UK mummy blog

We’re starting baby swimming lessons!

Max is a Turtle Tots Ambassador!

[AD: As a brand ambassador, Max will receive a free course of swimming lessons, plus the clothing shown in this post, in exchange for my honest accounts of our Turtle Tots experience.]

When we saw how much Max enjoyed being in the water during our recent holiday to Tenerife, Terry and I figured it was probably time we started to think about booking him some swimming lessons.

Then we… well, we did absolutely nothing about it, basically, because, Christmas. And then house renovations. And did I mention the fact that we all keep catching heavy colds every few weeks? Because, that too.

(Seriously, though, I’m currently onto my second cold of the month, and my fifth this winter – as are Terry and Max. There is NOT enough wine in the world for this, I swear…)

We didn’t forget about swimming lessons, though, and with our trip to Florida coming up soon, it’s been something that’s been on our minds even more. We’ll be staying in a house with a pool when we’re there, and although the pool in question does have safety gates, and we’ve no intention of letting Max out of our sights for even a second, water safety is one of those things I don’t think you can be too cautious about, really. So when Samantha from Turtle Tots got in touch and asked if Max was interested in becoming a brand ambassador, it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Turtle Tots ambassadorTurtle Tots is a swimming programme for babies and toddlers (And they also do ante-natal classes, for mums-to-be…): the classes are baby-led, and the focus is on natural swimming – so, rather than using flotation devices like arm bands, etc, the instructors are trained to read the baby’s cues, in order to help them build up their confidence in the water, and have fun while they learn to swim. The classes are highly responsive and taught in lovely warm pools (This was a big plus point for me – I couldn’t even get into the baby pool on holiday, because it was so cold!), and sound like the perfect way to introduce Max to the water, basically.

As part of his ambassadorship (Yes, we are referring to him as ‘Mr Ambassador’ these days…), Max was sent a cute little Turtle Tots package containing everything he’ll need for his classes:

Turtle Tots swimwear

He was most interested in the little plastic turtle, obviously, but, as you can see, he’s fully kitted out for swimming, with a selection of clothes that made me first of all go, “Aww, he’s going to look so cute in these!” and then, “OMG, imagine getting those nappies off him when he’s soaking wet!” IMAGINE IT, THO, PEOPLE.

Turtle Tots operate a strict “double nappy” policy, so there’s a re-usable nappy (Bottom right of the pic) which goes on first, and then a neoprene swim nappy to go over the top, and make sure there’s absolutely no chance of any accidents. (Pretty sure I’m going to spend each class with the phrase, “Please don’t let Max be the one who poops in the pool, please don’t let Max be the one who poops in the pool, please don’t let Max be the one who poops in the pool…” on a constant loop in my head. I’ve been thinking it already, in fact.) He’s then got a little baby wetsuit, plus a towel and a changing mat, all of which can be purchased at the Turtle Tots shop, whether you’re planning to sign up for classes or not.

Once Max’s pack arrived, Kirsty from Turtle Tots advised me to try everything on him before his first class, just to make sure it was all going to fit – it’s obviously super-important that the nappy in particular isn’t going to leak, so I waited until Max seemed to be in a good mood, then prepared for battle. I’d read on the Turtle Tots website that the neoprene nappy should be a snug enough fit that it feels difficult to get on at first, and yup, I can confirm that that’s definitely the case, because it was a little bit like putting tights on an octopus, to be totally honest. (Or so I would imagine, anyway. I mean, I don’t make a habit of dressing octopuses, obviously. Or not often, at least.)

We got there eventually, though, and yup, he looked super-cute, and also extremely pleased with himself:

baby swimwear

Max preparing for baby swimming lessons

Then he opened up his toybox, got out a case full of building blocks, and looked like a tiny businessman en route to a very unusual office job:

headed for the office

So! Our first class is this Friday, and I’m really looking forward to it – mostly because I’m living in a state of absolute denial right now, and choosing to totally suppress the memory of that one time I tried to get dressed in Max’s presence, and he just kept hanging off my leg like a monkey, so I ended up shuffling around the room with one leg in my jeans, and the other one in Max’s vice-like grip. Also trying not to think about all of the times I’ve been changing his nappy lately, and he’s suddenly flipped from his back to his front, so fast that you can barely even see him do it. Or that moment yesterday afternoon when I was putting something into the drawer inside his wardrobe, when Max’s head popped up beside me, and I just had time to think, “WAIT: HOW IS HE THE SAME HEIGHT AS ME NOW?” before realising that, in the approximately three seconds that my back had been turned, he’d managed to climb up onto one of his toys in order to peek into the drawer and see what I was doing.

All which bodes REALLY well for my chances of getting both of us dried and dressed in a communal changing room after our class, no?

I’ve prepared as best I can for this experience by:

a) Ordering Max a cute little towelling romper (affiliate link) which I thought he could wear over his swim nappy on the way to the pool, and which would be easy enough to just pop him back into after the class.

b) Digging out the beach poncho my parents got him at Christmas.


c) Er, that’s pretty much it, actually.

If you have any tips on how to manage a very active, soaking wet one year old in a changing room, then, I’d love to hear them – and if you just want to find out how we get on, don’t worry, there will be plenty of updates to come as we begin our Turtle Tots journey!

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  • How funny! We just signed Millie up to Swimbabes and we start next week! And my main concern is also how to get dried and dressed while also drying and dressing a toddler. The few times we have been swimming as a family it has been a nightmare even with two pairs of hands, plus getting dressed after a swim has all my life been one of the things I hate most – wet floors making your clothes wet, trying to pull on clothes while still damp yourself, and why is it always so darn hot?!? I get stressed if I am too hot! Basically, dreading it, mainly for the getting changed after. But, it will be fab for her to be confident in the water when we go to Tuscany in May so…!

    February 20, 2019
  • We did baby swimming with our daughter and she was always so exhausted afterwards dressing her wasn’t a problem.

    Anne – Linda, Libra, Loca

    February 20, 2019
  • Myra


    I’m sure you will both love it. As well as being very tired after swimming, they are also usually hungry so you could take a snack for him that is easy for him to handle and eat by himself while you get dressed. Dry him and dress him first though. Good luck

    February 20, 2019
    • Catherine


      I second this!! Either some food so he will sit still long enough for you to get dressed, or sometimes there will be another mum in the same boat and you can take turns getting dressed and entertaining the babies

      February 20, 2019
  • Alice


    Occasionally changing rooms have a travel cot you can put the baby in while you get dressed – that really helps.

    February 20, 2019
  • Katie


    Mine are now all grown up, but I used to managed toddler swimmers by getting them dry and dressed first, then sitting them down and presenting them with a rice cake or whatever tasty snack Max would like and will keep him busy for a while. He’s gong to be shattered! Have fun!

    February 20, 2019
  • My mum swore by having a towelling robe to wear while you dry off and dress the child. It keeps you warm and dries you off.

    February 21, 2019