baby at the edge of the water

8 Tips for Taking Baby Swimming This Summer

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Summer time is here!

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Your Baby to the Pool With You.

You don’t have to be stuck indoors this summer just because you have a baby.  And, you don’t have to miss out on prime pool time either.  Your baby can join you and your family at the neighborhood or resort pool.

Trying to raise a water baby? Consider enrolling your baby into swim lessons before taking them to the pool.

How Early Can a Baby Learn to Swim?

This will be dependent on the swim schools near you.

In my area, we have two recommended swim schools, Aqua-tots and Little-Otter Swim School.

Aqua-tots starts their swim lessons as early as 4 months.  At this age, the class is just as much for the baby as it is the parent.  They say the focus of the class is on helping the parent hold the baby properly in the water and safe submersion for the baby. This is all to help everyone get more comfortable with the water.  This class is a 1:4 ratio, so it is a very small, intimate class.

Aqua-tots is located all over the U.S. you can visit their website to see if they are in your area and to read more about their classes.

However, Little-Otter Swim School starts their swim lessons at the age of 6 months. They simply state this is due to their instructor’s comfort level, curriculum, and parent feedback. Their Otter Baby I class is all about getting the baby acclimated to the water and teaching them the basics.

If you are local to the Charlotte or Huntersville North Carolina area, you can check out the Little-Otter Swim School website for more information about their classes.

We are a little late to the party on this for Baby G. I personally do not like to be in the water of any kind.  This is something her and her dad will do together.  She is 14 months now, so we will be enrolling her into swim lessons in the coming weeks.

What Should Your Baby Wear When Going Swimming?

How should you dress your baby for the pool?

I am so glad you asked.

You will need the obvious, a bathing suit.  I prefer a one piece with sleeves.  My daughter has her mother’s skin, I’m sorry baby ☹, which is paler than pale.  I want her to be covered as much as possible.

A one-piece bathing suit is personal preference because they fit her better and the sleeves just add an extra layer of protection.  We got her bathing suit from RuffleButts, and it came with a hat, so it was a win-win.

Their swimsuits are made with UPF 50+ sun protective fabric which is a plus for us. With this, Baby G will always have protection from UVA and UVB rays, and I put sunscreen on under her bathing suit as well. You can never be too careful.

However, the hat did not come with a chin strap, so we ended up buying a different hat altogether because she will keep NOTHING on her head.  And, a chin strap will ensure she keeps it on longer than a few seconds.

You will also need a towel.  You can get a hooded towel or a regular kids beach towel, completely up to you.  Pottery Barn Kids has some super cute towel shirts.

For our first adventure to the pool, we changed Baby G as soon as we knew we weren’t getting back into the pool.  I didn’t want her to be soaking wet riding back in the car, again, personal preference. You could also do this if you plan to stay at the pool a little longer if you have older kids.

If you choose to stay at the pool longer, you will need to bring your diaper bag with a change of clothes and storage bags for the wet clothes and diaper.

At the very least, you will need a bathing suit, hat, towel, and an immediate change of clothes.

You could consider sunglasses and water shoes depending on the age of your baby.

What Pool Accessories Do You Need?

Check with your pool about their rules for floats and such.

We went to the pool in my in-law’s neighborhood, and they allow all kinds of floats at their pool.

Their pool had a kiddie pool that was a foot deep, so Baby G walked around in that pool first to get used to the water.  This was nice as we had it to ourselves, so she could walk around and splash as much as she wanted.

We bought her a float to use for the bigger swimming pool.  She lasted all of 5 minutes in this float, if that.  In hindsight, we should have probably waited another time or two before getting her into the big pool.

Start slow when introducing your baby to the pool for the first time especially if they are showing signs of discomfort.

Baby G loves the bathtub, but so far, she isn’t a fan of the pool.

Not Ready to Leave the Pool?

I would also consider something you can put the baby in to nap or just to lie down in depending on their age when you are not in the pool.  You could do a laundry basket, a DockATot, or a portable bassinet.  Be sure to keep them in the shade and make sure they don’t get too hot.

This will be helpful if you have older kids, or you aren’t quite ready to leave the pool yet.

We also bought this fan for our beach trip, but we use it all of the time now.

Swim Diapers

I bet you thought I forgot about swim diapers when you were reading above. 😉 There is enough information out there about swim diapers that they deserve their own section.

Every pool requires a swim diaper, and some might require a swim diaper plus a plastic/rubber diaper cover.  Be sure to check the pool rules before going.

A regular diaper will not be enough nor will it be effective in a pool.  Your day-to-day diaper absorbs as much water as possible. As soon as you submerge your baby into the water, that regular diaper is going to soak up every ounce of water.  This will not only start to be uncomfortable for your baby, but begin to weigh them down as well.

Unlike day-to-day diapers, swim diapers do not absorb up all of the water or pee that passes through them.  What swim diapers are good for though is containing poop if your child does this while in the pool.  You don’t want to be the reason no one can swim at the pool because it is being sanitized.

Breast Milk Fed Babies

However, things might be a little tricky if your little is given breastmilk. Because their poop is not typically solid and is water soluble, it will pass through the swim diaper.  In this case, you may want to double up or invest in a plastic/rubber diaper cover.

We chose to buy a reusable swim diaper, but they do make disposable swim diapers.

When Can My Baby Wear Sunscreen?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is safe to apply sunscreen to babies 6 months and older.

They recommend if the baby is under the age of 6 months to be placed in the shade in sun protective clothing.  Another reason to buy a bathing suit with sleeves and possibly pants if they are younger. This way you know they will be protected.

You will want to invest in a hat and maybe sunglasses if your little one will keep them on.

Before going to the pool, apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before you head to the pool.

I use Tropic Sport sunscreen for my daughter and myself. It isn’t a “baby specific” sunscreen, so I had our pediatrician approve it first.

Will Your Baby Like Going Swimming?

Taking your baby swimming might not be how you thought it would, at first.

Especially, if your baby enjoys the bathtub, you automatically think they will enjoy the pool, but that may not be the case during your first trip to the pool.

You will want to expose them slowly to the pool.  Start by sprinkling some water over their head and on their feet.  Next, dip their toes.  If your baby is most comfortable with mom over dad, then mom should be the one to get in the pool with them.  You want your baby to be as comfortable as possible.

Do what works best for you and your family, but always pay attention to how your baby is telling you they feel about the situation.

Taking Baby Swimming Can be Fun

Like anything else with a baby, taking a baby swimming will take patience and planning.

Don’t forget to take pictures!!

Let me know in the comments how your first pool trip of the summer went.

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