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👍 10 Top Tips For Taking Your Baby Swimming
Taking your baby swimming, especially for the very first time, is one of those milestones you like to remember. It is an activity that can be enjoyable for both them and yourself and is one that is also amazing for their development. But how prepared are you for that first swim? Have you considered everything you will need with you and will need to know about the venue? With our 10 top tips for taking your baby swimming, we will be able to steer you in the right direction and ensure that each and every trip will go as swimmingly as possible.
1. What to pack
Before you think about swimming you will need to make sure you have all the essentials needed for your activity. Most swimming pools will want you to use the double nappy system on your baby. What this means is a reusable or disposable swim nappy layered with a neoprene nappy for added leak protection. If you are taking disposable swim nappies always pack more than one as the sides can easily rip and you don’t want to get caught out before even entering the pool! If you want to use a reusable nappy but are worried about their stools, add a disposable liner which can be thrown away after use.
You will also want to take all of your required swimwear (see next point), a hooded towel as this will provide extra warmth after your swim, a change mat, snacks and a drink as swimming can make them very peckish and thirsty. We would also recommend taking spare clothes in case any accidentally get wet in the changing room and a wet bag for wet reusable nappies.
Your choice of baby swimwear will depend on a few factors; their age, how much they are moving and how warm the pool you are visiting is. If you are unsure of the pool’s temperature, call ahead to check with the staff (see next point for more details). Remember that babies cannot regulate their body temperature the same way as we can and if they are not moving around much in the water they will get colder far quicker. Look into options such as baby wetsuits, body wraps and all in one suits to provide them with that much-needed warmth.
3. Pool Temperature
Before choosing a pool, always check the regular temperature that they provide. They should hopefully have this on their website but if not, do not hesitate to ring the establishment. It is important to find a pool that is 30° C or above in order to provide a nice swimming environment for your baby. If you are taking baby swim lessons, they should be more accommodating to their needs and will most probably increase the temperature to around 32° C. Knowing the temperature will also help you to make an informed decision on what swimwear to purchase and take with you.
It is actually a myth that you have to wait for your baby to have all of their first immunisations before you go for a swim. It will not put them at any extra risk by going swimming and the earlier you start, the sooner they will take to the water.
5. Pool Facilities
Not every swimming pool is as family-friendly thinking as you’d like to think they’d be. Doing your research into local pools is important if you require larger changing rooms, a changing table, a seat for your child, feeding facilities, extra-large lockers and so on. These are all things you may have never considered as a single person going for a swim, but as soon as you add a child into the mix you soon realise how many more needs you have. If those needs cannot be provided for, it can make your swimming experience far more difficult and could perhaps put you off ever trying again.
6. Pushchairs and Car Seats
If you have a very small baby, you may want to make carrying them in easier by keeping them in a car seat or pushchair. Make sure you find out if the pool, first of all, allows these in their changing rooms and, second of all, if they have a safe place for them to be stored. Some pools may only offer the top of lockers as a storage place which will mean your property will not be locked safely away.
7. Baby Pool Activities
Choosing a pool to visit will not only come down to the location and temperature, you will probably also want to choose one that can offer some sensory stimulus for your baby. Baby pools that come fully equipped with water tables, mirrors, falling water, puzzles and brightly coloured wall activity stations are a great way of helping your baby to enjoy their time in the pool even further.
8. Avoid Peak Times
If you are after a quiet swim session where you can fully focus on your baby, we highly recommend choosing a time outside of peak hours. Once bigger children enter a swimming pool it can be enough to send any parent of a baby into a panic. The splashing, the running around, the noise, the crowds will all make the experience more intense and this isn’t a good way to introduce your baby to the water. If they are new to swimming you want the complete opposite in order to help them to fall in love with this activity.
9. Pool Side Feeding
Needing to feed your baby during your swim is a possibility that may arise. Your baby may want a feed if they become thirsty or hungry, because they have swallowed a bit of pool water or if they are teething and need some comfort. Not all pools will allow breast or bottle feeding by the poolside so you will need to check their rules before entering the pool. Some pools do offer poolside feeding rooms but others may insist you use a changing room. If this is the case, make sure you keep a towel at the poolside for both of you to keep warm whilst your baby feeds.
And our final top tip for taking your baby swimming is no matter how this first experience goes, enjoy it! No, it may not all be as romantic as you’d imagined, yes your baby will most probably cry at some point, but the fact that you got up, got out of the house, got everything you needed together and got into a pool is a great achievement and once you find your rhythm, you will get this activity perfected and you will both love it!
We hope our 10 top tips for taking your baby swimming have helped you to plan your next adventure.