Swimming classes have become a rite of passage on maternity leave; the perfect activity to try with your mum mates – or indeed the perfect place to meet new ones – and actually feel like you’ve achieved something, as well as being rewarded with the obligatory Nirvana-style photo at the end. We’ve teamed up with Water Babies to bring you this guide to the things that will happen when you take your baby swimming … 

There will be a big mad rush before you leave the house

Even if you diligently pack your bags the night before and generally assume the role of a mum who’s totally got this, something will happen – a last-minute nappy incident, an ill-timed nap – to derail you. Don’t panic; be assured that every mum also currently trying to head to your swimming class, and indeed every mum heading to every baby swimming class in the land, is in the midst of exactly the same chaos. It’s all part of the fun, right?

You’ll forget something

And then you get there by the skin of your teeth, start delving into your bag (OK, bags. We defy anyone to take a baby swimming with less than two bags. For tiny creatures, they require an awful lot of swag) and…. aargh! You’ve forgotten the swimming nappies, baby towel or, most likely, your own knickers, because you’ve made that age-old error of rocking up with your swimwear on under your clothes to save time but forgetting you need to wear actual clothes afterwards. The good news is one of the other, more organised mums – or indeed, the swimming teacher – is bound to have spares on hand of any essential baby items you’ve forgotten, so don’t panic. And you can worry about underwear, or lack of, after the swimming part of proceedings is over…

You’ll develop poo-a-noia

Even if you have a baby who’s a creature of habit when it comes to filling nappies, you’ll still worry about them letting rip in the pool and causing a mass evacuation. The truth is, in-water poo incidents are RARE, and if – and, honestly, it’s a big if – the worst does happen, the obligatory swimming nappy plus neoprene shorts combo should be enough to contain said unwelcome visitor while you frantically scramble to get out of the pool and sort them out.

You’ll have a great time

Even if the build-up has been stressful, once your swim class is in full swing, it’ll all be worth it. The vast majority of babies love being in water, especially with all those toys and songs, and will provide enough gummy grins and giggles to perk up even the most knackered mum. Plus, getting little ones water-confident early on is worthwhile – especially if you have holiday plans looming. But enough about your baby – swimming classes are fun for you, too. You’re all new parents, so nobody expects you to have smooth, hairless legs and abs of steel, so you can just enjoy the moment, bond with your new mates and your baby and even feel like you’ve done a little bit of light exercise.

You’ll be rewarded with the best nap ever

OK, so you’ve left the venue knickerless and didn’t have time to sort your hair out, but your baby is warm and dry and something brilliant lies ahead: the best nap ever. Nothing knackers babies (or indeed tired mums clutching babies…) out like swimming, so they’re bound to nod off on the way home – and hopefully stay that way until you’ve had a nice sit-down yourself, or indeed a post-class lunch with your mum mates. Result.

Now in its second year, this year’s National Baby Swimming Week runs from 16th – 22nd October. Brought to you by the UK’s leading baby swim school, Water Babies, it’s a time to discover all the joys and benefits of baby swimming for babies and parents alike. So if you haven’t tried it before, why not take the plunge today? Just head over to www.nationalbabyswimmingweek.org.uk to discover why baby swimming is such a smart move – and find a class near you!

@mushmums @waterbabies