Taking a baby swimming may make parents wonder on how safe it is for their baby. With enough preparation and a first-time to try it with spirits of excitement, it can prove to be fun and can be a bonding moment for both the parent and the baby.
Your baby will enjoy the new sensations he experiences in the water and get an early start on learning important water skills. However, many parents are nervous about the dangers that they may encounter in the pool so please read on as later in this article you will have an idea on what you need to know about baby swimming.
Babies under the age of 6 months have a natural reflex that enables them to naturally hold their breath under the water. They also have amazing swimming strike actions and can propel themselves through the water.
At four months, the baby is able to hold his head up and more aware of what is happening around him. It is a good time to take him into the water.
How old does a baby need to be to take swimming?
Parents used to wait until their baby had their complete immunisations before taking them in to swimming because of the risk of acquiring contagious diseases. But health experts nowadays no longer advise this to parents. Ideally, before taking a baby swimming, it is helpful to consult first your paediatrician.
There is no age limit as to when you can have your baby swimming classes as long as the umbilical cord stump is completely healed and your child is above certain weight limits (around 9lbs or 4kg), the water is warm enough (about 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 32 degrees Celsius but preferable 93-95 F or 34-35 C) and up to shoulder height water, taught in groups in a playful atmosphere. However, others may suggest waiting for only six weeks, in which at this age, the baby will be better able to cope with the strange noises and people in a swimming pool setting.
The best time of the day and preparations
Choose a time of the day when your baby is usually awake and arrange a convenient time for yourself and your spouse if you plan to go together. If no other preferences, go swimming with your baby in the afternoon or early evening. It is a best time for most babies because after swimming, your baby will be exhausted afterwards that he will sleep for a long period, and if you got lucky, even for the night.
Pack a bag of snacks and food, extra towels, camera, diapers, and dry clothes may help to make baby swimming time more fun and unforgettable
What should my baby wear at the pool?
Parents who swim a lot can get a pack of swim nappies that can be located in the nappy sections of most grocery stores. Most resorts require that babies wear swim nappies while in the pool.
Swimming pools may have individual disposable swim nappies available for purchase at their store. Swim nappies are meant to contain poop, and are not waterproof. Besides the swim nappy, baby can wear a swim suit in the pool if the parent wants.
Swimming with your baby
When your baby is wet, he may become slippery in your hands, so make sure that you hold your baby securely while on the pool. You can also use different floatation devices to make your baby more secure in the pool. Many pools have this and you can easily request for it but you should always remember that a floater is not a safety floatation device as it can flip over any time.
Swimming safety and precautions
- According to most swimming instructors and health personnel, there is no need to wait for the babies complete immunisations to start a swimming lesson as the chlorine in the water will kill any bacteria or viruses.
- Always keep an eye to your baby to prevent your baby from drowning.
- Keep your hands on your baby at all times and protect him from the sun. Try to apply waterproof sunscreen if going to an outdoor pool.
- Consider the temperature, it should be about 32 degrees and beware of hypothermia – too cold.
- Avoid water intoxication ? swallowing too much water.
- Communicable diseases ? including skin infections, pink eye, and most commonly, diarrhea, which your baby can get from swallowing contaminated pool water.
- The chlorine in the water can really make both you and your baby?s skin very dry. To prevent this, try to bring moisturising lotion on your baby?s body before swimming.
There are babies that love organised swimming but for some, they hate it. If your baby doesn?t want swimming after a few times of attempt, give it up. You would not want to see your baby crying if he is really not just into baby swimming.