We took Finley swimming for the first time a few months ago and it was so much fun! We had booked him in for swimming lessons starting in the autumn term, but wanted to get him used to the water before they started. We didn’t really plan what we were doing and only decided about an hour before the session that we were going to go, so we were just winging it (a bit like all first time parents really). It was such a lovely morning, but man did I learn a lot within the first few minutes of being there! So much so, I thought I would share my top tips for swimming with babies.
Finley was almost 16 weeks old when we took him for the first time. The NHS guidance states that you can take babies swimming whether they have been vaccinated or not, however some places may have their own guidelines. I felt like this was a really nice age to take him, but here is what I learnt.
Swimming nappies are great, but so is double protection! We bought these Huggies disposable swimming nappies and they seemed to do the trick, however we have since bought a ‘happy nappy’ to use over the top as a second layer of protection to prevent any leakages. As much as I was having fun, I was a little paranoid about leakages. I’ve also heard that you can wash disposable swimming nappies and air dry them as they don’t absorb any wee, obviously if they are dirty, they can go straight in the bin. This might save a few pennies.
I only packed one hooded towel for Finley and when we were ready to take him out of the pool, I popped him in his towel to keep him warm, but then realised after his shower it would have been better to have a second one because it was soaked. Instead he used mine to get out of the pool and I was left with a soggy towel.
Although we went to our local leisure centre, we couldn’t really remember what it was like. We didn’t take the car seat in as I didn’t think there would be anywhere to store it safely, but it turns out there were a few family lockers that would have been big enough for it. Also, we assumed the family changing rooms would have somewhere to get Finley ready, however they didn’t. I had to get Finley changed on my lap before and after swimming and luckily I had Ryan with me, so we took it in turns to hold him while we got changed. It was a bit of a faf, but it worked. Although I am not sure what I would have done if I was on my own. Any suggestions for these situations would be great!
As it was Finley’s first time swimming we chose to go when it was quiet, so there weren’t too many other people splashing about. We also stayed in the children’s area which was really shallow, although in hindsight I think we should have tried deeper water too.
We both wore our swimming stuff to the leisure centre, which made it so much easier when we got there, we only had to get Finley changed and we were ready to go.
The first time we took Finley swimming he slept for 5 odd hours afterwards – this is an epic nap for him! He is now 7 months old and has a swimming lesson every week and is much more used to it now and it doesn’t seem to wear him out so much.
Try to feed an hour before swimming to try and reduce the risk of them being sick, but also be prepared to feed straight after coming out of the water as they get super hungry! Again, as he has got older isn’t as starving hungry when we get out of the pool.
So, those are my top tips for swimming with babies. Like I said we had a lovely time, but I learnt a lot. He was a little unsure at first, but seemed happy once we were in the water. He has now had around 12 swimming lessons and he absolutely loves the water! We would love for him to stay confident in the water and for it to be something he continues to enjoy.
What are your tips for taking babies swimming? I would love to hear from you, so please leave me a comment below