Lots of mums are keen to get back in shape after they have had their baby and swimming is excellent exercise but what about swimming with your baby?
It is suggested that you wait six weeks after giving birth, before swimming otherwise there may be a chance of infection. If you are keen for your baby to be introduced to swimming before he is six weeks old your partner, or someone else, can take him. Some private baby swimming classes start at four weeks, but most start at six weeks. There is no need to wait until your baby is immunised before taking him to a pool.
If your baby is younger than six months old only take him to a pool thats heated to about 32 degrees C. Its best to go to baby swimming lessons which use warm pools for young babies. Big, public pools are too cold for young babies.
Start at home by making water fun for your baby, share baths together and splash the water gently over them. Sharing a bath will make your baby feel very safe as the combination of feeling the warm water and hearing your heartbeat and voice makes your baby feel as if they are back in the womb. When your baby feels comfortable you can lay them on their back and gently move them through the water.
Try and pick a time when the pool you go too wont be too busy. Ask the pool attendant to check the temperature for you to make sure its not too cold. For the first time it might be helpful if you go with your partner or a friend. Your baby will be more relaxed and happy if you are calm and having fun.
To make the experience fun for both of you take things slowly and enjoy your time together in the water. To boost your babies confidence hold your baby close when you are in the water and maintain eye contact with them, talk to them and give them lots of praise and encouragement. Your baby may not understand the words but they will certainly feel soothed by your calm and happy tone. When you feel a little more confident try extending your arms and swishing them through the water, perhaps you could chase a few of their bath toys together. Put your mouth under the water and show your baby how to blow bubbles, this is important as when your baby is blowing then they cant inhale the water. Lay your baby on their back with their head resting on your shoulder and encourage them to splash with their legs while you move around the pool.
If you dont feel that you are a confident swimmer you can still make sure your baby enjoys the water. You could try going for a few swims on your own in your local pool before taking your baby with you. Or you could enrol in a baby swim class. This will probably boost your confidence as much as your babys, and is a good way to meet other mums.
Learning to enjoy the water with your baby will strengthen the bond between the two of you as well as making you feel more positive about swimming.