From the moment Evelyn was born I couldn’t wait to take her into the swimming pool. I used to love going swimming as a child and would beg my Dad to take me to the pools with the big slides and inflatable toys! I learned to swim from an early age and have never been afraid of water. It is a life skill that can be life saving. Why wouldn’t you want to learn?
Evelyn’s first swim at 10 weeks old
I researched lots of different baby swim classes that start from as early as 6 weeks! They are pretty expensive and only half an hour per class. I decided against lessons while she is still young. I decided to make sure we went every week to get her used to the pool, the changing, the temperatures, the water and the actions that go into swimming. One main thing I think we did that helped with her love of the water is using the ‘big’ normal bath from the get go. We never used the little baby bath that you put in the living room. I didn’t want her to get used to this cosy, warm way of bathing for her to be scared of being in the big bath. In my previous post, Best Baby Buys, I mention the Angel Care Bath seat. This worked from the day she was born and she never knew any different.
The first time we went swimming we went as a family. I recommend having a second pair of hands the first time you go. Also, go and check out the facilities for when you do go alone. There are some important things you need to check in order for your day to be stress free and smooth running..
- Do they have somewhere to park the buggy?
Our local swimming pool has a buggy park where they give you a key and a lock to secure it. Some pools don’t have the space for push chairs or will just expect you to leave it outside the changing rooms.
2. Can you take the car seat into the pool area?
Having the car seat with you in the changing room can be a massive help! I know that most pools only have a few changing stations and some don’t have straps to secure baby on. You need time to dry off, change and pack the bag. If you have your car seat you can take care of baby and then have somewhere safe, secure and clean to put her. Make sure there is somewhere near the pool or in view of the pool as you don’t want to leave it somewhere it might be taken.
Simple really but I never, ever, ever have change on me. The last thing you want to do is get you and baby ready and realise you needed £1 for the locker. Invest in one of those fake £1’s just in case.
I have heard of some pools having ‘Mother and Baby’ swim. Which does what it says on the tin. Only MOTHERS. Bit strange if Dad is the stay at home parent. Also, lots of baby pools are used as teaching pools for schools in the area. Check out when their pool is used and make sure you have enough time to get out before the rabble of children enter the changing room!
The pool will inform you if the pool is not up to the recommended temperature. As long as it is over 32 degrees then baby will be able to maintain their body temperature. Any less and baby can get cold. Invest in a baby wet suit for the times when you get there and they tell you the pool is colder than usual.
So, what is our swim-time routine and what do we need to take with us?
- Swim Suit/ Wet suit – these tend to come up quite small (or maybe Evelyn is quite chunky) You obviously don’t want it massive but the little straps can dig into their skin. Get the size bigger and it will also last longer!
- Swimming Nappies – these do not absorb wee so make sure to put it on baby at the pool, I learnt this the hard way and ended up with a soggy car seat. Also, buy them a size bigger, you will never get through the packet before they grow!
- Towel – hooded if possible. I only take a towel for Evelyn. I’m pretty much dry by the time i’ve sorted her out and just use her’s to finish me off (otherwise its just something else to carry).
- Easy on outfit – make life easy on yourself and take them in something that can be taken off and put on quickly and easily.
- Bottle or snack for after – swimming is hungry and tiring work. A nice warm bottle will help for that after swim nap!
- Nappy Sacks – for the wet nappies and also for your wet cozzies. They may have the plastic bags in the pool area but if you have some already in your baby bag it saves you time.
- A blanket – to lay on the cold, hard, changing table.
- Change – for the locker and a post swim coffee!
Swimming is so much fun once you get organised and confident with going! There is loads of research showing the benefits of taking baby into the water!
Evelyn at swimming today. 7 months and loving it! Xx
Why is swimming important?
The first year of a life is crucial in terms of a baby’s development, as it is in this period that the brain grows most rapidly. Regular exercise plays a vital role in development with every movement they make helping to strengthen their brain for new learning.
Baby swimming is completely natural. By introducing your baby to swimming from a young age, you are starting them on a habit that will last a lifetime and teaching them an important and potentially life-saving skill.
Many parents comment that the combination of gentle exercise and warm water helps their babies to sleep better and stimulates their appetites too.