Whether summer’s already here or you’re preparing for the upcoming season, it’s time to break out the swimsuits and sunblock, because it’s a great time to learn swimming tips for you and your baby. Certainly, you can’t expect your newborn to start doing a front crawl down Olympic pool lanes, but there are a huge number of benefits for both parents and babies in starting early with swimming.
Swimming Tips for You and Your Baby
Parents and babies alike absolutely love swimming, so these tips are here to help you enjoy the introduction to the weightless wonders of water together. We’ve also taken swim lessons into account as your little one moves out of infancy.
Benefits of Water
For babies, the transition from the womb to a warm bath or swimming pool is quite natural. Many parents are surprised and awed with how easy many babies find experiences quite similar to swimming. Water provides a weightless environment, which promotes greater freedom of movement and resistance.
Gifted with reflexes that allow for breath holding and the ability to “swim” short distances, babies often enjoy swim time as much as bath time. Warm water has also shown to increase blood flow, immune response, oxygen to the brain & mental alertness.
Babies as early as 3 months old can benefit from swim classes. Studies have shown that early aquatic experiences help increase infant psychomotor abilities, develop spatial awareness, and improve visual perception, balance, coordination and stability.
Another benefit of swimming with your baby is the strengthened self-confidence they gain as they learn to operate in a social structure. Learning how to cooperate with others, to share and take turns provides greater social confidence and heightened self-esteem. Many babies flourish to become more independent, adaptable and confidant.
For parents enjoying swim time with their little ones, the tactile bond of skin contact and the resistance of water help to strengthen feeling of connection and attachment between parent and child. Finally, if you swim with your baby outdoors, don’t forget to slather on the sunscreen, don the hat, rash guard or the “sun-suits” and keep your eyes peeled for blue lips, shivers and fatigue.
For non-potty trained children, swim diapers are necessary, and you can find a wide selection of non-disposable diapers with fun prints and patterns online. (Much better than Huggies “Little Swimmers”) Our personal favorite is Myswimbaby.com. The fit should be snug, especially around the legs and in the back above the buttocks. A proper fitting swim diaper should be snug enough to make it difficult to slide your finger under the elastic around your baby’s leg.
Be Water Smart – Safety is a Top Swimming Tip with Your Baby
Swim lessons are a wonderful activity that both parent and baby can participate in and are just one “layer of protection” to guard against a water emergency. Creating a safe environment involves multiple layers, including proper barriers to pools & spas (fences, alarms, and locks), knowing CPR and first aid, and never allowing children to swim unsupervised.
Sadly, the Center for Disease Control reports that drowning is the leading cause of death for children under the age of five years of age, however, a 2009 research study concluded that swim lesson participants ages 1-4 reduced their drowning risk by 88 percent!
So, while safety is easy the top swimming tip for you and your baby, don’t hesitate to enjoy the water together. Building your little one’s relationship with water early on and following it with swim lessons after the first year will only keep them safer around water throughout their lives.