Baby swimming is one of the most amazing experiences you can share with your baby!
Babies have a real affinity with water. They spend nine months in the womb, and more and more expectant mothers are now choosing a water birth as the most natural introduction to this world. Water is recognised as a warm, supportive environment during labour and provides a natural transition for your baby from the womb to the “outside world”.
Babies can be taken into the water from birth (Puddle Ducks welcomes babies in their classes from as young as a few weeks); they do not need to have completed their injections (as per advice from NHS) and very young babies love the freedom, massage and gentle exercise that the water offers.
Benefits of Baby Swimming
The benefits to both parent and baby of swimming together are immense and include:
- Plenty of eye contact
- Plenty of skin to skin contact – it’s a wonderful way to bond with your baby
- Helping you and your baby feel relaxed and confident in the water
- Makes swimming a fun and socially stimulating activity (for both you and your baby!)
- Quality bonding time
Even parents who can’t swim can enjoy relaxing in the swimming pool with their baby
Benefits of Baby Swimming Lessons for your Baby
There are further benefits for your baby too, especially if you join a fun, progressive baby swimming class:
- It is the only time your baby can be completely independent (when experiencing gentle submersions)
- Only in the water, can a baby move freely and develop actions they wouldn’t otherwise be able to in their first year of life. This gives “swimming babies” the opportunity to develop crucial higher brain functions, motor skills, core muscle development and co-ordination far earlier than they would otherwise be able to.
- Even though gentle, baby swimming classes provide a complete physical work-out; Baby swimming strengthens your baby’s heart, lungs and respiratory system, which again aids development of the brain
- Regular swimming often improves eating and sleeping patterns
- Learning to respond to key words (within a few months) can aid in your baby’s mental development, increasing levels of awareness and understanding as well as improve communication between you
- Regular baby swimming helps to improve your baby’s swimming skills and water confidence
- Encouraging a baby to take regular exercise from such a young age is also an extremely healthy routine to instil which may prevent childhood lethargy
But most importantly of all, swimming as a baby should instil a love of water for the rest of your child’s life.
How to Find the Right Baby Swimming Classes
Baby swimming is an entirely safe and gentle activity, but coming to classes often provides a parent with the necessary support to enable them to relax and enjoy the experience. Good teachers are trained to understand the needs of both parent and baby, and are also qualified in lifesaving and resuscitation skills.
Baby swim classes can vary, so take time to find a class that will give you the experiences that you want – whether this is just water familiarity or a more progressive approach; and whether the style of the class is relaxed and fun, or more formal and regimented. Puddle Ducks classes are full of carefully designed but simple activities, gentle submersions and are packed full of songs. Songs and rhymes provide gentle stimulation and are the most effective way to communicate with your baby. Repetition is fun, reassuring and promotes learning. Puddle Ducks classes are progressive with many children swimming 10m independently before they start school.
Most baby swimming classes run by a specialist follow a clear and progressive structure and will usually involve some underwater swimming for your baby. However, the emphasis should be on parents and their babies having fun, with no baby being forced to do anything against his or her wishes.
Baby Swimming Activities to do at Home
Even in the bath, there are some wonderful activities you can share with your baby. Your baby can enjoy floating on his or her back in the bath (ears in the water), or just lie back snuggling up to you. You can try sprinkling water over your baby’s tummy. You may even find your baby falls asleep! We don’t recommend trying to submerge your baby in the bath – it is too awkward and both you and your baby are likely to be upset by the experience. However, you can allow the water to lap around and over your baby’s face without any worries.
For more information about baby swimming and classes in your area, please visit www.puddleducks.com
I became passionate about baby swimming after taking my eldest daughter, Isabella, to classes when she was four months old. I have always been a keen swimmer and Isabella’s lessons quickly became the highlight of my week. I enjoyed baby swimming classes so much that I decided not to go back to my original HR career and starting teaching baby, toddler and pre-school swimming lessons instead. When the opportunity to own my own franchisee of children’s swimming lessons arose I thought this was a perfect opportunity and gave me a chance to offer swimming classes to 1,000’s of children across Oxfordshire.