Baby’s First Swim

Baby swimming necessities: bathing suit, rashguard, swim diapers, baby sunscreen, wide-brimmed hat with clasp, baby float, camera, someone to take pictures, and realistic expectations |

Before summer even began, I wanted to take Baby for a swim. However, the prospect seemed like a pretty daunting task. I’d have to find and pack the normal swimming stuff (bathing suits and towels), plus the baby swim gear (baby sunscreen, rash guard, swim diapers, hat, baby raft). For the sake of making memories and practicality, I really wanted my husband to come with us the first time, too (aka I needed someone to take a picture).

My original plan was to check out an awesome indoor pool at our local community center before the outdoor pools even opened. I had a couple free passes, and liked that being indoors would protect my little redhead from the sun (and save me from the chore of applying sunscreen to a wiggly baby). My husband was not so into it, and whined advocated that swimming should only happen outside.

Regardless of our differing opinions, the weeks came and went, the outdoor pools opened, and we remained landlocked. With my husband’s super busy work schedule, there were always other things we needed to do on his days off. At long last, hitting up the (outdoor) pool made it onto our schedule when some out of town family members came to visit. Swim diapers were packed. A baby spring float was bought. Suncreen was fished out from the bottom of the diaper bag.

And then the schedule changed. First because of a storm, then to go on a tour of The Roasterie with more visiting cousins. Finally, on a Sunday afternoon, we raced over to Great Grandma’s neighborhood pool after Baby’s afternoon nap. I slathered sunscreen on Baby in the car, and my husband blew up the float as soon as we got there.

Starting in the shallow end, I slowly stepped into the pool, getting used to the water. It wasn’t freezing cold, but it was still pretty cool. After a few steps down, Baby’s feet went under the water. He was not a fan. I bounced him in and out of the water and got him to go in a little deeper. Then we experienced a different kind of waterworks: big alligator tears.

I took a step up and his cries immediately stopped. I tried again, and they flowed. The cold water had to be a bit of a shock, so some tears were to be expected. To be honest, I kind of loved the way he was clinging to me. However, when I quickly stepped out again, he kept crying and I started to emphasize for him.

Luckily, that was when Dad showed up with the raft. I loved that the raft had a sun canopy to help protect my little one’s skin (not that I was paranoid or anything). It took both of us to hold the raft and Baby and finagle his feet into the mesh seat. Once he made in, it was smooth sailing (I couldn’t resist).

Meltdown subsided, Baby soon discovered the design on the inner part of the float and attempted to eat it. We splashed around and sang songs and pushed Baby around the pool.

After months of waiting, I was a both a little disappointed and relieved at the same time. I had imagined swimming with Baby would be chaotic, but I was really expecting him to laugh, splash, and play in the water. Instead he just kind of chilled. He giggled for Daddy (of course), but my husband also did more to make it exciting by swimming him back and forth across the pool. I had expected the water to be entertaining enough. Lesson learned. Next time I’ll pack toys, too.

Our big pool adventure was a little anticlimactic, but also empowering. I learned (again) that I need to work on getting out of my own head. Nothing is ever as big of a hassle as I think it will be. On the other hand, adventures usually aren’t as amazing as I build them up to be in my head. It’s an expectations game, and I need some more practice at playing.

On that note, I expect Baby will be more excited about playing and splashing in the water next summer. For now, I’m going to enjoy the calm and relax with Baby while soaking up the remaining summer sun.

What was it like the first time you took your little one swimming?

11 thoughts on “Baby’s First Swim

  1. [email protected]

    Last summer when I took my baby swimming for the first time she cried and cried. It was actually kind of funny. Since she has 3 older siblings we went a lot and by the end of the summer she liked it, but your description reminded me of that first time.
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  2. Karen Main

    Your story brought back the memories of my daughter’s first dip in the pool. We have a pool at home so I was dreaming of long afternoons with kids laughing and splashing from the moment of conception. Just like you, i built the moment up in my head to be more momentous than it actually was, although the memories now seem to match up now. I love how our mind works, the moment not as good as the anticipation or the nostalgic memory. Anyway back to the story, she screamed and flapped her arms around as my husband held her close and I ran around with the video camera almost toppling in. Nine years on and she is a competitive swimmer and she is like a dolphin in the water. I do also get to enjoy those long afternoons of laughter and bombs as I enjoy family times by the pool.
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
    Karen Main recently posted…Why being vulnerable is an ingredient to living fabulouslyMy Profile

  3. Madaline

    OMG. Isn’t it funny how much stuff is required to go to the pool with a baby! I literally looked like I was moving out… my dad even commented on it – I ended up bringing the stroller so that I could shove stuff under neath!

    I use to be a lifeguard and instructor and the kids that learned to swim best were the chilled out one’s! Because they are comfortable with the water… see it as a blessing! My Florence (she’s one) LOVES the water and tries to put her face in and blow bubbles – I have no clue where she got the idea from but it freaks me out soo bad.
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  4. Preslaysa

    I am a chicken. I never took my 4 yo or my 2 yo swimming. Thankfully, my husband used to be a lifeguard and so he takes them to the pool at the rec center often :-)
    Preslaysa recently posted…Simple Ways Parents Can Nurture Their CreativityMy Profile

    1. farrahudell Post author

      I always wanted to be a lifeguard! I learned to swim early, but never the correct strokes to swim laps. Swimming is definitely a fun family adventure. Let me know how it goes if you go swimming with them!

  5. Mothering From Scratch

    {Melinda} Those milestones are great … even if they don’t happen exactly as we imagined. :) He is a cutie pie!

    Stopping by from Sharefest!
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  6. Janice Trinh

    Aww, live and learn. But have fun in the process. I’ve got 3 kids (and a 4th on the way) and I still have the same problem of imagining how much of a hassle things will be. I don’t mean to take the fun away from the family, but sometimes I make the excuse of just being practical. But you’re right, sometimes you just gotta do it and learn and do it better next time. It’s the really the experience that counts anyway! ;)
    Janice Trinh recently posted…Homeschool Classroom RedoMy Profile

    1. farrahudell Post author

      So true! I often repeat to myself, “Do something that scares you today” (Eleanor Roosevelt), to help me push through any reluctance towards new things big or small. I’ll also think of all of the fun things I remember doing as a kid and how I want to do the same for my little guy. He may not remember our adventures from his baby years, but he enjoys them in the moment! Except for that time we spent 40 awful minutes in a drive thru. I’m really happy he won’t remember that one…


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