If you're planning on taking your baby swimming, whether that's at a pool or even the beach, a swim nappy is a must and finding the right one will make a real difference to your trip.
Unfortunately, your baby's usual nappy won't be suitable in the water, as it will soak up all the water and weight your youngster down - not ideal!
Specific swimming nappies are designed to combat these problems with a snug waistband and close-fitting legs with the aim of containing any little (or er big) accidents. While you can buy reusable swim nappies and pants which are a brilliant eco-friendly option, you can also buy disposable swim nappies which are undoubtedly very convenient for busy mums. Just like normal disposable nappies, they come in big packs and each one is thrown in the bin after use.
We'll be honest, there isn't a huge amount of choice when it comes to disposable swim nappies but we've included both big brand and supermarket options.
Disposable swim nappies
Made from absorbent material that won't swell or fall apart in water so they won't weigh down your baby, the Little Swimmers have stretchy side panels for freedom of movement in the water plus leak guards around the legs to protect against accidents. We love the colourful Disney Nemo designs.
M&B mum tester Claire: "This product is great when swimming with a baby or toddler. I personally don't like the neoprene nappies or suits, so to be able to put this on my son and then put his shorts on is very helpful and makes swimming so quick and easy. I would definitely recommend them, and have even given some to a couple of mum friends to try."
Read our full Huggies Little Swimmers review.
Unlike regular nappies, Pampers Splashers have a no swell core which makes them a comfortable fit when wet or dry. The 360° stretchy waistband and dual leak-guard barrier gives the feel of swimwear but still prevents any messes and they have easy tear sides to help with a quick and easy removal.
M&B mum tester Rachel: These nappies were great, I loved how they were so easy to use and much more durable than other brands I have used. The stretchy sides were very useful when putting on a baby, I found them to be easy to pull up even on a wriggly baby. The nappy doesn’t swell like other brands which meant the baby was secure for our swim. The easy rip sides were great for pulling when trying to get the baby dry after the swim.
Read our full review of Pampers Splashers.
These affordable swimming nappies fit well and didn’t swell in the water. With soft, tearable sides, they have a perforated top for easy access. They might not be as attractive as other brands on the market, but they’ll save you money whilst doing the job.
M&B mum tester Katie: "This product is excellent value for money and meets all the claims made on the packaging. I was very impressed when I used them on our family holiday to Turkey. They fitted my daughter well and meant I could take her in the pool without worrying about any accidents. I was also very impressed with how little water they soaked up, which meant my daughter wasn't weighed down when we eventually finished."
Read our full review of Nutmeg Swim Pants.
Made from wonderfully soft materials, these ASDA Little Angels Swim Pants have gentle elastics that are designed to keep your baby snug and secure whilst containing any mess. They include easy-tear side seams for fuss-free changes and you don't need to worry about them bulking.
M&B mum tester Kay: "These Swim nappies were fantastic and did the job they were intended for which is to stop number twos from leaking into the pool. They were easy to pull up onto my wriggly baby and felt nice and soft. They did not feel bulky or heavy in the water. They were great for play time in the pool and I would definitely purchase these again if needed."
Read our full review of ASDA Little Angels Swim Pants.
When can my baby go swimming?
Although you may personally want to wait for six weeks following birth (a caesarean section or a perineal tear) to prevent catching an infection, your baby can go in the water from birth, you don't need to wait for their vaccinations.
Because babies can't regulate their temperature yet, your little one will need to swim in water heated to 32 degrees to stop them from getting too cold, which is why we recommend a swimming pool while they are young.
Mark Foster's swimming tips
It’s vital that little ones learn to swim for safety, fun and long-term health. We asked Olympic swimmer and six-time World Champion Mark Foster for his expert advice.
While swimming is the UK’s most popular participatory sport, it’s in decline, and, as Mark says: “This is something that needs to be reversed. All children should be able to swim - not just for their own safety, but because it is a fantastic activity for fitness of the body and the mind.
“The key is to get children loving the water from an early age - and there are a number of simple ways parents of babies and toddlers can help with this.”
What’s the first step for baby swimming?
"Introduce water gradually - it may still take a few sessions for your baby to feel at home. Get in with them. Show them you are happy by smiling lots and making eye contact. They need to feel safe and relaxed and they learn this from you above anybody else.
"Before moving in the water, help them get used to water on their faces. Gentle splashes and blowing bubbles helps with this. Hold them under their arms and move them side to side so they can see your face at all times (this tends to come naturally to both adult and baby). Play in the bath lots at home to help build the enjoyment of water.”
What about older children?
"As children get older, they can start proper swimming lessons. These vary in style - some invite parents in the water, some have you watching from the side. They key is to make sure that the lesson you choose is one that your child enjoys. Schools who provide swimming lessons for pupils tend to do it at around the age of seven, but you cannot rely on your child’s school to teach them to swim.”
Why are swimming lessons important?
“Good lessons with specially trained, professional instructors teach your child to relax in the water first and then learn the strokes. It’s not about achieving a distance, it’s about enjoying the water for life. This is something that can never be forgotten. By teaching breathing, flotation and balance first, lessons will result in children always being safe in the water.
“My advice is to book lessons that have the teachers in the water with the child, with small groups. Every child has different strengths and weaknesses - one size cannot fit all.”
What kit should I take for swimming with children?
"Goggles are really helpful for some older children - they often naturally like to swim underwater but pool water can sting their eyes. Other than that there is no particular kit needed. The key is to help your children to enjoy themselves and learn to swim effectively and beautifully. Swimming is great exercise and good fun for the whole family.
“Learning water confidence from a young age means that as they get older, children will grasp the different strokes more easily. If a child learns water confidence, they will always enjoy swimming - and hopefully pass that enjoyment on to their own children.”
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