Getting your baby used to water as early as possible is not only beneficial from a safety point of view, but it’s also great exercise, lots of fun and the perfect way for you to spend time together.
Most swimming schools will do classes with you and your baby from when he is 6 weeks old. It’s advised you stay out of the water until then to reduce risk of infection and if you had a ceaser, it’s best to get approval from your gynaecologist before taking the plunge. He might advise you wait a bit longer for your stitches to heal.
Once you and baby are ready to hit the water, here are a few things to remember:
If baby is younger than 6 months old, only take him into a pool that’s heated to 32 degrees C. Big public pools are cold and a bit overwhelming for young babies, so stick to baby swimming lessons until he is older.
– Buy swimmer nappies. They are quite expensive, but you can reuse them. Just rinse them out after use and hang them on the line.
– Take along a towel with a hood, so when you take baby out of the water you can wrap him up and keep the cold air away from his head.
– If baby has started on solids, take a snack along for after the lesson. Swimming is hungry and thirsty work.
– Remember to relax. If you are confident and happy then baby will be too. If bath time is fun, then he will have positive associations with water and it will be easier to get him used to the sensation of swimming.
– If you are nervous around water and not a confident swimmer, then perhaps take a few swims on your own, this will help you get used to the surrounds and build up your skills.
– Baby swimming classes will take you through the steps and provide you with a controlled environment and the opportunity to meet other mums. They are a great way to build up both yours and baby’s skills in the water.
– Baby swimming classes are normally between 10 and 15 minutes and help teach baby skills through play. Young babies are born able to do simple swimming strokes and the teacher will build on these natural reflexes.
Swimming lessons won’t “drown proof” your baby. No one is ever drown proof and your kids should always be under adult supervision around water. However, as your child learns more skills in the water, they should eventually have an increased chance of getting to safety should they fall in.
If you are interested in taking your baby or toddler to swimming classes, there are lots of great teachers around South Africa.
Swim with Tandy, Bergvliet, 021 712 7380
Swim Baby Swim, Tygervalley 082 080 4939
Candy Bubbles Aqua Centre, Sunninghill 082 804 2050
Tiny Tadpoles, Mulbarton, 084 555 7064
Little Nemos, Bluff, 072 660 2883
The Travelling Swim Coach, Durban North, 083 451 0756