The first few weeks and months are a steep learning curve and no baby class can prepare you for what seems like a military procedure just being able to take everything you may possibly need when leaving the house. As first time parents, we are going documenting a series of first experiences with an aim to inspire similar parents to still get out and explore the world with your little bundle of joy. Swimming with your baby is such a fun and lovely family activity that it should be right up there on your list of things to do once you’ve built up your inner confidence and exploring the world all over again. Your first baby swimming session may only be around 15-20 minutes long, but it’s enough time to let your baby get used to the water.
Taking your little precious baby swimming for the first time can be understandably nerve wrecking for many parents. The good news is you don’t necessarily need to wait for your baby to have had all their immunisations before you can go swimming. In fact the advice from the NHS is that you can take your baby swimming at any age, both before and after they have been vaccinated. Further information can be found on the NHS website.
Here are our recommendations for making sure taking your baby swimming is a memorable, enjoyable and stress free experience…
10 Top Tips Taking your baby swimming
1. First thing to check is one of the most important as we don’t want cold babies whilst swimming! Please make sure you find a baby friendly swimming pool with water heated to at least 30 degrees. This is due to young babies being unable to regulate their body temperature as well as adults can. It may be worth calling around your local swimming pools to see where your closest ideal swimming pool is. If there are no heated pools nearby you can use a regular swimming pool but it is advised that you wait until they are at least 12 weeks old, or 12lbs in weight.
2. Health spa’s are a great place to go. We found our local health spa to be very reasonably priced for a swimming session, we almost had the whole pool to ourselves, and it was heated!
3. Family changing rooms – it is worth enquiring if any local leisure centres or health spa’s have these facilities as it makes going swimming far easier than the thought of trying to both get changed whilst juggling a baby between yourselves in order to get ready. A family changing room usually allows you both to get changed all together with baby changing mats.
4. You may discover that whilst most places allow baby swimming in just a disposable swimming nappy, it is not recommended by other parent’s advice when it comes to explosive poo’s! We opted for the double layer system where we used trunks to go over the top of the swimming nappy to provide more of a seal around the waistband and thighs. We all know accidents can happen, but we’d definitely prefer them to stay inside the nappy! If you don’t have baby swimming trunks, you can also opt for the double nappy system where you simply place a swimming nappy over the top of a disposable.
5. Check to see if your chosen venue has a playpen / travel cot / changing mat in the changing rooms. These will be a life saver once your little one starts crawling and will ensure your experience is stress free!
6. Even if you are not able to swim yourself, there’s no reason to let that put you off taking your baby swimming. As long as you are comfortable in the depth of the water, you are able to easily give your baby an amazing experience in the shallow area.
7. Check that your chosen venue allows you to take pushchairs to the pool side or if they have a ‘buggy park’. This makes life much easier and is worth checking when deciding on where to take your baby swimming.
8. As previously mentioned, it’s not necessary to wait until they have had their immunisations before taking your baby swimming. More information can be found via the NHS Vaccinations guide
9. Changing rooms often are slippery and dirty. If your local pool doesn’t provide changing mats, it is worth taking your own. You can even purchase lightweight, roll up changing mats to save space.
10. Don’t forget to enjoy it – make it a memorable and enjoyable experience for you all!