Summer’s here in Texas which means it is HOT! I mean, I debated baking cookies in my car today because it was so warm. I may have to try that one of these days, but not today. Anyways, with the weather warming up we have started taking Maddie to the pool. We’re lucky to have one within walking distance. It’s much easier to walk than carting around a baby and a car seat and possibly a stroller. Now that we’ve gone a few times I’ve scaled back the amount we bring with us and have listed for you the eight essential items you need to take with you. Want to keep your first trip to the pool with baby easy? Follow my list and pack light for a fun, safe trip to the pool with you little one.
This is probably the most obvious one, but this will definitely derail your trip if you leave it at home. Sunscreen is essential. Look for a high SPF and reapply it as much as every 15 minutes, especially if you and baby are super pale like our family. We use a non-baby sunscreen, but we haven’t had any issues with it. The ingredients are the exact same as the baby sunscreen and it cost less. Do your research before buying one, but know that some companies label the exact same sunscreen as baby sunscreen and then charge you more for it. Also – don’t forget to cover your baby’s head with sunscreen. The scalp directly faces the sun and is often forgotten about.
The pool can be bright, especially with the sun overhead. Protect both your eyes and your little one’s eyes with a nice pair of sunglasses. We use a shaded toy so Maddie doesn’t always need the sunglasses, but we pop them on her when we take her out of the toy.
- Swim diapers
Whoever invented these deserves a prize. They’re a little more difficult to get on to a baby because they’re a little sticker, but once they’re on you don’t have to worry about baby having an accident in the pool. Let me tell you, no one wants to be that mom who’s baby pooped in the pool so everyone has to get out while it’s cleaned. Having a good swim diaper is a life saver. Take a couple and a few wipes, in case you’ll have to change your baby, but these little things are absolutely a necessity.
- Safety equipment
Depending on how you plan to swim, this can vary. We use the flotation device above for our baby. If she’s not in that then she’s being held by us. Some parents use life vests, and some buy swimwear with the life vest built into it. Whatever you prefer, be sure to bring along something to keep baby afloat. Our daughter LOVES the flotation toy we have. She can splash the water from in it and still see us, while being shaded from the bright sun overhead. Even if you feel as though your flotation device is secure, NEVER LEAVE A CHILD UNATTENDED in the pool. Maddie has tried to flip her toy a few times and if we had not been there, she might have. The number one piece of safety equipment when swimming with baby is your eyes. Be on the lookout, always!
At some point in time pool time has to end, and when it does you’ll need a towel. If you’re like me, I share a towel with the baby. Once I’m dry I’ll dry her off and leave the towel with her while putting back on a swim cover-up. It’s much easier than carrying around two bulky beach towels. If you’re driving you can’t leave the towel on the baby in the car seat, so then you can use it to keep your car seat dry. Can you survive the pool without a towel? Of course – but it’s not very fun to be dripping wet all the way home.
As I’ve stated before – I’m big on experiences and making memories. Baby’s first time at the pool is quite an experience so bring your camera. You never know what baby will think of the water. Our daughter is a little water baby, she absolutely LOVES splashing and playing and meeting other kids at the pool. The photos we took were adorable. But, they would have been just as adorable as if she hated it and made faces. Now we can always look back at the photos and remind her she loved the water when she was younger.
- Something to drink
The pool water is not potable, and baby may get thirsty with all the playing around. Be sure to bring something to drink for them (and yourself). Maddie is old enough that we bring a sippy cup with some water. For younger babies you may need formula or breast milk. We do our best to keep Madison hydrated so she doesn’t overheat. On days when it’s high 90s or low 100s even in the pool it can be hot.
All babies learn best from watching others. If you’re afraid of the water you may teach you child to be afraid, too. Be sure to make your baby’s first time at the pool a fun one. Smile, giggle, and go slow. We played a lot of peek-a-boo around her swim toy to help her to feel comfortable. Once she was okay with the water we slowly dribbled a little into her hand and on her shoulders. We want her to grow up with a healthy fear of water, but also knowing that it can be incredibly fun to swim. Part of this is teaching both sides early on, we balance all of our safety equipment with fun and giggles!
Did I miss any other must-haves for your first time bringing the baby to the pool?
What do you pack when you’re taking your baby out?