A lot of parents have a feeling that babies and swimming is not a great idea.
Basically, parents do not have sufficient knowledge about the various circumstances involved in babies swimming or they are just outright scared.
The fact is that, infant or baby swimming is becoming more and more popular these days, especially with more professionals encouraging parents to start swimming with their baby.
As a new parent, it is natural to have lots of questions in your mind when it comes to taking your baby swimming.
So, here are answers to some of the most common questions parents have:
How soon can I introduce my baby to swimming?
This is perhaps the most common question parents have.
While there are swimming schools that recommend that babies can be introduced to swimming as early as four to six weeks, the widely recommended age is from six months to one year.
Babies are capable of learning to hold their breath right from when they are just six months old.
Starting early will have a lot of positive effects on the physical health of your baby.
Physical activities like swimming help in the development of your child’s motor skills, promote eye-hand coordination, and promote many other areas of child development.
Apart from all this, what really matters is when you feel comfortable taking your baby along for swimming.
If you feel that your baby is ready, and you and your partner would like to bond with your newborn, you can start early.
Can I start the process at home or should I sign up at a swimming school?
This really depends on your skills and budget.
It would naturally be easy to start training your child in water from the comfort of your home.
This will most certainly work if you or your partner are expert swimmers and know how to handle an infant in the pool.
Yes, there are a lot of resources available online and also instructional DVDs available at local stores that will give you the basic idea.
However, it is best to first consult with a professional instructor and learn a few things from them before taking up the task.
If you can afford, signing up at a local swimming school would be the best option.
Should my baby be immunized before swimming?
You can take your baby swimming both before and after they are immunized.
It is totally safe to take your little one swimming any time you like.
Most public pools follow proper procedures for water treatment and other regulations that significantly reduce the risk of transmitting infectious diseases.
However, if you are still hesitant, consult with your pediatrician and also check if your baby has allergies before his or her first swim.
What should I bring for the swim?
This question applies to those taking their baby to a public pool.
The top of your list should be good quality swim nappies.
When it comes to swim nappies, you have two options: disposable and reusable nappies.
Many parents prefer using both together, with a reusable swim nappy on the outside and a disposable one on the inside.
In addition, you may also bring:
- Your little one’s very own swimming costume.
- A warm bottle, if you are bottle feeding, to feed the baby after the swim.
- A hooded towel to wrap your baby in as soon as they are out of the water.
- Babies get hungry after a swim. If your baby has started solid food, bring a snack.
- A few of your baby’s favorite bath toys to keep them interested and to make the atmosphere fun and relaxed.
- A changing mat, so that you can change your baby right on the floor and prevent potential accidents.
How long should be the gap between feeding and swimming?
If you are breastfeeding, there should be no issues feeding your baby just before the swim, and also in the middle, if need be.
In the case of solid foods, it is recommended that you feed them up to one hour before the swim.
How can I protect my baby in the water?
- First of all, make sure that the swimming pool is sufficiently warm. The ideal temperature for babies under six months is 32oC.
If you are going to a public pool, you can always ask the pool attendants to check the temperature for you.
- Start off with 10 minute sessions and then gradually increase to 20 minutes and more.
If your baby is less than a year old, their maximum time in the pool should be 30 minutes.
- Babies always lose their body heat quickly than us, so leaving them in the pool for a long time should be avoided.
If your baby starts to shiver, get her out of the water immediately and wrap her up in a towel.
- If your baby has fever, cold, or any other illness, don’t take her swimming. This also applies to when she has diarrhea.
- As mentioned before, check with your GP or pediatrician to make sure that your baby doesn’t have any allergies.
Even if she has no allergies, give her a quick rinse after the swim and apply baby moisturizer all over.
What if my baby cries in the pool?
There are numerous reasons for your baby crying in the water.
For any baby, the whole public pool environment with all the noises and distractions will be completely new, and so will be the feeling of water.
All you need to do is stay positive and give your baby some time to cope with her surroundings. Leave the rest to the professional helping you.
I would like to teach my baby swimming by myself. Any tips?
Your very first step towards making your baby ready for water is to make her bathtime fun.
While giving her a bath, gently splash water on her body and encourage her to play with water.
When you are planning on your first visit to the public pool, make sure that you choose off peak hours.
Take someone with you, whether it is your partner, a friend or a family member, so you feel confident and relaxed, because this will reflect on your baby.
When you are in the pool, at home or at a public pool:
- Always maintain eye contact with your baby and hold her close to you at all times.
- Keep talking to her and applaud her.
- Throw in some of her favorite bath toys and let her play with them. Place the toys at a feet distance from each other and take your baby through the water to retrieve them one by one.
- Teach her how to blow bubbles by putting your mouth under water.
Take her head on your shoulder, lay her on her back, and encourage her to kick her legs.