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Getting your baby used to water is very important - taking them for a swim as soon as you are able can make them more confident in the water, more relaxed and open to learning to swim a few years down the road. It's good exercise for Mums and a great reason to get out of the house when you have a new baby. However, beyond all these benefits (and certainly not belittling them) is the wonderful twenty minutes you can spend with your baby or toddler being really close, playing games and having fun!
Tips for having fun in the pool with a baby
- Have a practice run... play some games and sing songs together in the bath!
- Try to go to the pool off-peak. Avoid loud water aerobics lessons or school swimming lessons.
- When you get in the pool for the first time, start gently by sitting yourself on the side of the pool and do some gentle splashing.
- Once you get in, keep baby close and sprinkle water on his back and arms.
- Keep plenty of eye contact, hold baby close to your body at all times and keep your face near her.
- When you are more confident, move baby through the water, cradling and supporting at all times and keep them close to you. Lots of body contact feels great in the water for you and for baby too!
- The weightlessness of swimming feels lovely for baby too - so enjoy moving through the pool together focusing on the unusual properties of water and how it changes how you both feel!
When to get out
- As soon as your baby begins to shiver, get them out and wrap in a towel.
- Only start with short sessions to begin with - about 10 minutes may be enough. Remember, you're not looking for value for money - you're introducing your little one to swimming! Certainly if your baby is under one don't stay longer than thirty minutes.
- Don't go if your baby is unwell or has a cold.
- Check with your GP if your baby has dry skin or nappy rash. Swimming may help or may irritate some conditions.
Dry your baby well and keep them warm after a swim. Enjoy the time together and be as close and as cuddly you can.