Taking your baby swimming from an early age is a great way to introduce them to the benefits of swimming and give them ‘water confidence’.
Where to go
It’s a good idea to find a pool that has a separate children’s pool. These are generally kept a bit warmer than the main pools and often have toys available for general use. Ask around to find out which pools near you are best for small babies.
What to take
Any mum will tell you that the key thing when taking a baby swimming is to be prepared! Make sure you have a swim nappy and a swimsuit for your baby – for really young babies a small neoprene wrap style suit will keep them warm in the water. Take a towel with you to the poolside ready to wrap baby in when you come out – a cold baby is a grumpy baby!
What to doFor the first few visits, most babies will simply like to be held and ‘swooshed’ around. Once you are both confident in the water, you can be a bit more adventurous!
For very small babies, all you need is a nappy and a suit. Once they get a bit older, many babies like to sit in inflatable seats and be pushed around the pool. You can also get a variety of pool toys such as balls or floats that they can hold onto.
© Babyschwimmer, flickr.com
After the months of planning and preparation for birth your first baby finally arrives. You arrive back home as a family, and realise that despite having bought every baby gadget available, nothing has prepared you for the day to day reality of a newborn.
So go get your money back on nappy wrappers, electric bottle warmers and all the other unnecessary things you were persuaded to buy. Its time to make some practical decisions on how you want to bring up your child. When my eldest was born I had read extensively on pregnancy and birth, but nothing about after the birth. So while juggling a newborn, I was also inundated with parenting information. Should I do a routine, or let the baby set its own pace? Cuddle to sleep or self-soothe? Dummy or not? And by weaning time, do I use traditional weaning purées, or baby-led weaning?
I had never heard of routines, baby-led weaning, or self-soothing until I had a newborn. Honestly, its best to think of these things before the birth, but if you haven’t, don’t panic, start thinking now. If you are part of a couple, make the most of each other, bounce ideas off each other, and let your partner take their share of baby duties. But most of all, relax, go with what feels right for you, and enjoy this precious time with your little one. I know you will have heard it before, but baby time really does go by so fast.
Having a great bond with your new baby is fundamental to your relationship, and the good news is it’s easy to establish; your newborn comes pre-programmed to instinctively want to be near you. Here are some tips for getting that bond off to a flying start.
Once your baby’s born, be it in the hospital, or at home, have skin to skin time with her as soon as possible. If you’re breastfeeding, skin to skin helps to stimulate your baby’s hunger, which helps establish your supply. If medical reasons prevent immediate contact, all is not lost, you will be able to make up for lost time with plenty of cuddles soon!
Keeping your baby close, either by wearing a sling or carrier, or simply by holding her close to you, will help your baby feel safe as she adjusts to life outside the womb. Being near your skin and hearing your familiar heartbeat will help her feel calm and relaxed, and don’t worry: there’s no such thing as holding a baby too much!
Interacting with and talking to your baby as much as possible will help her get to know you, and she will delight in your reactions to her. Always smile and encourage your baby as she plays.
Responding quickly to your baby’s needs will help her confidence to grow, so try to get to know her early hunger cues and respond to them before she needs to cry.