Starting something new can be difficult for anyone, whether it’s a simple task like adding a vitamin to your day or something major like becoming a mom. Getting the facts before you begin is always helpful. For first-time moms, here’s a guide to infant swimming lessons.
Advice from a Swim Mom
My name is Julia. I’m a Regional Manager at Njswim, a swim school for all ages and levels. We start children as early as three months old. For eight years I managed our swim school locations as a non-parent. Now I have four months experience managing the schools as a first-time parent.
I also take part in a weekly Water Babies class at Njswim Sparta with my daughter. Did deciding to sign up for swimming lessons come easy to me, a professional in the aquatics industry? Sure. But it can be easy and stress-free for every first-time mom out there, swim-guru or not! Here’s how:
Don’t get bogged down in the anxiety of a new experience. Learning to swim is fun at any age! Focus on giving your child a positive experience in the water. This will help your entire family be safer swimmers.
Safer Swimming Standards
Even at three months old your infant can learn basic swim skills that make them safer in and around water. Babies who participate in classes have a better idea of how to roll to their back and remain calm and buoyant.
Don’t pay attention to the naysayers who claim taking your infant to a pool isn’t a good idea. Choose a clean facility with warm water and jump in!
Bathing Suit Dilemma
Let go of your bathing suit fears because we all have them. A few weeks after having a baby, most new moms may shirk at the idea of putting on a bathing suit.
It’s understandable since we all need to get used to the ways our bodies have changed due to pregnancy. But don’t forget that you will be attending a class with other mothers that feel the same way.
If you don’t want to wear a bathing suit, wear shorts and a t-shirt. Whatever makes you feel comfortable is acceptable. There are no judgments when you choose a facility that has a family-friendly environment. We’re moms too; we get it.
If you are worried about your infant’s reaction to water, don’t be! Remember that swimming with your infant is an extremely special and emotional bonding time.
Your baby has lived suspended in your amniotic fluid (buoyancy) for nine months. For some new swimmers that might be longer than the time they have spent on earth (gravity). Your baby will feel comfortable, especially if you do too.
Things to Look for at Your Local Swim School
89-93 degrees to be specific. Let’s face it, no one big or small likes taking lessons in a cold pool. It’s distracting and uncomfortable for babies, parents, and teachers.
Avoid a cold-water fiasco and ask about water temperature when choosing a swim school. Creating an enjoyable experience being in the water is a major aspect of a Water Babies class. That’s why warm water is such a big part of helping your child to feel comfortable and confident in the pool.
Experienced, knowledgeable, credible, loving, caring, patient, and kind teacher(s)! Be picky here, do not settle for less. Seek out teachers who are willing to go the extra mile in their own certificates and training.
Enroll in a school that uses nationally accredited techniques to educate families. An infant’s introduction period to water lays the foundation for what their relationship with the water will blossom into.
Free Trial Classes
Yes, plural! A swim school that truly understands and cares about the life of a mom and an infant, WILL offer a trial period. Why a trial period? Because it provides an extended length of time that you and baby can navigate through your comfort level of this new activity.
It also relieves the worry of missing classes or having a financial commitment. It allows time for you and baby to master what to pack, when to leave the house, the best time for a feeding and a nap beforehand!
Tips and Tricks for a Successful Water Babies Class
Pack your bag. Some of the best items to bring are comfortable and loose clothing for you and baby. You’ll need towels, multiple swim diapers, bathing suits, and a big bag with easy access to your items both before and after your lesson!
Comfort comes first. Wear a suit that is comfortable for you. There are no fashion police in the pool and it’s a judgment free zone. Think Zen, then add water.
Arrive early. It gives you the chance to scope things out and not have to rush. You’ll be calm, cool, and collected. Everyone is cranky when they are hungry. Babies aren’t any different. Make sure baby is fed and satisfied before entering the water.
Be involved. Listen to the teacher as they explain and demonstrate ways to get acclimated to the water. That way you can put them to practice with confidence. Ask questions if you are unsure or want more information. A knowledgeable swim teacher is a great resource.
Consistency is key. Creating routines for your child is necessary for them to feel secure. Consistently getting in the water and bonding with your baby will help them associate water with fun rather than fear.
At home. Make the most of what you have learned and use it! At home, “swimwork” includes practicing the verbal and physical cues used during class — especially during bath time! It’s more time to make meaningful connections with your baby.
Invite your friends! Who better to share these fun and rewarding moments as a parent with than friends? Share this guide to infant swimming lessons with them.
Swim classes are good for both mom and baby. They help with socialization, exercise, and having some fun! Provide your child with necessary skills while forming connections with other local families.
Find a school that makes you feel welcomed and comfortable by offering a gentler approach. Following this guide to infant swimming lessons will make it easy to get started.
For more information about Water Babies classes, contact us today! We’ll help get you enrolled in our free trial classes and answer any questions you may have.