I wish someone had told me when we first started going swimming it wasn’t all going to go smoothly at first. I had this mental imagine of Ralph having the time of his life splashing around, whilst I leisurely carried him around the pool. Instead I remember getting into the pool and seeing all these happy smiley babies having such a great time and then there was Ralph… He absolutely hated it and would be totally distraught for the whole 4 minutes we managed at first. Now a super proud mum of a baby who will spend hours in the pool, feeling comfortable with water and having fun I wanted to make other parents feel more ease with taking their little ones swimming and pass on a few tips I have picked up.
Make sure you pack everything you need the night before.
Swimming is one of those activities were forgetting something can be disastrous. Imagine forgetting your swimming costume or the swim nappy! Some swimming pools have a small stock of items to buy but this obviously causes unnecessary hassle and expense.
Stick with it and be consistent!
As stated above Ralph hated swimming at first but we stuck it out and persevered with the tears. In the beginning we managed a grand total of 4 minutes but by going each week his tolerance increased. 6 weeks later we were up to half an hour and now at 5 months he lasts the whole one hour session. Those smiles and giggles are such a huge reward and worth all the upset.
Invest in good swim wear for yourself.
Once you’ve had a baby your body naturally looks different. Even though, I was lucky to lose weight whilst pregnant my body just isn’t the same. Also, the sleep deprivation and life as a busy mum probably means you haven’t had time to start the workout routine… Kudos to you mums which do! So investing in a good quality swim costume will make you feel that little bit more glamorous and closer to your pre-mummy self.
Get your head around baby swim wear and chose what works for you and your little one
There are a lot of options when it comes to baby swim wear, from full body suits to baby surfer shorts. I originally bought surfer shorts as it was the start of summer, when we started swimming. Even though, Ralph has sensitive skin it hasn’t been exasperated by the chlorine. When Autumn draws in I will probably switch to a long sleeve and shorts body suit.
Beware of the swim nappy
One thing I didn’t realise about swim nappies was they are not absorbent at all. I understand this is the point as you don’t want the nappy to turn into a inflatable device but it would be great if they could absorb at least some pee. My biggest mistake with swim nappies was thinking I was super organised by changing Ralph into his swim nappy right before we set off. Needless to say when we arrived he was already wet and we hadn’t even gone near the pool! In the near future I will be purchasing a reusable swim nappy to continue to do our bit for the environment and hopefully avoid any future accidents.
Make sure you pack talc
Talc makes getting dry from swimming so much easier. Everyone knows there is nothing worse than standing in your swimming stuff wet and cold, whilst you’re frantically trying to dry your baby and put their clothes on first. Talc makes the process a little bit quicker and means you know they are fully dry, so sore chapped skin will stay at bay. It also comes in handy for older children who have swimming caps.
Bring your baby’s towel, soap and sponge to the pool side
I know not all swimming pools allow personal items around the pool but luckily ours is one which does. By bringing the towel, soap and sponge it avoids you having to traipse back and forth to the lockers to sort out shower stuff, which isn’t an easy task with a baby balanced on her hip and one hand free to hold open those spring back lockers.
Most importantly make it fun
During the early days of taking Ralph swimming we never thought we would get to the point where we could have 45 minutes of fun in the water. However, throughout all the testing times me and my husband remained positive and tried to make the experience fun. Even if that meant looking at each other and laughing anxiously, whilst our little one screamed and wailed like we had taken him to a house of horrors.
Whilst on my maternity leave one of my favourite things was getting out and meeting other parents. They are an amazing support system and I have met some great new friends. Swimming offers another place to meet up and usually you will see the same parents each week or sometimes from other activities you attend. In the early days they were super supportive with making us feel better about Ralph’s reaction to the water and sharing that their babies had been exactly the same. So whenever I see a parent with that familiar look of being out of their comfort zone I pass on that reassuring knowledge that we have all been there.
Let me know in the comments if you have taken your little one swimming and if there are any other tips and tricks you have picked up.