You can take your little one swimming at any age — they don't even need to have had all their vaccinations (NHS). And, some parents do decide to take their babies for a dip sooner rather than later for a number of reasons: not only is it a lot of fun, but it can also serve as a great bonding experience for you and your baby. Plus, it's a great way of building their confidence and getting them used to being in water, so they won't find it as daunting as they get older.
Of course, much like with every aspect of having a new baby, there are lots of things you need to consider when taking your baby swimming, from what they're going to wear to what the best time to go will be. So, we're going to give you all of our top tips that will ensure your first trip to the pool with your baby will go smoothly.
Find a baby-friendly pool with heated water
Don't be caught out by thinking that every pool is going to be baby-friendly — when you take your little one swimming, you need to make sure that the water is heated to 30–32°C. This will help to keep them happy and comfortable, which will make it much easier for the two of you to have a positive experience.
This is something you'll have to look into beforehand. So, make sure you always check your local leisure centre's website or give them a call before committing to taking your new baby.
Check whether they have family changing rooms
Another thing you'll want to check in advance is whether your chosen pool has family changing rooms. These typically come with a changing mat and other essentials that can make the process of dressing both you and your baby much easier. Family changing rooms are also usually much larger than your standard cubicle, which is ideal when you have your pushchair and a changing bag in tow.
Layer their swimming costume over a swim nappy
While the rules of each swimming pool will differ and some allow babies in the water wearing just a swim nappy, we would always recommend layering a swimming costume over the top. This will help to keep your baby's nappy in place, and also ensure that any accidents are contained. So, you won't have to worry about your little one soiling the pool and can just focus on enjoying your time in the water.
Get your timing right
As a new parent, you'll soon get used to timing certain activities perfectly, and you need to think very carefully about when you're going to take your baby to the pool. During the daytime is likely to be best, because it's when the pool will be the quietest — you'll miss the early risers who like to take a dip before work, and will beat the rush of people who wind down by swimming once they've clocked out.
You also won't want your swimming session to overlap with any of your baby's feed or nap times, as this will make them very grouchy. So, make sure you take their daily routine into account as well.
Make sure your baby is always facing you
It's likely your baby will feel quite unsettled the first few times you take them swimming. But, one of the best ways you can help to keep them calm is by ensuring they're always facing you. As long as they can see your face and watch you having fun, they're going to feel much more reassured. So, staying face-to-face with your baby while you're in the pool will help to make the experience much more enjoyable for your son or daughter.
Taking your baby swimming is a great way to get out of the house and bond with your little one. And, if you take these tips on board, you should find it much easier to have an enjoyable experience with your child.