Baby swimming can and should begin with bath time routines. It’s not about just getting clean – baby swimming bath time should be a fun filled exciting routine. Here is an my introduction to bath time – I’ll post some activities later.
Bath Time – Not Just About Getting Clean!
Babies are born having spent roughly nine months suspended in water. They are well accustomed to the sensation of floating so why not continue this sensation right from birth? Bath time should initially be a relaxing experience, a time for baby to lie back in quite warm (but not hot) water. The way the baby is held is of great importance. By avoiding jerky movements that set off the startle reflex (see page …..) the baby remains calm when it is bath time. New parents may need the assistance of a second pair of hands, at least initially, to make this a happy and fun time. Consider your body language – if you are giving out lots of tentative and cautious vibes even new born babies will pick up on it and associate that anxiety with water.
Most houses have a bath and/or a shower. If you have both ensure your baby experiences both with regularity. There are many advantages to having a baby that is experienced and at ease in the shower. For one thing when you visit swimming centers they will almost certainly only have showers for you to rinse pool chemicals off. A warm shower at the end of a lesson should be something to look forward to so if they have already experienced it and love it, it will be! When you go away on holidays you may be booked into a place only with showers. Make life easy for yourself, have a shower happy baby. It really is very stimulating and a great opportunity for skin to skin bonding.
Big baths are brilliant for fun activities – don’t make it too deep, 5 –10 cm is plenty. Babies that can not roll yet can lie back and enjoy the sensations around them. Never leave their side though as they will be in real danger if they do roll! The next few pages are dedicated to fun, play time in the bath or shower. Just remember, bath time is not just about getting clean!