If your baby is under 6 months formal lessons are not yet required BUT from 2 weeks of age you can already be giving them their first swimming lessons at home. However it is still a good idea to practice the steps outlined below even if you are already taking part in lessons.
During bath time you can start a process called conditioning which is the first steps to teaching your baby to be breath controlled.
What to watch for: During the conditioning process it is important that your baby is comfortable and relaxed. Generally babies will close their eyes as you pour water over their face but remember to make sure your baby is ready before you do! If they aren't ready they will cough and splutter and may even cry a little bit. This is okay, just take it slowly and let them lie back and relax again or cuddle them to settle them down. Remember that crying is your babies way of of telling you that all is not well. Let your baby float in the bath (using your hands to support their head), this enables them to move and exercise freely, they may even try to taste the water which is great stimulation for them. Ensure that their ears are underwater as this enables them to feel their buoyancy in the water. When you remove your baby from the water ensure that you dry their ears using cotton buds which are especially designed for babies.
Swimming lessons are a great bonding time for both parent and baby
Click here for information on the Swim Fit Parent and Baby Program
How do I know if my baby is breath controlled?Your baby is considered to be breath controlled when they are able to have water poured over their heads without getting upset or coughing and spluttering. Babies must never be submerged if they aren't breath controlled first.
If your baby cries:
Underwater is Fun!
9 weeks and in the pool with dad!