For many parents, the baby’s first swim can be quite daunting. With a little preparation, however, swimming with a baby should be an enjoyable experience.
It is actually never too early or too late to explore the swimming pool with your baby. If you already know how to swim and you think you are ready to spend some time in the water with your child, read on to learn how to turn the baby’s first swim into a fun activity.
When Do Moms Become Ready to Spend Time in the Swimming Pool?
According to experts, you should wait for approximately 7 days after the lochia (after birth bleeding) has ended, before you put on your best swim cap and head to the swimming pool. For most moms, the lochia takes approximately 6 weeks to end. If you go swimming with a baby sooner, the chances of picking up an infection will be high.
If you had a perineal tear or a cesarean section, you may need to wait for longer than the first 6 weeks. Talking to your GP can help you figure out the ideal time to put on your swimming cap.
While baby swimming classes usually start at about 4 to 6 weeks, you can go swimming with the baby at any time from birth. If it is too early for you, as the baby’s mom, to go swimming, you can always request a partner to take the baby swimming. You do not have to wait until the baby is immunized before he/she gets to experience babies first swim.
What Should You Pack When Going Swimming with Baby?
When heading to the swimming pool with your baby, you need to have the best swim diapers. If an accident happens, the diaper will ensure that your swimming pool is protected.
In addition to your best swim towel and costume, you should pack the following:
- If you are bottle-feeding, carry a warm bottle. You can use it after the baby’s first swim.
- Swimming can make your baby hungry. Pack some snacks if the baby has already started solids.
- To encourage a fun and relaxed experience, carry some bath toys.
- Nappy bag and changing mat.
- A hat to put on the baby’s head after swimming.
- A soft towel featuring a hood.
Ensuring Your Baby is Safe When Swimming with Baby
Water safety for kids is extremely crucial. You wouldn’t want to end up with complications after the baby’s first swim.
Before swimming with the baby, ensure that the pool water has the right temperature. You can always ask one of the pool attendants to check the temperature before diving in. If you intend to try cold water swimming, taking your baby with you may not be a good idea.
If your baby is under 6 months, make sure the water temperature is approximately 320 C. After putting on your best active swimsuit, you will need to lower the baby into the pool until the water reaches his/her shoulders. To ensure the kid stays warm, keep him/her moving.
If you notice that your kid is shivering, get him/her out of the swimming pool and ensure you wrap him/her warmly. When compared to adults, babies generally lose heat faster. For this reason, they shouldn’t be kept in the pool for too long.
Consider starting with 10-minute sessions and build up slowly to 20 minutes. For kids whose age is less than a year, the sessions should be limited to less than half an hour.
If your baby is unwell, taking him/her for a swim is not a good idea. You should wait for at least 48 hours after the child has been clear of the symptoms before swimming with the baby.
If the baby has a skin issue, consult a GP before taking him/her to the pool. This will help you make sure that the chlorine won’t irritate him/her. After the baby’s first swim, make sure you rinse the pool water off his/her skin and then apply a moisturizer, especially if he/she has eczema or dry skin.
How to Make Babies First Swim Enjoyable
Even before you head to the pool, getting your child used to water while bathing him/her is always an excellent idea. Make sure that he/she is having fun with the toys, splash water over the baby’s body, lay the kid on his/her back, and move him/her around the water. This will make the baby more comfortable with being in the water.
If you intend to go swimming with your baby in the public pool, the best time for swimming would be when it isn’t very busy. Calling the pool management beforehand can help you when planning the baby’s first swim.
Avoid scheduling the baby’s first swim when he/she is supposed to be napping or feeding. If the kid is hungry, tired, or grumpy, you won’t enjoy your time in the pool. Pick a time when the baby is generally alert and has already been fed.
Additional tips you can use to make swimming with baby enjoyable include:
- When in the pool, hold the baby close and maintain eye contact.
- Try swishing your baby around if you feel more confident.
- Talk to your baby. Praise him/her.
- Allow the child to play with bath toys.
- Teach your baby how to blow bubbles by putting your mouth under the water.
- Lay the baby on his/her back with the head resting on your shoulder. Encourage him/her to kick his/her legs.
Can You Go Swimming with Baby If You Can’t Swim?
If you have never worn swimming goggles or swimming earplugs in the past, you may wonder whether taking your baby swimming is a good idea. Even if you are not very familiar with swimming, you can go swimming with your baby. During the baby’s first swim, you won’t be doing any swimming. You will only need to have the ability to walk the baby around the swimming pool.
It is, however, a good idea to learn swim essentials for beginners before taking your baby to the swimming pool. This will help boost your confidence when swimming with your baby.
If you learn how to have fun when in the water, you should be able to strengthen the bond between you and your baby. It will also make you and the kid feel positive about the swimming experience.
What to Expect at the Baby Swimming Class
Generally, swim classes for babies are made up of groups of babies and parents. The classes are usually arranged by age.
The teachers try to make the sessions both fun and relaxed. This encourages learning through play. Since babies have the ability to do the primitive swimming strokes, the teachers will help build on the strokes.
Initially, you will need to maintain eye contact with the baby and offer constant praise to build his/her confidence. Once the baby is confident enough, the teacher may encourage underwater swimming.
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Feeling anxious during the baby’s first swim is natural. It is, however, worth noting that babies have a natural affinity with the water. As long as you are around to boost the baby’s confidence and make him/her feel secure, the baby should be able to have fun in the swimming pool.
Babies’ inbuilt gag reflex is strongest for the initial 6 months. The reflex allows the baby to hold his/her breath when underwater without any conscious effort. This tells you that trying underwater swimming is not a bad idea.
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