Swimming with your baby is a great way to have fun, get some exercise and get them used to being in the water from an early age. There are many benefits for both you and your baby:
Teaching Water Safety
Your child will learn how to swim to the side of the pool, hold on, and eventually, to climb out. Drowning is the third most common cause of accidental death in children under 5, and learning these safety skills really could save their life.
Swimming provides a complete workout for babies, children and adults alike, working the heart, lungs and muscles to build strength and coordination.
Boost the bond between you and your child with skin-to-skin contact, and spend time focusing soley on them. Gaining water confidence and increasing independence are great for your baby’s overall mental health and wellbeing.
It’s generally recommended that you wait until your baby is 6 weeks old before introducing them to the pool, to reduce the risk of infection. Many parents choose to save swimming until the baby has received their early immunisations at about 2 months old, however there is nothing to stop you taking your child swimming right from birth if you wish.
Babies under about 12 months old are not able to regulate their own body temperatures, so it’s best to take them to a pool that is heated to about 32 degrees, or a pool offering special baby swimming sessions. Large public swimming pools will generally be too cold for very young babies. If your baby starts to shiver or look cold, it’s time to get out and wrap them up warmly. Keep your swimming sessions short to begin with, about 10 minutes, and gradually increase the time.
Don’t rely on inflatable floatation aids such as rubber rings and arm bands to keep your child safe in the water. Many swimming teachers say these inhibit movement and give a false sense of security in the pool. While the two of you get used to being in the water together, hold your baby close, talk to them, reassure them and have fun in the pool.
Things To Do With Your Baby In The Swimming Pool
- Hold your baby close to begin with, but when you’re both confident, extend your arms and move baby around in the water.
- Splash and play with toys. Let your baby get used to water splashing on his face, and even going underwater too.
- Encourage your baby to kick their legs as you move them through the water.
- Practise blowing bubbles in the water – you can’t accidently inhale water if you’re blowing out, so this is a good skill for babies to learn.
If you’re not confident in the water yourself this is a fantastic opportunity for you and your baby to learn and enjoy swimming together, or you could always consider taking them to specialised baby swimming lessons, where a qualified teacher will support you both in the water.