Many man has experienced troubled waters……taking a WRIGGLY baby swimming. The swimming part is actually the easy bit, almost relaxing in comparison. It’s the before and after that installs the dread into most parents of wrigglers. But there’s no need to miss out if your child has ants in their pants, just stick to these rules and you’ll survive…..hopefully.
Safety in numbers…..don’t go it alone, take a wing man/ wriggly baby helper. Preferably your partner or good friend as who ever it is will more than likely see your boobs/ bum/ other private areas. I really feel swimming is a two-man job. If this is not possible, maybe arrange to go with a group of friends+ babies, this way you can all help each other and offer moral support. If you HAVE to go totally on your own…..good luck to you. Keep your head down, focus, and get the job done. Every man for themselves.
Take dark sunglasses…….there will be a lot of splashing in the pool, not only from your baby, but from random children that think its funny to dive bomb next to you. You definitely wont have time to sort your face out after swimming, and you will most likely look like something from a horror movie (should’ve worn waterproof mascara). So a pair of sunglasses will make the trip from the pool to the car/ home way less embarrassing. You know that this will be the ONE TIME you bump into David Beckham, what are the chances!!
Avoid the use of soap in the shower…….this can make the wriggly baby VERY slippery. Wriggly + slippery= dangerous times. So just give your baby a quick rinse (why do they enjoy this bit more than the actual swimming??!), pretty sure the chlorine must clean them quite well anyway. If you are using soap, get a non-slippery one. If this hasn’t been invented yet, invent it and become a millionaire. But most importantly, just keep tight hold of your baby no matter what and don’t worry about washing yourself AT ALL.
Choose easy clothes……..for yourself and for your baby. It’s not about looking good out there ladies, it’s about getting something on your child/ yourself as swiftly as possible so you’re not leaving the pool in your birthday suits (even though your baby would probably prefer to do this given half the chance).
Choose wide open spaces….. a wriggly baby is more than likely also a claustrophobic baby. I always wondered why my baby screamed to the point that strangers would ask if we were ok. Pretty sure it was because I was using a small, dark, cramped changing room. So pick the largest changing area possible. If this is a big communal one with lots of people to accidentally flash, so be it. They can help to entertain your baby. Family changing rooms are also good, you can get totally naked in private.
Get an after-swim-survival routine sorted……do you dress yourself first?? Or your baby first?? Talc or not to talc?? Take swimmers off in the shower or leave them on until the changing room?? I like to take swimmers off in the shower (his not mine, christ!!!), then wrap him up in a big towel very quickly “just incase”. Get pram and 10+ bags and find good place to park up. Get him changed first (easier said than done), then strap him into his pushchair and give him something to snack on whilst I get myself changed. Which brings me onto my next point……
Food is your friend…..never go to the pool empty handed. Have a supply of not so messy snacks to feed your baby for distraction whilst you sort yourself out and clear up the bomb site in the changing room from your wriggly baby. Other methods of distraction can be farm noises, dance moves, a hairbrush, the forbidden I-Phone, car keys, loud claps, energetic arm movements…..do whatever you need to do and don’t worry about looking silly.
Grow another pair of hands……whatever your routine, you will need more hands than you have. Why do you have so much stuff!!!?? Which bag is the talc in? Did I bring any dry nappies? Why does my baby want to jump off the changing table? Where are my knickers???! Have you ever tried to do a bra up whilst holding a baby?? OMG this is so stressful, I’m never coming swimming again………I find legs/ feet/ elbows/ knees can all be used eg. hold baby down with foot whilst you root through bag trying the find “the bloody baby socks”. Or, a large towel can be used to wrap (chain) baby up to keep them still for a split second whilst you retrieve your mobile phone from a pool of water.
Finally, don’t be a wise guy………and think that bringing your baby all ready changed and in their swim nappy is a good idea. Swim nappies aren’t wee proof, so when you get your baby out of the car seat to go swimming, he/ she will look like she’s already been for an early morning dip.
If you take more than one child swimming…….on your own (I’ve seen you)…..you’re seriously hardcore and should pour yourself a (large) glass of wine.