Being a pretty useless swimmer myself, I was keen to get Fred into the pool as soon as possible to ensure that he is confident and capable in water. I also thought that after spending 9 months in the womb, he’d probably be fairly at home there.
We began lessons when he was 4 months old and haven’t really looked back. Such is his excitement, that even before we’re in the pool his legs are kicking in anticipation and that’s pretty much how it continues throughout the lesson (which is lucky!)
We’ve recently joined London Baby Swim in Wandsworth, which I’d highly recommend. It’s in a purpose built unit, so there’s loads of space. As the focus is on babies and toddlers, the changing rooms are set up with baby changing mats and a playpen, plus there are high chairs in the reception area. The facilities are also kept really clean and the water temperature is warmer than a usual pool, so very baby friendly. In term’s of the lessons, there’s a really nice balance between helping the babies to learn some essential skills and having fun in the water.
We’re now reaching 6 months of swimming lesson, so along the way I’ve picked up some top tips on how to make the most of the experience. I hope that you find them useful.
- Be organised about finding lessons – in London, baby swimming lessons tend to get booked up fairly quickly, particularly for the more popular weekend slots, so sign up to newsletters from pools that you like the look of, which means that you can book as soon as that term’s lessons become available.
- Give yourself plenty of time – getting yourself and baby changed often takes even longer than the actual swimming.
- Make sure that your baby is well rested before the lessons – a cranky baby is more likely to be overwhelmed by the experience, which can mean tears in the pool.
- Double wrap your baby’s bottom – your cute little floater doesn’t want to be the generator of any floaters in the pool, with some pools now insisting that you use both a swimming nappy and Happy Nappy swimming trunks.
- Plan your post lesson escape – have everything that you need to get baby warm and changed at the top of your bag, as it saves you having to scrabble around after the lesson.
- Take a drink and snacks for your baby to have after the lesson – the lessons might only be 30 minutes long, but it’s both mentally and physically tiring for them.