During early bath time interactions, parents should focus on becoming relaxed handling their baby. These early experiences are baby swimming lessons. The easiest way to handle your baby is sharing a bath together. This is the perfect bonding experience. Practise moving your baby by rolling and spinning. When you do this make sure you leave your baby low in the water and support them very gently. Hold the baby softly as this will help them to relax and feel that magic floating sensation as the water envelops their little bodies.
Parents can also lay the baby on their outstretched hands and give gentle support while the baby floats and exercises. When the baby floats parents should make eye contact, smile and reassure their baby that all is well. As the baby grows, they will really enjoy floating and exercising in the bath. Parents should encourage this exercise by sinking them low and supporting them softly. Remember floating is the basis of all learn to swim.
Baby Swimming Lessons & Things to Remember
This video sequence below looks at bath activities of Evie between 4 and 8 weeks of age.
Don’t neglect to condition. Conditioning plays an integral part in teaching baby to hold their breath on command. By teaching baby breath control on command we can ensure that baby’s first submersion outside the womb is free from trauma. Aim for 4 to 5 conditioning pours each bath time provided baby is happy and is showing no signs of distress. Parents may start with as little as one conditioning pour and build this number up during each bath as the baby acclimatises to the activity.
Be consistent with your trigger words. We say “Evie, ready? Go!”, wait one second and then pour. Always congratulate baby with soothing words of encouragement. Remember it is natural for the baby to stiffen a little as the water runs over the face. Always make sure that conditioning is done in an upright position so that it runs smoothly and evenly over the face and baby cannot ingest the water. Make sure that the water has completely run off the face before laying baby back down to exercise. Break up conditioning with floating and exercising activities. If you persist with conditioning every time you bath baby, you will prepare your baby for future submersions in a loving, caring and trauma-free environment.
Warning: Never leave baby unattended in the bath!