If we asked our customers whether they enjoy swimming with their babies the answer would undoubtedly be a resounding YES!
However if we then asked them how much they enjoy the changing rooms afterwards the responses might be a lot less enthusiastic ;)
During the early weeks of our new Level 1 babies starting with us, the sound of the changing rooms after class is usually that of ten hungry and tired babies crying – not a relaxing sound for any new parent. We often see Level 1 customers coming out of the changing rooms looking very harassed!
Fast forward to the end of the first term however and things have usually improved a lot, both carers and babies have got used to the routine of getting changed after swimming and there tends to be a lot less crying. Enjoy this golden time as once babies get mobile things tend to get interesting again…..
Remember getting changed after swimming before your baby was born? Nice hot showers, time to wash and dry your hair, moisturise, put a bit of make up on maybe? Well you can forget all that once your baby gets mobile…. Now you’ll be lucky if you can even dry yourself before getting your clothes on!
Having survived the toddler years and now come out the other side, here are my tips for the best changing room experience possible with your baby or toddler.
1. By far the best thing of all is an additional adult. Babies who come to our weekend classes often bring both mum and dad with them. This means one parent can stay dry and the one in the pool gets to hand over their little one and go off and get changed in peace and quiet – highly recommended!
2. If this isn’t an option (as it won’t be for many people) then don’t despair, it is possible to do this by yourself and remain calm and collected –it’s just a case of some forward-planning.
3. If not already provided, ask the venue or the swim school about a travel cot or playpen, as this makes things a whole lot easier, but don’t forget that babies must always be supervised when in the travel cot.
4. Clothes – think carefully about what you both wear to the pool - loose fitting clothes that are easy to put on and off, this is no time to worry about fashion. Trying to get skinny jeans on quickly when you’re still wet and your 18 month old keeps trying to run away and get back in the pool is not easy, trust me, I’ve done it!
For babies a babygro is so much easier and quicker to put on than separates – save the cute outfits for another day. Go one further and just bring your baby along in their PJs if your class is in the morning.
5. A poncho-style hooded towel is a great investment for a mobile baby or toddler, you can pop it over their head as soon as you get out of the pool, keeping them warm and dry while you get yourself dressed. Then you can tackle them. It is always a good idea to dress yourself first and your little one last, otherwise they tend to have got themselves, and their clothes, soaking wet on the floor by the time you have dressed yourself.
6. Bring something along to distract your baby while you are getting them dressed, a favourite toy or book is ideal. Try to avoid snacks in the changing rooms as they tend to get dropped on the wet floor and get all mushy and horrible, but a drink in a bottle or sippy cup is fine. Save the snacks to entice your little one out of the changing room once dressed, I know, it’s bribery but it does work!
7. Lastly, treat yourself afterwards if you can – a coffee and chat with friends after class is a great way to restore your sense of calm and equilibrium that you had after swimming, but lost somewhere in the changing rooms – go on, you deserve it!