Today was a day I’ve been looking forward to for months. Baby’s first swimming lesson!
But then I started to panic. I mean, really worry, not about the pool, but all the other bits. The getting there. Would she be warm enough? Would she scream? What should I pack?
I was never the best post-swim-changer pre-motherhood. I was always damp, holding my towel, trying to brush my hair whilst un-twisting my damp pants, that I had probably dropped on the wet floor.
So how in God’s name was I going to do this palaver, with a small, very active human? In a room full of capable mothers? Would I still drop my pants? Would my daughter run away? How could I possibly dry us both?
It started to overwhelm the excitement I had for swimming. So what did I do? I asked the internet for help. And my lovely friends came forward with their experiences and words of wisdom. Hurrah
This is a quick compilation of their wisest tips combined with anything I have discovered today. This was only one session. But as it’s fresh in my mind, I felt I should record my experience.
What did we wear to the pool?
This isn’t for fashion. This is for chaos limitation.
I wore some very baggy leggings, an oversized long t-shirt dress thing and a coat (because of course, it was like a monsoon outside) along with my trusty Birkenstocks. I wore my cozzie and packed underwear for later.
Charlotte was in a super loose outfit; vest, leggings, and a loose top. The socks got soaked within seconds of entering the changing room. I packed pyjamas for afterwards and a fluffy dressing gown, socks and shoes so she was really warm.
We were lucky that there was space to park the pram in the reception of our leisure centre so I didn’t need to carry a toddler plus bags too far.
I had 2 bags; Charlotte’s regular changing bag and what I’m calling my ‘hot towel rucksack’ (I’ll go into more detail on these now)
What did we pack?
So I took 2 rucksacks
Charlotte’s Regular Changing Bag
- Snack Box
- Charlotte’s swimwear & swim nappy
- My Clothes (underwear for after)
- Charlotte’s Clothes + Clean Nappy
- Bottle of milk
- Bottle of water
- a ‘wet bag’ to throw in the wet clothes afterwards
- a small bag of ‘fiddly’ toys to keep her occupied
The ‘Hot Towell Rucksack’
- Old towel for the floor
- 2 x hooded baby/toddler towels
- towel for me
- hot water bottle in the middle of all the towels
- The hot water bottle went down a real treat. When we got out the pool, I threw the old towel on the floor, stripped her off and wrapped her in a warm hooded towel. The hot water bottle kept everything so toastie and it seemed to keep her really calm whilst she played.
I got dressed first whilst she was in her warm towel. I laid out a couple of easy to eat snacks and a couple of ‘fiddly’ toys I didn’t mind getting wet, which kept her busy by the bench whilst I stood next to her and quickly dried and threw my clothes on.
- The bag of snacks was a great idea and kept her really occupied. I packed a small banana, raisins, some rice cakes, a little malt loaf and an oaty bar. She obviously didn’t eat them all but I think the sight of a lunchbox with all those in kept her busy trying to break in, giving me a lot more time to resolve my nakedness.
- Don’t wear the swim nappy to the pool. I wondered if I could do this but everyone said don’t and I wasn’t sure why. When I got to the pool a lovely lady told me she had done this before, only to find her carseat soaking wet as some brands aren’t wee proof, just poo proof for the pool. Yikes. I didn’t know that. Just in case you’re interested, we used the Little Swimmers which are currently (at time of writing) on offer at Tesco for around £3.50
- Get appropriate baby swimwear. I asked our swimming teacher in advance and got Charlotte a swim suit that has arms and legs but lots of babies had wraps or neoprene suits. In hindsight, I should have bought her something a little warmer, so she now has a little neoprene suit for next lesson as the pool we went to wasn’t super warm.
- It’s wet. I know that sounds utterly daft, but I sort of forgot how wet the changing rooms are. Wear flip flops or easy on sandals and don’t like I did, let your baby toddle around. They will fall (or at least mine did). So lay down a towel and get them to stand on it. It just makes sense.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. Ring your pool and ask if it’s group changing or if there’s space to park your pram. Fore armed is forewarned and it will make you feel more prepared. Also, message your swimming teacher if you’re going with a group and ask. Ours was so helpful. And most importantly, ask the world to get other’s experience. I’ve been super lucky that these tips all came from my pals who have done it already. Sharing your experiences are so valuable.
So there are my tips. It seems a bit crazy doesn’t it really when the lesson itself was only half an hour! Charlotte was cautious but I think she really enjoyed the swimming itself. We can’t wait to go back and I hope this little run down helps you too!
Do you have any tips? Please let me know down below