Swimming With Your Baby
Swimming with your little one can be a magical experience; and after all that time in the womb, many babies feel right at home in the water. So what are the best ways to make the most of the opportunity?
The following tips will help make your trip to the swimming pool enjoyable for both of you:
- Give your baby a light snack 30 minutes before swimming
- Babies should wear special disposable swimpants, such as Huggies Little Swimmers, as regular nappies can swell up, weighing down your baby’s bottom.
- Introduce your baby to the pool by getting into the water first
- Start with short sessions, around 10 minutes and gradually build up, but don’t keep your baby in the water for more than 30 minutes
- Boost confidence by continually keeping eye contact with your baby
- Keep on the move to keep warm, a gentle bouncing or swimming game is ideal
- Bring toys and snacks to keep your baby happy while you get dressed
Your questions answered:
How soon can I take my baby swimming?
There is no ‘right’ age to start taking your baby to the pool, some mothers start as early as nine weeks, while others may prefer to wait until after the first immunisation or until their baby can hold his/her head up on his/her own (usually around four or five months). Some pools don’t allow babies under a certain age so it’s wise to check with your local pool first.
What are the benefits of taking my baby swimming?
Swimming sessions are a great way of building your baby’s confidence in the water, as well as being a fun way for both of you to get out and socialise.
When is the best time to go to the swimming pool?
If your pool doesn’t have a mother and baby class; try and go off peak, as the noise and crowds can be overwhelming for a younger baby.
How can I avoid my baby having a messy mishap in the pool?
Get your baby some disposable swimpants. These are specially designed to hold in any unavoidable messes so you don’t have to worry about little mishaps. Disposable swimpants, unlike nappies, don’t swell up in the water, in fact they’re the nearest thing to a swimming costume.
Is my baby at greater risk of catching infections from going to the pool?
In the past, doctors advised mothers to wait until after the third set of vaccinations before taking their babies swimming. Nowadays, in a properly maintained pool, the chlorine in the water should prevent the spread of any water-borne infections.
A study carried out in Germany found no greater incidence of infections in babies taken to swimming pools, than those who weren’t.
I’m worried that my baby may catch cold. How can I prevent this?
Because babies have less body fat than an older child and will feel the cold more, the water temperature must be higher than normal public swimming pools. The water temperature needs to be between 30-32°C for babies less than 3 months, or under 12 lbs.
If your baby starts to shiver take him/her out of the water and wrap up warm in a snugly towel.
How can I prevent my baby getting swimmer’s ear?
Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the outer ear, you can help protect against this by always drying your baby’s ears carefully after being in the water.
Is it safe to let my baby go under the water?
Infants naturally hold their breath underwater and have a strong gag reflex at less than 12 months old, thus keeping the baby from swallowing water. It is safe to let them underwater from birth, as long as they are supervised. Happy swimming!