Baby Swimming

I really wanted to take my baby swimming and started a quest to find a baby friendly pool in the High Wycombe area. We found that Parkwood Community Leisure Centre were baby friendly and very helpful.

We phoned in advance and the leisure centre confirmed that we could take our baby into a shallower, warmer teaching pool. So while daddy was on holiday from work, we had our first baby swimming experience together as a family.

Being a leisure card holder, I got reduced entry at £4.10 and my partners entry was £5.80 (they don’t charge for children until they are 5). The teaching pool is separate from the main pool and after being given directions found our way to the large baby/family change rooms. We emerged fully changed and ready to go without any tears – step one complete.

We bought our baby a wet suit rather than just a swim suit as we had heard they keep baby warmer. Now, I’m not sure if that’s true, as she can’t answer yet, but she didn’t seem distressed at all because of the temperature of the water and I can confirm that it was definitely warmer than the main pool; you didn’t get that “take your breath away” moment once your torso got wet! We also used a Huggies Little Swimmers nappy, (£5.50 for 12) which seemed to work (I don’t think she had a wee!).

The teaching pool is only 75cm deep so the perfect depth to keep adults feet on the ground. There are lovely wide steps to get into the pool so you don’t have to conquer the dreaded silver narrow steps which most public baths have! This is especially useful if you are thinking about taking your baby swimming alone.

We spent about 20 minutes in the pool, which was plenty long enough for all of us! Daddy decided it would be best if he got out earlier getting changed so he would get the baby dry and dressed while I sorted myself out. This way neither of us would get cold dressing the baby first.

There’s a long bench (which I guess is used for children to sit on) at the edge of the pool, but it was the perfect place to leave the baby’s towel so I could wrap her up as soon as we got out. There were also some showers, which you could change the temperature of and I quickly and carefully washed the chlorine off the baby before handing her over to a dry daddy.

The family change room was plenty big enough for the three of us. There was one other change room which was just as big and about 4 smaller ones which would have been ok for one adult and one baby. All the cubicles had benches in and drop down baby change table which was really handy.

There weren’t any hairdryers or mirrors (that I could see) in the teaching pool area, but I guess you kind of give up looking after yourself with a small baby!! It would however have been nice to roughly dry my hair before going out in the cold (this could have been pretty impossible anyway if I was alone).

My only other complaint, which also has a positive spin, is that the lockers are tiny! There is only enough space for one bag, and we all know how much stuff you need for a baby! Although at the beginning you could separate yours and baby’s things into separate lockers meaning you could get baby changed first then return for your clothes, I wouldn’t have wanted to have this experience without my partner; it’s nice to share baby firsts together, and now I know where everything is at the pool I can happily take baby alone!

Lucy

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