Tips for taking your baby to the pool without a hitch!
Most parents understand that learning to swim is an essential skill for their child. In terms of being safe around water, the earlier your child learns to swim, the better, which is why programs like the free Baby Starfish program at Just Swimming, (and consequent Baby Swimming and Toddler Swimming lessons) are so beneficial. But actually getting to the pool with your infant is another story!
There’s so much going on when a new child comes into the world, it’s understandable if swim lessons go on the backburner for a very long time. After all, it takes time getting the hang of navigating life with an infant, let alone throwing a regular trip to baby swimming lessons into the mix. But if you feel that infant swim lessons seem beyond your capacity, we’re here to help you with some tips that can make the whole experience much easier.
We’ve created a checklist below so that you can be prepared with everything you need for taking your child to our Baby Starfish swimming lessons. So rather than telling yourself, ‘it’s all too hard’, we’d like to let you know, ‘it’s possible, and here’s how!’
Preparing for Your Infant’s First Swimming Lesson: What You Need to Know
Taking an infant for their first swimming lesson in the Baby Starfish program can be an exciting and rewarding experience. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable time at the pool, here’s what parents and guardians need to know and prepare:
#1 Key Items to Bring
Infant Swim Nappies: Most swimming facilities require infants to wear swim nappies to prevent accidents in the water. Make sure you have these on hand to ensure a hygienic and worry-free experience. Why a swim nappy? Regular nappies quickly become bogged down with water and too heavy for your baby to wear. A swim nappy is designed to keep accidents contained, without absorbing all that pool water.
In terms of best swim nappies, we’ll leave you to choose, but for the most effective way to contain accidents, we recommend the double nappy arrangement, where you put your baby in a disposable swim nappy, then add a reusable swim nappy on top. This way nothing escapes!
As your child gets to toddler age, just the one swimming nappy will likely work, but at infant stage, things are less predictable. (Hot tip! If your disposable swim nappy is unspoiled after a swim lesson, it can be rinsed, dried out and reused!)
Your child’s swimwear: A baby should be fine swimming in just their swim nappy, if the pool is warm enough. If you’re swimming at a pool where the water temperature is less than 30°C, consider bringing a wetsuit for your child to keep them comfortably warm. (This won’t be necessary if you are attending Just Swimming’s free swimming lessons for babies, where sessions are held in a warm, 32.5℃ pool.)
Your own bathers: This is a common one that busy parents forget. Make sure you pack your own swimwear, or to save time, put it on beneath your clothes before you head to the pool. (Remember to bring underwear if you do this!)
Another option to consider is wearing a clean t-shirt over your bathers. Infants often enjoy grasping onto things, and it can be difficult for them to hold a swimsuit. A t-shirt worn over the top can provide a suitable texture for them to hold onto, and adds to their sense of security in the water.
Change of Clothes: Bringing an extra set of clothes for your baby is essential. Accidents happen, and it’s standard to drop things on a wet change room floor. So having spare clothing will help your little one stay comfortable after the lesson.
Towels for Both Parent and Baby: Towels are a must-have for after the lesson. Despite the temperature at the pool used for our Starfish swim school being set at 32.5 degrees, baby’s can quickly become cold after leaving the pool, so getting them dry and dressed quickly is important. And of course you’ll need one for yourself!
A Snack for Baby: Swimming can be tiring for little ones. Packing a small, healthy snack for your infant can help keep their energy levels up after the lesson. Whatever stage they are at, whether it’s a warm bottle of formula, or mashed food, bring something along.
A snack for you!: It’s all too easy to forget about yourself when you’re getting everything ready for your bub. But going to the pool can be hunger-inducing, even if you don’t swim 20 laps. So make sure you have water and a snack packed for yourself. (Or during opening hours, enjoy something from the Aqualink Nunawading cafe!)
A Floating Toy for Baby: Whilst it’s not a must-have, (we will have some toys that float available for our Starfish swimming lessons), having a toy your infant is already familiar with can provide comfort and entertainment for your baby during the lesson.
Sun Protection: If you’re taking your infant swimming at an outdoor pool, bring sun protection for both them and you, including rashie swimsuits, hats and sunscreen. (Just Swimming’s Baby Starfish lessons are conducted indoors, so sun protection isn’t required for these particular lessons.)
#2 Plan Ahead and Allow Extra Time
Getting to the swimming lesson might take longer than you expect, especially if it’s your first time. Infants require extra attention and care, so leave plenty of time to get ready and travel to the pool.
#3 Feeding Considerations
Ideally, avoid feeding your baby half an hour before the class to prevent your child bringing up their food in the pool. However, if your child indicates that they need a feed, obviously do so. Their needs come first!
#4 Dressing and Changing
It’s smart to change your child into their swim nappies at our facilities directly before their Baby Starfish swim lesson. This way, you’re not worrying about your swim nappies being used up on the journey to the pool. Our facilities include baby change tables.
#5 Check Parking and Accessibility
If you’re considering Just Swimming’s free Baby Starfish swimming lessons at Nunawading, you’ll be glad to know that the Nunawading facility offers plenty of parking, pram access, and separate male and female bathrooms. These amenities make your journey to the pool and time there more convenient and comfortable.
#6 Swimming Skills Not Required
There’s no need to worry if you can’t swim yourself! The free Baby Starfish lessons take place in a shallow pool, allowing you to comfortably walk on the pool floor. You will never be required to enter deep water. (Note, Just Swimming offers adult swimming lessons, which are well worth enrolling in when the time is right. Everyone deserves to learn to swim!)
#7 Overcoming Nervousness
If you’re nervous about starting a class, most swimming schools allow you to observe a session before enrolling. This can ease your worries and give you an idea of what to expect. At Just Swimming, we’re happy to accommodate this. Just ask at our reception.
Taking your infant for their first swimming lesson is a wonderful way to introduce them to the water and help them build water confidence. By being well-prepared and organised, you can make the experience enjoyable and memorable for both you and your baby.
The Baby Starfish swimming program is a free, 6 week series of lessons for infants between 4 and 6 months of age. The course runs during school terms throughout the year, so start anytime. We can accommodate groups, such as parents’ and mothers’ groups. Contact us to find out more. The program focuses on water familiarity and play, and water safety. It’s a great way to bond with your infant! Find out more about the program here.
Before we finish, here’s a short version of our checklist. Print it out and keep it handy for those Starfish Swimming days! (And add any extra items you might need.)
Infant Swim Nappies: 2 x Disposable (a spare in case of accidents) and 1 x reusable for added containment