Before and After
- At first try and go at a quiet time of day. Call up your pool and ask when these are, generally during school hours will be quieter but there are often school lessons happening. There will be less noise and less people so you and your baby will be calmer.
- For the first few times keep the time in the water to a minimum, we started off with ten minutes a time but now stay in for 45 minutes or so. If we’ve gone as a family we take it in turns to get a few lengths in in the big pool each too!
- Watch out for shivering or lips going blue and get out if these things happen!
- Make sure your baby is not hungry when you get in, and be warned that they will be hungry and thirsty when they get out so be prepared!
- Gently tip your baby’s head from side to side to get any water out of their ears, and make sure you give them a rinse in the shower (or a sink!) to get any chlorine off their skin which could irritate it.
- Your baby will probably be extra sleepy after swimming, so grab a good book and a cup of tea and enjoy it! Even now at 15 months Athena sleeps for an extra hour after swimming, bliss!
First swim at 9 weeks old, and at 13 months old!
Tips for the first time
- Sit with your baby on the side of the pool for a few minutes to help them take in the surroundings and get used to the noise levels.
- Keep eye contact with your baby at all times when you first enter the pool, and smile at them to let them know this will be a fun experience. If you are uncertain in the water then make sure you bring someone else with you and only stay in the shallow end where you feel safe.
- Once they’ve got used to the feeling of being in the water you can gently swish your baby from side to side, bob them up and down and splash water around/on them
- If your pool has slides and water jets then play with these too, but make sure you are always touching your baby and supporting them so they feel secure.
- If you want to ‘dunk’ your baby to help them get used to being under water then a tip is to blow gently in their face to make them take a breath just before you pop them under, and only keep them under for a second! Athena kept her eyes open the first few times we did this but she closes them now!
- If your pool has a graduated end then sit them down in the shallow water and let them splash and play about there to build up confidence
- Arm bands or swimming costumes with floats in give extra peace of mind but always keep both eyes and ideally at least one hand on your baby until they learn to float
- Inflatable rings with seats in them will help your baby get used to being in deeper water
There is plenty of info on the Huggies Little Swimmers website to help you learn why you should start a habit that lasts a life time! I was determined to get Athena swimming and confident in the water before she was too old, because I didn’t learn to swim properly until I was about 11, and it’s not guaranteed that she’ll get lessons in school these days either!
How often do you take your children swimming? Please add any tips in the comments!
Thank you to Huggies for sending us a pack of Swim Pants and a Changing Mat.