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Water Babies

by Meghann on January 18, 2016

I had a request for a post on the logistics for the water babies class that Annalynn and I take. At first I was just going to respond with a simple comment, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had a lot to say. It’s taken a couple of months to perfect our water babies strategy (and a LOT of trial and error), but we seem to have a pattern going now that’s worth sharing.

I first heard about our local water babies class in a mom group when Annalynn was a month old. I always knew that I wanted to do swim lessons with her at an early age, so when I discovered we could start asap, I immediately signed us up. The swim school’s website states babies can start as soon as their cord falls off, but I had to wait until my doctor gave the all-clear to go in the water again at my 6-week appointment. As soon as I got my doctor’s blessing (as well as Annalynn’s pediatrician’s blessing) we hit the pool.

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6 weeks seemed to be the perfect age for us to start the class. Annalynn had developed decent head control at the time and was just starting to fall into a somewhat predictable (please note NOTHING babies do is ever truly predictable) nap schedule. We’ve been hooked since the first class and have been back every week since. It’s so fun to watch her develop and grow in the water. She truly is a water baby and seems to really enjoy every class.

So here’s a break down of our water babies class routine and some of the tricks I’ve picked up in the 2 months we’ve been taking the class:

We’re currently registered for the 10:45 a.m. Saturday class, which seems to really fit well in Annalynn’s schedule. She’s usually the happiest in the mornings and is able to get a decent morning nap and a couple of nursing sessions in before class.

Annalynn goes down for her morning nap between 8:00 am and 8:30 am and usually sleeps for a good hour. I change into my swim suit while she naps, so I’m good to go before she gets up. Once she’s up I’ll change her diaper, play with her, nurse her, and get all of her stuff ready for class. I leave her in regular clothes and a regular diaper for the commute just in case she decides to poop on the way. The school has a pretty strict “no-poop in the pool” rule, so if she dirties her swim diaper before class she won’t be allowed in the pool.

I arrive at the swim school about 10 minutes early so I have time to change her and get her ready for class at the school. I usually throw all of her pool essentials (swim diaper, swim suit, towels, and change of clothes) in the wet bag ( I use this one) so I can easily find all of it in the diaper bag.

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The swim school requires all babies wear 2 iPlay swim diapers in the pool. The iPlay swim diapers are reusable diapers that can be washed in the washing machine, just like regular cloth diapers. iPlay also makes adorable swim suits that already have the built in diaper (here’s the one Annalynn is wearing). Annalynn wear a white iPlay diaper closest to her skin and then her iPlay swimsuit (with the built in diaper) on top. (psst… iPlay is on Zulily all the time. I’ve stocked up in a few sizes to grow with her thanks to Zulily).

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I leave the diaper bag in the locker area and take the wet bag and towel with me to the pool area. Everything is placed on the bench, then Annalynn and I rinse off in the shower before entering the pool.

The actual water babies class only lasts 30 minutes (which is honestly all I think babies can handle at this age!). The class is made up of about 4-5 babies that range in age from a few weeks old to 6 months. At 6 months babies graduate and move on to the next level of swim class. The teacher starts the class with a welcome song, then we do kick exercises across the pool, and then the rest of the class can vary from various floating exercises, floating tummy time, and singing songs. The class ends with a rendition of “Wheels on the Bus.”

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Once the class is over we head back to the shower and rinse off. I usually remove Annalynn’s swim suit and diaper in the shower and ring it out before throwing it in the wet bag. I then dry her off with the towel and wrap her up before heading back inside.

There’s a bit of a temperature drop between the pool area and locker area which usually aggravates the babies (heck, I’ve seen 3 year olds from the big kid class start hysterically crying because of the cold). I grab the diaper bag, get the changing pad out, and immediately grab the paci in case she starts crying. Sometimes she starts screaming as soon as I put her down and needs the paci, other time she looks up and smiles at me. It really depends how good her nap was before the class.

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I learned from the other moms a long time ago and started bringing fleece footie pjs to put her in after class. It’s usually quick to put on her because of the zipper and it immediately warms her up from the cold. The towel goes into the wet bag with the swim suit.

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I’ll either ask another mom to hold Annalynn while I put my own shorts back on and put everything back in the diaper bag, or I’ve gotten really good at holding her while juggling everything else. I’ll put the diaper bag over my shoulder and walk back to the car while holding Annalynn and still wearing a wet swim suit. Luckily I live in Florida and we haven’t had a class on a cold day. I’m honestly not sure what I would do if I had to change my own clothes before heading back to the car.

I place her back in her carseat and give her a paci for the road. She usually falls asleep before we leave the parking lot.

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If I’m really good I can transfer Annalynn to her crib as soon as we get home without waking, but more often than not she’ll want to eat before she continues her nap, so I’ll nurse her back to sleep. Water babies really wears her out, she usually take a really good 2-3 hour nap after the weekly class! Once she’s asleep I’ll take my own shower, make lunch, and do whatever else needs to get done.

So, there you have it, our water babies routine. Hopefully someone starting a water babies class will find this information useful. πŸ™‚

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristy B. January 18, 2016 at 1:45 pm

I think it’s really neat that you’re starting her on water really young. I know from friends who have babies, if you get them used to the water really early they will usually be so much better about getting wet when they are picky toddlers.

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2 Kate January 18, 2016 at 2:40 pm

“I leave her in regular clothes and a regular diaper for the commute just in case she decides to poop on the way.”

Also, if she peed, it would soak right through. My in-laws learned that one the hard way!

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3 Meghann January 18, 2016 at 4:26 pm

I’ve heard that about disposable swim diapers, but haven’t had a chance to test that yet with the reusable ones. I was wondering if it would be the same way. Do you use the iPlay swim diapers, too?

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4 Angie January 18, 2016 at 4:36 pm

Swim diapers (reusable and disposable) don’t contain pee.

I use Apple Cheeks reusable a because they have adjustable snaps. We’re in size 1, which goes from 7-20 pounds. So for my twins, they’ll last almost a year.

I’m doing swim lessons in the Midwest. Now. So my husband and I juggle twins AND changing our own clothes. I do take the car seat in with us. Babies lay on their towel on the locker room floor while they change, then into the car seats while we change.

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5 Meghann January 18, 2016 at 4:38 pm

I hate lugging the car seat around because it’s so heavy, but if I had to change my own clothes it would make complete sense to bring it in. Great tip. Thanks for sharing!

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6 Ana January 18, 2016 at 10:01 pm

i go to water babies also and I bring in the frame stroller AND car seat. It seems like a lot, but the car seat plus baby are heavy! I park the stroller near the cubbies and I put the baby in her car seat while I change.

7 Meghann January 18, 2016 at 4:40 pm

Also, I feel like every mother of twins deserves a daily YOU’RE AWESOME! award. πŸ™‚

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8 Katherine January 18, 2016 at 4:54 pm

Thanks for sharing Meghann! My little one just turned 14 months and we’d like to get him into the pool. He loves bath time and the water. Do you do anything special to keep your little girl’s skin from getting too dry from the chlorine?

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9 Meghann January 18, 2016 at 5:02 pm

We haven’t had an issues *knock on wood* I make sure to thoroughly rinse her off in the shower right after class and give her a full bath at night before bed.

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10 Tina January 18, 2016 at 5:54 pm

It’s WAY easier to bring the car seat in. That way you can change her, put her in it, and change yourself. But I live where it’s snowy, so there’s no way I’m walking to my car in a wet bathing suit lol. Do you drive home in your wet suit? That seems so uncomfortable! I also have a backpack instead of a typical diaper bag which also makes life way easier. Does Derek ever go with you guys? My 3 month old and I go 2 or 3 times a week to the drop in program here and she loves it! When my husband is free he joins us and it’s SO cute to watch his sing the songs and do the actions! She always falls asleep in the hot tub after and has a wicked nap in the afternoon, I love it!

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11 Meghann January 19, 2016 at 8:48 am

Yep, I drive home in a wet swimsuit. It’s no different than when I was IRONMAN training and I drove home in a wet swimsuit almost every night after practice. We live less than 10 minutes from the school so it’s not that far (as opposed to my old training pool that was 30+ minutes away!).

Derek has been to the class with us before (he’s the one that takes the photos of us in the water), but hasn’t been the water yet. I keep telling him to try it, but he’s nervous. I’ll get him in the water one day!

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12 Amanda January 18, 2016 at 8:18 pm

I am so happy to read see this post, it was so helpful! I have just started swim lessons with my 4 month old and I was telling my friend how logistically challenging it was! I took the car seat in, I had too much stuff, it was a mess! Thanks for this and enjoy your lessons!!!

Amanda

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13 Heather @ HeatherRunsFast.com January 18, 2016 at 9:15 pm

Thanks for sharing! What school do you go to? My daughter is almost 7 weeks and I want to start her in the water soon πŸ™‚
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14 Melissa @ melissakolbeck.com January 19, 2016 at 8:29 am

It’s crazy how quickly you learn to juggle holding a baby, getting dressed, and getting your stuff together! I’ve gone to the bathroom while holding my daughter before!
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15 Meghann January 19, 2016 at 8:49 am

Yep. Been there. Done that.

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16 Errign January 19, 2016 at 8:37 am

I know the car seat is heavy but I think I would lug it in just for somewhere to put A down. Or, you could spread a clean towel on the floor and pop her down so you could get changed. My husband is deployed and my son is a few weeks younger than A and I’ve become an “expert” at doing things solo for the time being.

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17 Kelli @ Hungry Hobby January 19, 2016 at 8:45 am

so much fun! I used to teach classes like these all the time! I never realized all the logistics that went into as a parent coming to class. What a fun time!
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18 Dieititan Jess January 19, 2016 at 12:35 pm

Sounds like such a fun class and something I would love to do when I eventually have kids. I gasped at the driving home in the wet swimsuit and then I remembered you live in Florida- I do that all the time in the summer here in PA because its just easier! You’re doing an awesome job as new mom πŸ™‚
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19 Stephanie @ My Freckled Life January 19, 2016 at 1:35 pm

Ahh, this couldn’t come at a better time because we are starting swim lessons on Saturday! I am so excited, but also mildly terrified about the logistics. Thanks to your recommendation I went ahead and ordered some of the i play swim diapers. Do you definitely recommend using 2, or is more just because of the rules at the pool? My pool only requires that they wear a “swim diaper” so I wasn’t sure how necessary the doubling really is (unless it is needed for fit reasons).
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20 Nicole January 19, 2016 at 2:24 pm

This is so awesome! From what I found there are only classes available for babies 6 months and older around here. My husband is really excited to take her and teach her as soon as she turns 6 months. Maybe I should look harder for a class that allows her to go earlier! My husband is dead set on teaching her to surf as young as possible and obviously a strong swimming background is needed! (not even kidding haha!).
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21 Jess January 19, 2016 at 10:13 pm

I’m looking forward to starting water babies in the summer (I have a major aversion to getting my hair wet when its cold outside, so swim classes for me until it gets warmer) by then my daughter will be almost one so I will look forward to chasing a wiggly toddler around the changing room!

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22 Mia January 20, 2016 at 2:57 pm

Annalynn’s suit is darling! We are planning to take our little guy to the pool this week since I just got cleared to do so at my six-week check up, so this post was incredibly helpful! The logistics are definitely intimidating–especially since we live in a ski town in Colorado and will have freezing temperatures and snow until May. Brr!

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23 Spencer January 28, 2016 at 11:01 am

My son started swim class when he was 5 weeks old. He’s 4 years old now and can pretty much swim better than me. This is something I love, I don’t have to worry too much when he’s near the water because I know he’ll be able to swim if he falls in. πŸ™‚

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