I don't know about anyone else, but when my baby cries, I have a physical response. I feel myself get hotter, my heart beats more quickly and I start to feel anxious. Those feelings are hard to deal with at home, but out in public, that panicky feeling can be amplified tenfold!
When you're at the pool, your little one might find a reason for some tears - from their time in the changing rooms to the new experience of being in the water. There's nothing like the sound of your baby's cries echoing around a busy building!
It is always a good idea to plan your pool trip carefully to give your baby the best chance of a happy swim. You could think about some of these factors:
Timing: Avoid nap times, grizzly times and hungry times. Take your baby to the pool at a time of day when you know they'll be in the best possible spirits;
Wrap up warm: It is better to keep your baby as warm as possible in the pool, and don't forget a warm towel or towel poncho for afterwards;
Fit and healthy: Your baby might not be in the mood for a swim, or they might need some activities modifying and simplifying if they're teething or poorly;
Come prepared: Try to be as organised as possible in the changing room so that you feel relaxed and in control while you change your baby and get them in a good mood for their swim.
Here are some ideas for how to cope if your baby is having a tricky time:
Take a break. Step away from the lesson, forget the skill you're working on for a minute or two and focus all your attention on your baby. An understanding teacher won't be at all concerned and will respect that you need to reconnect. Look at your baby and listed to her, don't distract her with a toy - just focus on her;
Relax. Other pool users are likely to be sympathetic rather than judgemental. Try not to worry about what you feel others are thinking. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your baby will be;
Stop and reevaluate what you are expecting from your baby. Are they finding the activity or the pool in general overwhelming? Do you need to modify and simplify an activity, give your baby a break with a gentle cuddle and bounce or even leave the pool earlier than planned? Remember, it's important for your baby to associate the swimming pool with happy times;
Are there any favourite activities you could revert to? Does your little one enjoy splashing or watching you blow bubbles? Are there any songs that could cheer them up?
Remember that your swimming teacher is used to babies! We want you and your baby to feel happy and relaxed.
Babies cry - it's one of the only ways they can communicate with us. Remember, we want them to enjoy their time in the pool, and form positive memories of the water.