Lots of people don’t realise that you can actually take your baby swimming from birth, it’s an incredible activity to do with them from a really young age. Some people will remember that babies used to be advised not to go in the water until after their jabs – this is an old wives tale! If you can get access to a warm pool (over 32c) and you have a dinky swim nappy then we would definitely advise you to give it a go, newborn swimming lessons are a beautiful thing to watch and a lovely thing to experience as a new parent. They have a calm and relaxed atmosphere, and all the additional skin to skin contact is amazing for babies.
When you take you baby swimming for the first time, we would advise that you should do around 10-20 minutes in your first session and build up from there. Be careful to watch for blue lips as babies do not tend to shiver from cold at this age, if they look a little cold then wrap them up quickly in a towel to warm them up. We often find that a larger towel is useful as some baby towels can be a bit too small for them.
At such a tender age when they need parents complete attention and lots of close contact, you can use the water to move around supporting them whilst letting their legs dangle, and you might even see some little kicks from your baby. With the right lessons and supervision you can go under water with them as babies have an amazing reflex at this age which prevents water entering their lungs, so this is the perfect time to show them how safe and calming the water can be. As they grow and develop we bring lots of fun activities and songs into lessons but for our newborns it’s all about gentle swishing through the water and lots of cuddles with Mum or Dad.
To help prepare for swimming it is a great idea to run really deep baths and get in with your baby, when they are so tiny you have a great opportunity to use the bath as your own swimming pool! This will help babies to get used to the feel of the warm water on their skin. Most babies instantly love the water but some aren’t quite as sure, so using the bath can help to prepare them for their first trip to the pool.
Most importantly, when you do take them swimming for the first time whether it’s a lesson or to a public swimming pool – try to relax and enjoy it. If you’re relaxed then baby will be too ?