A guest post by Life According to Mrs Shilts
Swimming with your baby is a lot of fun.
You don’t have to be able to swim yourself, all you need is a little water confidence and a smile.
Taking them at such an early age is really beneficial and will help them become comfortable in the water.
I’ve been taking my son swimming since he was 10 weeks old, now at nearly 7 months old, he’s becoming a lot more relaxed in the pool and enjoys splashing about.
If you’re thinking about taking your little one swimming then here are my top tips to ensure it’s a stress free experience …..
1. Before You Go Swimming
- Buy baby swimwear – a swimsuit or wetsuit – to keep baby warm in the pool.
- Buy swim diapers / nappies – normal diapers are not absorbent and will expand in the water. You can get both disposable and reusable swim nappies.
- Make sure the pool you are using is heated above 30c degrees – baby pools are usually heated warmer than the larger pool to prevent babies getting cold. Babies should be over 12 weeks old to use the normal pool.
- Find a swimming pool with family friendly facilities – you will need somewhere flat to dress / undress your baby and the cold tiled floor is not ideal.
- Take a changing mat with you – just in case baby needs to be put on the floor.
- Change into your swimsuit before you leave for the pool, all you need to do is undress and get baby changed (but don’t forget your pants!)
- Ask the pool if you can take a pushchair to leave poolside or in the changing room. This will help when baby’s dressed and you need to get changed yourself.
2. IN THE SWIMMING POOL
- Don’t expect to be in the pool for long. A small baby can manage 15-20 minutes before they get cold. This will increase as they get older.
- Be prepared to get wet. Forget about keeping your hair dry, get involved and show your baby it is okay to get wet.
- Once in the pool, take a handful of water and place it over the top of babies head. This will acclimatise them in the pool and get them used to the water.
- Cuddle baby in the pool to reassure them they’re safe
- Don’t worry about splashing your baby’s face. They will get used to it.
- Have fun with baby. Smile and talk to them showing them it’s fun in the water. Your baby will pick up on how you’re feeling so try to remain calm and enjoy it.
- You can buy a wide range of baby pool floats, which lots of babies love and will save you from holding them the whole time.
3. OUT OF THE SWIMMING POOL
- Wrap baby in a towel as soon as you can. Baby’s body temperatures drop quickly once they’re out of the water so remove their wet clothes and wrap them up warm.
- Be prepared to feed baby once out of the pool. They can get tired and hungry quickly once they get out of the pool so have a bottle made up or prepare to breastfeed as soon as you get out.
Swimming can be a fantastic social activity for baby and mummy. Once in the pool, you might get to know other mummies taking their babies swimming for the first time. I’ve met a couple of ladies and their babies since taking my son swimming and we regularly meet each week for a coffee and a natter.
Good luck if you’re taking your baby swimming, I hope you both have as much fun as we do.
Emma blogs at life Life According to Mrs Shilts on mummyhood, family, weight loss, travel and the latest antics of “Little Mr” who was born in February 2013.