What age can my baby start to swim? Do they need to be fully immunised?
You can bring them along from birth. Our exclusive “Newborn Harmony” sessions (0-3 months) have been specially developed for teeny tiny babies to promote a calm, gentle and positive introduction to the water allowing them to reconnect with their womb experience. We love newborns and absolutely adore seeing the extra special bonding and relaxation that our sessions provide.
Per NHS and Department of Health guidelines, you can take your baby swimming at any time and do not need to wait until they have received their vaccinations.
We advise any postpartum mums to ensure that they are well enough to swim – check with your GP if you are unsure.
I’m nervous in the water – should I bring my baby along?
Absolutely! Our lessons promote a supportive and nurturing environment both for grown-ups and little ones. The small class sizes means that the teacher is easily able to adapt all our activities and exercises to suit the individual ability of each and every person in the class. In fact, you’ll probably find that your own confidence in the water starts to blossom after just a few classes!
My child has not swum before - can they still join?
Yes of course – we welcome everybody! No prior experience is necessary and you can join the programme at any level. The small class sizes means that the teacher is easily able to adapt all our activities and exercises to suit the individual ability of each and every person in the class so you will never be left behind.
What qualifications does my teacher hold?
We have very high standards at Aqua Beans – we demand only the best from our teachers. Each teacher has at least the following qualifications to ensure that you and your little one are in the best hands possible:
- Swimming Teachers Association (STA) Baby and Pre-School Teaching Qualification
- STA Safety Award for Teaching (pool rescue, first aid, CPR techniques, poolside emergencies) or National Rescue Award for Swimming Teachers and Coaches (RLSS UK)
- STA Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults Course
- Enhanced DBS Checks (previously known as CRB)
- Membership and insurance with STA
Will my baby have to be submerged (go underwater)?
At Aqua Beans, we believe that creating positive early experiences is key to developing a lifelong love of the water. We listen to our babies and treat each child as an individual. Submersions (going underwater) is an important step in learning to swim but it is something that we NEVER force. We believe it is far more important to nurture, engage and encourage your child to build their confidence so that they become ready to take that next big step in their own time.
Little ones often catch colds and, unless they have a bad cough, temperature or are particularly poorly, then it is fine to bring them along (we often find swimming perks them up!)
However, if you or your child have been suffering with a more significant illness such as an ear infection, chest infection, chicken pox, impetigo, sickness, diarrhoea or conjunctivitis then please stay home. We ask that you do not swim for at least 48 hours after any sickness and/or diarrhoea symptoms have passed.
If in any doubt, then please speak to your GP before coming along.
My child has eczema – can they still swim?
For the majority of children, it is fine to bring them along swimming (although please check with your GP if you are unsure). If they have been prescribed a barrier cream, this can be smoothed over affected parts and then you can pop them in a special eczema suit for added protection and comfort.
Have a look at our online shop for eczema suits (All In One suits). These have been specially designed to keep the barrier cream in place (unlike cotton, the cream is not absorbed) and can be worn against sensitive skin with no harsh seems or fibres to rub against sore or irritated areas.
What should my child wear in the pool?
We request that all children who are not fully toilet trained must wear a double nappy system (to minimise the risk of little accidents which may result in having to evacuate and close the pool). This consists of:
- A disposable swim nappy or a reusable nappy wrap and liner (worn underneath). Please avoid using a normal disposable nappy as this will absorb the pool water and be extremely uncomfortable for you child.
- A neoprene nappy (worn on top). This is a snug fitting nappy which should provide a good seal around the thighs and tummy.
As well as the double nappy system, you are also welcome to dress your child in any other pool attire (whether for extra warmth or purely for fashion!) such as baby wraps, wetsuits, warmers, costumes, shorts etc etc!
Check out our online shop for pool attire, including our Starter Packs which contain everything your child needs to get started.
What should I bring to a lesson?
Although it’s tempting to bring a lot of kit, please trust us that it will be easier for you to keep things to a minimum. This is what we suggest:
- A disposable swim nappy or a reusable nappy wrap and liner (worn underneath)
- A neoprene nappy (worn on top)
- Baby Wrap, Wetsuit, Warmer (optional)
- Change mat
- Towels (for you and little one)
- Swimming costume (probably easiest if you come wearing this under your clothes – in which case don’t forget your undies!)
- Goggles (for the grown-ups)
- Hair band to tie back long hair (if required)
Try to keep everything in one bag if you can as it will make things much easier for you when you arrive for your lesson.
Check out the Aqua Beans online shop for Starter Packs that contain all your essential items.
What time should we arrive for our lesson?
Please arrive 10 – 15 minutes before your lesson to give yourself plenty of time to get changed to make sure the ‘changing room experience’ is as relaxed as possible and not rushed or stressful. Once you are ready, join us on the poolside to give your baby a chance to acclimatise to the environment. Please do not to arrive more than 15 minutes in advance as other swimmers from previous lessons will still be changing and things will get very busy!
How many people can come along to the lesson?
We are more than happy for you to bring family and friends along to the lesson if they wish to share in your child’s magical journey, although only one adult (16+ years) can be in the water with them at any one time. Most pools allow spectators to watch from the poolside so they can feel part of the experience.
If, for any reason, the pool does not allow spectators on poolside, then we will let you know in your joining pack.
When should I feed my child?
If your baby is teeny tiny then it is likely that they will want milk on demand so, please go ahead and feed them when they need it (after all, a hungry baby will not enjoy their lesson!)
If your baby is eating solids, then try to feed them at least one hour before your lesson as this will reduce the chance of regurgitation in the pool.
Your little one is likely to be hungry after the lesson. Although most of our pools do not allow food in the changing rooms, a snack before the car journey home may satisfy that hungry tummy!
Can we take photographs during the lesson?
Swimming is such a special experience and many parents want to capture the memory to look back on in years to come. Therefore, if you ask permission from the teacher (who will check with the other class members), then, in most cases (and subject to the pool rules), we may allow you to take a few snaps at the end of the lesson.
We also hold regular underwater photo shoots throughout the year where you can capture those special memories. Please take a look at the website for details of the next shoot taking place near you.