Taking your baby swimming for the first time might seem like the most daunting task! I mean all you want to do is wrap them in bubble wrap to keep them out of harm’s way, but studies show the earlier you take your baby swimming and the faster they get used to water, the more confident they will be when learning to swim. For all of those parents out there who are worried or unsure about how to tackle this task, our blog gives you some great information and advice to give you peace of mind when your baby is in the water.

Nowadays most swimming centres have a special baby and toddler pool with very shallow water, where you can be sure no older kids will frighten or disturb your baby. The water temperature is also warmer in these pools to make baby feel comfortable and relaxed.

So when can my baby start swimming?

Your baby can start swimming any time from birth, although most baby swimming classes start at six weeks. Some parents prefer to wait until their child has received all of their first year immunisations before they introduce them to swimming but this isn't essential and there’s no harm taking them before these.

What should they wear?

One thing you must remember is a pair of swimming nappies - some swimming pools insist that young babies wear them; while your local pool may be more relaxed and will allow babies wearing standard swimming costumes, a nappy might feel a little more robust for dealing with any little accidents! There’s a wide range of disposable or washable swim nappies available to buy. If your baby is under 1 year, they can’t really wear arm bands, but above this age, toddlers will enjoy the security arm bands give them.

What will I need to take?

  1. Top of the list will be reusable swim nappies. Accidents can happen!  

  2. A warm bottle for after the swim if you are bottle-feeding.

  3. A towel, preferably one with a hood, or a towelling dressing gown. Slumbersac bath ponchos are the perfect solution for after your baby has finished their swim. Made from 100% Terry cotton, Slumbersac bath ponchos are soft and absorbent and will ensure your child stays warm and cosy.

  4. A snack if your baby has started solids. Swimming makes babies hungry.

  5. A few of your baby's bath toys to encourage a relaxed and fun atmosphere.

  6. Changing mat and nappy bag

How do I keep baby safe in the water?

Make sure the pool is warm enough. Babies under six months need a temperature of about 32 degrees C so if you feel it’s too cold, ask a pool assistant to check for you. Make sure the water comes up to your baby's shoulders to keep him warm, and keep him moving in the water.

As soon as your baby starts to shiver, get him out of the pool and wrap him up warmly. Babies lose heat more quickly than adults, so they shouldn't stay in the pool for too long.

Start off with sessions of 10 minutes and build up to 20 minutes. If your baby is under a year old, limit your time in the water to 30 minutes maximum.

If your baby has a bad cold, a temperature or seems unwell, don't go swimming. Also, your baby shouldn't swim with a tummy bug and shouldn't go swimming until he has been clear for at least 48 hours.

If you have any stories or advice to parents thinking of taking their baby swimming we’d love for you to comment below!