Swimming is a fantastic bonding activity for parents and their babies, but when is the right time to introduce little ones to the pool? We tackle some of the most common questions:
How old should my baby be before their first swim?
You won’t need to wait for your baby to be immunised before taking them to the pool; the chlorine in the water will kill off any germs. Most baby swimming classes will accept newborns from 4-6 weeks of age, and will take place in smaller pools for safety. However, it’s advisable for new mums to wait at least six weeks after labour before going swimming. Your body will need time to recover from labour, and although swimming is a great form of exercise, there is a slight risk of infection for new mothers.
If you plan on using a large public swimming pool then you should wait until your baby is six months old as the water will be too cold for them; an ideal water temperature is 32°C. If you have any concerns, ask your health visitor or GP for some advice.
What can I do to help my baby feel comfortable in a swimming pool?
Making your baby feel comfortable in the water is the most important step. The noise, smell and feel of the water will provide new sensory experiences for your little one. These may cause them to become distressed during their first swim, so it is important to stay calm and focus on building a relationship between you, your child and the water. Holding you baby close will help to relax them as well as boost your confidence in their safety.
What are the benefits of swimming for babies?
Submersion in water help babies develop their motor skills as well as muscle control and strength, giving them the support and freedom they need to practice kicking and wriggling in the water. As they gain confidence, they will begin to learn basic swimming techniques. Swimming with your baby can also be a fantastic way to meet other parents and little ones they can play with.
You should consider taking the following:
- Changing Mat
- Drinks and Snacks
- Favourite toy or blanket
- Swim Nappies Most pools insist that babies wear swim nappies, they’re not waterproof but when paired with our Swim Sure Nappies they should contain any little accidents! Most babies will be tired from even a short swim and need a good nap. Help settle them with their favourite toy or blanket.
Are there any safety issues I should be aware of?
Before taking your baby in any body of water it’s important that you feel confident in it first. If you haven’t been swimming for a while or aren’t familiar with the layout of that particular pool, go for a swim on your own first. If not clearly sited then ask at reception whether they have travel cots or changing tables in the changing rooms and if they have lockers or storage space suitable for buggies. Babies lose body heat faster than adults, so begin with short sessions of 10-20 minutes to let your baby acclimatise to the overall experience. It is a good idea to use a Baby Wrap to ensure your little one stays warm. All indoor pools are chlorinated and although this is usually harmless, it can be an irritant for skin conditions such as eczema so take care to cleanse your baby’s skin thoroughly with a mild soap after your swim.
You can find more tips and information about swimming with babies and children here.