There are so many benefits of swimming with your baby from a young age. Our aim at Turtle Tots is to get more parents and carers to have the confidence to get into the water earlier with their babies as there are so many physiological, social and emotional benefits to doing so, as well as important safety reasons why you should.
Reduced or no fear
Even very young babies are capable of amazing things and can swim underwater from birth! The reason for this is that babies are born with a very strong breath holding reflex (or gag reflex). This reflex is very strong in the first 6 months and begins to gradually wear off during the second half the baby’s first year, not coincidentally at around the same time that many babies begin to learn a fear of water, particularly on their faces/heads.
However if you introduce your baby to the water in a gentle, safe and fun way as early as possible in their first year, you can guarantee that not only will they not have an irrational fear of water, but they will learn essential safety skills that could potentially help to save their lives.
Swimming is a great form of exercise, and one of the few that the whole family can enjoy together when babies are very little – by building exercise into your family routine right from the start you are helping your little one to develop healthy habits for life. Swimming is the best possible form of exercise for young babies as the buoyancy that the water gives them allows them to use and strengthen muscles in a way that isn’t possible ‘on land’. As well as developing muscle strength and co-ordination and helping to develop their cardio-vascular function, swimming also helps with early brain development.
One extra benefit for new mums is that classes provide them with a gentle, toning workout that can help to regain postnatal fitness in a safe, supportive environment. Moving with your baby against the resistance of the water helps to tone and strengthen your core muscles weakened by pregnancy and childbirth.
Early swimming is the most incredible bonding experience for new parents with their precious baby and many of our customers tell us that their weekly swimming class is the high point of their week!
However many parents find that they aren’t quite sure what to do when they take babies swimming by themselves, or that they don’t feel very confident, particularly with the underwater swims. We always recommend that you learn the correct technique for underwater swims from a trained professional. The job of a baby swimming teacher is to teach you to teach your baby to swim and to give you the confidence to let your baby do what they are capable of. You will be shown different swimming holds and techniques, along with lots of songs and toys to make the sessions lots of fun for you and your baby! Turtle Tots classes are lots of fun and are sociable for both parents and babies; many parents make new friends at their swimming group.
As always, if you have any questions, please visit turtletots.ie.