Toddler swimming with Puddle Ducks // 4 weeks on

Last month Gabe started swimming lessons in the Kickers class with Puddle Ducks West Lancs. I wrote about how we were getting on after the first two lessons, and to be honest it wasn’t going well! This was nothing at all to do with the lessons themselves I hasten to add – it’s just that Gabe is not a fan of new things and going in the pool was not something he was eager to do! Read more

Starting toddler swimming lessons with Puddle Ducks

Gabe grinning after his swimming lesson

When Toby was a baby I took him to swimming lessons for almost a year. We had some wobbles on the the whole it was really good, and it definitely gave me confidence to take him in the pool on my own when we were on holiday. But when Gabe was a baby, I also had a toddler to look after and so swimming lessons were something we just didn’t manage, and I’ve always felt a bit guilty about that. But now he’s two, and Toby is at school so we started looking around for toddler swimming lessons. Read more

Win £50 to spend at Konfidence

Konfidence Give away

We were delighted when we were asked to be Konfidence Swimologists earlier in the year and Toby has loved trying out the Konfidence Babywarma along with his NeoNappy and AquaNappy. We also put the Sun Protection Suit and hat to good use this summer too! After four blocks of Turtle Tots lessons we are giving weekly swimming a bit of a break for the moment. Toby has been having a bit of a wobble lately and has had so many coughs and colds since starting nursery that we’ve had to miss quite a few classes. I’ve really enjoyed taking Toby swimming though, and it has definitely given me much more confidence to take him in the pool by myself. We’re definitely going to keep swimming as often as we can manage and hopefully get Toby back into lessons when he’s a bit bigger.

Konfidence sun suit

Along with a break from swimming lessons our time as Konfidence Swimologists is also coming to an end. Konfidence are already looking for some new Swimologists for 2015 and we’d really like to thank everyone at Konfidence for giving us the chance to work with them and try out their fantastic products this year.

And because the people at Konfidence are just plain lovely they’ve also given me a £50 voucher to give away so you can get your hands on some of their lovely swimming gear too!

To enter just complete the Rafflecopter below.

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Entries close at midnight on Sunday 14th December.

All entrants must be 18 or over and UK residents.

The winner will be contacted by email.

Review: Konfidence sun protection suit

It seems I might be a bit late with this review, seeing as the lovely sunny weather seems to have deserted us in favour of a hurricane at the moment but you never know, we might get some more sun before the summer’s out, or maybe you’re lucky enough to still have a summer holiday abroad to look forward to! As part of our role as Konfidence Swimologists we were asked if Toby would like to try some of the Konfidence range of sun protection clothing and even though we had already been on our summer holiday I knew it would come in useful for those sunny days in the garden and we recently put it to the test when Toby had his first ever experience of a paddling pool!

Konfidence Sun Protection Suit

The Details

We were sent the Konfidence sun protection suit and hat to try out. The suits are available in sizes to fit from 6 months to 7 years – we chose the 1-2 years size for Toby. The hat has sizes from 0 to 6 years. I chose 0-1 year, as although Toby is very tall he has a tiny head! The suit is £17.50 and the hat £8 but currently you can buy both together for £22.95. The sun protection clothing (separate shorts and vest are also available) comes in Blue Palm or Pink Hibiscus.

The Pros

  • UV protection clothing is such a good idea – I remember wearing a normal t-shirt in the pool on holiday when I was a kid and it just got heavy and in the way. There are no such problems with this suit, and as a parent I am happy knowing Toby is protected from the sun, and I only have to get sun cream on the exposed bits rather than all over a wriggly baby. The sun protection suit has full length sleeves and 3/4 length legs so there isn’t too much skin left exposed.
  • The material of the suit and hat is soft and stretchy, meaning Toby looked very comfortable.
  • The 6-12 month and 1-2 years sizes have poppers along the legs making for easy nappy changes (along with the zip on the back the poppers also make it much easier to get the suit on and off).
  • The suit and hat both have clever UV colour-changing technology – the logo on the front and stars on the sleeve (and on the back of the hat) change colour to blue or pink when the suit is protecting your little one from UV rays.
  • The hat has a large peak and flap to keep the neck covered. The stretchy lycra means the hat is less likely to fall off and it must have been comfortable because Toby actually left it on, whereas he normally whips hats off within seconds!
  • The 1-2 years size fit Toby well with some room left for him to grow, and the stretchy fabric means it should last a while longer yet.

Konfidence Sun Protection clothing

The Cons

  • None! I actually can’t think of any negatives to this sun protection clothing.

The Verdict

We loved the Konfidence sun protection clothing. Toby was very comfortable wearing it and as a parent I was happy knowing he was protected from those harmful UV rays. Everyone knows how painful (and potentially dangerous) sun burn can be and I will do everything I can to make sure Toby doesn’t have to suffer it. And with Konfidence my job just got a lot easier!

**Disclaimer: I was sent a Konfidence Sun Protection Suit and Hat as a part of our role as Konfidence Swimologists. All opinions are my own.

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Baby swimming with Konfidence and Turtle Tots

I have been taking Toby to Turtle Tots swimming classes since he was about four months old. We’ve had our ups and downs with it but overall it’s been a great experience. We’ve just finished our Level 3 block of classes (well, there is one more class to go when we go back after the summer holidays) and we’ve signed up for Level 4 which is the last level of baby swimming before moving on to the toddler class. We’ve also been using Toby’s swimming kit from Konfidence for the last couple of months which I reviewed here.

Konfidence Babywarma

So, after eight months of swimming what has Toby learnt so far? The Turtle Tots classes have been great and our instructor Amanda is fantastic. Each class involves lots of songs and games to keep the babies engaged and interested and each class builds on the previous ones. Since his first lesson when Toby started by getting used to having water splashed on his face he now goes underwater several times a lesson (and swims back up to the surface on his own), he can hold on to the side of the pool on his own (and climb out with a tiny bit of help), he can splash into (and under the water) on his own from the side and we’re working on him being able to turn himself round underwater and get back to the side. He can float on his back with just a little support of his head from me, he can kick his legs as I swim him along, and he’s just starting to get the hang of moving himself along with a short woggle under each arm and no help from me! All pretty impressive for a baby who doesn’t turn one until next week I reckon! We even got chance to have an underwater photo shoot to capture Toby’s baby swimming experience (although somehow the photos came out looking nothing like him!).

turtle tots baby swimming

The main aim of Turtle Tots baby swimming programme is to teach babies water confidence and essential life-saving skills. Toby is by no means drown-proof but I’m fairly sure if he fell in water he’d manage to get himself back up to the surface at least. For me though, taking Toby to classes with Turtle Tots from such a young age has given me confidence to take him in the water that I perhaps wouldn’t have had on my own. I certainly don’t think I’d be doing submersions with him on my own if I didn’t know what I was doing! Now I would happily take Toby swimming on my own and practice all the things we’ve been doing in class. It was quite funny when we took him in the pool on holiday – there were quite a lot of amazed stares from other people in the pool as I put my eleven month old baby under the water and let go!!

If I’m honest, it’s still a bit hit and miss as to whether Toby actually likes being in the pool or not. I usually count it as a good lesson if we get through it without any crying! I don’t think it’s being in the water that he doesn’t like as such but there are so many things that can affect how he gets on from week to week – if he’s a bit tired or hungry that doesn’t help, if he’s teething then he tends to be a bit unhappy too (especially on his back), or the big one for Toby seems to be if he gets cold. We swim in a warm water pool which is supposed to be heated to 32° but sometimes it’s a bit less than that. Wearing his Konfidence Babywarma makes a big difference too but sometimes my skinny wee boy just gets a bit cold (and actually shivers) and he just doesn’t like it that much! I’m hoping that as he gets bigger he might be able to tolerate the colder water a bit better.

I would totally recommend baby swimming lessons if you have the opportunity to do them – I will say that they are fairly expensive when compared to just taking your baby to the pool on your own but worth every penny for the tuition and support that you get. We’ve been very lucky in that Toby’s grandparents paid for the first two blocks of lessons and then we were able to do the third block as part of our role as Konfidence Swimologists.

I’ll be keeping you updated on Toby’s progress in the pool. I really want to keep him going to swimming lessons until he is able to swim on his own. And with my massively long skinny baby, who knows? Maybe we’ve got the next Michael Phelps on our hands!

Review: Konfidence baby swimming kit

Konfidencebaby swimming kit

You may have read my post a few weeks ago about how we have been chosen to be Konfidence Swimologists. As part of our role as ambassadors Toby was sent some Konfidence baby swimming kit to try out and now we’ve been using it for a few weeks I thought it was time I shared my thoughts with you.

The Details

We received the Konfidence AquaNappy (£9.99) – a one-size-fits-all reusable swim nappy, the NeoNappy (£9.99 or £7.99 when purchased with an AquaNappy) – a neoprene nappy cover which can be used over the AquaNappy or a disposable swim nappy, as is required by many baby swim schools. Lastly we were sent the Konfidence Babywarma (£18.99) – a baby wetsuit designed to keep your little one warm in the pool. All the Konfidence baby swimming products are available in a variety of colours and prints – we went for the Clownfish print on the Babywarma and AquaNappy as it’s just so cute!

Konfidence Babywarma

The Pros

AquaNappy
  • If you go swimming with your baby regularly then a reusable swim nappy will save you plenty of pennies when compared to using disposable swim nappies, and as the AquaNappy is adjustable (with poppers and velcro) it should fit your baby for as long as they need it.
  • The AquaNappy has elastic at the legs and waist and should contain any thing your baby throws at it (and Toby successfully put this feature to the test on his first wearing of the AquaNappy!)
  • The AquaNappy seemed comfortable for Toby to wear – I was a little worried that the thick elastic might dig in a bit but there were no red marks when I took it off.
  • It was very easy to clean the AquaNappy, even after a poopy incident! I just rinsed the nappy by holding it under the flush in the loo then hand-washed with a tiny bit of hand wash detergent. It can also be machine washed at 30°.
NeoNappy
  • Most baby swim schools insist on a double layer nappy system to prevent any leaks in the pool – the Konfidence NeoNappy is suitable to be worn over a disposable or reusable swim nappy.
  • The NeoNappy is sized by age – Toby has a large (9-12 months) which fits well. The lycra round the legs and waist is snug (as it should be) but not so tight it cuts off his circulation!
Babywarma
  • The Konfidence Babywarma does a great job at doing what it is designed for – keeping your baby warm in the pool! Even though we have our swimming lessons in a warm water pool Toby seems to be very sensitive to the cold (I think because he is so skinny!) so the Babywarma is essential for us.
  • I love how the Babywarma folds put completely flat making it easy to put on and adjust with the velcro fastenings.
  • The Babywarma comes in three sizes – Toby has the biggest size (12-24 months). There is still plenty of growing room in it but we had to go for the bigger size because he is so long!
  • The neoprene is very soft and flexible with lycra edging so it’s very comfortable and there are no rough edges to rub anywhere.

The Cons

  • The only downside I found with any of the products is that I don’t think the AquaNappy could realistically be worn from 3 to 30 months as suggested by Konfidence. I know Toby is skinny but he is still wearing it on the smallest setting at 10 and a half months. There is no way it would have been small enough when he was much younger.

Konfidence AquaNappy and NeoNappy

The Verdict

We love our new Konfidence baby swimming kit. With the AquaNappy, NeoNappy and Babywarma Toby has everything he needs to enjoy his swimming lessons. We were also sent a Roll & Go Baby Changer which is a fantastic neoprene changing mat – great for those cold, wet changing room floors, or even at the poolside on holiday. As well as Toby’s swimwear Konfidence were also kind enough to give him a Quikfinz Dolphin Float and a set of Floating Flashing Blinkies! So far these have only made an appearance in the bath but they are very popular with Toby.

Konfidence make all sorts of swimming and UV protection products, not just for babies but for kids and adults too. Some of the other Konfidence Swimologists have been trying out the Konfidence Jacket and Floatsuits – you can find their blogs and read more here.

**Disclosure: I was sent a selection of Konfidence baby swimming kit in return for this review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

 

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I’m a Konfidence Swimologist

Konfidence Swimologist

I have written before about taking Toby swimming – we have been going to Turtle Tots classes since Toby was three and a half months old and, after a bit of a hiccup after Christmas, it is something that we both really enjoy. I am super-excited then to announce that over the next few months we will be working with Konfidence as official Swimologists! Konfidence chose the name Swimologist after finding this fable – it concludes with this which echoes the Konfidence ethos:

You may study all the “-ologies” of the world, but if you do not learn swimology, all your studies are useless. You may read and write books on swimming, you may debate on its subtle theoretical aspects, but how will that help you if you refuse to enter the water yourself? You must learn how to swim.

Konfidence is a family run business based in Cornwall. The company is Europe’s largest designer and manufacturer of baby swimming products, buoyancy aids and UVPF sun protection clothing and wetsuits for children up to 14 years. Their multi-award winning products, are now sold in 22 countries worldwide, including 14 countries in Europe, North America, South Africa, Malaysia, China and Hong Kong. As part of our role as Swimologists we have been sent some of these products to try out (more on that in a minute) and will be telling you all about them in future posts. We will also be continuing our Turtle Tots classes and letting you know how we are getting on over the next term.

I learnt to swim when I was very young, in fact I can’t really remember not being able to swim. I’m not a fantastic swimmer, I certainly won’t be winning any races any time soon but I enjoy being in the water and I can happily swim a few lengths of our local pool. Perhaps more importantly it also means I’m confident in the water with Toby. I knew before Toby was even born that I wanted to take him swimming. Turtle Tots had been recommended by a few people and they run lots of classes locally so it was easy to get signed up. Toby has now passed the Level 1 and Level 2 baby swimming courses (and has certificates to prove it!) and we are now into Level 3. It’s pretty awesome what Toby can already do and I want to make sure we keep going to classes until he can actually swim on his own. We’re going on holiday to France at the beginning of June so I’m sure we’ll be spending plenty of time in the pool then and I know we’ll all have much more fun with Toby already being used to the water. I hope it’ll be the first of many holidays with lots of time for swimming.

To help Toby continue to enjoy his swimming Konfidence have sent us some of their best-selling baby swimming products to try, and they have kindly offered my readers the chance to win the same products, worth £50! Complete the Rafflecopter below and you could win the following products in your choice of size and colour:

Konfidence Baby Swimming Bundle

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Toby swims again! (A baby swimming update)

Hurray

You may have read my post a couple of weeks ago about how Toby has been crying at every baby swimming lesson since Christmas. There were a few things that might have been causing the problem and I got lots of advice from all you lovely readers.

Well, I have good news to report! Last week we couldn’t go to our normal swimming lesson because I was going to work, so instead we went on our own to a different leisure centre where they have a warm water pool. We also went in the middle of the day as I had a feeling getting up early and missing his nap was also upsetting Toby. It was a success! We did everything that we normally do in a lesson, including submersions, and Toby didn’t cry once. I wasn’t sure whether we would actually be able to swap our lesson to this other pool but our lovely Turtle Tots instructor sorted it out for us. The new lesson is at 11 am, rather than 9:30 am so it also means that, although it is still during nap time, Toby can either get a bit more sleep in the morning and a nap in the car on the way there, or if he is up early there is time to go back to bed for a quick nap before we go.

We went to the new lesson yesterday and it was great. Toby still wasn’t smiling and laughing but he wasn’t crying either which was a massive improvement. I’m sure as he gets used to it, and realises swimming doesn’t mean being cold anymore, that he will start enjoying himself soon enough.

And swapping baby swimming lessons has also had a useful side effect – we were going to move to the next Baby Sensory class (for 7-13 month old babies) which was at 10:30 am and so again I was worried that this would be a problem as it is during Toby’s usual nap time. The only other suitable class was at 1 pm on a Wednesday afternoon, which we couldn’t do as we had swimming in the morning and it would have been too much in one day. But now with swimming on a Monday we can go to Baby Sensory on a Wednesday and fingers crossed that will mean smiles all round!

Toby doesn’t like swimming anymore

We started going to Turtle Tots baby swimming classes when Toby was just over 3 months old. He’s never really seemed to love it but up until Christmas he didn’t have any problems in the pool and only ever cried for a couple of seconds, if at all. But since we went back, after a few weeks off over the holidays, he suddenly seems to hate it.

For the last three weeks Toby has spent at least part of each lesson crying. Sometimes it’s just a bit of sticking out of the lip and wimpering, but sometimes it’s full on screaming and it breaks my heart! This week he even had me crying too because he sounded so upset. I think getting Toby used to the water, and hopefully swimming while he is still very young is a fantastic idea but I’m not sure I can keep taking him when there is something about it which is clearly upsetting him. This week he started crying before we even got in the pool.

There are any number of things that might be wrong with him. First of all, the lesson is at 9:30 am a twenty-five minute drive away. Normally, Toby gets up about 8:30 am, has a bottle, a bit of a play, then another bottle and back in bed by 10 am at the latest. On swimming days I have to get him up early, he only has one bottle and (unless he has a quick nap in the car) he doesn’t get his morning sleep until after swimming is finished. The second problem could then also be that he is hungry – he’s normally had one and a half to two bottles within a couple of hours of being awake. Although, having said that he will never take a bottle straight after swimming so I don’t think he’s that hungry. In fact he’s always fine again as soon as we get out of the pool. So the last thing I can think of, and I’m hoping it’s this because it’s more easily fixed, is that he is feeling the cold. I don’t know why this would be bothering him more now than it did before Christmas, maybe the pool is a bit colder than it was. Anyway, he already uses a BabyWrap which I have mentioned before but I have now ordered a Warm in One from Splash About which is a full wetsuit with arms and legs. It’s fleece lined too so if he is cold then hopefully this will help. If not then my only other plan is to try and move to a class at a different time and see if that helps.

I don’t think I can go through many more weeks of my baby crying and screaming because of something I am making him do. I know I shouldn’t really blame myself; my husband has been great and tried to make me feel better by pointing out that Toby cries when I put his pyjamas on too, but that’s something that has to be done. I don’t have to take him swimming. Our Turtle Tots instructor has been great too, telling me that lots of babies have wobbles and Toby will get back into the swing of it. I hope so. I really don’t want to stop swimming lessons with Toby so if anyone else has any suggestions of what the problem might be and how we can fix it then please do let me know. Fingers crossed the new wetsuit does the trick and I’ll be sure to let you know how we get on. We have an underwater photo shoot booked for the end of March so I hope we get it figured out by then and Toby starts to enjoy his swimming again!

Happy after swimming

Review: Splash About Après Splash All-in-One

Splash About Après Splash All-in-One

If you read my post about Toby’s swimming lessons you’ll already know we’re big fans of Splash About. I first came across them because our swim school, Turtle Tots, insist that all babies wear a Splash About Happy Nappy. As Toby was quite young when we started swimming (about 3 months) and he’s so skinny (so no fat on him to keep him warm!) we also bought a BabyWrap. Since then we have added to our Splash About collection with a hooded towel, a change mat (which the Splashers kindly sent us because they liked seeing Toby’s cheery pictures in his swimming gear on Twitter), and now our latest addition is the Après Splash All-in-One, which was a Christmas present from Grandma!

The Details

The Après Splash All-in-One is made from the same cotton bamboo charcoal towelling as the Splash About hooded towel. There a poppers all down the front and legs, so the whole thing (apart from the arms) opens out flat for easy dressing. It comes in four sizes – 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months and 12-18 months, with either turquoise or pink trim.

The Pros

    • It’s very practical – the Après Splash All-in-One makes getting dressed after swimming an absolute doddle! I just dry Toby off, put his nappy on then lie him on top of the all-in-one and do up the poppers. It’s so much easier than trying to wrestle a tired and slightly cranky post-swim baby into everyday clothes.
    • Because it’s towelling it doesn’t matter if Toby is still a bit damp when I put it on. The suit dries him off then keeps him nice and cosy for the journey home.
    • It’s nice and roomy so great for wriggling in (as ably demonstrated by Toby in the photo below).
    • It’s very easy to take off again – as we discovered when it got covered in porridge last week! I just undid the poppers while Toby was still in his highchair then lifted him out leaving the porridge covered all-in-one behind.

Apres Splash All-in-One

The Cons

  • The only minor niggle for me is the sizing. I know Toby is very long but even so he is only 6 months old and the 6-12 month size there isn’t much length in the arms and legs for him to grow into as you can see from the photos.

The Verdict

We love the Splash About Après Splash All-in-One. It has made our post-swimming experience much less hassle. I can imagine it would also be fantastic to use on holiday as it would be so easy to pop on your little one after they had been in the pool or the sea. You could even use it at home instead of a bath robe.

**Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own.

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