I have partnered with Goldfish School in Mundelein, IL to bring you my thoughts and experiences on what to expect from your Baby’s First Swimming Lesson
It seems like years since I took my son to his first swimming lesson. Have you seen a video of an infant swimming underwater like a fish? I was mesmerized by how natural the baby looked in the water, and the text with the video suggested that since babies spent their first nine months in the water-like-environment, it is only natural for them to enjoy the water while effortlessly learning swimming. If watching the video triggered your “I want to teach my baby to swim” thoughts, you’re not alone. I know I did! I bet those kinds of videos are responsible for the explosion of the private swim schools and the swim class enrollment boom. When my now 10-year old turned three, we had one swim school within a ten-mile radius, but today we have five within the same distance.
However, if you decide to enroll your child into swim classes, you might find out soon enough that bringing a baby to a swim class doesn’t guarantee an easy and fun activity you and your child can enjoy from day one! Regardless to how natural it might have been for your baby to swim in the amniotic fluids, he might not like the whole water idea at all (Makes me wonder, how much he enjoyed his time in the womb).
What should you actually expect from your very Baby’s First Swimming Lesson?
When Can a Baby start swim classes?
Goldfish swim school suggests enrolling youngsters as early as four months old. I know other schools recommend six months as well. As I questioned the age discrepancy, I was told that a baby could start swimming as soon as he can hold his head. Once he masters that skill, he is ready to take a swim class.
What Should You Not forget?
Don’t forget your swimsuit. While it is crucial to have your baby wear the cutest outfit you can find, your hard work will go unnoticed if you don’t bring your swimsuit, as you are expected to join your bundle of joy in the water. Duh! Also, don’t forget two towels (one for you and one for a baby), a clean diaper, baby shampoo to wash off the chlorine, baby bottle (as the baby will more likely be hungry after first swimming lesson and might fall asleep after he eats), and a snack for yourself to reward yourself for doing a rocking job!
Do You Need a Pair of Helping Hands?
While it’s not mandatory to have someone helping you during your first swimming lesson, and I have done it both ways, let me tell you: it is way more manageable when you do have someone there to help you. If you’re doing this alone, you will have to do everything one-handed. It goes something like this: after you exit the pool, you will have to dish out a towel to cover your baby and walk to the shower area. Since you’re limited with how much stuff you can carry, just wash off the chlorine from you and a baby and head out to the changing rooms with the changing station but don’t forget to pick up the stroller and clothes for you and a baby (I would suggest to keep it in the stroller). Dress up the baby and tuck him into the stroller. Finally, wipe off the dripping water from your own wet shivering swimsuit body and dress up yourself. Feed the baby and once in the car – enjoy your snack.
When with a partner/friend: instruct the helper to meet you and a baby as you exit the pool, cover the baby with a towel, and follow you with the second towel shampoo to the shower area. Wait for the helper to turn the water and assist your shampooing. After the baby is squicky clean, hand him over and let your helping hands change the baby while you wash off yourself. Take your clothes and change alone in one of the changing rooms (cabanas) and possibly even eat your snack. Meet the baby and a helper outside and feed the baby. So much easier!
What Should I do before entering the water?
Not much. Holding your baby and concentrate on putting one foot in front of other as you enter the pool. Don’t over think it: other moms are as subconscious of their postpartum bodies too, and the dudes are so terrified that they might drop the baby, they won’t even look in your direction. Once in the water, your bundle of joy will either not like the water and will display his emotions publically or will not care at all (which probably means that he loves it). Both reactions are perfectly fine. If your baby cries don’t leave the pool: follow the instructions and pay attention to what everyone else is doing – the baby will adjust too.
One thing I can guarantee
I can promise you that your baby will not suddenly become a fish during your first swimming lesson, so leave your GoPro at home – you will not be shooting YouTube-worthy underwater videos. Instead, try to enjoy the time with your baby. I am not going to lie; it won’t be easy – you are wearing a swimsuit in front of a bunch of strangers. However, one thing I can promise if you keep at it you baby will love swimming. These days my now 3-year-old is the coolest kid on the deck – he has more swimming experience than most kids in his group as he started when he was six months old. He is not afraid of water and is excited to go to the swim class every time. He might be the youngest in his level but he often better than other kids at doing things. And yeah, I enjoy watching him from behind the glass wall!