Our baby is now 20 Weeks old, and today was the first swimming lesson of the second term. We learned some new techniques to get baby swimming, and had a lot of fun too. I'm only describing new moves, so if there is something not explained check our previous baby swimming articles. http://www.bringemup.com/categories/swimming
With some more positive lessons at the end of last year, and a great session at the public baths over Christmas we were feeling pretty confident that this would be a good lesson, and it was. I arrived early for a change so had a little chat with the Mothers in the pool before the lesson. Most of their babies had changed so much over the past month. One looked like a completely different baby, but the rest I recognised and it was good to see them all again.
We started off bouncing around and then it was time for 'name .. ready .. go ..' and splashing water over their heads. This has always seemed to set Amélie up for a bad lesson so I skipped this and watched everyone else do it. Next was a new swim position, I'll call this Swim Position 2.
You are moving forward and baby is moving forward on their front. Baby is to your side, I'm left handed and it feels natural to have her to my left. For right handers it will probably feel better having them on your right. You are holding your baby with both hands one on each side of them, fingers under their chest, thumbs on their back near their shoulder blades. You are quite low in the water, and your elbow on whichever side of you you are holding them on rests near their bottom, helping them stay in a natural swimming position.
We were told this will encourage them to kick their legs, and were told to try and keep their faces out of the water. When we started moving Amélie kicked immediately and never stopped, she seemed very happy. We did this position another 2 or 3 times during the lesson, you can crane your neck and look at your babies face or you can just face the front and let them concentrate on what's in front. I did a bit of both, letting her have a bit of independence but also encouraging her at other times.
Our first underwater swim of the year was stationary in the old swim position. We did it all at the same time again, in a circle with all our babies feet meeting in the middle. As I counted her in with 'Amélie .. Ready .. Go ..' she took no notice so wasn't prepared to go underwater. She got a bit of a shock but when she came up there was no crying at all, she just didn't seem bothered.
Next we got to do the underwater swim where the instructor passes the baby under the water to you while you are underwater wearing goggles. Again when I counted her in Amélie took no notice, I dipped underwater and saw her swimming towards me, eyes wide open. She definitely didn't expect it, and had an annoyed expression on her face. When I lifted her up and out of the water she was coughing, and definitely uncomfortable but seemed to take it in her stride. No sign of crying, and she was looking around at the other babies. The picture isn't too clear but I'm on the right underwater, and Amélie is on the right swimming towards me underwater.
We did a few more of the usual moves, Amélie gave some broad smiles and seemed to be having a lot of fun. I think she likes the instructor, especially when she sings. We did have a few seconds of crying while we were waiting around at the side of the pool but no more than 10 seconds. We then did 2 sets of holding onto the side, Amélie can hold on a bit but floats up when I let go.
With the first of the two new moves you are moving backwards, and baby is moving backwards on their back. Your baby is resting on your chest near your shoulder, as a left hander this was to my left shoulder, for right handers I think your right shoulder will be more comfortable. You cradle your baby using your arm on whatever side of your chest they are resting on. Your hand holds their leg just below the knee. Your other hand reaches around your body and in front to hold their other leg just below the knee. In this position you should be able to help them kick their legs.
In the picture I haven't got it 100 percent perfect but it will give you and idea what's going on.
We moved in this position kicking babies legs, and every so often we spun around 360 degrees. This made me pretty dizzy and out of breath, none of the Mothers seemed to have a problem with it though so I must be out of shape. After a few sets of moving backwards kicking their legs and a few 360 degree spins we finished off by kicking their legs pretty fast.
The next move was very similar. You are still moving backwards with baby on your chest near the shoulder holding (and kicking) their legs just under the knee. This time though, your baby is facing down and moving forward. You are chest to chest. We did this the same way, moving around punctuated by a few 360 degree spins and some fast kicks at the end. Again I'm not doing it perfectly in the picture, but at least it gives you something to visualise.
For both these sessions we sang the following song. 'In the pool we go kick kick kick, kick kick kick, kick kick kick, In the pool we go kick kick kick, all day long', the tune is the same as 'Here we go round the Mulberry bush'.
There was a few Humpty Dumpties and the traditional back floating to 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' to finish with. Clare and I left feeling in very good spirits, and Amélie looked like she had enjoyed the whole session. When I think back to the time not so long ago when she started to be unhappy during her swim times I'm so glad we persevered. Clare did ask me if I wanted to stop going at one point, and it would have been much easier to quit. If your child starts to dislike swimming pool session then I'd encourage you to keep at it, take a few steps back, and try and have as much fun as possible.
Who knows what the next lesson will entail, I will be reporting back next week.