I loved the idea of baby swimming lessons before Arthur was even born. He’s my first baby and I had an image in my head of him being a few days old and taking him swimming. Him lying in his back looking so peaceful and me cooing over him. Turns out I was massively naive and I have absolutely no idea how mams go swimming a few days after giving birth. I’m not sure if you can get adult swim nappies like you can for babies? And even then I don’t think it would do the job.
Anyway, instead I decided to book him his first chapter of swimming lessons for Christmas and they started in the February. By then he was 12 weeks old. In my not so expert opinion, this was a great age to start.
Arthur absolutely LOVED it. I got him a little wetsuit so he wouldn’t be cold even though the company I booked with only use pools suitable for babies meaning the water is quite warm. There were 8 mams and babies in my group, all babies were around the same age as Arthur. We sang songs, splashed about and every mam had a stupid grin on her face watching how much fun our little babies were having.
The lesson lasted half an hour which was perfect. Any longer and the babies would get fed up, tired, hungry and would make the next lesson a not so positive experience. After the lesson, we all headed to the changing rooms to get ourselves and babies dried and dressed. Now this is a nightmare. There were only 2 cubicles which meant we all had to get ready in front of each other. Now this doesn’t really bother me but new mams with post pregnancy bodies can be a tad self conscious. I’m not sure how they could get around this apart from to change venue to somewhere with better changing facilities. There was also nowhere to get the babies ready apart from the floor. The wet floor. Our best bet was to wrap babies in a towel and put them on the floor while we get ready. Then put baby in new dry towel and get them dried and dressed on your knee. If you get baby ready first then chances are you’re going to have to put dry baby back on wet floor while you get ready which, let’s face it, would be counterproductive.
As I’m sure you know when you go swimming you’re always hungry after. The same goes for babies. I was the only breastfeeder in my group so everyone else gave their babies a bottle and were on their way. I used to sit and feed Arthur for about an hour after the lesson finished. So a half an hour lesson turns into a full half a day mission. Apparently babies sleep well after swimming. Arthur didn’t. When he was a baby baby he always refused to sleep during the day apart from when we were in the car and This didn’t change if he’d been swimming or not.
So the 10 lessons finished and I didn’t really want to fork out another £150 (yup that’s £150, not a typo) for another 10. I was a single Mam, on maternity leave with rent and bills to pay. I just couldn’t afford it. I did still continue to take Arthur to our local pool (£4 entry) about once a fortnight to make sure he didn’t forget anything he had been taught.
Then I was talking to another fellow mammy who lives down the street and she told me that Everyone Active Centres do adult and baby swimming lessons for a fraction of the price. Who knew? There’s about 4 Everyone Active Centres within half an hour drive so I quickly phoned them all and managed to get us a space on a Saturday morning at 9am. The lessons are good. Really good in fact but I think you need a bit of confidence being in the water with your baby first which is why I would recommend one chapter of the mega expensive lessons. I’m a confident swimmer but having your baby in the water with you is just a totally new experience. But these are great to move on to. Arthur loves them and we still sing songs and play silly games. It works out at just over £4 per lesson and you pay monthly in advance. You get a free bag and towel when you sign up too! The changing situation is exactly the same but Arthur’s used to it now and lies patiently, wrapped up in a towel on the wet floor while I get ready.
Anyone thinking of taking their baby swimming then go ASAP! The younger they start the less likely they will be to kick off and it’s so worth it!