Blog : Little Lilypad Co

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The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful, cheeky and entertaining daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad, when he is not relaxing in one of our best recliners, or our baby bloggers and occasionally we accept guest posts. There is frequently talk of shoes and clothing (we love fashion and savvy shopping), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) education and swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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Category: Swimming

  1. Can I take my baby swimming with Asthma or Eczema

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    We have written a lot about swimming and alot about asthma but we are learning new things all the time. There was a time when I wouldn't have taken my little one swimming when they had a cold or had just had their injections but as we have come a long way on our parenting (and swimming) journey, I am more confident about when I should and shouldn't take her swimming. I am also learning new things about asthma all the time and a relatively new one for me is that asthma and eczema are linked. Although it’s not exactly clear what causes eczema, we know that it tends to run in families, therefore is part of your genetic make-up. However, there are many things that can cause it to flare up, from cold weather to your favourite perfume or jumper. Changes in temperature, feeling unwell and stress can also make your eczema worse.

    Atopic eczema affects around 20% of children under five years, making baby swimming a question for some parents. Is it still ok to take your baby swimming if they suffer from eczema? It’s not nice to see your child have to miss out on something they love so much, but the good news is that swimming doesn’t have to irritate the condition further. In fact, evidence shows that it can actually help some children.

    What do the Professionals Say?

    Asthma UK advise that we all need to try to be as active as we can be every day and the recommended amount of gentle swimming is two and a half hours a week, or half an hour a day. Although it is work noting that chlorine used in pools or cold pools may be triggers for some people with asthma.

    The National Eczema Society has recently advised that diluted bleach can reduce bacteria on eczema-affected skin, and this process is replicated by the chlorine in swimming pool water. Salt water is a natural disinfectant and can have a similar effect. Ask when chlorine is added to the pool so you can avoid swimming straight afterwards, when the chlorine level will be at its highest. 

    Both the British Association of Dermatologists and the National Eczema Society advise you to avoid taking your baby swimming if their skin is especially irritated. Apply emollient ointment before swimming; and rinse and apply more emollient after swimming. I always found it beneficial to have a towel handy that I could wrap my baby in straight away, and to have a toy to keep their hands busy and distract them from the urge to scratch.

    Baby Swimsuits

    You can protect your baby’s skin further with a long-sleeved and long-legged swimsuit. Look for one which is designed with as few scratchy seams as possible, and, if it is being worn outdoors, which has 50+UV protection. As well as stopping your baby from being as slippery as a fish in the water, a swim suit will help stop emollient ointment being rubbed off, and protect delicate skin from sunburn if you’re swimming outdoors.

    Allergies

    Benefits of Swimming with Eczema 

    I recently talked about the many benefits of baby swimming and these are just as true for babies with eczema as for those without. Studies have linked having eczema to a higher risk of developing asthma. Swimming helps control the effects of asthma by strengthening the cardiovascular system, so is great for eczema babies.

    Trust Your Judgement

    You know your child better than anyone. You’re the one looking at their skin and applying cream, so you’ll know straight away the effect swimming has on it. Pay attention to the signs and use your judgement. It may be that short baby swimming sessions have no adverse effect but that there’s a tipping point when their skin becomes irritated. You could find that their eczema reacts differently depending on the pool due to various chemicals and temperatures. Outdoor pools tend to be cooler and therefore less irritating. If one pool doesn’t work, try another.

    Speak to your doctor about baby swimming with eczema. Try a variety of barrier and moisturising ointments until you find the right combination that works for their skin (this is true even if you’re not taking your baby swimming).


    There might not be a cure for asthma or eczema but its effects can certainly be managed so you and your baby can enjoy all the fun of swimming together.

  2. 5 Clever Ways to Encourage Your Reluctant Child to Swim

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    I’ve talked about the many benefits of baby swimming before. It’s a pastime I love sharing with my girls but I know that not all children are keen on going in the water. For example, my friend has a son who had an inexplicable hatred of water – even baths. Baby swimming sessions for them were fuelled with stress, and it wasn’t until he was older that he came around to the idea of swimming for pleasure.

    What can you do if you have a child who hates the water? Should you encourage them to swim and if so, how do you do it? Here are five effective ways you can turn your stubborn swimming hater into a frolicking fish.

    Lose the Structure

    You don’t have to have a formal process to swim. If swimming lessons are the worst half an hour of your week, stop. Take a breath. Start swimming for fun. Forget lessons and go when your child feels like it, just for pleasure. Take a pool noodle and have fun races, or tow them around the pool as if they were a speedboat.

    Play with Water

    I learnt this trick from my friend with the water-hating son. When even bath toys wouldn’t encourage him into the water she turned it into a game by incorporating it into their daily routine. He would “help” with the washing (some face cloths in a tub of soapy water), and get involved in his older brother’s water pistol fights.  A paddling pool in the backyard in summer was the bridge she needed to encourage him into a bigger pool, and now swimming is a highlight of their weekends.

    Try a Different Location

    It might be something as simple as a cold changing room, or a too-large pool, that puts your child off swimming. Try a different location, lots of baby swimming schools have a variety of locations that make this easier for you. Make the most of available swimming pools on your summer holiday, when they may be encouraged by seeing other children having fun swimming outdoors in the sun.

    Make it Social

    Peer pressure can work wonders with encouraging reluctant children into the water. Take them to watch older siblings, or arrange to go swimming with a friend who has children of a similar age.  Go into the water with your child so you can stay close to them and show them it’s nothing to fear.  Older children may feel awkward putting their changing bodies on show. Don’t make a big deal of it, just occasionally float idea (no pun intended) that they go swimming with a friend, and be sensitive to their feelings.

    Try Someone Else

    If you have tried all of the above and still can’t encourage your child to swim, get someone else to take over whether it’s a specialist swimming instructor who excels in teaching reluctant swimmers, or your dad who has endless patience where yours may wear thin. Though you may want it to be, especially if you love the water, it doesn’t have to be you that gets your child to enjoy swimming. We love our children more than anyone else on the planet, but I’ve learned that we’re not always the best people to convince them to do things!

    Have patience. Swimming is such a healthy pastime that it’s worth persevering. 

    LLP - 5 Clever Ways to Encourage Your Reluctant Child to Swim

  3. Swimming: The Perfect Activity for Children and Parents

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    Last weekend my husband had to physically drag me out of bed on Sunday morning for our daughters swimming lesson and according to many experts, the earlier you start your child in the water the better (although I am guessing this means in age rather than the time of the morning). 

    There are genuinely few activities that are quite as life enhancing as a morning (or afternoon) in the swimming pool. It’s one of the cheapest ways to get plenty of health and psychological benefits and is also a great way for children and parents to socialise. Swimming delivers a complete activity package that provides great fun and important physical exercise, something we could all do with little bit more of (especially after the Christmas excess). I know I have said it before, but it really is great for both children and parents, can improve bonding, develop self-confidence, improve health conditions and provides an ideal opportunity for mums and dads to destress and relax in safe surroundings.

     Swimming from an early age helps to build water confidence and safety

    Social and Parental Bonding

    New and challenging environments are brilliant for parents and children. The swimming pool is a place of great excitement for kids with plenty of opportunity to splash around and play with other children. Not only that, swimming brings an important opportunity for mum and dad to develop stronger bonds of trust and love with natural skin-to-skin contact as well as bunches of fun.

    Great for Physical and Mental Health

    Swimming is perfect for both your physical health and your state of mind. There’s nothing more natural than teaching your kid how to love and trust water, from the time you step into the baby area to that momentous occasion when you take them into the big pool for the first time. According to a lot of research, swimming is one of the top activities that creates a better overall sense of well-being. Parents love it just as much as the kids.

    Better Breathing and Coordination

    Learning to swim comes with all sorts of value added extras. I have blogged about my daughters asthma previously but children with breathing problems such as asthma actually find swimming makes a big difference – you might think the opposite but actually the warm humid air can often make breathing a lot easier. Swimming also helps to develop coordination and build muscle strength without being high impact and is one exercise that your children probably won’t moan about as they grow older. (My oldest daughter is testament to this as she is now part of a swimming club)

     Swimming helps to develop coordination and build muscle strength without be

    Boosting Confidence for Later Lessons

    How early you get your baby or toddler involved with baby swimming lessons could have long term effects on building their confidence. Toddlers are usually happy to splash around in the water and if you keep it up until they are ready to swim properly then learning to do the crawl or the breaststroke should be breeze. Getting in the swimming pool not only benefits the kids, it’s good for parents too. 

     Did you know ....?

    A study back in 2009 found toddlers that went into the swimming pool early developed better motor coordination and had improved balance over those that didn’t go in the water?

    Another German research project showed that toddlers who were introduced to water at a young age exhibited more intelligence and better social skills later on.

    If you need any other reasons to get your kids in the water as soon as possible, then how about the absolute fun you can have splashing around in the pool? We are planning a swimming birthday party for later in the year, so we hope that everyone else is as enthusiastic as we are about swimming!!

  4. Reasons why baby swimming is good for Dad's too!

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    We often hear of the benefits of swimming for a baby but how about the reasons why baby swimming is good for Dad's too?

    Reasons why baby swimming is good for Dads too

    Baby swimming is often a child’s first social experience out of the home that involves other children. They learn to relate and interact with each other and it is a great opportunity for dads to meet like minded people who share common interests.

    Research has suggested that babies who participate in swimming are often more alert for their age and have better eating and sleeping patterns. So it is a great chance for you to enjoy time with your little one but also to know that you are aiding your child’s future development.

    As a former swimmer for the county, the man on the Lilypad loves seeing his daughter swim and loves the chance to swim with her, which is a great bonding experience for them both (not to mention time for them to laugh over and over again about dunking daddy under the water). 

    Swimming together is not only a great weekly activity but when your baby is in regular swim lessons, it makes going on holiday more enjoyable and your little one looks forward to playing in the water and you get to enjoy the water too, without fretting about their water safety abroad!

     Swimming from an early age helps to build water confidence and safety

    With so many activities seemingly focused on mother and baby, swimming lessons are a great opportunity for the Dad's to get involved and as the man on the Lilypad is super competitive, he takes great pride in her achievements every week. Although he is not a fan of taking her into the mens changing rooms, so it is good to select a pool with family changing facilities.

    There will become a time when we no longer get in the water with her for her lessons and that time is getting closer and closer. She no longer wants held in the water as she has confidence to swim on her own but she still looks for reassurance and approval. I see him getting wistful about how quickly she is growing up but I know that no matter how big and confident she gets, she will always be Daddy's little girl.