[caption id="attachment_2060" align="alignright" width="400"] Swimming with your little one is a wonderful bonding experience for you both[/caption] By Jo Wilson, co-Director of Swim Works and Little Splashers. We often get asked for advice on how to prepare for our swim classes, or even just hear cries of, “Help! I’ve never done this before!” But don’t worry – most babies love the water as it’s a very natural environment for them and a wonderful bonding experience for you both. Baby swimming lessons are the best way to introduce your little one to the water – you get to swim with a qualified, supportive instructor and lots of other parents too so you can share your experiences. But regardless of whether you have lessons or go it alone, there’s lots you can do to make sure that first trip to pool goes swimmingly!
- Make sure the pool you’re going to is warm and shallow enough to hold your baby comfortably.
- Plan swim time around your baby’s naps and feeds.
- You’ll need a pack of swim nappies (check sizes and take a spare just in case!), and an over layer like a Happy Nappy. A warmer or wrap will keep your baby cosy (you’ll still need a double nappy underneath).
- Practise putting the double nappy on your baby at home to check the fit.
- If you’re going on your own, find out about about parking, money for lockers, whether you can take in car seats or pushchairs or where you can leave them.
- Wear your swimmers under your clothes for a quick change, and leave expensive jewellery or watches at home. Choose loose clothes for you and a babygro for your little one as they’re so much easier to take off and on!
When you get there
- Arrive in the changing room 15 minutes before your lesson, so you don’t meet previous classes.
- Have your changing mat to hand so you can put your baby down on it (on the floor rather than a bench) when you arrive.
- Sit with your baby on poolside for a couple of minutes, so they get used to the new sights and sounds.
- If the pool only has ladders, pop a towel on poolside (with your baby’s feet facing towards the water so they can’t roll in), swivel in backwards, then collect your baby
- Wrap your little one in a towel, and pop them in a safe spot like their changing mat on the floor
- Dry yourself first so you don’t drip water on your baby
- Babies can sometimes be tired and cry when dressing after classes, but they’ll soon feel relaxed and sleepy after all that fun!
Your Baby Swim Kit Checklist
☐ Swim nappy (disposable or washable) and a spare ☐ Happy nappy ☐ Baby wrap/warmer (optional) ☐ Towels for you and baby ☐ Changing mat ☐ Change for locker if needed For afterwards: ☐ Nappy ☐ Milk for baby (unless you’re breastfeeding of course) and a drink for you ☐ Snack for toddler ☐ Plastic bag for wet items
About the Author Jo Wilson in the co-Director of Swim Works in Rugby and Little Splashers, with swimming classes all over Warwickshire. To find out more, visit www.swimworks.co.uk or www.littlesplashers.co.uk.