We all know that those early experiences in life are crucial to the developing mind. Everyone wants their child to thrive, and gently introducing them to a variety of experiences in the early years can help enormously. Baby swim lessons might just be what you need to give your child that opportunity to master a useful skill, to socialise and to conquer a new environment.
Babies are naturals in the water. For the first 6 months of their lives, they still possess those strong instincts associated with being in the water. If you decide to bring your newborn to baby swim lessons, then here are a few pointers.
When can you introduce your baby to the water?
Straight away! Babies are naturals in the water! But you, as a mother, may have to wait a little longer. Experts say it takes around 6 weeks for the post-birth bleeding to stop. The body gradually rids itself of the lining of the uterus in the weeks after birth and bleeding can continue for some time. Until this process is complete, you run a higher risk of infection, so it’s always best to wait.
If you’ve had a cesarean section, you may have to wait much longer, at least until after your postnatal checkup.
What to bring to baby swim lessons
First things first, and to avoid any embarrassing disasters, you’ll want to bring along swim nappies. Those natural tendencies aren’t reduced when in the water.
Babies can quickly get cold when they come out of the water, so having a towel with a hood or a bathrobe may be useful. Swimming can be intense for young babies. With limited energy, they quickly tire and become hungry. If your baby has already begun eating solids then bringing along some snacks is a good idea. There’s nothing worse than dealing with a hungry baby when you have nothing to feed them with.
If your baby has any sort of anxiety around entering the water, then bringing along some toys may help them to relax.
How to keep your baby safe in the water
The most important thing to look out for is the shivers. Babies can quickly become cold, especially upon leaving the water. They tend to lose heat quickly, much more so than adults, so wrapping them up once you notice the signs is important.
Incidentally, in the pool, the ideal water temperature for babies is about 32℃. Some pools are heated especially for babies. However, most public pools generally run a few degrees colder. If you have no choice in the matter, then you may want to invest in a baby wetsuit.
When introducing your baby to the water, start out slow. Perhaps as little as 10 minutes to begin with. Build it up slowly until you reach 30 minutes. By building slowly you give your baby time to acclimatise to the new environment without the feeling of overwhelm.
Babies get sick often, and whether it’s a fever, a tummy upset or something more serious, you should wait at least 48 hours after the sickness has subsided before taking your baby to the pool.
One further consideration is babies with skin conditions. Keep an eye out for an exacerbation of symptoms. If they become worse, then talk to your GP. it may be that excessive chlorine is the cause.
Can you take your baby swimming even if you can't?
Absolutely! You won’t be required to swim. Simply walking your baby around in the water at waist height will suffice. Being close at hand to offer support is often more than enough.
The experience of being in the water with your baby will help strengthen your bond, and that’s vital in the early part of life. The baby will initially be unfamiliar with the aquatic surroundings, but for them, having you close at hand, gently encouraging them, will be helpful. They’re being exposed to a new stimulus, all in a loving environment, and that’s just what they need at an early age!
What goes on at baby swim lesson?
It's not a case of what happens at the baby swim lesson stay at the baby swim lesson! Parents are always present, especially if the babies are very young.
Swim lessons are usually fun and instructors are trained to build on the natural affinity babies have for the water. Young babies generally have little trouble in adapting to the water, and many quickly move on to swimming underwater. This may be initially frightening for any parent, but fear not, babies hold their breath naturally in such circumstances. That instinct remains strong up to 6 months of age.
The first strokes