It’s the holiday season again and your kids are free from the ‘shackles’ of school work (well, most of us saw school work as bondage. Didn’t you?) Their expertise right now is running around all day and driving the grown-ups crazy.
The sad thing is that these grownups can’t use the threat of homework to get the kids to be quiet. I believe you are thinking of how to keep them busy; where to take them to.
There’s a long list of places that the whole family can go to and one of them is the cool and peaceful poolside or the breezy seaside. Are you thinking about baby bathing suit shopping already?
So, let’s say you listen to my expert advice(tongue-in-cheek) and decide to take the kids to the pool, the first thing that comes to mind is the appropriate pool or water outfit.
You say to yourself, “next time I’m at the kiddies’ wear section, I’ll just pick up something cute and colorful – maybe something that goes with my own bikini; the pink bikini”. You may be thinking of a family swimming outfit with a pink panther theme. Cute!
What you might not realize is that shopping for kiddies swimwear involves considering other factors that don’t come up when you are shopping for adult swimwear. I mean, you’re not particularly trying to accentuate their curves and hide folds, right?
Why are we here?
Is this you? Did you realize that you’ve made the poor choice of selecting your baby’s favorite color or your family color but the bathing suit does not tick all the right boxes? You got to the beach and see they look cute but you’re not satisfied because the sand probably doesn’t wash off easily.
Maybe it’s that your baby is uncomfortable in it and you found yourself struggling to change your little pumpkin’s nappies. This meant taking the suit off halfway through the fun. Well, screw our beautiful pink panther theme.
If you are at a loss on what factors you should consider as a priority when choosing a baby bathing suit, come and sit with me, we’re kin spirits.
This is the very reason we prepared this guide for you. This is me holding your hand and going back to that kiddies’ section and telling you the things to look out for when buying baby bathing suits.
I will be showing you the things people don’t usually think of when making the purchase. I’ll be telling you why you should look out for these things and why I’m sure you’re going to be satisfied with the results.
Factors To Consider When Buying Baby Bathing Suits
This is the first factor you must consider. We don’t want suits that will restrict their movements or suits with straps that will dig into their skin and make them uncomfortable.
Straps can be very pretty, though. But comfort trumps pretty when shopping for the little ones. That’s what I’m saying.
We want swimwears that will resist wear and wash for at least a year. It’s always lovely to see frills and shiny beads and nets and ruffles on baby outfits but how long will they stay on?
How long before the threads start coming apart and the seams start to fray, and the swimwear starts to look like it was sand-papered? So yes, we can go for lovely baby bathing suits, but we must ask, “how long will they last?”
Ease of washing
At the beach, children are not expected to sit down quietly. They are expected to move around, play and get dirty. It’s usually so stressful washing their outfits and since we can’t limit their extent of play, what we can do is use material that is easy to wash.
When choosing your baby bathing suit, the sun must be put into consideration. We know that sunscreen is not an option as it is not recommended for certain age groups. So, instead of exposing the baby to potentially harmful chemicals, we can select UV absorbent bathing suit material that covers most of the skin.
UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) ratings can usually be seen on the outfit label. It indicates how much of the sun’s radiation is absorbed by the fabric. A UPF rating of 40-50+ indicates excellent UV protection.
The 50+ rating means that the fabric will only allow 1/50th of the radiation from the sun to pass through it. This protection is only conferred to the areas covered by the fabric.
Yes, this might be a trivial consideration, but children’s swimwear must be colorful with warm and vibrant cute colors and stylish prints.
Ease of removal
Most of the kids below 4 aren’t potty trained but they will still need their swim diapers. Sometimes, in the middle of the fun, a child may need a diaper change and we wouldn’t want to start taking the whole suit off. This is where clip-on buttons and zippers and adjustable straps come in.
Sometimes, the suit comes with front zippers which make the outfit easy to pull off. And then some of them have zippers running through the entire length of the suit, from top to bottom which means you can take out the diaper without pulling off the whole outfit.
Try buying suits with zippers rather than those with plastic clip-on. This is because, during active play, the plastic snaps may open, exposing your baby to the harsh sun. Sometimes the kid themselves play with the clip-on, snapping them open. I recommend suits with zipper because they’re easy to take off and still, your child’s skin is protected at all times.
Buying a swimsuit that’s a size bigger with the hopes that your child will grow into it is a big no-no. In fact, through the seasons, swimwear fabrics can stretch and expand. While I don’t advice tight swimwears or loose ones, it’s usually better to go with smaller sized ones. But hopefully, it doesn’t come to this.
On the child, the straps should not be so loose that the suit slides down the shoulder of the child, neither should they be so tight that they dig into the skin.
There are a lot of options for fabrics and this is dependent on what your priorities are. Most fabrics have their pros and cons. We will come to this later.
However, most of the best and durable swimwears are made from polyester sometimes combined with lycra. This is because the fabric retains its color and is resistant to chlorine.
Other Points To Note
When ordering baby bathing suits online, it’s usually better to order a size higher because most of the suits for kids are a size smaller than advertised. They usually come in ranges e.g. 1-3 months. If your child is 3 months old, order the 4-6 months version.
Remember these ranges are based on average baby sizes, so if your little one is a bit above the average size then don’t risk it, go a size higher.
Another thing people forget is beachwear is different from pool wear. So, while swimsuits with floats are best when your child is practising those early strokes, at the beach, a child with beach sand is more of a castle builder than a prospective Olympic swimmer. At the beach, the floats might restrict movement.
Now, back to fabrics and all you need to know about them.
Picking out swimwear based on fabric.
The ideal swimwear is
• Resistant to chlorine(chlorine tends to fade out colors)
• Comfortable and stretchy, for freedom of play
• Long lasting
• Retains shape and fit over much use and several washes
• Quick-drying and light
Lycra material is used as a fabric for bathing suits because it is quick drying, this means that you don’t have to worry about the beach sand clinging relentlessly to the material. This can be a nuisance during washing.
Lycra also moves well with the body and is soft and comfy. However, it does not withstand wear as well as either nylon or polyester. Over time, it loses its form and becomes baggy.
Polyester is another good material to look out for because it is chlorine resistant and doesn’t wash out as quickly as other materials. However, it is thicker and less breathable.
It’s inexpensive, light and strong but after UV and chlorine exposure, it tends to fade. Over time, the elasticity tends to wear thin.
There is, therefore, no “best” fabric but combinations of the above give the best swimwear. And you can pick fabric based on what’s most important to you. When in doubt, a polyester/spandex blend is a good choice because it is great for holding shape and is most durable.
Another important point is that spandex is just a cool name for lycra. Aha! Now, you know.
Types Of Baby Bathing Suits
Now, I must tell you that baby bathing suits come in different forms. Here are the most common ones:
One-piece baby bathing suits
As the name implies, these swimwear covers both the trunk and the genitalia in one continuous piece from neck to hem. It is mostly worn by female kids, not due to gender roles but because the crotch area might restrict the male genitals and make the baby uncomfortable.
This is actually a 2-piece swimwear hence the prefix “bi”. It has a top section separated from the bottom.
You want the coverage that comes with wearing a one-piece suit without the inconvenience of pulling the whole outfit off when your child wants to pee, the tankini is for you. This swimwear is the combination of a tank-top and a bikini bottom and covers the body like a one-piece suit.
This is a shirt usually made of spandex, nylon, and polyester. Both the material and surface area of coverage are specifically to protect the skin from rashes caused by sunburn.
The material itself is designed to absorb only a specific amount of UV light and you can tell the extent of absorption with the UPF rating.
This is a close fitted garment usually made of rubber, they typically cover the entire body.
Care Of Your Baby Bathing Suit
So, you’ve got the perfect baby swimsuit, next thing is to make sure it remains perfect for as long as possible. Here are some points to note:
The label on the swimwear tells you how best to wash the material based on the fabric type, try to follow instructions.
Hand wash materials that should be hand washed and use the machine when this is permitted. However, as a rule of thumb, it’s never a good idea to use the washing machine, even with the gentle tumble setting.
Immediately after your nice time at the pool, rinse the swimsuits in clean water to wash off the chlorine from the pool. This, in turn, prevents damage of the wear.
It’s usually tempting to wring out the bathing suit but resist that temptation. This is for obvious reasons. Most swimsuits are made with some combination of spandex and wringing makes the suit stretch and lose form and elasticity.
So, when you hand wash don’t wring it out and of course, I have to add, don’t use the machine dryer either.
Remember, your baby bathing suit must dry out. Never put it in the wardrobe while it’s damp because mildew could grow on it and this leads inevitably to damage.
Damp suits are cozy spots for nasty infections. Here’s something you could do: use a hair dryer to dry the suit. And because this has to be said, no, don’t use the hot air option. That’ll stretch out the spandex.
It’s always wise to alternate between swimsuits so that one has time to recover while you’re stretching out the other.
Never wash your baby bath suit in hot water. Remember for bathing suits, heat is bad. Some people do this as some form of disinfection but no, you’re ruining the material more than you’re helping anyone.
Do not use detergent on your baby’s swimsuit as most of them are too harsh. A mild soap, under running tap water, will do. That’s enough to wash off chlorine and seawater.
If you’ve read this guide up to this point, then congratulations! you’re now an expert in baby bathing suits selection. Yippee!
If you apply the tips, I can assure you that you’ll pick out the best swimwear that’ll have your baby standing out for a long time. I know I’ve been a good guide and you’re the better for it. So, Yes, you’re welcome (I accept your ‘thank you’).