This may seem like a silly topic, but for some reason, it seemed like the biggest deal to me! I had enrolled cubby in swimming classes when she was 6 months old, however, she developed a cold and so we postponed her swimming until she was 8 months old. I looked up different community pools that were close to my house and found one that had a play pool where the water is warmer and it is shallow. I talked to some mommy friends and they had been doing swimming lessons for a while with their little ones at this pool and loved it. I was racking my brain thinking of what we could possibly need for our swimming outing. I talked to some of the moms and this is what we came up with.
1/ Obviously, the infant needs some sort of bathing suit. There are suits for little girls, which are super cute at Joe Fresh, Old Navy or Carters/ Osh Kosh. There are also suits with sleeves (like a swim shirt) with little bottoms. I have seen really cute swimming trunks for baby boys too.
2/ You also need swim diapers. I have been using Lil Swimmers and they have been great so far. You can also buy swim diapers that are reusable and you wash them. Keep in mind not to get the baby all ready from home and transport them in their swim diapers as they hold in poop, but not pee! You may have a wet carseat if you have them all ready to go from home.
3/ A towel or a few towels (at least one for you and one for baby).
4/ A pair of flip flops for you as you cannot bring your outdoor shoes poolside, and I refuse to walk barefoot from the change room to the pool deck.
5/ Clothes/diapers to change into when baby is dry. They can obviously wear the same clothes that they came in.
6/ A hair dryer. Because it is winter, I like to blow dry cubby’s hair and make sure it’s dry before putting on her hat and taking her outside to the car. The community centre has hand dryers, but I tried putting her under one of those and she freaked out.
7/ Soap, shampoo, baby lotion, etc. and toiletries for you. You can make your own decision. Some people just rinse the baby off with water and put their clothes on and give them a bath at home. I find that cubby is super tired after swimming and sleeps for about 3 hours (which would prolong her bath). I usually bring everything there and bathe her fully at the community centre.
8/ Food. Cubby gets super hungry after swimming so I usually breast feed her half an hour to an hour before we go swimming. As soon as we are done swimming (usually 30 to 60 minutes), she is starving by the time we get to the change room so I feed her in the change room.
9/ Camera or video camera. I took pictures and video taped cubby’s first swimming lesson. I asked the instructor as I didn’t know what the protocol was and she said as long as I was just taking a picture of my child and no one else’s.
10/ Lock for the locker. Most places have lockers in the change rooms so remember to bring a lock. I don’t leave anything in the change room, I load up my stroller and take it with me.
11/ A bag for the wet clothes. The pool that I go to has a machine that you can put wet swimming suits into and it takes the water out of them. I haven’t had the chance to try it as yet so I bring a bag to put the wet swim clothes into.
It is kind of a balancing act trying to get yourself ready for swimming and get the baby ready. I usually bring the stroller into the change room and have her sit in it while I get changed and am ready to swim. Then I take her out of the stroller and change her. You are allowed to bring the stroller onto the pool deck so I load it up with towels, my bag, etc and park it on the pool deck.
After swimming, I dry and change her first and then get ready myself. I am not able to fully shower and shampoo my hair as I am holding her, so I just rinse off and take a shower at home. Depending how active your little one is, you may have a hard time while you are getting ready. I put cubby onto a towel on the bench in the change room today while I got ready. I kind of stood beside her and blocked her and she was rolling everywhere. If I wasn’t standing right in front of her, she may have rolled right off, so you have to be really careful! It is fun when you can bring both parents swimming as one parent can watch the little one while the other parent changes. Also one parent can get really cute pictures and videos of the whole swimming experience!
Keep in mind that most play pools have some swimming toys and floats that you can put the baby in to keep them entertained.
Hope that helps. I don’t know why it seemed so overwhelming to me. Happy swimming!