Swimming is a super fun activity which is not only an essential life skill to introduce to your baby or toddler to, but something that the whole family can get involved in. Making swimming part of your weekly routine will be a great bonding activity for the both you and your little one to look forward to, and watching their confidence grow will be very rewarding.
When can I go?
The experts advise that mothers should wait at least seven days after any bleeding after the birth before swimming. Bleeding after birth usually takes around six weeks so to avoid any risk of infection, it’s advised you should wait at least till then. You can always ask your health visitor or GP for some advice depending on the birth.
Most swimming classes start at six weeks, while some private swimming classes can start from as early as four weeks. If you are keen for your baby to get started then, your partner or somebody else could take them.
If your baby is younger than six months old, ensure the pool is heated to about 32 degrees. Big public pools are often a few degrees colder so you could put your baby in a wetsuit for extra warmth.
Making swimming fun & boosting confidence
- Hold your baby super close
- Reassure your baby with lots of eye contact
- Talk to your baby and praise your baby with encouraging words
- Once your baby seems happy in the water you could try extending your arms and swishing your baby in front of you from side to side.
- You could bring some of his bath toys for familiarity and play some games with them in the pool.
- Lay your baby on his back with his resting on your shoulder and encourage your baby to kick their legs.
What should I pack?
- Lots of snacks (depending on child’s age) swimming makes kids hungry!
- A soft hooded towel for your baby or towelling dressing gown or poncho for toddlers as they will be super wriggly!
- Changing mat along with all your normal essentials in your changing mat.
- A couple of changes of clothes in case any accidents.
- Swimming nappies. And lots of them, again incase of any accidents.
- Floats or arm bands (optional). Some pools provide them.
- A warm hat for your baby after swimming.
- Warm bottle for after swimming (if you’re bottle feeding)
- Make sure you time your swim with your little one well. Ensure they are well-rested, not ill, and have eaten/drunken lots before your swim.
- Get yourself ready for swimming before you baby- keep them in their buggy/car seat while you get changed- always wear your costume underneath your clothes for a smoother and quicker transition!
Here is a list of swimming organisations that offer swimming lessons and courses for babies and children in the U.K.
Check if there is one in your area…
(This post was originally written by me for Zippyup)