Our baby is now 3 months old, and this is the 7th article in our teach your baby to swim series. She had her first lesson at just 6 weeks old, and now only has 3 more lessons left of the first term.
This lesson flew past, and we only learned one new technique. Mind you it was a pretty exciting addition. We started off running through all the previous techniques we had learned. This included the two we learned last week, the underwater swim where you let go and touch the side of the pool, and the one where you try to get your baby holding onto the side of the pool (the image for this article was taken today during this move). We did that with the instructor again, and it struck me that this is something we could start to do at our local pool outside the formal lessons. I don't think Amélie is going to learn to hold onto the side of the pool with only 30 seconds practise per week, and there are other things I'd like to practise outside the regimented format of the lessons.
After 7 lessons and plenty of underwater swims without any problems I think we can be confident in taking her to the public pool. This way we can double her lessons and Clare can get involved too. To be honest I wouldn't want to waste time during the formal lessons practising when we could be learning and trying out new things under supervision.
Of course you don't need to go for paid lessons, there is no reason why you can't just do it yourself. I guess it's a luxury, but if you have the opportunity then I'd recommend it. I think the next best thing would be to organise to go with a few other parents with babies of a similar age. I'd feel self conscious if Amélie started crying at the public pool, especially if it were after an underwater swim. I can imagine what some people may think if they saw a man dunk a very young baby underwater, I can see myself getting lynched! Having 7 lessons under my belt gives me the confidence to go for it.
On to the new move, this was similar to the moving underwater swim. The difference is that when the baby is submerged you let them go for a short time before picking them up for a hug. So you have the baby in swim position, baby moving forwards on their front. You are moving backward, arms stretched forward thumbs pointing up and outwards supporting the baby with the palms of your hands at the top of their chest. When the instructor demonstrated she was moving at quite a surprisingly quick pace, so this isn't a slow move. You say 'Amélie (replace with your baby's name) ... Ready ... Go ', a slight pause to allow them to hold their breath then you allow their head to go right under the water and let go. You need to keep moving as you are creating a slip stream current in the water which will keep them moving forward, then you simply scoop them up for a hug.
On our turn Amélie kind of did a headstand in the water, I think her swim nappy had some air trapped in it and her bum floated to the surface. When I scooped her up she didn't look too pleased with me, 5 seconds later she was fine and gave a yawn as she looked around pretty unphased by the whole thing. I've lost count with how many times she has been underwater, sometimes she has almost no reaction to it at all and sometimes she pulls a face. I think she even had a cry for a few seconds once, and a couple of times she coughed. At no time have I seen her under any kind of distress.
I've got a busy week this week so I'm not sure we will get time to take her to the public baths. I think we will definitely do it in the next couple of weeks though and report back on how it went. Clare will be in the pool with her for the first time when we go so you will be able to get a woman's perspective on the experience. We have another formal lesson planned next Monday so I'll be letting you know of anything new we learn then. Feel free to leave comments and let us know of anything you want us to explain in more detail.