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7 Tips for Taking Your Baby Swimming for the First Time

It’s a widely accepted fact that babies love the water. Many surmise that this is because, during pregnancy, your baby spends 9 months floating, so the sensation is familiar and comforting. However, that doesn’t mean that the first time you take them to the swimming baths will be free of tears. 

The month of October has many celebrations, but one often overlooked is National Baby Swimming Week. To celebrate, we’ve put together an article full of handy tips and tricks to make baby’s first pool experience a positive one. Ready to take your baby swimming for the first time? The last one in is a rotten egg…!

1. Know Your Facts


When can you take your baby swimming? The simple answer to this is: whenever you like. There are no rules around waiting for vaccinations before you head to the pool; the right time to take your baby swimming is when it feels right to you.

The exception to this rule is premature babies - we always recommend checking with your doctor before taking them swimming for the first time.

While most baby swimming classes won’t accept little students until they’ve had their injections, that doesn’t mean you can’t test the waters beforehand. Babies as young as just a few weeks old can enjoy a splash about!

However, experts recommend that mothers who’ve had a C-Section or a difficult birth should wait until after their 6-week check-up to take a dip. If you want to take your little one swimming before then, it’s up to partners or family to don their proverbial flippers.

2. Prepare in Advance


We all know that trying something for the first time,  in public, with an audience,  can end in tears when it comes to little ones. So taking the time to prepare and practice at home is a great way to ease the baby into the idea of swimming.

Making family bathtime a regular ritual from very early on in baby’s life gives them a hugely positive experience in the water. Hop in the bath and take the time to gradually deepen the water, allowing the baby to float by supporting their head with one hand, and under their bottom with the other.

Start with short periods at first, and build up the minutes as both you and baby become more comfortable.

Some babies take to the sensation immediately, for others it takes a little longer, so don’t be put off if crying is your little one’s first reaction. Wrap them up warm for cuddles and try again tomorrow.

3. Pack Smart

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Experienced parents will tell you that the key to any successful expedition with children is to make sure you’ve packed for every eventuality - and this includes a trip to the swimming baths. 

Things you might want to pack include:

• Baby kit basics like your changing mat, spare nappies, a change of clothing, extra bottle, dummies, toys etc.
• A swimming costume for your little one
• Swim nappies
• A floating toy for distraction
• A cosy cape for poolside cuddles
• A soft towel for drying off all those cute crevices
• If you’re weaning, snacks are key

And remember - if in doubt, over-prepare!

4. Play Games


Games are absolutely one of the best tools you have in your arsenal as a parent. If both you and your little one are nervous the first few times you visit the pool, then playing games together helps to keep you both relaxed and happy.

Take a toy - a favourite bath toy from home offers a touch of comfort
Keep moving - babies feel the cold easily, so bouncing, splashing and swishing help to keep them warm
Singing - singing a song keeps baby entertained, and also helps to regulate breathing, which relaxes you if you’re a little nervous
Splish splash - babies love tactile sensations, so encourage them to splash in the water
Bubbles - if you are comfortable you are interacting with the water, your baby will learn confidence from watching you. Teach them to blow bubbles to help them get used to putting their face in the water

5. Bring the Family


The first few months of parenthood can feel like an isolating experience - the lack of sleep, keeping unusual hours, feeling a little housebound as you adjust to the demands of your new tiny arrival - but making plans to get out of the house is an important step.

It can feel very daunting the first few times you plan an outing with your new baby, but having family or friends around to share the experience helps to reduce stress levels and create a positive atmosphere. The same is true when it comes time to swim. Everyone gets their cossies on, we’re off to the pool!

6. Take Lessons


Getting your baby used to the pool is a fun activity to do by yourself, but once your little one is familiar with the water, taking part in baby swimming classes can be a real confidence boost for them, and for parents!

Teachers will be able to give you advice on positioning, exercises to try with your baby, tips to try if your little one is nervous in the water and help you find the best way to bond with your child.

Classes are also a great opportunity to meet other local parents and start building your parenting community.

7. Have Fun


The most important thing to remember when it comes to taking your baby swimming is to HAVE FUN. Swimming with your child can be an incredible bonding experience and an opportunity for family time. Play games, sing songs and enjoy the experience.

Whether your little one is a natural water baby or not, these are precious moments you will want to remember forever.

Baby Swimwear for Petite Paddlers

Ready to hit the pool with your little one? It’s time to find the perfect baby swimwear. We’ve rounded up the most popular styles so you can pick your favourite.

The Swimsuit


Product Example: Printed Swimsuit

A tried-and-tested shape, a classic swimsuit cut is the most popular style for little girls for their first dip.

The Suit


Product Example: Swimsuit with UV Protection

Suitable for both boys and girls, a full swimsuit is a practical option, with more skin coverage for outdoor swims in the sun.

The Trunks 


Product Example: Recycled Printed Swim Shorts

Think classic swim trunks in miniature - it doesn’t get much cuter than this.

The Bikini Bottom

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Product Example: Bikini Bottoms with Ruffles

Keep things simple with a bikini bottom designed to cover a swim nappy but leave your baby free to splash around.

The Shirt


Product Example: Printed UV-Resistant Swim T-Shirt

Perfect for a little extra coverage in the sunshine, swim shirts with UV protection give you a little extra peace of mind.

The Two-Piece


Product Example: UV Sun Safe Two-Piece Set

Sometimes, little ones just love to imitate their mamas. This super cute two-piece keeps baby’s arms covered and their legs free to kick.

3 Cuddly Capes for After Swimming

Tucking your little ones up in a warm, cosy towelling or muslin cape is a great way to continue the positive experience of a swimming lesson with a super soft cuddle. From playful characters to pretty patterns, there are plenty of designs to choose from.

Some awareness days are worth celebrating in style. Last month, it was Sourdough month, but we believe home-baked bread is a timeless tradition. Why not head over to our inspirational guide and get your cook on for after your first swim? 
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