Wednesday is our day for swimming classes. I started taking Amelia to swimming lessons when she was 6 weeks old in London.We have gone every week since.In the first few years of your baby’s life they experience a huge development as their brain grows much faster than in later years. Introducing your baby to water from an early age helps them avoid the traumatic experience that older children sometimes suffer when introduced to water later on. More importantly it is believed that babies who learn key life saving skills from an early age, many of whom can swim by as young as 2 years old, whilst not drown proof, have a much greater regard for water and are safer around it. It enables them to make new brain connections and strengthen their learning through exercise and stimulation.
Introducing babies to swimming,aids and improves babies and children’s development in many areas such as: physically, intellectually, language development, emotionally and socially.
In London we were lucky enough to go to a purpose built baby swimming pool,it was lovely and warm,and perfect for her first introduction to the water.
Allowing Amelia to attend swimming classes from such a young age,for me has been about water safety,awareness and lastly learning to swim.She allows us to pour water over her face washing her hair,without a tear in sight.Amelia will kick and splash around the pool for half an hour,prompted by kick,kick,kick and swim,swim,swim. Jumping/falling into the pool with help from me,and is happy to be submersed a couple of times in our half hour lessons.What I want Amelia to gain from her classes is, confidence,respect and a love of water.
Many people are a bit cautious of bringing their babies into a pool prior to their full set of vaccinations,however the WHO (World Health Organisation), recommended they get used to water from an early age,and that having full set of vaccinations is not needed.Some leisure facilities may suggest that babies shouldn’t go swimming until they have had all of their jabs. However, this advice probably dates back to when polio was common and people were concerned it could spread in busy places like public swimming pools.
My Top 10 Tips for Taking Your Babies Swimming:
1)Ensure they have a sleep and food 40 mins prior to lesson.
2)Bring two towels for baby,1 for coming out of the pool and 1 to dry baby off. Don’t forget your towel and underwear!I go with my swimsuit on,makes it a lot easier.
3)I never use baby powder on Amelia (because of risk of respiratory problems,research studies have shown),however after swimming I use a little,it helps dry her quicker.
4)Invest in a “Happy Nappy”,from Splash About see here, a double lined reusable swimming nappy,can be used with or without a swimming nappy (I use a Huggies swimming nappy inside).In London I used a “Happy Nappy” bottoms,the pool we use in Ireland is cooler,so use their swimsuit,which is also great for UV protection.
5)Ensure the facility has adequate changing facilities for babies and facilites for feeding post swim.
6)Bring a toy/something to distract them while you are getting changed.
7)Bring food/bottle or of breast feeding be prepared,babies generally can be hungry after their session and will avoid a crying baby in the car home.
8)Be disciplined and bring them regularly once you start,as it takes a while for them to get used to the water.
9)Don’t give up,most babies will love it after a few lessons.
10)Enjoy it,you may not have the next Dan Hope in the pool,but it will be a life experience your child will have forever.