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When Is It Safe to Take My Baby Swimming?

When Is It Safe to Take My Baby Swimming?

When our son was three months old, my friend invited us to go swimming with her and her three-month-old daughter at the local indoor pool. Since it was November in Utah (and I'm pretty sure there was snow on the ground), we immediately said, "Yes!" Summer felt like sooooo long ago, and swimming sounded like so much fun! We probably should have thought twice when we couldn't even find swimming diapers small enough to fit our babies, but we bought the smallest size available and headed to the pool.

Now, just to clarify, we DID do a quick Google search—like any responsible parents would do ;)—and read that the main concern was keeping your baby warm. So we held them close to our bodies, made sure their body temperature didn't drop too low, and we didn't stay in the water very long before bundling them up in soft towels. And since it was an indoor swimming pool, the temperature was definitely more regulated than it would have been at an outdoor pool, and they weren't exposed to any harmful UV rays, either. The other day, I was looking at pictures of that day (because looking at all of the baby pictures on my Instagram feed is my favorite hobby), and I laughed when I saw that teeny tiny baby wearing a HUGE swim diaper. It looked even bigger because the only way I was able to make it fit him was to put a normal diaper underneath the oversized swim diaper. The pool we were at only required that children wear a swim diaper, not that it actually fit! But as you can imagine, it didn't work too well. The normal diaper absorbed a TON of water and filled the WAY-too-big swim diaper! As I looked at those pictures and laughed about how naive I was (definitely not for the first or the last time), I wondered, when is it safe to take your baby swimming? And what precautions should you take when you do decide to take your baby swimming? I felt so much better when I read that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is most concerned about newborns younger than two months old because they are more vulnerable to illness. While I'm sure my three-month-old baby didn't have a MUCH stronger immune system than he would at two months old, it was definitely reassuring that I hadn't taken him during those first two months when he was most likely to get sick. Other than the danger of infection or illness, I read that two of the other top concerns are water temperature (because your baby's body can't regulate its temperature as well as your body) and the obvious risk of drowning. To avoid both of these dangers, my husband and I always held our little boy close to our bodies to keep him warm and safe, and we didn't go into water deeper than we could comfortably and safely walk in. If you're taking your baby swimming in an outdoor pool, a lake, or the ocean, you'll also need to protect your baby's tender skin from sun exposure and sunburn. A baby's skin is more delicate and thinner than an adult's skin, so you'll need to be extra careful to protect their skin. But if your baby is younger than six months old, you should wait to apply sunscreen and protect them from the sun by keeping them in the shade and choosing a swimming suit that protects their skin. When your baby is older than six months old, you should make sure to apply sunscreen 15 minutes before he enters the water and re-apply every two hours, or as directed by the instructions on the bottle. And if you're looking for a new swimming suit for your little one this summer, check out these cute, new swimming suit brands! Kortni Jeane swimmers are available in a variety of sizes for your baby, your child, and you! So all of your girls (starting at 12-18 months) can feel cute, comfortable, and confident all summer long! I also love these cute swimming suits from Pennie Swim, because they offer sun protection but they are still so, so cute! And I REALLY love that they have snaps on the bottom for easy diaper changes (just like a onesie!).

We had our first day of 80+ degree weather this week, and as I helped my little boy change into his rash guard and swimming suit, lathered sunscreen on his face, arms, and legs, then watched him run through the sprinkler with his cousins, I thought back to that day I took him swimming as a tiny three-month-old. But I also spent a lot of time thinking about this summer and all of the fun we'll have outside! I am so, SO excited for summer!

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