Baby swimming: The rules and routines to follow
A little routine can help build your baby’s confidence in the water, here are our tips
Getting your baby into a good swimming routine can really help build confidence in the water – both for you and your baby. So once you get started, try and keep it going and you'll be helping your baby form a habit that lasts a lifetime.
Here's how to create and stick to a good swimming routine:
Put it in the diary
Make baby swimming a regular activity. Choose a good time to visit the pool and make it a weekly commitment.
The more hassle-free your pool visits are, the easier they will be to stick with. Find out when the best time to visit the pool is, make sure your bag is packed with all you need, and take a friend with you if you’re nervous about going alone.
Join a class
Signing up to a local baby swimming class is a great way to kick start your routine. Being part of a class will keep you motivated, as well as being a good way to learn new methods and meet other mums with babies of a similar age.
Form a habit
Babies learn well through repetitive behaviour. The more you swim, the happier and more confident your baby will become in the water. Not swimming for long periods will result in having to build up your little one's confidence all over again, so if you can stick to swimming regularly you'll have a budding water baby on your hands.
What to do in the pool
Once your little one's in a swim nappy and you're in your swimsuit, you're ready for some baby swimming - it's time to take the plunge!
How long should you stay in the pool?
On your first visit you may only stay in the water for 10 minutes and certainly while your baby is very young and you're both getting used to the experience, your time in the pool may be limited to 10-20 minutes on each visit.
As you both feel more comfortable in the water together, you can gradually spend more time in the water provided that your baby doesn't get too cold and is enjoying themselves.
How should you hold your baby in the water?
Lay your baby on a towel by the poolside while you lower yourself into the water. Once you're in, cuddle your little one close to you or hold them under the arms with your fingers supporting their head as you slowly move through the water.
To float your baby on their back, hold them under the arms with feet away from you so that your forearms can support the head.
Keeping baby happy in the water
Your baby might feel anxious as they learn to adjust to the new surroundings and experiences of the pool. Reassure them by maintaining eye contact, keeping your face close to theirs, cuddling them close to you, smiling and giving plenty of gentle reassurance.
Watch for signs that your baby isn't enjoying it. If they get cold or seem distressed about being in the water, take them out and get them dressed and warm. It’s best to take it slowly while you build confidence in the water.
There's a lot to see and do in the pool! Let your baby feel the water running over their skin, encourage them to splash and kick around, move around the pool so that your baby can take in all the sights. And if you think they’re ready, why not try a game?