Introducing your Baby to Swimming
Swimming for babies is one of the hottest topics of discussion in almost all mothers’ groups. If you are interested too in learning about the subject, read our guide on when to introduce your baby to swimming.
Swimming for babies is one of the hottest topics of discussion in almost all mothers’ groups. What is the age at which the baby should be introduced to swimming, is it safe for him to swim or will my baby enjoy swimming – these are some common questions that play on every mother’s mind.
If you have been racking your brains with these questions, keep on reading as we try to answer them here.
When to Start Swimming Lessons for Babies
Did you know that a newborn baby, if placed in water tummy-side, will move his arms and legs in a swimming motion? Newborns up to 6 months have a pair of reflexes that can make them appear to be naturally good swimmers. Well, it certainly doesn’t mean you leave an infant in a tub of water or pool unattended, but you can be sure that there are high chances your child will take to water quite easily if introduced to swimming from an early age.
However, most swimming classes and clubs do not encourage kids before 3 years, reasoning that most children before 3 years are too young to understand the instructions given to them. This puts them at the risk of drowning or developing a fear of water. Having said that, there are a few swimming clubs which promote toddler swimming. And there are some which allow babies as young as 6 months. However, it’s advisable to consult your paediatrician before starting swimming classes for your infant.
Baby Swimming Safety Tips
The following are some precautions to keep your child safe during swimming:
- Always check the temperature of the water before introducing your baby into the swimming pool. Lower him into the water only after making sure that the water is room temperature, warm or comfortable.
- Always make sure your baby is wearing floating devices like inflatable arms bands and rings in the pool.
- Always keep a towel/bathrobe handy. If you notice that your baby is shivering or his fingers are getting too wrinkly, immediately get him out of the pool and wrap him in the towel.
- Do not keep your child longer in the water than necessary. Start with short sessions of 10-15 minutes and go up to 20-30 minutes once his stamina builds up. For an infant, 30 minutes of swimming session is more than enough.
- If your baby is suffering from cold, fever or conjunctivitis, avoid swimming till he is fully recovered.
- If your baby has a skin-related problem, better check with your doctor, in case the condition worsens due to chlorinated water.
- Make your child (if he is not potty-trained) wear swimming diapers. This keeps the pool clean and hygienic.
Ideas to Help Your Baby Enjoy Swimming
- Instead of directly starting with the public pool, let your baby enjoy in a tub at home. Let him splash water all over and play around in the tub. This way, he will learn to enjoy the feel of water on his skin, and be comfortable with the idea of getting the water splashed on in a public pool.
- Take your baby to a public pool at a time when there are fewer people around. With too many people and splashing of water all over, your child might get frightened.
- Take him to the kiddie pool. When the baby or toddler realizes that his feet are touching the ground, he will feel more secure and comfortable.
- You can enroll for parent-baby or parent-toddler swimming classes, where you get to enjoy the pool with your baby. With you around, your baby will feel more secured.
- Take some pool toys like ball, ring and ducks, and throw them in the water. Now, walk your child through the water to retrieve them one by one.
- Show your baby how to blow bubbles under water. You can’t inhale water if you are blowing. This is a very important lesson for your child to learn.
Now that you are armed with all the information and precautions, all that remains is to introduce your baby to the water and enjoy watching him splash around.