Tips for Swimming with Your Baby
A lot of parents take their babies to swimming lessons from a young age. You can introduce your baby as soon as you feel ready. Some parents start as young as two months, while others prefer to wait until six months (or older).
As long as you put pool safety first, everything should be fine. Check around for Mommy & Me (Daddy & Me) type classes, and find a certified instructor you feel comfortable with. A great way to find the best classes is to ask around with other parents.
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Adapting to the Water
Most babies don't have a natural fear of water, so getting them used to it at an early age is great. Adapting a little one to pool is pretty easy. The most thing to do for your baby is to go in the water with them. This will give the baby a sense of security as you both explore the really big bathtub. Make it fun, and start by showing the baby how to splash.
If your baby seems afraid of the water, just go in slowly. While holding to him, slowly place his feet into the pool. Give the baby a little time to adjust, and then slowly put your baby further into the water. If the water isn’t warm enough, your baby simply might not be comfortable with the temperature.
Holding their Breath
A lot of parents are wary of putting their baby’s head under water, but it is safe to do so. You can’t teach them to “hold their breath” until 1 or 2 years old. However, babies will naturally react to being under the water by holding their breath.
Blowing into a baby’s face will cause them to automatically make him hold his breath for a second. You can do this, and then put the baby underwater so he relates the idea of holding his breath to going underwater. Your baby will probably swallow some water, and even cough a bit. You won't have them under long enough for it to be too much—really, you will only put the baby under for less than a second.
Follow the swimming teacher’s instructions when it comes to putting your baby’s head underwater, and don’t do anything aren’t comfortable with.
Your Baby’s Safety
The number one reason to teach your baby how to swim is for safety. Once your baby is mobile, you can’t control everything that happens. Of course, you won’t ever leave your child unsupervised, especially near a pool or other body of water; but, if something were to happen, your baby’s life could be saved if you have taught him how to swim.
Your infant isn’t going to be swimming a strong stroke, but he can learn how stay afloat and move through the water on his own. Teaching your baby how to swim won’t make him drown proof, but it will help prepare him in case he falls into water. Not only will he be less afraid, because he has been exposed to a swimming pool before, but he will feel comfortable about what to do.
A baby who can swim should never leave you with a false sense of security—constant supervision and safety precautions are the best way to keep your baby safe.
Most of all have fun with your baby. Swimming together can be a great bonding experience for your family.