Q&A: baby swimming lessons

Holly writes:

"I have a request for information that is pretty reflective of first-time-mom syndrome (we still have time to over-think things!)

My 9 mo boy and I are going to start "Pee Wee" swim classes next week. I am wondering what to expect, and if you or your readers have any recommendations from their experiences? What swim diapers? Feeding and napping timing advice? I breast-feed, do I really need to worry about leaking? Should I get a pair of LilyPadz or is that overkill? Maybe just funny story or two to share.

More Info: The class is 30 minutes long, twice a week, at 4 p.m. (normally wakes from nap around 3 or 4) in a covered pool (It is fully enclosed in the winter and they take the sides off during the summer. So I'm hoping it is warmer in the afternoon, but since it is covered we don't have to be as concerned about sun care.) It is taught by Red Cross certified instructors and offers to "help parents feel comfortable in the water with their baby." So its not one of those "teach your baby to swim" classes. I'm hoping for a little exercise, socialization, and another fun way to play with our P."

Am I the only one who thinks it's hilarious that baby swim classes are called "Pee Wee" classes? Redundant, yet accurate. Ah, the scatalogical 4-year-old humor that is starting to take over my life.

The swim classes sound like fun. And having a covered pool is going to take away the suncreen factor, which is more of a pain than you'd think it would be. 30 minutes is probably going to be just about enough time in the water, although the changing into your suits and back into your clothes will probably take at least that long!

Swim diapers need to be tight enough (but not pinchy tight) around the legs to keep urine or poop inside them in the pool, since they don't really absorb anything. You can go with disposible swim diapers, which are basically the shell of a disposible diaper without any absorbant layer. Or you can go with washable swim diapers, which are just waterproof cloth diaper covers with no cloth layer to absorb anything. The benefit of using washable ones (besides the fact that you don't have to keep buying more) is that they're often the inside layer of a cute set of swim trunks. The benefit of using disposible ones (besides the fact that you don't have to wash them) is that you can put a cute set of trunks over them.

Make sure you rinse the pool water off him well after the class, since chlorine can irritate baby skin.

I think a late afternoon lesson sounds lovely. He'll be happy after his nap, and it'll help give that "How long until dinner and bed?" stretch of the day some shape. You don't have to wait a full half hour after feeding him to swim (he's not going to be going for distance or doing any cardio), but if you feed him before you leave the house you'll probably have less chance of having anything come back up in the pool.

If you're a leaker regularly, you may want to get some Lilypadz anyway and then wear them in the pool. If you're not really a leaker, I wouldn't worry about it. (Unless your suit isn't lined and you want to prevent nipple showthrough.)

I have no funny swim class stories, because swim class was usually my husband's thing. But someone's got to have an anecdote or some advice to share about swimming with babies. Anyone?