Top tips for baby swimming

Baby swimming - Splash About BabyWrap

Toby and I have been going to baby swimming lessons for five weeks now. We go to a Turtle Tots class at a nearby pool. There are about eight babies in the class which is a nice amount – not too big and not too small. The classes are great; there’s lots of repetition from week to week to get the babies used to what is happening but we also build on the skills we are learning at each lesson.

Baby swimming is pretty amazing – did you know babies are born with a reflex that means they automatically hold their breath when they are submerged in the water. So from the second lesson we have been putting Toby under the water and letting go before bringing him back up again. Sometimes I get to go under the water too and watch him ‘swimming’ towards me and today he ‘swam’ through a hoop before I picked him up out of the water! The last couple of weeks we have also been teaching the babies to hold on to the side of the pool to keep their head above water – Toby is really getting the hang of that one too.

 I think it’s really important to teach children to swim when they are young as it’s definitely one of those things that gets harder the older you are. My mum took me swimming when I was young. I had both school and private lessons when I was in primary school and I can’t really remember ever not being able to swim. It meant lots of fun on family camping holidays in France and I’m sure it made life easier for my mum and dad, knowing that my brother and I were safe and confident in the water.

I’m really enjoying the lessons. Toby doesn’t always seem convinced but I’m hoping as we keep going he’ll start to visibly enjoy it more. I think that one of the reasons Toby isn’t looking like he enjoys swimming too much (apart from that his mum keeps dunking him under the water!) is because he gets a bit cold in the pool. The water temperature is apparently 30 degrees but the air temperature makes it feel a bit cooler than that, especially once his hair is wet. I’m glad then, that I decided to buy a Splash About BabyWrap which is a sort of baby wetsuit. You can see Toby wearing his in the photo at the top of this post. Splash About are the makers of the Happy Nappy; a neoprene nappy which can be used on its own or over a disposable or reusable swim nappy. Many baby swim schools (including Turtle Tots) insist that all the babies use a Happy Nappy as any leaks of solid waste into the pool would mean it would have to be closed to be thoroughly cleaned. The Happy Nappy and BabyWrap are both great and really do the job they are designed for well. It can be a bit of a wriggle to get the nappy on but that is because it has to be tight around the legs and waist to avoid any leaks. The BabyWrap opens out completely flat and then velcros in place so it’s really easy to get on and off quickly. And it really does help to keep Toby warm. When I take it off after the lesson his body is always toasty underneath. The only thing I would say about the BabyWrap is to watch out with the sizing. Toby is long but not especially big but the 0-6 month wrap that we originally ordered would barely meet in the middle so we had to order the 6-18 month size, which is a bit big but hopefully will last a lot longer!

Our top tips for baby swimming

I really wasn’t worried about taking Toby swimming. I knew I was confident in the water and we would be with a fully qualified instructor. The only thing I was a bit worried about was getting us both changed before and then dry and dressed afterwards without too much drama. I did a bit of research before our first lesson and came up with a few top tips.

  • Put your swimming costume on at home then you only have to worry about getting the baby ready before you swim (don’t forget to take underwear with you for after though!)
  • Get a waterproof changing mat so you can dress your baby on the floor. There may be special baby changing cubicles but if your pool is anything like ours there aren’t many and when you are at a baby swimming class there certainly aren’t enough. Putting your baby on the floor rather than one of the changing tables also means you can leave them safely while you put stuff in the locker. The mat you can see on the photo below was a gift from the lovely people at Splash About as they liked the photos we tweeted of Toby in his swimming gear.
  • Take two towels for your baby. This is a really great tip for a happy baby. I take one towel poolside so I can wrap Toby up as soon as we get out but this one gets soaking wet really quickly. So when we get to the cubicle I take his wet swimming things off, wrap him in the dry towel (another great Splash About purchase that you can see in the photo) and then he’s happy to kick about on the floor while I get dressed. I think I might invest in one of these towelling All-in-Ones soon though as Toby does have a habit of kicking his towel off when I’m busy getting dressed!

Baby swimming - Splash About Après Splash Towel

If you haven’t taken your baby swimming yet I would really recommend it. It’s fantastic to see how much progress Toby is making every week. If you can I really think it’s worth going to organised lessons. Although I could have taken Toby to the pool on my own I don’t think I would have known where to start in actually starting to teach him the basics of swimming.

And finally, the added bonus of swimming lessons? After half an hour in the pool this morning, Toby came home, had his lunch time feed and has now been asleep for three hours and counting!

**Disclosure: I was not given any goods or services in return for this blog post. All opinions are my own.

Baby signing (The Ordinary Moments #4)

I’m linking up with Katie at Mummy Daddy Me again this week for some more ‘Ordinary Moments’.

Baby Signing 'Friends'
Baby Signing 'sun'

Now these photos might not look like much, and I apologise for the rubbish quality, but what you are actually seeing here is Toby doing baby signing for the first time. Or attempting to at least!

We go to Baby Sensory every week where we sing the ‘Say hello’ song which has signs to go with it. I sing the song to Toby at home every day and he really likes it. It always brings a smile and recently he has started joining in with the singing! Then last week I thought I saw him trying to make the sign for the sun (or possibly the moon, they’re quite similar!), and today he was definitely trying to make the shape. The sun is a ‘c’ shape with the hand and you could see Toby staring at his hand and deliberately making the shape with his fingers. And then as I was singing the verse about saying hello to your friends Toby brought his hands together and held on to his fingers (the sign for friend is shaking your own hand). This isn’t something Toby does normally so I’m pretty sure he was doing it on purpose – he did it a few times too.

I think baby signing is fantastic. To think a baby can communicate before they talk is amazing. We’ve been doing a few other signs at home too – ‘dirty’ and ‘clean’ when changing a nappy, and ‘more’ and ‘full’ when feeding. It will be brilliant if Toby can pick these ones up too.

So there we are, another Ordinary, although pretty amazing, Moment in our daily lives.

The Clean Green Nappy Machine Competition Hints!

The Clean Green Nappy Machine

Regular readers of this blog will already know that Toby and I are big cloth nappy fans. We’ve got enough nappies now that we don’t really need to buy any more and hubby rolls his eyes at me every time I spot a new design that we just have to have! So, I’m always on the look out for a great competition where I can win some more nappies or accessories instead of having to buy them…

And here’s where The Clean Green Nappy Machine comes in. The Clean Green Nappy Machine has a great website stocking everything a cloth nappy user could need. There’s also lots of fantastic and helpful information if you are just getting started. Throughout December The Clean Green Nappy Machine are running a daily competition – all you have to do is find the numbered bauble on the website, fill in the entry form you find there and you could be in with a chance of winning the product on that page. The baubles will always be on a product page but they can be a bit tricky to find. So the lovely people at Clean Green have offered my readers a chance to get a special clue emailed to them every day. This clue will not be available on the website or on social media.

So click on the link below, sign up for your special clues…and Good Luck!


**Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation to share this competition and link

Knitting Friday

Becky over at The Laughing Owls always has a Knitting Friday post, and seeing as I’ve just started knitting something new I thought I’d join her.

Knitting in progress

So I just started this last night. It’s going to be a Christmas Elf hat for Toby! We’ve got the Baby Sensory Christmas party in a couple of weeks and I’m taking the opportunity to dress him up. Although I would love to make him a whole costume myself, at the moment I don’t have the time or the inspiration. So I’ve ordered him this cute elf all in one from Tesco but I thought it would be nice if I made him a hat myself. And although it’s Christmassy colours he’ll still be able to wear it after Christmas too.

I bought the pattern off Etsy as a PDF download which was quite handy. I had the green wool lying around and as I wasn’t sure if there was enough of any one to make the whole hat I decided to go with the stripes. The hat is knitted in one piece and seeing as it’s only for little Toby’s head I would think I’ll have it finished for next Friday! Come back then to find out how it turns out…

Daddy time (The Ordinary Moments #3)

I’m linking up with Katie at Mummy Daddy Me again this week for some more ‘Ordinary Moments’.

My husband works in Edinburgh and so has quite a commute every day. This means that during the week he doesn’t get to see much of Toby. He usually leaves before Toby is awake in the morning so he only sees him for half an hour or so before bed time in the evening. Toby and I go and pick Daddy up from the train station at twenty past five and then there’s half an hour for cuddles and playtime before bed.

Daddy and baby

It’s so lovely to see the two of them together in the evenings. Toby clearly adores his Dad and always has a big grin for him when we get home. I know it’s hard for hubby not too see very much of Toby during the week so I’m really glad that his work is flexible enough that he can at least get home for bedtime – it’s a luxury that a lot of working parents don’t get.

Daddy and baby reading

As well as some cuddles we usually try and fit in a story at some point before bed. In the last week Toby has really started engaging when we read to him. He reaches out and touches the pictures and even tries to turn the pages.

So there we are, another Ordinary Moment in our daily lives.

mummy daddy me

Living with a reflux baby

The medication needed when living with a reflux baby

Living with a reflux baby isn’t easy. At four months old Toby takes 1ml of medicine in a syringe three times a day. He also has Infant Gaviscon added to every bottle of milk as well as Dentinox Colic Drops (although I’m not entirely sure that they really do anything!). I don’t like having to give him medication so regularly but for now it is just something we have to live with. Read more

Review: bumGenius Freetime

We have been using bumGenius Freetime nappies full time since Toby was about 7 weeks old. He used them right up to potty training at three and a bit. They are still our most used nappy with Gabe too and they make up the majority of our stash.

Bumgenius Freetime

The Details

bumGenius is a family run American company – I believe that most of their products for sale outside the US are produced in their own facility in Egypt. bumGenius nappies are available from a variety of UK stockists. I got mine from a few different places depending where I could get the best offers at the time. The bumGenius Freetime usually retails at £19.99 (unless you can get one in a sale or get discount for bulk buying) which is towards the top end of what you would expect to pay for a cloth nappy. However, the nappies are an all-in-one (AIO) nappy which essentially means you don’t need to buy any extras like inserts or wraps. It is also a birth-to-potty (BTP) or one-size-fits-most (OSFM) nappy so they should last as long as your baby needs to wear them. And they should last for more than one baby so the cost works out quite reasonable in the end. These nappies used to be available with popper or velcro fastenings but now only come with poppers. They also come in a variety of colours and prints. We started off with all velcro fastening as I foung it easier to get a snug fit when Toby was small but the velcro got quite tired (and Toby figured out how to open it) so I had all our original nappies converted to poppers.

The Pros

bumGenius FreetimeThe nappies are really easy to use as you can see in the pictures above. The length, or rise, of the nappy is adjusted using three sets of poppers on the front of the nappy. As the nappy is an all-in-one the inserts (the part that actually absorbs the wee) are attached, which means there’s nothing to get lost in the wash and no need to match things up with the right nappy afterwards. As the inserts are only attached at one end they open up for drying (1) which dramatically reduces how long it takes. On a fine, breezy day they will dry in an hour or two on the line. Seeing as we don’t have many of those at the moment though, mine usually dry overnight in the airing cupboard or in about an hour and a half on low heat in the tumble drier. Once you have your clean dry nappy then you simply fold the flaps back in. They can be folded several different ways. Because we have a little boy we fold the front flap in half before folding it back into the nappy (2). This makes it more absorbent at the front where the majority of a boy’s pee ends up.
The back flap is then folded over the top (3) and a fleece liner (if you are using them) is placed on top (4). I then store my nappies in a drawer like this so they are just ready to take one off the pile and put on when needed.

bumgenius FreetimeThese nappies, like a lot of others, also have laundry tabs which are used to protect the velcro during washing and to stop all your nappies ending up stuck together in one big ball when they come out of the machine.

The Cons

There really aren’t many; I think the bumGenius Freetime is a great all round nappy.  We have only had a couple of very minor leaks from these nappies. Even then it was only a little bit where the moisture had wicked through at the leg seams and really my fault for leaving the nappy on too long! Usually Toby can wear one of these nappies for two or three hours before it needs changing. Because of this I don’t think I would recommend the bumGenius Freetime as a night time nappy unless you want to change nappies as frequently at night as you do during the day.

The Verdict

I would recommend the bumGenius Freetime to anyone whether they are starting out with cloth nappies or are seasoned users. They are especially good for anyone new to cloth nappies (or maybe any reluctant Dads out there!) as they are really just like changing a disposable. The only thing I think that might put you off this nappy in favour of an alternative would be the price.

So, in conclusion, the bumGenius Freetime is a great all-in-one birth-to-potty nappy. It certainly gets my vote.

Four month sleep regression?

Four month sleep regression

Four month sleep regression. Is that even a real thing? I heard about it but naively thought that I have a baby who sleeps, it won’t affect us. Oh how quickly things can change. It was only two weeks ago that I was writing on this very blog, smug as you like, about my wonderful baby who regularly sleeps 14 hours a night.

Then last week Toby had his third set of immunisations. No problem, I thought. He was fine after the first two lots, why should this time be any different? So we put him to bed as usual. And then he woke up and wouldn’t settle until he was fed. Then he woke up again. A cuddle this time and he went back to sleep. Then he woke up again. Another feed, some Calpol, and the snot sucked out of his nose. Back to sleep. Awake again. Dad settled him with a cuddle and a bit of rocking. 5 am. Awake again, a dirty nappy. Another feed. More snot. Eventually back to sleep. Then my alarm goes off. Of all the days, I was going to work for my first Keeping In Touch day!

Suffice to say we had a bit of a bad night. I just thought though that it was a combination of his injections and a cold. So while I went to work Toby had a quiet day at home with his dad. We bought a Calpol plug in vapour thingy and for the next three nights normal service was resumed. But then on Monday night Toby woke at 3:30 am and wouldn’t go back to sleep without a feed. Last night he woke up at 12:30 am and I ended up feeding him again. And he’s been properly hungry, finishing whole bottles. Last night he woke up crying again at about half three but by the time I had got up to go to him he was back asleep again. We are lucky that when he does properly wake up he does tend to go straight back to sleep on his own once he’s been fed so I’m usually only up for about 20 minutes at the most. But it’s 20 minutes I’d rather be in bed! Especially seeing as Toby was kind enough to pass on his cold to me! On the plus side the napping situation has improved quite a lot over the last few weeks and we’re usually getting a decent afternoon nap in now (sometimes both of us!).

So what’s happening? Is it a growth spurt? A sleep regression? A wonder week? Who knows?! Toby does seem to be making more developments at the moment. He sat up on his own without toppling over on Monday. He’s almost found his feet. (He also found his willy getting changed after swimming today!). He’s babbling a lot more than before too. So hopefully this is just a bit of a developmental phase he’s going through and soon things will go back to normal. For now I’m just going to try and go with it. I’m going to try and get some more milk in him during the day, although that’s sometimes easier said than done. Toby can be quite stubborn if he doesn’t want to eat. And if he wakes up in the night hungry I’ll feed him and put him back to bed. I’m reluctant to introduce a dream feed when he was managing fine without before. When we tried it before it never made him sleep any longer anyway and I’m of the mind that waking a baby when you want him to be asleep is just counter-intuitive.

Anyway, any advice or even reassurance that things can get back to normal would be gratefully received at this point. After six weeks of full nights’ sleep all this getting up business really is making for a tired and grumpy mummy!