A lot of people don’t realise that babies can start swimming almost from birth. It can be difficult to grasp the idea of a tiny human floating and paddling successfully in the water. Did you know babies can be excellent swimmers when they’re in a safe environment? If your little dolphin is healthy, there’s absolutely no reason why your child can’t start swimming at the earliest opportunity and, in fact, there’s lots of reasons why they should do!
The NHS list swimming as one of the activities a baby can safely do to get moving “from a very young age.” Babies can’t walk yet, they aren’t very strong in their arms, back or neck, they also haven’t developed much hand-eye coordination; so when you think about it, what sports other than swimming could a baby really take part in? It’s also easier than you think for babies to learn to swim. When your baby is laying on its back and kicking its legs, it’s developing the same muscles and motions they’d use to paddle in the pool. So, swimming can go hand in hand with general physical development. It goes without saying exercise is good for you baby, but here’s some more unconventional advantages to baby swimming.
Reason 1: Baby Swimming Is “Vaccination” Friendly
Little dolphins are often getting vaccinated as part of their important early-life healthcare and parents often worry whether it will be safe for their child to attend baby swimming if they’ve just had their shots. The answer is: yes, according to the NHS “you can take your baby swimming at any time before and after their immunisations.” So if your child has just been vaccinated you don’t need to worry – unlike with some other activities. In fact, we think it might help keep your child’s mind off the potentially scary experience of a doctor’s room and they can generally take time to relax in the water.
Reason 2: They’ll be ready for the first family holidays sooner
We often get told by parents that one of the main reasons they want to get their child swimming as soon as possible is so that they’re ready to make the most of their holiday. This is a good reason and will definitely help your child enjoy life and be happy when they’re finally big enough to not need such close attention. The sooner your child learns to swim, the more likely they’ll be able to really enjoy future visits to warm seaside destinations. When they get older, they’ll be able to snorkel, swim in the sea, surf and jet-ski and you will know that you started them on water safety early with baby swimming sessions.
Reason 3: It tires them out
We’re not trying to be funny when we say that being tired is a good thing for babies and their parents. If your child has been able to exercise during the day they’re more likely to get a full night’s sleep with a good sleeping pattern, have a well-developed appetite and be more calm generally. It’s great to go for a nap after exercise and guess what: your baby might like to nap too. Feeling tired is an important part of wanting to sleep, and sleep is important for overall health. If your baby has “used up their energy” on a good activity like baby swimming they’re probably less likely to fidget and more likely to eat their meals on time and sleep soundly. It’s win-win for you and your baby.
Reason 4: It Builds Confidence
Being in an unfamiliar but safe environment helps children get used to new places and learning new things. Instead of spending life from cot-to-pram, your baby will be introduced to a new environment with new sounds, sensations and other people. Instead of being scared of new environments your child might naturally learn to “jump’’ into new experiences that are so vital when your baby eventually starts school, new sports and thinking further ahead when they become adults and have to get a job. Best to start them early on building the confidence needed to face new challenges.
So, there’s four non-physical health related reasons why swimming will be good for your baby. We’d love to see you and your little loved one take their first steps into the water together. Speak to us about our parent & baby swimming sessions and we’ll get you started.