Two words: baby swimming. It’s life-saving, motor-skill developing, and balance-building with the promise of a good kip at the end of it. Now you can get why mums get their kid signed up to classes before baby has packed up to leave the womb. While when we were kids, you didn’t hit the pool until about aged four, nowadays baby swimming lessons are a big deal. It gets you out of the house; it’s a dead easy place to meet other mums and for baby to babble along with the other babies. Here are a few pro tips to know before you hit the pool.
Book in a milk feed or light snack 30 minutes before the swim. Any closer and you’ll have a sleepy baby on your hands, and they’re the worst kind of swimmers (trust us). A feed any further away than half an hour and you know they’re going to be starving as soon as they hit the water — anyone would think they hadn’t been fed all day kind of starving.
A little bit at a time
We’ve all got short attention spans these days and, you’ll notice that — despite baby not being able to blame a smartphone — any activity longer than 10 minutes makes them grizzly. Pop to the pool (off-peak, always) for a 10-minute paddle. Then, when lesson time comes around there are no big surprises or freakouts about the pool or water… in an ideal world.
Water, water everywhere
The best habits start at bath-time, that’s a saying, isn’t it? Well baby swimming habits do! Laughing and playing in the tub is good for making that initial water connection actually really fun and not scary. Tip: trickling water on their head is a good next step.
Keep calm and carry on
If you’re a little baby being carried into a big pool, that’s certainly cause for alarm. Simple solution? Lots of eye contact to assure your baby you’re right there with them. Once they gain confidence, they’ll feel happier facing outwards. If baby isn’t happy in the water, don’t just assume they hate the pool, they might just need a poo… or something else that babies need, water or not.
Prep like a pro
You’ve already scoped out the local pool and changing rooms. You know what the deal is. Get your swimsuit on under your clothes and have baby as ready as they can be before you leave the house. Factor in 15 minutes of just-in-case faff time. You don’t know how many nappy changes there will be before you get to the pool.
5 things to pack
Swim nappies – Yep, you’ve already heard of these. Go without them at your peril. It may even be in the pool’s policy.
A soft towel with a hood – Hair drying, body drying, snug and cosy.
A snack or milk for afterwards – You know how hungry you feel after swimming, baby is no different.
Your changing bag – You lug that everywhere so that one’s a given, right?
A bath toy – Non-Essential but a tub-time toy is a good thing for easing the transitioning from bath to pool and making your kid feel more comfortable.