My First Turtle Tots Class - by Jo Wood

Monday, 11 January 2016

I couldn’t wait to start my baby swimming lessons with Turtle Tots…… I was excited about it long before my little girl was even born. I swam all the way through my pregnancy, I’d spent ages looking at photos and videos on the Internet of babies swimming underwater and I was completely and totally hooked. I planned to start within a few weeks of her birth (a little over-optimistic it turns out) She was seven weeks old when we first made it into the pool….still not bad I reckon?

So, the first class that I’d been looking forward to so much didn’t quite live up to my expectations of the two of us floating serenely in the water together, gazing into each other’s eyes….

To begin with I was late, and I hated being late in my pre-baby days (having a baby has forced me to relax a bit about this). It was my first attempt at getting out of the house with any sort of deadline to meet, the class started at 10.00 so I needed to be there at 09.45 – and we hadn’t even been out of our PJs that early since she’d been born! Of course there was a last minute nappy change as we were walking out the door, and then a last minute feed to get over the nappy change, and then another last minute change as most of the feed came back up again etc etc – you know how it goes.

We arrived at the pool building at 09.55 after a very fast walk, rushed into the changing rooms, attempted to do a quick change into our swimwear – but have you ever tried putting a neoprene swim nappy onto a small baby? Not easy the first time (think putting stretchy tights on a wriggly octopus).

We finally arrived on poolside at 10.10, so the class had started and the instructor beckoned for us to get in with a welcoming smile. I was unexpectedly nervous as we got into the water, I’m a keen swimmer myself but it’s a very, very different experience with a tiny baby, but our instructor was lovely, really reassuring and she helped me to relax.

All the other babies in the class seemed to be having a lovely time, looking comfortable and happy in the water. My little one however was less than impressed, she began to cry as soon as we got in, and didn’t stop until we got out again about 15 minutes later, she was the only baby crying and I was feeling self-conscious about her ear-piercing screams disturbing the rest of the babies so we got out a little bit before the end of the 30 minute class.

Luckily for both of us I had booked onto a block of 10 classes as I really think that I may have given up there and then otherwise, with the mistaken impression that she didn’t like swimming.

However by the end of the first term of classes she was a very different baby and was completely at home in the pool. She had learnt to swim underwater for a couple of seconds at a time; she could hold on to the side of the pool by herself, she could float beautifully on her back and kick her little legs, I was amazed by the progress she had made, so I booked her onto the second term, and then the third…. My daughter is now four years old and has been swimming completely independently for over a year, and she has loved every minute of the process of learning.