Your baby may have been born in water or you may be desperate to get that first water experience but you have no idea where to start! Yes, lessons are a great idea but it’s the summer holidays so no classes are running….here is a little guide on how to get started!
The bath is a lovely place to start and even though you may have bought a special baby bath the best thing to do is fill up a nice warm (around 35-36 °C) deep bath and get in it with your baby. They can move around in water in ways it’ll take months for them to do on land so gently swish them around in the water and float them on their backs which they love at the age. It’s a beautiful bonding experience too and is so easy to do in the early days when they are so tiny.
You can start immediately from birth by sprinkling water on their hair and face using a little cup or just your hands. This is the starting point to submerging your baby which you will learn more about in lessons and we do not advise you submerge in the bath. Getting babies familiar with water on their face is really important and can prevent any fear or uncertainty that may start to come in later. If they wrinkle their nose or have a little cry then don’t give up. Just wait until the next time you bathe and take it really slowly, all babies are very different so you are the best to gauge how slowly to take it.
During lessons we use cues to inform babies they are about to have water poured on their face and this leads to their first real submersion into the water. So in the bath you can increase the length of time you pour water on their faces to prepare them for their lessons. All swim schools use different cues but ours is “123 under” followed by a pour on the face (see video link on this page) This is the starting point to your babies swimming journey.
If you are lucky enough to have access to a warm pool the recommended temperature for a baby under 12 lbs or 12 weeks is 32 °C so you can do all this in the pool too! You can expect them to last about 15 minutes in the water and get them well wrapped and dry quickly afterwards. You’ll certainly find they are thirsty immediately afterwards too so be prepared!
Hope this was useful and most importantly enjoy these first few weeks bonding with your baby in the water. Time goes too quickly!