“I grew up by the beach and what started out as swim lessons for water safety quickly became a lifelong love. My mum first dunked me in the pool at just a few weeks and by five I was competitively swimming. I knew that as soon as was practical I wanted to get my baby into the pool, so when the local pool’s registration opened for the next term, I convinced a couple of the lovely ladies from my mother’s group to come along with me and our four month olds.
This week was our inaugural lesson and we had such a great time. All the things that could go wrong (poo in the pool, screaming, insert embarrassing situation here) did not thanks to a few tips I’ll share with you. We picked an indoor pool (its wintertime and very rainy lately) with a dedicated warm pool for the babies. I hate cold water, so I can only imagine how she would feel about it. We also all used the centre’s recommended reusable swim nappy combo which is a pair of wetsuit-like pants from Splash-About to contain “leakage” over another snap together reusable swim nappy of any kind. And never did I realise how much about happy kids is simply logistics. I scheduled the morning so she arrived for the lesson just having woken up (not tired), more than 30 minutes after the last feed (so all the fun splashy activities didn’t shake her up), but not too long after so that she was hungry (and trying to lick my one piece bathing suit.)
Overall the babies really enjoyed splashing around with their friends and afterwards the three of us commandeered the parents room and dried and changed them (and ourselves) whilst singing “Old MacDonald had a farm” in unison to keep the little ones distracted. It was hilarious. Those parents rooms can get pretty crowded though, so I was glad my pram (the Smart) was compact and it was also really handy to just be able to strap her in to the seat and wheel her in there instead of trying to negotiate the poolside dripping wet with a baby on my hip, schlepping all my dry clothes. The spongy seat just took one wipe with the towel when we were done changing the baby and was dry again. I can’t wait to use it at the beach this summer.
Afterwards, we braved the torrential downpour to duck over to a local café to reward ourselves with coffees. I just popped on the rain cover and strolled over with my umbrella in one hand, steering through the flooded footpath with the other, but the other mums could not. It had not occurred to me, but since they had opted for a very popular other brand of pram that is significantly larger than the Smart, they had to use both hands to steer and push. All the mums I’ve met in the rain with this brand opt to wear raincoats because they can’t manage an umbrella for themselves. Yikes.
I think water safety is really important, but if you also want a baby to sleep a solid stretch, just take them swimming. This will definitely be a strategy for me when I have an active toddler. Bring on the sleepytime!”