Benefits of Infant Swimming

Are you planning to take your little one to the pool and give her some swim lessons? Well, that definitely sounds like a fun bonding session. As babies get to splash some water around, they love a good pool time. Additionally, it’s never too soon to start building new skills in your little one. But as a parent, there might be some questions in your mind regarding infant swimming, right? Worry not, we’ve got you covered! Read on to discover at what age your baby can start swimming, the benefits of infant swimming and how to prepare for your baby’s first swim.

When Can Babies Go Swimming for the First Time?

You might be surprised to learn that there is no minimum recommended age for taking your baby to the swimming pool. That’s right, even newborns can start learning to swim.

However, although it’s theoretically possible to start teaching newborn babies to swim from birth, it’s more common for baby swimming lessons to be offered from three months old or a bit later.

There’s no need to rush if you feel your infant isn’t ready yet. As a rough guide, you can usually take your baby swimming when he or she feels more or less comfortable and at home in the water.

Playful, splashy bath times are a great way to help your little one get acquainted with the water before venturing out for you and your baby’s first ‘swim’ together.

It’s not recommended to just jump into the pool with your baby though. Professionally supervised adult and child sessions are the safest way to help your infant get used to being in the water with you and other people. At these sessions, you’ll also learn how to safely support your baby in the water.

To be on the safe side, always check with your doctor before taking the plunge and signing up for baby swimming lessons, and remember to never leave your baby unsupervised in or near water whether it’s the bath at home or the pool at your local aquatics centre.

What Are The Benefits Of Infant Swimming?

You might be wondering whether swimming is good for babies or not. Well, it is! If you and your little one enjoy the experience of being in the water, there are plenty of reasons and benefits associated with infant swimming. These benefits are:

  • Improved Coordination and Balance:

    With the water supporting your baby’s body (with a little help from you, of course), he or she is free to focus on maintaining balance. Babies and toddlers who take part in baby swim lessons may also find it easier to develop good motor skills, balance and coordination on dry land too.

  • Muscle Strength:

    Baby swimming is a great way of helping your little water baby strengthen all his or her muscles.

  • Bonding:

    In the swimming pool, all your attention is focused on your baby and there are no distractions. Add the fun of playing and splashing about in the water, and there’s potential for plenty of unforgettable moments together. It’s also a great opportunity for your partner, a grandparent or other close family member to bond with your baby.

  • Exercising the Heart, Lungs and Brain:

    It’s not only muscles and joints that benefit from infant swimming. The exercise your baby gets from moving and floating in the pool strengthens the heart and lungs too. In fact, it can even give brain development a boost.

  • Sound Sleep:

    You might notice an improvement in your baby’s sleep pattern after starting baby swimming – all that splashing about can really tire your child out.

  • Growth in Appetite:

    The combination of gentle exercise and warm water can make your little one hungry. If you aren’t exclusively breastfeeding your infant, have a snack or bottle handy for after the baby swimming session.

  • Confidence in The Water:

    Baby swimming sessions can help your infant build up confidence in and around water. And, if you aren’t a confident swimmer yourself, helping your baby or toddler to explore this new environment may also boost your own water confidence.

How Do You Choose the Right Baby Swimming Lessons?

Good professional supervision is essential, both for safety reasons and to help ensure a positive and enjoyable baby swimming experience for you and your budding mermaid or merman.

To be sure, choose baby swimming lessons run by an instructor who’s been specifically trained to teach babies and toddlers, with a nationally recognised qualification.

The swimming school should also ensure that a trained lifesaver and first-aid provider is available throughout the infant swimming lessons.

Young babies aren’t as good at regulating their own body temperature as older children and adults, so the temperature of the pool is important:

Ask your local aquatics centre if they offer parent-child swimming lessons, or ask your doctor for advice on where to find classes in your area.

What Happens at Baby Swimming Lessons?

At baby swimming lessons a specially trained instructor will use games, songs and other fun activities to help your baby build up confidence and feel comfortable moving around and floating in the water.

You (and/or your partner) will be in the pool as well, to support your baby and share in the aquatic fun. Don’t worry if you aren’t a great swimmer yourself. You won’t need to do any actual swimming – you’ll be there to hold and reassure your little one.

As the weeks and months go by and your child becomes more capable, he or she will gradually be introduced to basic aquatic skills such as floating and moving in the water and getting in and out of the pool safely.

For a more specific idea of what will happen at each lesson, don’t be afraid to ask the instructor for this kind of information. He or she will be able to give you a rough idea of how water skills are taught and built up over time.

What Does a Baby Need for Swimming?

If your little one isn’t potty or toilet-trained, you’ll need to stock up on swim diapers meant for infants. At certain places, you may be asked to use a double nappy system for baby swim lessons. This consists of disposable swim diapers and neoprene diapers worn over the top of this, with the snug-fitting waist and leg cuffs.

Each swimming school and pool may have different requirements, so it’s always best to check in advance what you need to bring and what’s provided by the school. Here are some of the essentials you might need to take with you when you take your baby swimming:

  • Swimming costume or trunks for you (and your child if appropriate/needed)

  • Towels – for you and your baby

  • Swim diapers

  • Nappy changing gear including a changing mat

  • Floats/armbands (unless provided by the swimming school)

  • Swimming cap or hat (if required by the pool)

  • Money/coins for lockers (if needed)

  • Shampoo, shower gel

  • Hair clips/bands (if needed)

  • An after-swim snack or feed for your hungry baby or toddler.

The Bottom Line

Infant swimming is a great way to build confidence within your baby, thereby enabling him to become a swimming champ! But remember that even though it’s safe to take your little one to the pool at any age, you must check with the baby’s doctor first.

Once you get an all-clear sign from the doctor, your baby is all set for his swim lessons. Mind you, these should be conducted by or under the supervision of a trained professional. With all these points checked out, you and your little one can have lots of fun splashing water around and having the time of your life.

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