Toddler Swimming vs. Baby Swimming

It seems like a lifetime ago that we first started swimming with T – starting when he was only  a few weeks old. It was definitely one of the best things we invested in and we’ve both thoroughly enjoyed our guilt-free time together every week for the past two years.

Before T started swimming, his only experience of water was my womb and the bath – one definitely warmer than the other, which is probably why he wasn’t too keen on bath times. That, or the god awful seat we decided to buy him early on (we think it was that as he was fine when we changed it). Either way, he wasn’t initially keen on a lot of water, but nevertheless we wanted to do something that was relaxing as well as something potentially life saving, so out went ‘baby massage’ and in came  Puddle Ducks baby and pre-school swimming lessons!

Starting in “Floaties” (0-6 months) we learnt about buoyancy and spent the time bonding in the water. The next class was “Splashers” (6-15 months) and here we were taught how to swim with certain equipment; such a woggles, and start learning about word associations such as; blowing bubbles, splashing, and kicking. As neck support got stronger, we even introduced submersions!

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Days Out: Our Puddle Ducks Underwater Photoshoot

I’m a sucker for photo’s of T – especially novelty ones where he has to dress up or be dunked underwater. Thankfully (for T) the latter was on offer recently so we booked ourselves in! The last time T had an underwater photoshoot he was a mere SIX MONTHS OLD and (as you’ll read) a lot more persuasive.

We arrived for our afternoon shoot after T had spent the morning at nana’s (probably our first mistake). T was a little cranky but we’d been used to weeks of T not having an afternoon nap so we thought that perhaps he was a little hungry or that he didn’t really want to leave nana’s – but we went with it.

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How Swimming Can Help You Outside of the Pool

T has been with Puddle Ducks baby and pre-school swimming lessons for well over a year now and not only has his confidence grown with water, but he enjoys getting wet and has no qualms about water hitting his face suddenly. The main reason we think he’s done so well is because we started swimming with him early on in his life – at an age where he would still find comfort from water. The good thing about the locations Puddle Ducks choose to swim at is that their pools are always nice and warm!

The other good thing about starting swimming so early is that we got a head start when it came to teaching T certain commands. I appreciate he isn’t a dog, but when you have a toddler you often find yourself saying the same phrases over and over to get them to do something. Going swimming is no different and it is down to the many instructions we’ve learnt over time that has lead to us taking some of those with us to help with the everyday.

 

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Days Out – Our Puddleducks Photoshoot

T has been going swimming with Puddle Ducks for a few months and is now quite the swimmer. It’s not yet actual swimming like you and I would do, it’s swimming baby-style, meaning that he knows how to behave in the water. He knows how to spit water and kick following a prompt, as well as lay on his back with minimal assistance. He can also reach out whilst kicking meaning he’s getting the swimming basics. On top of this, he is also confident when “swimming” underwater which is amazing, albeit daunting, to watch when he’s kicking to reach the surface of the water And succeeding! I don’t know how the Puddle Ducks program works, but whatever they do it works as T is now very confident (and happy) in water.

So when we got an email a few weeks ago advising us that there would be an opportunity to have an underwater Photoshoot we couldn’t resist. T is amazing with submersions so we wanted to capture that once in a lifetime moment on camera. Unlike other water classes for babies, the Photoshoot wasn’t included in the cost of our lessons. I personally like this idea as I know from going to the classes that not every baby likes going under water, so having a Photoshoot included in the price of your lessons is then, sadly, wasted.

We had to drive to Tunbridge Wells for the shoot as the next opportunity in Brighton wouldn’t be until T would be a year and we wouldn’t be sure whether he’d be agreeable to submersions so we went with this option.

The site where the Photoshoot was based for the day was stunning, which made it even more enjoyable.

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Puddle Ducks have always been very lucky with their locations, and little did I know that they have DOZENS of sites across the South not to mention the north and Midlands. Their instructors are also extremely dedicated and often travel to various locations for their lessons during one week.

As we entered the warm log cabin where the pool was, T began to get very excited. Although there was no chlorine smell, he knew what was going on. I immediately saw all the equipment set up for the shoot and also began to get excited.

After getting changed and coming back poolside it was simply a case of waiting for our allotted slot.

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Once in the pool, we were given a detailed run down of how the photoshoots work and what will happen. Puddle Ducks had arrange for a professional submersion expert to come down for the day to assist with the shoots. For me, this was reassuring as I was concerned I would mess up and either a) not grab T in time or worse b) mess the photos up! Up until now, T has been submerged plenty of times so I wasn’t at all nervous with someone else doing it  – however it can still be daunting for parents to watch someone else submerge their child.

Whilst the shoots were happening we went through a mini class at the same time to keep the babies calm and focussed, this was nice as I was able to experience another instructor from our usual one.

In total, we had three separate shoots of T and one shoot with me and T underwater if I wanted to (of course I did!). Then, it was just a case of waiting for the photos to be put online that evening within a secure page that required a password.

What I liked about the day was that there was never any selling or pressure to buy. I’ve known plenty of studios in the past to invite people along to a “casual” or free Photoshoot only to be pressured into buying something later. With his photoshoot, you’re invited to view that days photos and pick what you’d like.

When it comes to buying, you have several choices and packages ranging from printed photos to USB sticks and canvasses.

We chose to get 5 of our photos put onto a USB stick for future printing. This then came with a free printed photo.


It really was a lovely day. T even seemed to enjoy himself as well!

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K

We received no compensation for the purpose of this post/review. 

Days Out – Our First Lesson with Puddle Ducks

Me and S have always been water lovers. We love swimming, we love our showers. We swim in pools and sometimes in the sea (if we can be bothered to walk over the cobbles of Brighton Beach). So naturally, we wanted to get T used to swimming early on in his life so that by the time we go on our holidays, he’ll have no issues jumping into a pool or having fun in the sea.

Apart from going to the local pool and just having a splash around, we didn’t know the first thing about introducing babies to swimming. We certainly didn’t want to do anything wrong so that he’s then traumatised later, so we decided that we’d do it properly and get T into some classes early on.

Of course these classes are more for the parents, so they can learn how to be confident in the water with their babies,but it got T into the water as well – so we were happy.

We decided to go with a company called Puddle Ducks as we met the guys at a baby show we recently attended and they were lovely. Other companies also seemed to have larger classes, where as Puddle Ducks had smaller, more personal classes. Finally, to be quite honest, other companies were way more expensive, some a lot more expensive. Puddle ducks seemed more reasonable and value for money. 

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I arrived at the Brighton Hilton Metropole early on Wednesday. Before arriving, I was excited at the thought of having the class in the hotel pool – it was going to be quiet with, hopefully, lots of space to change but that got quickly thrown out the water when I realised the hotel car park was £4 an hour!! So I had to park at an alternative car park last minute – thankfully I was ahead of time.

Arriving in the leisure club’s lobby I was greeted by the owner of Puddle Ducks. He ran through the procedures and where everything was and then showed me to the changing rooms. It was really well organised, even more so when I found out there was a buggy room assigned to puddle ducks.

In regards to the hotel facilities, I wasn’t overly impressed with the changing rooms. Not only was there limited baby changing facilities, but there were only about 20 lockers within the changing room, unless you didn’t mind leaving the changing rooms in your costume to find the other lockers in the hotel corridor. By the time I got us both changed my back was in agony. With this in mind, every effort has clearly been made to make the time in the changing rooms comfy. There were several changing mats, a travel cot for older babies; so adults can change, and a nappy bin provided by the guys at Puddle Ducks. 


I think the thought of having these classes in a hotel is lovely, but it’s certainly not practical. I wouldn’t be impressed if I was a guest at the hotel, hoping to have a leisurely swim, and found a dozen crying babies in the changing rooms taking up all the locker and bench space, stinking the place out with nappies. Maybe they’re warned beforehand, but the fiesty Italian lady next to me certainly wasn’t impressed (maybe it’s because I accidentally put T’s nappy in her open locker rather than mine).

Puddle Ducks are clearly a very popular company. When I arrived, there was already a class in the water and another class waiting on the side. Despite all this, they’re very organised; which is reassuring. From the military operation of getting changed to getting in the water, everything is meticulously planned so that is all goes smoothly and safely. 

When it was our turn, we went through some health and safety bits and then got going. The instructor had a lovely system set up when it came to getting in and out. You placed baby down on a soft wet mat, she then took them into the pool and then handed them to you after you got in. This was great as I had this awful fear of having to step in one handed down the ladder, or slipping on a sloped entrance.

The class itself was great. It was really relaxed and went at a nice, steady pace. Crying babies were welcome and the classes were adapted for babies with reflux. We learnt different holds and techniques to water enjoyment, as well as how to make us more confident in the water with our baby so that they’re relaxed. Of course there was singing – but that didn’t sound too bad thanks to the echoey pool! Considering it was only 30 minutes, we managed to fit a ton of positions in. T absolutely loved it and only cried when we got out! I also felt more confident in regards to handling him in the pool.

I can’t wait for next week as well as future swimming sessions locally. Next week we learn how to dunk!

K

We weren’t given anything for the purpose of this post.