Baby swimming is a lovely activity for Mum to do whilst on maternity leave. Swimming with your baby isn’t just fun, because of all the skin-to-skin contact, it’s also a terrific bonding activity to enhance the connection between you and your little one. It is an opportunity to meet and socialise and make new friends with other like minded mums in a very friendly environment whilst teaching you baby valuable skills. Mums will also get a gentle work out in the water too which is a added bonus, helping mum ease back to former fitness levels.
Baby swimming is very therapeutic for both mum and baby and some parents have said how it has helped their postnatal depression, as gentle exercise has a positive effect on mood and sense of wellbeing.
Swimming can benefit both your baby’s strength and coordination but the most obvious benefit of teaching your child to swim is its potential life-saving swimming skills. There are numerous additional benefits of infant swimming, perhaps the most important of these are;
- Enhances general health & awareness
- Enhances eating and sleeping patterns
- Encourages physical, social & psychological development
- Strengthens cardio-respiratory functions
- Develops strength, stamina & agility
- It’s Fun & Social!
What age can you start swimming lessons with your baby?
The answer to this is whenever you the parent is ready to start. It is never too early or late to take swim lessons as you can begin from only a few weeks old in a hydrotherapy pool. Some swim progammes require babies to be under 12months which may make you feel a bit left out. Babies loose that natural their mammalian reflex anytime between 7- 9 months so it is good to get them in early to capitalise on this. However, you can start lessons when your baby is over 12months, toddlers are a bit more aware of their surroundings so a different approach will be required and a responsive swim teacher to work at the child’s pace.
What should you bring to the pool?
- NeoNappy or Happy Nappy (neoprene swim nappy)
- Disposable water proof nappy
- Baby Wetsuit
- Nappy bag, clean nappy & creams etc. changing mat too.
- A snack for after the swim. Swimming makes babies hungry!
- Your own towels and a hooded towel for your baby – Always bring a towel poolside to maintain the children’s body temperature after swimming, preferably one with a hood, or a towelling dressing gown.
- Swim Cap for you (baby won’t need one)
- Swimwear and towel for you
- A hat for baby/toddler for all seasons.
- To avoid any accidents in the pool babies must wear a double system, by this we mean an aqua nappy this can be disposable or one that can be washed and a Happy Nappy or NeoNappy. The swimming nappy should be snug around the thighs and tummy. We strongly advise you to use a Happy Nappy or NeoNappy over the swim nappy, to ensure no leaks this ensures our pools are a safe and clean place for all our Aquababies!
- We would recommend that any infant under one wear a little wet suit that is tight fitting around the core of the body to keep them warm as most little ones do not have enough body fat to keep them warm just yet.
What is the safest way change your baby at the pool?
If there is not a dedicated baby changing area, it is advisable to change your baby on the floor on a suitable changing mat as babies could easily roll onto the floor from raised benches. Do make sure that you dry the children’s hair and wrap them up well in the cold weather to keep them warm when they leave the venue. Young children will often sleep very well after a swimming session – an added bonus!
How long should I wait to swim after feeding your child?
We recommend that you leave at least an hour before feeding your child before you swim.
Children do get hungry after swimming, so bring a snack or offer them a milk feed for after the swim.
Does my baby have to have completed all immunisations before going to baby swimming classes?
It is perfectly safe for babies to start swimming from birth before having their immunisations. The diseases babies are vaccinated against are not carried in water. Babies can be taken swimming at any time regardless of where they are with their immunisation schedule. This is based on the recommendations of the HSE.
Is submerging my little one in the water safe?
Yes it is safe but only with a qualified swim teacher who specialises in baby and preschoolers but this should not be the only focus. If a child is any way distressed then do not submerge them.
Baby & Toddler swim expert Deirdre Casey
Dee is a and mum of three young children and a qualified swimming teacher with Internationally recognised qualifications from the STA (Swimming teachers association) in baby and pre-school (birth-3years);
Co founder of AquaKiddies/babies Ireland with her husband Phil. We aim to provide positive associations with swimming and the lessons are informative, friendly and lots of fun. We teach basic water safety and confidence techniques we are more than simply a splash and fun class – we aim to lay the foundations of future swimming.
Along with our completed extensive training and continuing professional development with STA and Swim Ireland we have extensive hands on experience with hundreds of babies & Toddlers in the pool each week.
So what are you waiting for? For more information visit www.aquababies.ie or contact 018532989 or email firstname.lastname@example.org