Time for the fifth edition of our Very Rookie Summer series.
Erin Goettsch shares two different days from her life as mom including her lessons learned the hard way taking a baby swimming. Baby Nathan taught his mama how to treat a baby at the pool; baby Anneliese benefited. Read more from Erin at her blog, Happy Noise.
Erin calls her post “A tale of two rookie summer swims”
I come from a family of swimmers. We swim. It’s our thing. If you want to be one of us, you have to swim too. True story.
My siblings and I were “pool rats” growing up, and I haven’t quite been able to shake off that awesome feeling of the sun on my shoulders and the water on my skin. (And, no, it’s not just because the weightless sensation of being underwater makes me feel mucho mom-skinny.) There’s almost no better way for me to pass the summer days than in the water, enjoying the sunshine.
So when I had kids I was (of course) determined to have them be little swimmers too. Don’t you love it when we moms get these hare-brained ideas about how to project our own likes and wants onto our children? Yeeeeeah. Needless to say, I failed on many counts with my rookie baby, Nathan (now three):
- We went to a lake instead of a pool. Even though we’re in Raleigh, smack dab in the middle of the south, the water was cold. Really cold. Do you know any newborns who like really cold water? Yeah I don’t either. Including Nathan.
- He was only six weeks old. Old enough to know he doesn’t like cold water, too young to enjoy intentionally splashing in it. This is not the right age to teach a baby all the reasons swimming is rockin’ awesome.
- We went right between dinner and bedtime. This was before I grasped what every mom (probably since caveman days) knows about the hours between 5pm and 7pm: they are evil. Even as a rookie mom, I should have known better. Needless to say, he wasn’t in a great mood. (I’m stating that as delicately as possible.)
- I wore a workout racing swimsuit. Which, in case you’re curious, is quite possibly the worst. breastfeeding. outfit. ever. I ended up nursing, basically topless, in the front seat of my car while both Nathan and I soaked through the upholstery. Fail.
- We went alone. Well, I had a non-mom friend there, but not Daddy. And when your baby is six weeks old, don’t attempt major outings (or major firsts!) without Daddy. It just isn’t worth it.
The result of his rookie swim? He hated it. In case the picture leaves any room for doubt. But the good news is, he was able to put the trauma behind him and now he loves swimming. So, he’s a keeper.
My second child, Anneliese, was born in October. This year is my “take two” of the rookie mom summer. And baby’s first swim went much better this time around:
- We went to a pool. The water was still cool, but not bone-chillingly so. Also there was a baby pool and splash area. Full of other moms. Let the befriending and playdate-planning commence! Pool > lake, at least for the first swim! (There’s some rookie mom math for you.)
- Anneliese was just shy of eight months old. Definitely of the age when kicking and splashing are fun. Also, old enough to be distracted from the chilly water by funny faces from her big brother. Also, old enough to look really really really cute in her first swimsuit. And isn’t a cute suit half the fun of the first swim? Drink in the compliments, mommies.
- We went around lunchtime (AKA before naptime). Some more rookie mom math: Swimming + a “picnic” lunch (baby food in a plastic tub, no glass allowed!) + sunshine = best naptime ever. Works every time. Every time.
- I wore a cute towel dress cover-up over my swimsuit. It wraps around and velcros in the front, plus has button-on shoulder straps. It’s a dream for breastfeeding at the pool (assuming you don’t want to get topless, which, while totally within your right, might not sound any more fun to you than it does to me). Baby can just tuck in a drink up, and the coverup stays on even when the swimsuit comes down. Sure, you could buy a nursing suit. But, I’m cheap. And my towel dress also hides my baby belly for those times when it’s not experiencing one of those weightless moments underwater.
- Daddy was there. And an uncle too! Last piece of rookie mom math for the day: outnumbering the kids with grownups is just good sense. Lots of help with feeding, changing, splashing, and playtime.
Swimming is a great way to spend your rookie summer! Beats the heat, wears out the baby , and it can be a great way to meet other new moms! Just… learn from my rookie mistakes, mmkay? And do it right.
Related Rookie Mom Activities:
Activity #96: Go swimming