Toby doesn’t like swimming anymore

We started going to Turtle Tots baby swimming classes when Toby was just over 3 months old. He’s never really seemed to love it but up until Christmas he didn’t have any problems in the pool and only ever cried for a couple of seconds, if at all. But since we went back, after a few weeks off over the holidays, he suddenly seems to hate it.

For the last three weeks Toby has spent at least part of each lesson crying. Sometimes it’s just a bit of sticking out of the lip and wimpering, but sometimes it’s full on screaming and it breaks my heart! This week he even had me crying too because he sounded so upset. I think getting Toby used to the water, and hopefully swimming while he is still very young is a fantastic idea but I’m not sure I can keep taking him when there is something about it which is clearly upsetting him. This week he started crying before we even got in the pool.

There are any number of things that might be wrong with him. First of all, the lesson is at 9:30 am a twenty-five minute drive away. Normally, Toby gets up about 8:30 am, has a bottle, a bit of a play, then another bottle and back in bed by 10 am at the latest. On swimming days I have to get him up early, he only has one bottle and (unless he has a quick nap in the car) he doesn’t get his morning sleep until after swimming is finished. The second problem could then also be that he is hungry – he’s normally had one and a half to two bottles within a couple of hours of being awake. Although, having said that he will never take a bottle straight after swimming so I don’t think he’s that hungry. In fact he’s always fine again as soon as we get out of the pool. So the last thing I can think of, and I’m hoping it’s this because it’s more easily fixed, is that he is feeling the cold. I don’t know why this would be bothering him more now than it did before Christmas, maybe the pool is a bit colder than it was. Anyway, he already uses a BabyWrap which I have mentioned before but I have now ordered a Warm in One from Splash About which is a full wetsuit with arms and legs. It’s fleece lined too so if he is cold then hopefully this will help. If not then my only other plan is to try and move to a class at a different time and see if that helps.

I don’t think I can go through many more weeks of my baby crying and screaming because of something I am making him do. I know I shouldn’t really blame myself; my husband has been great and tried to make me feel better by pointing out that Toby cries when I put his pyjamas on too, but that’s something that has to be done. I don’tΒ have to take him swimming. Our Turtle Tots instructor has been great too, telling me that lots of babies have wobbles and Toby will get back into the swing of it. I hope so.Β I really don’t want to stop swimming lessons with Toby so if anyone else has any suggestions of what the problem might be and how we can fix it then please do let me know. Fingers crossed the new wetsuit does the trick and I’ll be sure to let you know how we get on. We have an underwater photo shoot booked for the end of March so I hope we get it figured out by then and Toby starts to enjoy his swimming again!

Happy after swimming

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21 thoughts on “Toby doesn’t like swimming anymore

  1. My oldest was never a fan of the water either. I took her every week (myself, not lessons) but she was very wary in the water no matter what I did. I backed off in the end and pretty much stopped taking her other than occasionally. Then she started lessons at 3.5 – that’s really helped, and now she loves the water..looks forward to her lessons and is making slow but good progress. She’s 4 now. My youngest on the other hand loves the water, and loves going swimming so now I’m also taking both of them once a week again as well as lessons! Xxx

  2. It’s so hard isn’t it.

    I’ve been taking Potato to Aqua Babies since he was 6 months and he loves it. But he did have a wobble a few months ago where he didn’t want to go underwater or swim. I decided to persist with going but not to force him to do anything. He spent large parts of the lesson just bouncing round the pool on my hip. Each time, I tried to do the underwater swims or other bits of the lesson, if he showed signs of not wanting to, I didn’t push him. After a few weeks, he understood it was entirely his choice and I wasn’t going to force him. He’s now back and happy joining in fully and is one of the most confident toddlers in our class. We’re lucky because we swim in. Hydrotherapy pool, so it’s warm πŸ™‚

    • Thanks – I’ve been trying that and it does seem to help. If Toby’s looking upset then we just bounce round the pool rather than trying to so any of the ‘set’ activities. Hopefully he’ll get used to it again soon and start enjoying it!

  3. We went through this when Thomas was a bit older than Toby. In the end I stopped going. Part of the point for me was getting him to like water, and I didn’t want to do exactly the opposite! I started taking him to our local pool on my own again about 6 months later and since then he has loved it again. To be honest though, I think he prefers not having the structure of a class. We play in the toddler splash pool (little slide, water squirters) then go in the teaching pool for a bit, but he can dictate to me how long he wants to stay and so he enjoys it much more. I don’t totally regret doing the classes, as they gave me the confidence to know what to do with him when I take him, but if we have another child I won’t be spending all that money on structured classes again (until the are old enough for formal “swimming tuition”, of course). Hope it gets better for you, but if not, I can recommend taking a break and then going back to it.

    • Thanks for your advice. I think we’re going to finish this block of lessons (seeing as they’re already paid for!) and then make a decision about what to do if Toby still isn’t enjoying it.

  4. I’m thinking of taking my son swimming, he’s just over 3 months. But he absolutely hates the bath and doesn’t stop screaming until he is out so I don’t think he’ll like going swimming 😦
    I hope the new wetsuit helps πŸ™‚

  5. Fingers crossed the warmer suit will solve the tears πŸ™‚ if not then a different time is probably the answer. Swimming is fab at a young age and I’m sure he’ll love it soon! Dont get discouraged you’re doing great! Xxx

  6. I think the warmer suit will solve the tears! If not then try the different timing, lots of options still there to try πŸ™‚ swimming a so good at Toby’s age so don’t get discouraged, you’re doing great! He’ll love swimming soon I’m sure, just got to find out what’s niggling him πŸ™‚

    • Thanks – we’re actually going to try that next weekend. We can’t go to the lesson this week anyway so next weekend me and the hubby are going to take him to the pool and see how we get on.

  7. Sounds like you have it all covered! Little Owl is always much happier when warm! Was going to suggest you try going at a different time with hubby but looks like you have that covered too! Don’t worry if you end up taking a break, our pool is so cold that I just couldn’t face it last winter and so we stopped for about 4 months until it got warmer – Little Owl soon caught up with the others!

  8. Hi
    The timing of the lesson certainly could be a problem. If it was either of my children then skipping nap time really throws them out and makes them very tired which isn’t ideal. This plus being cold and a bit hungry could all amount to him being unhappy. He might not show signs of hunger after the lesson if he swallows any water… My daughter gulps it down! Frustrates me so much and tell her not to but she’s 2 and ignores me, what can I say! Her nappy after swimming is always HUGE!!
    Could he also be teething? This can massively affect them when swimming especially when on their back.
    Another thing to try could be to find a “happy” song when in the water. Quietly singing in his ear and swishing a bit side to side can help relax them as well.
    It’s hard if he doesn’t enjoy it. Perhaps when the block of lessons finish then you can take him at another time of day and see whether it was the time of day / hunger etc. If he still doesn’t like it then maybe leave it a couple of months. But what I would say (and this is easier said than done) is to keep calm and also have a happy exterior to encourage him. Obviously if you’re nervous he will start to feed off that, try and keep smiling and encouraging as much as possible which I’m sure you are doing. Good Luck
    Will be writing about swimming all week on swan-project.blogspot.co.uk so hopefully there will be some good tips on there too!

    • Thank you for your advice – he is teething so that could be it. It’s interesting you mention about the song – I’ve done that the last few weeks and it does help. Fingers crossed we get over our blip soon πŸ™‚

  9. Hey Sarah

    We’ve had a few classes now with the little lady and she still cries in every one. Heart breaking, but it does seem to be decreasing week on week. We’re not quite sure what it is – whether she doesn’t like the water, weather the pool area is too warm (it’s pretty humid) or whether she gets cold towards the end (even though its a hydrotherapy pool). It’s confusing because she loves having a bath and always has. Our swimming teacher questioned whether she was teething one week which is a possibility as she has been teething on and off for a few months now. Either way, we’re going to continue the term as we’ve paid up to April but one of the other mums that is into her second term encouraged us to persevere as her little boy was very similar and took a full term to get settled in and is now great in the pool. I’m hoping that maybe it just takes some children longer than others. Perhaps as toby has grown and become more aware of his surroundings he is perhaps not as sure of swimming as he was? Hopefully it is just a slight wobble and he’ll be back on track soon!

  10. Pingback: Toby swims again! (An update) | Toby Goes Bananas

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