- Should my baby have their immunisations first?
Not at all - NHS guidelines say babies can swim before they are vaccinated. Thousands of babies across the world have been taken swimming before being immunised, with no harmful effects.
- Must the adult be able to swim?
No. We’ve taught the children of hundreds of parents/carers who have exhibited the full gamut from slight anxiety to downright terror! The water is always shallow enough to stand up in, and you never have to go underwater unless you want to. Most anxious parents want to bring their child to Water Babies so that they don’t pass on their fears to their child; many have even learnt to swim themselves!
- Can both parents come along?
Either parent (or even grandparents or older brothers & sisters) can join in the fun in the pool, but due to space restrictions and the nature of the course, we can only allow one adult in the water with your child each week; anyone else is welcome to watch from the side. Please note that the person swimming with your child must be a responsible adult.
- Is there a waiting list?
Due to the popularity of our lessons, many of our offices operate waiting lists — so we do encourage you to put your name down while still pregnant. There’s no obligation, but it will secure you that coveted place in the pool!
- When can I get an underwater photo of my baby?
We run photo shoots at the end of every term, so there are plenty of chances to get spectacular images of your little one you'll treasure forever. Ker-splash, ker-lick!
- How long can we stay with Water Babies?
Your Water Babies story lasts just over 4 years – so that’s lots of Water Babies fun. Sometimes, things like work commitments might mean not being able to manage the whole programme, but do talk to your local Water Babies office as they can usually accommodate most needs.
- When should I feed my baby or toddler?
We all have different metabolism and comfort levels, but as a guide we recommend trying to feed your baby 1-2 hours before the lesson, and leaving an hour between your toddler eating solid food and them swimming. Babies and toddlers can both get hungry after such a good workout, so be prepared to feed them or offer a snack afterwards!
- What time should we arrive?
Lessons start promptly at the time advertised, and each class lasts 30 minutes. In order to avoid changing room congestion, please try to arrive no earlier than 15 minutes before the start, and be at the poolside a few minutes beforehand, having dressed your child appropriately and having both had a proper shower (using the pool facilities, if available, or at home immediately beforehand if not. Remember, the cleaner you are going into the water, the fewer chemicals need to be used.)
- What about changing facilities?
As we mostly hire local pools, this is beyond our control. Some of the pools do have tiny changing rooms, so please come with as little equipment as possible. Sometimes we have to ask that you don’t bring a pram, but we’ll always make things like that clear beforehand. Please always bring a changing mat, as changing your baby on the floor is by far the safest method. It’s also important that you and your baby shower after swimming – most venues have shower facilities, but again these can be limited so you might want to do this at home instead.
- What about nappies in the water?
All Water Babies, baby or toddler, must wear a disposable or reusable paper swim nappy underneath and our approved neoprene nappy over the top. Find out more about our nappy system. Please always take your used nappies away with you, unless a clearly marked nappy bin has been provided, and never leave any in an open bin.
- Do we need goggles?
We suggest goggles for you at the baby stage (so you can see how fabulous they look swimming underwater!) and for both of you at the toddler stage. Having your own pair means they’ll fit you perfectly and will reduce the risk of eye infections. Completely clear lenses and frames are best, as they maximise your baby’s ability to see your face, which helps to reassure them. Non-tinted lenses mean that all the babies in your class can see your eyes, so they’re less likely to get upset by them. Your child might be a little unsettled by seeing you in goggles for the first time, so you might like to prance around the house in them for a bit first! (But don’t forget to take them off before answering the doorbell…)
- Can we join half-way through a term?
Starting and finishing a complete term is best for your baby and for you. Since our classes foster a fantastic group dynamic for both adults and children, it’s best nurtured by starting your journey together. You’ll probably find yourself exchanging contact details, sharing experiences (in and out of the pool) as well as coffee, cake and sleepless nights, right from day one.
- What should I bring to lessons?
In a nutshell – as little as possible, as many of the changing rooms we use are fairly cosy!
- A paper swim nappy, or reusable nappy wrap & liner, worn underneath a snug-fitting neoprene top nappy.
- A snug-fitting neoprene top nappy, this should be a Happy Nappy which are approved for use in our lessons. Your baby is welcome to wear another swimming costume on top, but that’s entirely up to you.
- A baby Wetsuit - even though we swim in warm water pools your little one may need a bit of extra warmth. Your local office will advise you if you will need one for lessons and they’re also great for taking your baby swimming yourself at your local public pool which can be cooler. If your lesson is in a hydrotherapy pool you won’t need these for lessons.
- A changing mat – just a small roll-up one is perfect – so that you can change them on the floor (by far the safest option, as babies can’t roll off the floor!).
- A snuggly towel to wrap your baby in as soon as they come out of the pool. Often the easiest thing to do is to pop them somewhere secure, wrapped in their towel, while you get yourself sorted out. This way, they’ll be dry by the time you’re ready to get them dressed!
- A summer or winter hat to pop on your baby’s head as you’re leaving the pool.
- Don’t forget your own swimming costume and towel! And before the end of the first chapter, you’ll need your own goggles too so you can join your little one underwater (providing you both want to).
- Your little one will probably be hungry after such a good workout, so be prepared to feed them or offer a snack afterwards.
To make life a little bit easier for you, we've put together a 1st lesson bundle of a Water Babies Happy Nappy, changing mat & cosy hooded baby towel - 3 must-have items for your Water Babies lessons!
- What should my baby wear?
- A paper swim nappy, or reusable nappy wrap & liner, worn underneath a snug-fitting neoprene top nappy. Don’t worry if you can’t initially find an ‘under nappy’ small enough; it’s the fit of the top one that counts. Please don’t be tempted to use an ordinary disposable nappy, as it will just do its job and soak up vast amounts of pool water – and saturated nappies split open, meaning there’s a greater risk of contaminating the pool. Plus, your poor baby will weigh a ton!
- A snug-fitting neoprene top nappy, this should be a Happy Nappy which are approved for use in lessons. There should be a good seal around little tummies and thighs - this really isn’t the time to buy two sizes up and ‘let them grow into it’! We’ll check it fits correctly when you come along to your first lesson and, if you bought it from us and it turns out not to fit properly, we’ll happily exchange it.
- Your baby is welcome to wear another swimming costume on top, but that’s entirely up to you.>
- A baby Wetsuit; even though we swim in warm water pools your little one may need a bit of extra warmth. Your local office will advise you if you will need one for lessons and they’re also great for taking your baby swimming yourself at your local public pool which can be cooler. If your lesson is in a hydrotherapy pool you won’t need these for lessons.
- Can we still swim if my baby has a cold?
Babies frequently get colds, and if it's just the snuffles then it's fine to bring them swimming. If they have a bad cough, temperature or are generally quite miserable with it, then it's probably best to stay at home.
For advice on what to do if your little one is unwell in any other way, including sickness/diarrhoea; or if they have eczema and you're unsure about swimming, please check out our policies and guidelines on everything from vaccinations to chicken pox.