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How to take your baby swimming?

How to Take Your Baby Swimming

Going for a swim is a great activity for new parents. You’ll meet other people with babies the same age, you’ll get some exercise and your baby will take their first steps towards learning to swim.

If you’re a new parent, however, the prospect may seem daunting. But don’t worry. We’ll give you all the info you need so you’ll know exactly how to take your baby swimming.

Planning the day

Planning when swimming with a baby

If you’ve never taken a baby swimming before, be prepared for a workout! You’ll be lifting, carrying and moving your baby through water, which can be tiring. Don’t be surprised if this is the only activity you can manage in a day.

If you’re not a very experienced swimmer yourself, consider having a few lessons with a coach. A good instructor will make sure you learn at the pace you feel comfortable with.

What to pack

What to pack when swimming with baby

Firstly, you should pack the usual things that go in a nappy bag:

  • Nappies
  • Wipes
  • Muslin
  • Change of clothes
  • Cuddly toy, dummy, or other comforts

You’ll find these additional items are also absolute necessities:

  1. Swim nappy – a swim nappy usually pulls on like a snug pair of shorts with plenty of space around the bottom for comfort. Regular nappies—both disposable and cloth—are highly absorbent. In the pool these regular nappies will soak up too much water, weighing your baby down.
    A swim nappy has one job: to help prevent poo from getting into the pool. Choose one that is snug, but not tight, around the legs and waist. Every public pool in the UK will require a swim nappy for any child who isn’t potty trained to enter the water.
  2. Hooded towel – Babies get cold quickly, so when it’s time to get out of the water, a snuggly towel is a must. Hooded baby towels are a very good option. The hood covers the top of the baby’s head to keep them warm, and the diamond shape makes it easy to wrap them from head to toe.
  3. Changing mat – Some swimming baths will provide baby change mats, especially during programmed parent-and-baby swims. It’s a good idea to check before you go your first time. If they don’t provide them or if you’re swimming somewhere unfamiliar, a changing mat is a must. The alternative is putting them on the cold ground or trying to wrangle them while you get yourself changed.
  4. Corn flour – This is perhaps not a necessity, but it will make your experience more pleasant. Indoor swimming pools and their changing rooms tend to be hot and humid. As you towel off, moisture will continue to develop on your skin from both condensation and sweat that can’t evaporate. When lightly sprinkled over damp skin, Corn flour—aka cornstarch—helps you and your baby get dry and warm quickly. A little goes a long way.

Play time

Baby learning to swim

When it’s finally time to get in the water, there are a couple of good options for safe entry:

  • Soft mat – Many pools will provide a mat or foam float on poolside for the baby. Lay the baby down while you get into the water. Then you can lift the baby into the water.
  • Hand off – If you feel comfortable, the coach may hold the baby and then hand them to you once you’re standing in the pool.

Both of these options are safer than walking down the steps or ladder while holding your baby.

Once you’re both in the water, it’s time to get used to it! Help your baby get used to the water by:

  • Washing their face with your hand
  • Sprinkling water over their head, and
  • Dipping their body into the water

Be sure to hold your baby close to your body while in the water. This will comfort, support and help them to stay warm

When you’re both comfortable in the water, it’s time to play! Everything is new and exciting to your baby, so here are some tips for making the most of it:

  1. Listen to the instructor. They will have lots of good advice about how to safely support your baby in the water. They will also have plenty of games and maybe some songs to keep your little one engaged.
  2. Give baby a variety of experiences. A sprinkle with a watering can or help splashing their hands and feet is the perfect start.
  3. Don’t worry that you’re not doing enough. Babies learn by playing, so just have fun! Every movement they make will help them gain confidence in the water.
  4. Be ready to get out soon. Babies who are new to the pool or who are very young should only stay in the water for about 10 minutes. After that, they may get a bit overwhelmed. It’s noisy, wet, cold, splashy and colourful… it’s a lot to take in!

Home time

baby swimming towel

When you get out of the pool, be sure to have your baby’s towel ready. The air on wet skin feels very cold! Wrapping them up straight away helps them stay warm. If you want to, you can have a rinse in the warm showers with your baby.

Getting dressed with a baby can be tricky. Our advice? Ensure the baby is well-wrapped. Then get yourself changed first, as quickly as you can. Finally, get the baby dressed. That way, you can leave as soon as the baby is dressed. You don’t have to put them back on the changing mat or hold them against your wet body.

The places you’ll go

Private Swimming Lessons

There are lots of options for taking your baby swimming. It’s a matter of choosing what you feel most comfortable with. Many public pools in the UK offer parent and baby classes with a teacher. You can also take them yourself to an open session.

You can also book a private session with an instructor. This will give you the benefit of the coach’s full focus to help build both your confidence as well as your child’s.

At the end of the day, learning how to take your baby swimming just takes practice. The more you go, the easier it will become!

To learn more about how we at SwimNow can help you and your baby learn to swim, contact us anytime.

by Alistair Mills

In 2016 I saw an opportunity for a new swimming company that did things a little bit differently and here we are almost 4 years later, having built a family of teachers and clients that we are all really proud of.

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