Baby swimming expert and HUGGIES® Little Swimmers® brand ambassador Laura Sevenus offers advice to parents who are thinking about taking the plunge with their little ones.
Most babies love being in the water and if you are confident and enjoy yourself, your baby will most likely have fun too. Holding your baby close will help them feel secure and encourage them to enjoy the experience of being in the pool. Maintain eye contact with your little one. Smile, relax and drop down to the same level - your baby will love seeing you splash about too!
Get in the pool as soon as you can
Babies have a natural affinity to water which probably originates from their development in the womb. Taking your baby swimming as early as possible reintroduces them to their watery surroundings and is the perfect bonding opportunity. Rebecca Adlington's baby girl Summer has already been introduced to the pool which is great! Rebecca is an inspiration and will hopefully encourage other mums to take the plunge with their little ones.
Parents can sometimes be put off swimming because of the 'hassle factor', but with a little forward planning you'll get used to it in no time. Just like taking your baby out shopping for the first time, or the first bath, you'll soon become an expert! Make a list of everything you need, including Huggies Little Swimmers which contain little accidents and won't leak or expand in the water.
Make the most of bath time
Bath time is a great way to get your baby used to being in the water with you. They love the physical freedom the buoyancy of water provides. They can move around freely, stretching and kicking their arms and legs. A great tip is to lie back in the bath and support your baby's head against your chest; trickle water down their face while talking calmly to them.
It's a family affair
Men tend to stand taller in the water and have better balance. This can help babies feel more relaxed and comfortable in their father's arms. Going swimming as a family is a wonderful bonding experience and can help build babies confidence in the water. It's also a great way to make sure Dad doesn't feel left out.
Make a date with other mums
Sometimes it's easier if you have some morale support so why not ask other mums along, or a friend who can help while you get used to handling a wet baby!
Get the paddling pool out
Children can spend hours playing in or with water. It's wonderfully entertaining and a great form of play and exploration. On a hot day you don't have to visit a pool to enjoy the water, you can enjoy the paddling pool together in your garden.
Make it a habit
Try going swimming as often as possible; the more you go, the more you and your little one will enjoy it. Very few things are as affordable and fun as swimming! It's a skill which will last a lifetime and something which can be enjoyed as a family for years to come.
Avoid peak times
If you are new to baby swimming go when the pool if quieter - it will make the entire experience less stressful and enjoyable.
Swimming offers many soothing benefits to infants and can help them (and you) relax. Resting their head in the water, with their ears slightly submerged, gives them a similar sensation to being in the womb and will be extremely comforting.
For practical advice, support videos and a step-by-step guide to baby swimming, visit www.littleswimmers.co.uk.
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