Swim from birth… and underwater?

As a new parent, everything about babies is new and daunting so it is understandable that it is hard to believe that swimming from birth, and taking your baby underwater, is one of the most natural things in the world.

As a parent, and also a teacher, it is one of the most beautiful things to witness babies and their parents swimming together; relaxing and bonding, whilst learning one of the most important skills in life in the most effortless and enjoyable way – The joy that only water and swimming can bring.

Some people often ask me why they should even bother to swim their babies from birth or even as young as 1/2 years old. My answer is always quite simple: If you can save your baby’s life by teaching core safety skills like floating, holding on to the side, swimming up to the top, climbing out (and the list goes on and on!), then why wouldn’t you?

There are many reasons for starting your Little Swimmer as early as possible, apart from the many physiological and psychological benefits of baby swimming, there is also the social aspect where Mom and Dad can meet other parents with similar interests and become life-long friends. Many incredible friendships have been forged in the very pools that we have taught babies and toddlers to swim.

It’s always advisable and interesting to read up on what activities you do with your baby. Research how it will benefit them and try not to just listen to the old ‘sales talk’ that often goes along with many of these things… But in a nut shell, be assured, that you and your Little Swimmer will benefit from swimming at an early age and if you find the right swim school it will be fun and extremely rewarding both for you, the bond you share and of course your child.

When I was growing up, many children went through the traumatic “drown proofing” experience. This was a really harsh technique whereby a baby was thrown into the water and left to its instinct, i.e. start floating. Thankfully those days are gone!

A child is never “Drown proofed” but we endeavour to teach your child how to react and possibly save their own lives by teaching core safety skills like holding on to the side, swimming up to the top, climbing out and so on. But one thing I can assure you of, it is safe for your baby to go underwater and most really enjoy the experience. Again, do your research and find the right Baby Swimming School.

At Swim Baby Swim we never take a baby underwater against their, or their parents will, ours is a loving approach, and as our slogan says “Sharing the joy of Swimming”, not forcing it.

To explain a little as to how and why your little one is able to go underwater, I have included some of medical facts. Below is clever nerdy stuff…

We all have a reflex called the gag and laryngeal reflexes, the younger we are the stronger this reflex is. An involuntary spasm causes the epiglottis to close over the larynx, creating a watertight seal and preventing inhalation of water into the lungs via the trachea.

We don’t necessarily outgrow this reflex, it’s just lessens as we get older. But saying all this, a good baby swimming school will train your baby to hold his/her breath before any reflex is stimulated by the sensation of water on their larynx. As they get older they are then taught to blow out i.e. bubbles when going under water. This gradual process replaces the natural reflex and through games and having fun your baby is on the road to independent swimming!

Phew, that was a mouthful! Now get your cozzie and take your Little Swimmer off to the pool to share the joy of swimming!

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