Here at Funky Fish Swim School, we offer swimming lessons for little ones from six weeks onwards. Parent and baby swimming sessions are great for bonding, water confidence and having fun. If this will be the first time you’ve taken your little one swimming, you might be a bit nervous about what to expect. To help you feel as confident and positive as possible, we’ve put together some of our best hints and tips for introducing your baby to water:
1. Start them young
We believe that the sooner children are introduced to the water, the better. Once you and your baby have had your six-week check, you are free to join a baby swim class. There’s no need to wait until your little one has had their vaccinations.
Build upon your child’s confidence, make bath times at home as fun as possible. You could even have a regular bath with your baby to get them used to you both being in the water together. This is also a great bonding exercise for you and your little one. You can try lying as flat as you can in the water and let you little one rest on their back on top of you, just relaxing in the water. Helps to promote relaxation and freedom of movement in water
Bringing a baby to the swimming pool (especially getting both of you changed) can feel like an experience better suited to someone with four pairs of hands, possibly an octopus!
Most swimming pools try to make things as easy for you as possible, providing playpens, changing tables or seats for your little one to sit in while you get changed. It’s worth checking with the pool in question before you arrive. Many parents opt to bring their own travel changing mat to guarantee their baby has somewhere dry to lie in the changing room.
You might want to bring your little ones car seat into the changing room so that your baby can sit in that while you’re getting ready.
Think about changing into your swimming costume before you leave home. It will make getting changed much quicker and let you concentrate on getting your little one ready.
Some parents like to bring a spare towel for their little one, in case of accidents; a hooded towel is great. Another mum told us she likes to wear a towelling robe so that her towel isn’t constantly falling off as she’s trying to get her baby changed.
3. Double up those swim nappies
Unfortunately, babies don’t poo to a schedule. To prevent ‘accidents’,most pools will ask that you double up on your little one’s nappies while they’re in the water. Many parents put their babies in disposable swim nappies with a Splashabout Happy Nappy or Konfidence Swim Nappy over the top.
Check out our selection of swimwear at Funky Fish Swim School.
4. Check the temperature of the pool
Babies tend to feel the cold quite quickly in water, which is why baby swimming lessons are usually no more than 20 to 30 minutes long.
Many swimming pools have a dedicated small or ‘learner’ pool, which is a couple of degrees warmer than its main pool. The ideal water temperature for babies who are younger than 12 weeks’ old or who weigh less than 12lbs is 32 degrees. The water can be slightly cooler at 30 degrees for older and bigger babies. All our Funky Fish Swim School classes are taught in water that is at least 30 degrees. If you ever feel that your baby is getting cold, no-one will mind if you leave the water before the class ends.
- 5 Give lots of reassuring eye contact
Your baby takes their cues from you. If you feel anxious about taking them into the water, they’ll pick up on those feelings. During your swim classes, we’ll encourage you to smile, sing and talk to your little one. They’ll also love it if you give them lots of reassuring eye contact. At Funky Fish Swim School, we will also guide you every step of the way. It is our intention that you and your little one both an instructional but enjoyable lesson.
6. Prepare for a hungry, tired baby
After a swimming lesson, you can expect your little one to be hungry and tired. Although it’s best to feed your baby about an hour before you get in the water, it’s fine to feed them as soon as the class is over. Most babies are ravenous after swimming. It’s not uncommon for them to have a marathon nap after the class too.
Introducing your baby to the water is such a special experience. Planning ahead helps to minimise any unnecessary stress so that you can concentrate on having fun and seeing your baby blossom and grow in confidence in the weeks and months ahead until they become a true water baby.