I recently took Georgia swimming for the first time at a local pool called Waendel Leisure Centre and it was such a lovely experience. I was a bit apprehensive, but I went with a friend and her little girl who is also in the same boat which made the experience a little less daunting.
It’s hard enough getting yourself changed when going swimming, let alone thinking about where you’re going to put the baby while you get changed. Also, how was I going to cope when she’s slippery from swimming and what if she does a poo in the water and it escapes?
There were many things that ran through my mind before the first swim, but I think the trick was in finding a good pool.
The pool that we chose is lucky enough to have about 4 large family changing rooms, which include a changing table with a lip and a fold down chair with straps that looks like an air hostess seat. I’d recommend to anyone who is looking to go swimming for the first time looking for a family friendly pool to check on their website, or phone to ask about their family changing facilities as not all will offer family changing.
When we arrived I popped her onto the changing table and got her naked, then into a swim nappy, a happy nappy cover (just in case we had a poo-gate incidence), then her swimming costume. I don’t think she actually needed her cossie on top, but it just didn’t feel right not to put one on!
Plus it was cute, so I couldn’t resist.
After she was ready, I squeezed myself into my swimming costume while keeping an eye on her on the table.
Big lockers are a must!
After we were ready, I picked her up and my billion bags and popped them into a locker (the bags, not the baby). Big lockers are a must when swimming for two, as it means that you don’t have to use two lockers and find that hidden second pound coin. The pound coins in my purse seem to be solitary creatures… rarely is there more than one in there!
Easy access to pool
We were then ready to hit the water. With a baby in tow, it was important for me to pick a pool that was easy to get in and out of and that was warm enough, but not too warm to overheat. The one that we chose had steps leading into the shallowest area, which then got gradually deeper, so it was easy to get in and out without much effort. It also seemed the perfect temperature.
Once in, we dipped the girls into the water – expecting some moment of revelation, excitement or some expression. But no, both girls seemed to not be phased, but it was better than crying. We enjoyed it anyway!
Baby friendly sessions
As we’d picked a baby friendly session to attend, the bigger kids weren’t allowed in the pool, which meant minimal splashing… although there were a few tots about who were quite splashy! A lovely swimming instructor came over and asked if this was our first time -which we said yes. Maybe she could smell the first time fear exuding from us!
She then went to get a teddy sponge to show us some useful tricks for ways to hold them, including tummy time swimming, lying on their backs to kick and the dipping bop. It was so nice to have someone with experience to show us what we can do in the water with them rather than it being a completely solo experience.
We were also told that when it’s not summer holidays that they often sing nursery rhymes during the sessions, which I think will be lovely.
So, after we’d learnt a few ways to hold the ladies in the water, we gave each one a go (other than dipping her fully!). She absolutely loved tummy time swimming as she glided through the water and swooshed from one side to the next.
When it was time to get out… after a bit of pre-wailing from both ladies, we went back to the lockers to get changed. This I found to be quite difficult, as I couldn’t put her down to get into the locker, so had to hold a slippery baby, while I was slippery too AND get out everything from the locker.
Next time I will be leaving the towels by the side of the pool so that we can be a bit dry so it’s easier to hold her while getting things out of the locker.
The next dilemma I had was who to change first… Do I change her first so that she’s dry… but then I’d be drying her while I’m wet causing a vicious cycle of transferring wetness and she’d then be lying on a wet changing table. Or do I change me first so that I’m dry when I’m drying her, but then she’d be left wet for a while?
I decided to opt for dressing myself first as the room was pretty warm and she didn’t seem fussed – she was already wrapped up in her towel too, so she was on a slow dry!
Overall, we had a fab experience and I’m sure I’ll get more confident the more we go.