When your ‘babies’ are 6′ teenagers, it’s sometimes easy to forget those far-off days when they actually needed you every single step of the way. But it’s astonishing how much knowledge you stack away in your brain that’s just sitting idle, waiting for the day someone asks you (or till your babies have babies, and you can become *that* granny with all the advice).
I was chatting to a fellow Brit in the supermarket in France this year (like you do); it was their first holiday as a family with their 9mth old daughter, and as we stood in the checkout queue she bemoaned all the things she’d brought unnecessarily, and the things she’d not thought of.
Straight off the top of my head I mentioned three things for swimming with babies & toddlers which obviously lit a lightbulb in her brain – here’s what I said:
The Baby Wetsuit
Never mind the cute little swimsuits – a neoprene wetsuit is a godsend for young babies who are not so good at regulating their own body temperatures. it adds a little buoyancy too, and the easy-access velcro side means it’s a doddle to whip them out of when they’re wet and tired. Just as good for swimming lessons in a UK swimming pool as it is for the beach or holiday in the sun.
The Swimbest neoprene baby wetsuit is £13 (and on Prime too), and comes in a range of colours.
Utterly essential for babies, pop one of these on and there’ll be no unwelcome accidents in the pool (Oh, the horror!). You can use it with or without a swim nappy underneath, and they come in a massive range of patterns to suit everyone. Personally I LOVE this cool retro boats print!
Our top faves Splash About sell this Reusable Swim Happy Nappy in sizes 0-24mths for £11.
A hooded towel is a surprisingly under-rated thing. I know it’s simple and obvious, but the best things are, and after swimming, nothing beats wrapping up in a soft dry towel from head to foot when a small body starts to get chilly. And I know any old towel will do, but trust me; a hood just helps.
And I know these aren’t anywhere near the prettiest or most special of hooded towels – those with ears and tails and cute colours abound.
A pack of three brilliant quality ones from Mothercare for under £10? Sold.
And lastly, when your baby turns Toddler (they have a habit of doing that when your back is turned) my strongest tip? One of these bad boys (or good boys, IYSWIM) made ALL the difference to my daughter learning to swim and I so wish I’d discovered them sooner with her older brothers.
Swim Training Jacket
These build confidence SO fast – and really the key to being able to swim is not being afraid to, isn’t it?
Once they know they can’t sink, they start to really confidently play in the water, naturally building their swimming skills. You can then remove the individual swim floats form inside the jacket – and before you (or they) know it, your child is swimming.
I love these Two Bare Feet swim jackets on Amazon – good quality, available in four different colourways in sizes 1-7yrs and only £13 a jacket.