Taking Babies Swimming - Baby Wetsuits
Babies Love Swimming
Even very small babies can go swimming. In fact, it is a good idea to get your baby used to water at a young age - some people think that you should wait until your baby has completed his or her first course of vaccinations, but actually the chlorine in the water can kill any bacteria or virus present, so this isn't strictly necessary. However, you might want to wait until at least three months or so. In any case, you might not stay in for very long, but your baby will be gently introduced to the pool, and will probably grow up to really enjoy these sessions with you, if you keep them up on a regular basis. Swimming can be a great activity for family bonding, not to mention an important life skill.
When you take a young baby swimming, you might want to purchase one of the baby swim seats for your baby to sit in. These are excellent, and many babies, thought not all, love them. You can sit your baby inside so that you do not have to hold him all the time, and he can feel the motions of his legs in the water. He will probably enjoy kicking, and thrashing his arms. You can gently push him in the seat, so that he bobs off across the pool, and then go quickly after him. Babies can enjoy freedom of movement in water, which they may find very exciting.
To get your baby used to the idea of what swimming is all about, support him under his tummy and hold him on his front. Some babies like this, some babies don't - but with babies it always is a case of trial and error! I used to hold my second baby like this and swish him along, pretending we were after his brother - he always laughed, so I think he liked the drama! The first time I took him swimming he was about five months old and he has never really minded getting a bit of water in his face.
My Baby Gets Too Cold In Water!
Probably the biggest problem many parents seem to have when taking babies swimming is the fact that babies can get cold very quickly. Babies are not very good at controlling their body temperatures, and in a pool where they are not even moving about very much, some babies really do suffer. It is not unusual to see a blue-tinged, shivering baby after as little as half an hour or less. Swimming pools are not as hot as the bathtub at home, so it is easy to understand a parent's concerns.
There is a solution to this problem, however, and I can vouch that it is a good one. Well, it worked for us, in any case. The first time I took my youngest child swimming, at just five months, we must have been in the water for more than an hour, which is actually quite a long time for a baby. The great thing was, he wasn't cold at all. In fact, he was the warmest of all of us, and we only got out because he was tired!
Baby Wetsuits - A Brilliant Invention
You have probably guessed from the title that my answer to the problem of keeping a baby warm in the water was to purchase a baby wetsuit. Baby wetsuits are quite possibly the best thing to ever have been invented when it comes to taking your baby to the swimming pool. It really can be the difference between a blue, shivering child and a happy, warm one. You can buy different sizes - 0-6 months, 6-12 months and so on, because even older babies and toddlers can suffer from this problem.
The baby wetsuits usually wrap around your baby's body before securing with velcro, so that putting the wetsuit on is very comfortable for your baby - no squeezing him in and having to zip him up. Baby wetsuits usually cover your baby's torso only, so that his arms and legs remain bare, though some do cover the whole body. The former are perfectly adequate for keeping your baby warm - I used to feel my baby's skin underneath and he was always as warm as toast. Baby wetsuits are made of neoprene, just like typical wetsuits for surfers, so you can be assured your baby has the real deal!
So thanks to the baby wetsuit, here's to many special times swimming with your baby. There are even baby swimming classes available if you fancy a bit more structure and a chance to meet other parents, all in the same boat as you. And in just a few short years, you'll probably have a little fish in the family!
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