Taking your precious child to its first baby swimming lessons can be understandably nerve-wracking for many parents.
So take a look below at the ten tips for making sure swimming is a memorable and enjoyable experience for both you and your baby.
1) Make sure you are swimming in a warm water pool heated to at least 30°C (86°F). If you are swimming in a pool cooler than this, it is advisable to use a special baby wetsuit or snug which can add up to 2°C (3.6°F) to the water temperature for your baby.
A happy baby attending a swimming lesson
With some preparation your first baby swimming lesson will be memorable for both you and your baby.
Hydrotherapy pools are perfect for babies, and they can swim from birth in them. In a regular swimming pool you should wait until they are 12 weeks old, or 12lb in weight – whichever comes first.
2) Ideally, you should leave 30 minutes from a milk feed before taking your baby swimming; an hour for older babies on solid food. Having said that, it is not always possible to plan when your baby is hungry, so do not fret too much over this.
3) Most local leisure centres will allow you to swim your baby in just a disposable swimming nappy. However, these will not contain those explosive poo’s!
We recommend a double nappy system which consists of an under-nappy, with a second swim nappy over it.
The under-nappy can be a disposable one – for example Huggies Little Swimmers, or you can buy reusable from companies such as Splashabout and Konfidence.
On top of the under-nappy, you’ll need an over-nappy. Our favourite is the Splashabout “Happy Nappy” which is made of neoprene with extra snug cuffs around the waistband and thighs – making sure any accidents stay inside!
Incidentally, it is worth noting that swimming nappies are not waterproof! Do not change your baby until you get to the pool.
4) It is not necessary for you to be able to swim, in order to take your child to baby swimming lessons, but you need to be comfortable in the depth of the water – check with a lifeguard or instructor at the pool if you are unsure about depths.
5) It is not necessary for babies to have had their immunisations before going swimming.
6) Phone ahead to see if your venue has a playpen or travel cot in the changing rooms – again these can be a great help when you are getting changed.
If you are swimming with a baby swim school and they do not have this facility, ask them if they can provide one.
7) In terms of logistics, some local leisure centres/municipal pools do allow you to take buggies to the poolside, or they may have a buggy park. These make life much easier and again it’s worth checking before you get there.
8) Before going to the pool for the first time with your baby, call and ask what the parking facilities are like – are there mother and toddler parking bays.
9) Mums might find it easier to put their swimming costume on before leaving home. And don’t forget some milk or snacks for your child as they’ll be hungry after their lesson!
10) And finally – enjoy it! Attending baby swimming lessons with your child is a great bonding experience for both of you (don’t forget Dad too!).