are lightweight and dont bloat up. From the age of 2'ish we had them wear swimsuits. They know they can run around naked in the privacy of a holiday villa, but need to cover up in public. Maybe its different with girls. Maybe if I had boys I wouldnt worry so much.

I live in the UK!

jessjots.com said...

Sumslay...that was my first reaction! I don't care about nudity, I care about burning tiny boy parts! ;) Also, I didn't think about it in a critical way (as in...how-dare-she-send-Toby-out-without-full-sun-protection-it's-ghastly), but more of from my own perspective. We don't have kids yet, but when we do, they are guaranteed to be sunburn magnets. You know...able to leap from pasty skin to lobster red in .25 seconds! I don't care if my toddlers/babies run around nekkid for it being inappropriate, but burned parts? I'd have to think hard about that one! ;)

Ellen said...

I am not offended by naked toddlers and it totally is fine with me when little ones at a play date are running around as such.

However... my husband works in law enforcement and I know too many stories about pedophiles, cameras, the Internet, and the like. I would not, for any reason, let my girls go about naked at a public beach. I disagree with Roxanne above. Yes, it is true that there will always be pedophiles. But it does make a difference whether you clothe your children or not - and finding out about photoshopped naked photos of them on the Internet might make you feel more strongly about how vulnerable they are when naked in public. I'm actually even careful at home, since we know there is a convicted pedophile within view of our backyard.

Also... I kind of prefer a poo-catcher when they aren't potty trained, so they do wear a bottom even in our backyard! :)

Nikki said...

Totally acceptable (although less common due to our dreadful ozone hole) here in New Zealand up to around age 5. I let my kids do it all the time (aged 3 and 10 months), when else will they be able to be so carefree in their lives?

Ellen said...

Oh, I'm from Canada.

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