Did you know that there are lots of health benefits associated with introducing babies to swimming when they are just a few months old? Gentle exercise, bonding through skin-to-skin contact, stimulating appetite and improving sleep are just some of them.
And so, with summer upon us, now is a great time to pack the swim bag and seek out your closest aquatic centre, favourite beach spot or perhaps even an invitation to your neighbour’s backyard pool.
When preparing for the big plunge, we’ve gathered some useful advice and practical tips to help make it as enjoyable and stress free as possible.
5 Steps for a Happy Water Baby
1. Use bath time to introduce your newborn to the buoyancy and movement of water on their skin
2. Familiarise your baby with the sensation of water on their face with a face cloth and a cup
3. When visiting the beach or your favourite pool, fit your baby with a snug waterproof nappy that won’t swell and sag when wet
4. Introduce more movement in the water when taking babies into a swimming pool, supporting them as you move them through the water
5. Enrol in a learn to swim program to build your child’s confidence, independence and safety in the water.
‘Our research shows that four in every five families will use a nappy when they take their child swimming, and so we’ve developed a contemporary range of disposable Swim Pants that are reflective of the Aussie cossie, with their playful designs and bold colours,’ said Michael Joel, Marketing and Strategy Manager of popular nappy brand BabyLove. The unisex BabyLove Swim Pants are specially designed for water use and don’t swell in water. They have a stretchy waistband and are pulled on like a regular cossie, and they can be easily removed with ‘easy to tear’ side seams.
According to the experts in ‘learn to swim’, the Australian Swim Schools Association, the earlier we introduce babies to the water the less chance of them developing a later fear of water. Additionally, we will be teaching them important life skills around water safety.
‘Learning to swim is an essential life skill that every child should have the opportunity to access. Safety around water and drowning prevention is critical to all Australians,’ says Emily McNeill, General Manager of the Australian Swim Schools Association (ASSA), which has over 350 Swim School members nationally.
ASSA’s Top Tips for Parents
· Start swimming classes early! You can enrol as early as 4 months, and some swim schools offer introductory sessions even earlier
· Invest in a comfortable pair of goggles to see underwater and a swim cap to keep their hair off their face
· Have a dress rehearsal – familiarise your child with their swim gear in the lead up to their first lesson
· Arrive early, stress less – Arrive at least 10-15 minutes before class so everyone’s relaxed and ready to go
· Try not to distract your child – Remember the teacher will need your child’s full attention
· Have Fun! Swimming is important to your child’s development, but so too is enjoying the class!
To find your local ASSA Swim School, visit www.australianswimschools.org.au
To know more about BabyLove Swim Pants click on the link, or visit your nearest Chemist Warehouse, IGA, Big W or Amazon.com.au and choose the size that suits (available in three sizes S, M, L for babies ranging from 6-22kgs).