Swimming with your baby
One of my absolute favourite mum-baby activities is taking my 8-month old daughter swimming at our local leisure centre. My hubby takes her swimming every Saturday morning (giving me some welcome free time woohoo!) and I take Amelia swimming one other time during the week. It really is great fun.
Our baby girl has always loved her bath, splishing and splashing madly, although she did go through some bath confusion: thinking it was her bed and succumbing to the odd water nap at her 6pm bath time. She’s over that now and bath time is fun-fun and then some more fun. She had her first official swim at 4 months although it is safe to take your baby swimming within only a few weeks of birth.
The NHS says that babies can be taken swimming at any age. Most pools start swimming classes at 3 months and many mums prefer to wait until then to take their baby for a swim. The decision is up to you.
Most, if not all, leisure centres have changing tables and pram bays but if you are unsure it is easy enough to call and ask. It is also a good idea to find out (online or by phone) if there are baby swim sessions or perhaps a pool dedicated to small children. Checking the temperature of the pool is also necessary – is should be between 84 and 86 degrees F (29 and 30 degrees C).
If you are taking your baby swimming at a public pool you may initially want to go off-peak until your baby is used to the chaos that usually accompanies public swimming pools: noise, splashing, people etc. Most public pools require babies to wear swim nappies, which can be bought at leisure centres or baby clothing stores. Baby swimsuits often have built in swim nappies. What you will need on your swimming adventure is:
1 – Your nappy bag (including food if you are out during your baby’s feeding time)
2 – A towel (one with a hood is best)
3 – Bath toys (not essential but they often make swimming that much more exciting for your baby)
and that’s it. I usually swim for an hour with my 8-month-old daughter but babies are all different and will manage different lengths of time. If your baby is very small she will most likely only last a short while (10 minutes or so) and you can build on that with each swim. It is important to me that my baby learns to swim as soon as she is able in order to eliminate, or at least lessen, the danger of drowning – a fear that I am certain every parent has. Swimming is great fun but getting your baby used to water from an early age is also good from a safety point of view. Most Leisure Centres will offer swimming programmes, otherwise check out the following sites:
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