Your Guide to Baby Swimwear

Taking your baby swimming for the first time is certainly one of those milestone moments. There's nothing more adorable than watching a baby enjoying the water and making those first splashes; for most babies, it is a very natural environment to enter into. However, you'll have more than just the pool timetable to consider, especially if your baby is still very young... What does your baby need to wear? If this is your first time taking a baby swimming, the baby swimwear options may seem a little confusing and overwhelming but we are here to clearly explain what you will need at each stage and why it is important to get it right.

0-3 Months

Before setting off to purchase any baby swimwear it is important to note that a newborn baby will not be able to stay in the pool for a long period of time due to their lack of ability to regulate their own body temperature. They also cannot keep themselves warm with movement as older children can in a pool which means that they will find the water colder far sooner, making baby swimwear an essential item.

Prior to arriving for your swim, it is also advisable to check the temperature of the pool with the establishment themselves. They may inform you of particular times when the water may be warmed to a more suitable temperature for newborns; 30° C and above is the recommendation for this age. If you are starting dedicated swimming lessons you should find that the pool will be the correct temperature.

To help your little one to retain their body heat we recommend that all young babies wear a baby wetsuit of some variety. There is a huge range of options on the market but for optimum warmth as well as comfort in the pool, your best option is a Warm In One swimming costume. Made with a super soft fleece-lined material, the Warm In One has full sleeves and legs to give the entire body protection from the cold whilst in the water as well as for that chilly transition from the pool to the changing room. It will allow your baby to fully enjoy their time in the pool without causing them to feel a chill and will hopefully help to extend your swimming time.

Another option is the Happy Nappy Wetsuit is not only made from neoprene but it is also the only wetsuit that has an integrated Happy Nappy built in! With thick, soft ribs that create a seal around your baby’s thighs and tummy, this swimwear item will prevent any faeces from escaping, giving you the peace of mind that you won't experience any little accidents. These wetsuits fully cover the arms but do not cover the legs so the temperature of the pool you are visiting will need to be on the warmer side to avoid their little legs from becoming too chilly.

The Baby Wrap is a velcro bodysuit which wraps around the trunk of the body but has no arm or leg coverage. Again, made from Neoprene, these wraps are very easy to get on and off and do not restrict movement. 

Your newborn baby will also need to wear a swim nappy to prevent any accidents in the pool. The Happy Nappy is a reusable swim nappy with snug-fitting waist and legs ribs to prevent any leaks. The Happy Nappy can be worn alone, with a disposable swim nappy underneath or with Splash About's double nappy environmentally friendly alternative the Nappy Wrap and Liners For further details on the importance of swim nappies and the different types available, you can read our article here.

3-6 Months

The difference in movement from 0-3 months to this stage will be very clear to see. Your baby will now be learning how their arms and legs move, they will be starting to smile, laugh, wriggle and giggle, as well as learning how to coordinate themselves. Their muscle tone will also be far greater and you will be able to feel this as you hold their abdomen in the pool. This extra movement really helps to extend your pool time as they will now have the ability to keep themselves warmer through kicking, splashing and exploring the water. 

At this age, you will still need to stick with your double nappy system and they will still require swimwear which will help to maintain their body temperature.  

If you are starting swimming lessons with them, there may be times when your baby is lifted up out of the pool, sat on the side or is held by you slightly out of the water. The best choices of swimwear at this stage is either the Happy Nappy Wetsuit or the Baby Wrap. Both are easy to get on and off a more active baby and both will move with your little one as they glide through the water. Even though neither have legs, your baby won't notice the cold as much due to their ability to kick. They will also enjoy feeling the water and learning how to move forward through it.

6-12 Months

We are covering a 6 month period here as your baby's needs will remain very similar during this time. By this stage, your baby will be far more active and aware of their own motor skills and coordination. This extra movement will, of course, keep your baby far warmer than before and what swimwear you opt for will highly depend on how long you swim for, how much they move and how warm the water temperature is at the pool.

As dedicated swimming lessons take into consideration your baby's needs, you may find that your double nappy system along with a swimming costume or trunks is all you will now require. However, don't forget that public swimming pools will not be warmed accordingly so if you are also using these they will most probably still require a warm swimsuit. As we have mentioned above, the Happy Nappy Wetsuit and Baby Wrap are both great choices and they are available in a range of sizes of up to the ages of around 2-3 years. 

12-18 Months

From this age, you will most probably want to start to think about buoyancy aids. These may not be required for swimming lessons but buoyancy aids are ideal for use in a public pools, especially if you are supervising more than one child, or on holiday. Most people may immediately think of armbands, but swimwear has come on in recent years and flotation devices are now being built into certain items, making water safety far simpler. 

A Float Suit is an all in one swimwear suit which is suitable from the age of 1 up until 6 years. The suit contains buoyancy aids which are arranged around the abdomen in a way that will help to keep your child in a correct natural swimming position. These are made from a soft material but will not provide warmth the way in which neoprene will. However, they are easy to get on and off and are also very comfortable.

A Float Vest is a neoprene zip-up vest which is suitable for children aged from 1 up until adulthood. This will provide extra warmth as well as the buoyancy required. Just like the float suit, a float vest will help to keep your little one in the required swimming position. Both of these options will also provide your child with UPF50+ Sun Protection. 

Armbands used to be the most common buoyancy aid and though they are still available to purchase they have more cons than pros. The hassle of blowing them up, the risk of air leaks and the fact that they only hold your child in an upright position are just a few of them. Of course, they are easy to pack when deflated, are very cheap to buy and some pools even offer them by the water for free use.  

At this age, you will still need to ensure you are following our recommended double nappy system which must be adhered to until your child is confidently potty trained and in certain organised swimming lessons up to 4 Years old . In terms of baby swimwear, you may feel that this is the time to move onto more grownup looking swimwear outfits such as aqua shorts, board shorts, rash tops, swimming costumes, sunsuits or swim dresses. These items are more about what your child will feel good in, what they will be able to move well in and what style you'd like them to have. Here at Splash About we have a wide range of choices which can be seen here

And finally, all babies will need a swim towel for when their swimming session has ended and a perfect choice would be our hooded towel. Babies and young children feel the cold far more than we do when they come out of the water, which is why a snuggly towel with a hood, which will help to sustain their body warmth is a great option. 

We hope this article has given you plenty of ideas on which baby swimwear would be the most suitable for your little one and we wish you the best of luck on your swimming journey.