Despite the days becoming chillier, swimming still provides one of the best forms of exercise for both you and your baby, and is just as perfect for cold winter days as it is for hot summer ones.
The main thing to consider when taking very young children swimming is that the water temperature needs to be cosy warm (32 degrees for babies under 12lbs or 12 weeks; 30 degrees for everyone else). And the good news is there’s no minimum age to start your baby swimming; they don’t need to have had any immunisations before they go.
‘Just half an hour’s swimming will provide your baby or toddler with a complete work out,’ says Lisa Cobbe who runs Water Babies classes across Galway and Sligo.
‘They’ll be exercising muscles they’d never even find on land! Swimming’s great for enhancing their confidence and awareness, as well as helping to improve eating and sleeping patterns – a definite bonus!’
Whether swimming in winter or summer, a baby wetsuit is always a good idea – a toasty baby is going to be infinitely happier than a chilly one! Do make sure you put your baby in it at the start of the session; it’s very easy to take it off if your baby gets too hot. However, if they start getting too cold, putting anything on them at that stage will do little to make them warmer, so it’s good to be cautious from the start.
Once you’re in the pool, keep your baby gently moving all the time: bouncing across the water, swinging them round, singing nursery rhymes as you go. You’ll find they respond really positively, especially as they’ll love sharing such special one-to-one time with you. However, if your baby’s still very small, don’t be surprised if they don’t appear to be remotely interested in what you’re doing at first, as there’ll be a huge amount of other stimulating things attracting their attention!
‘We see no drop in our classes during the winter months,’ comments Lisa. ‘In fact, many of our parents tell us that they love getting into a steaming hot pool with their baby, whilst the rain drips down the windows outside.’
However you take your baby swimming, at the end of every session, wrap them in a dry towel and place them somewhere safe whilst you get changed. By the time you’re ready they’ll be warm and dry, so getting them dressed will be a much easier and more relaxing process. Make sure there’s no water remaining in their ears, then, finally, pop a hat on your tired but happy little one, who’ll hopefully be snuggling down for a good sleep as you prepare to leave the pool.
Swimming with your baby is a great way to play and is fantastic for strengthening the bond between the two of you. It will also introduce them to a lifelong love of staying healthy and fit, whilst having a great time too! What could be better?
“With the GloHealth Family & Kids Health package offering a €40 contribution to Water Babies classes – there is no better time to get your little one swimming!”
Multi-award winning Water Babies classes run across Ireland, visit www.waterbabies.ie to find a class near you. Or why not ask Santa to bring you a course – undoubtedly one of the best presents you could find under the Christmas tree this year!
Did you know you can get a €40 contribution to Water Babies classes with GloHealth’s Family & Kids Health package? Read more here