Baby Swimming: Tips & Advice
Almost all mums and dads want their child to swim. After all, it’s not only one of life’s essential skills, but it's healthy and brilliant fun too! All swimming is fantastic for your baby, whether you want to do a specialised course or simply splash around in the pool. Taking them from as early as possible means you're introducing them to exercise and encouraging a healthy lifestyle right from the start, so it's highly recommended to do so.
Baby swimming is a great experience for both you and your child. It helps you to bond, aids in their learning and development, and can get them used to the water, which is beneficial for later on in life. You can introduce your little bundle to the water quite early on; many baby swimming classes start from six weeks, but you can even get them into the water before this.
When it comes to getting your babies in the water, it is much easier than you might think. While there are steps you should take to ensure that it isn't a shock for your little one, baby swimming is relatively easy to start – especially if you are going to classes.
Nevertheless, for expectant parents or those with a new baby, there are some important questions to ask. Here are a few frequently asked questions about what to expect when your baby is learning to swim. If the question you want to ask isn't here, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Frequently Asked Questions
At what age can my baby start learning to swim?
It’s never too soon to introduce your baby to water. With regards to immunisation, the current directive from the Department of Health is that “your baby does not need any immunisations before they go swimming”.
All of the major swimming bodies involved in baby swimming state that there are many health, social and physical benefits (and hardly any risks) associated with introducing your young child to water if parents adopt a gentle, sensible approach.
Medical research has also proven that children who learn how to swim at a young age can reach many developmental milestones earlier than other children.
Will my baby learn to swim in their lessons?
At this young age, your swimming teacher will tell you that it’s not about teaching your baby to swim. The emphasis in parent and baby swimming sessions will be on making your baby feel relaxed and comfortable in the water, and on making sure that he/she can turn onto their back and hold onto the side of the pool.
The teachers will also promote free movement in the water through music, play and encouragement. This will lead to swimming when your little one is physically and emotionally ready. The focus should always be on having fun in the water.
How long does each baby swimming session last?
This depends upon the age of your little one and the pool water temperature. Swimming sessions may be as short as 10 minutes for babies, increasing to 20 or 25 minutes for older infants.
The pool water and air temperature are important considerations and must be higher than for normal public swimming – at least 30°C (32°C for babies under 3 months old or weighing less than 5.5 kilos/12 lbs). Because babies lose heat very quickly, it is important that they are kept warm in the pool, even in heated pools.
This is one of the reasons the Konfidence Babywarma is a popular item, as it enables babies to stay warmer in the swimming pool for much longer than would be possible without it, and it allows for good mobility.
What other baby swimming products are essential?
The biggest concern is that your baby does not foul the pool. To minimise the risk of this, you should not feed him/her for at least one hour before swimming, and ensure that they are wearing suitable protection.
There a number of swim pant options available, but for ease and comfort Konfidence's one size fits all AquaNappy for babies aged 3 to 30 months is the ideal reusable swim pant. It features a unique triple-layered polyester design with elasticised leg openings, so there is no need to wear another nappy over or under.
Pools can be very noisy and this may disturb your little one. To minimise this, you should come early and bring along some of their favourite toys, like the Konfidence Flashing Blinkies.
Make sure you have plenty of towels. The Konfidence Poncho Towel is also very good to have on the poolside to warm up them up as soon as they leave the water.
Bring a changing mat, as not every pool provides them. Konfidence's extra-large Roll & Go Baby Changer is ideal for the poolside and the changing room. It is made from 3 mm thick chlorine-resistant neoprene cushioned foam, with an embossed treaded underside, which provides grip so that it won’t slip or slide on wet surfaces.
And finally, have a drink and snack ready for your little one after swimming, as they will have worked hard and need to replace fluid and energy levels.
How should I prepare my baby at home?
All experts say that the family bath is the best way to introduce a newborn baby to water, in the comfort of your home at a time that suits you both. Another good tip is to use toys in the bath, then take these to the swimming pool; the toys will act as a familiar and comforting fun aid for babies when they first go to the pool.
Konfidence have been designing baby and children’s swimming products since 1998, all of which have been designed in close collaboration with swim schools, swimming teachers and parents.