Monday, January 18, 2016

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. 🙂

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