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Swimming Lesson 19

Continuation of our teach your baby to swim articles. Today it was Dads turn again to take our baby swimming. She is almost 7 months old now and has been swimming since she was just 6 weeks old. This lesson introduces some extentions of previously learned routines.

baby swimming
picture of baby at swimming pool

Today we had a different instructor for the lesson. It turned out quite well as she had a slightly different approach.

We had a stage with Amélie where she had started to cry during lessons, thank goodness that is now over. What I hadn't consciously noticed, was that I'd started to bounce her up and down quite quickly to distract her if I thought she may start to cry.

This swimming lesson, like the previous couple of lessons we had no sign of crying from Amélie, but a couple of the other babies had a cough and showed signs of starting to cry. Especially after the underwater routines. When this happened, this new instructor bounced the babies up and down quite quickly. It was although she had been working with babies in the swimming pool for years, and knew exactly what to do. It worked every time she did it, and I realised that I'd been doing the same thing naturally.

In the past I was told to give Amélie a cuddle when she cried, this never worked so I'd distracted her by this quick bouncing movement. So if you do have a stage of crying, try this out. All you do is lift them up and down but faster than usual. Leave a comment if this works for you.

The first extension we did was 2 underwater swims in a row. You take them in side holding swim position a little way from the instructor (or partner, or whoever you are going with), turn around and move towards the other person, count them in with the 'name ... ready ... go' then take them under the water and let them go as they swim to the other person underwater. If they are happy when they come up, (which Amélie was) then the process is repeated the other way around so they are passed back to you underwater.

Next was an extension to the emergency procedure we have been working on the past couple of lessons. The first time this was introduced our babies didn't go under the water. The next time we added the submersion part but still held onto them. This time we were to let go of them under the water.

This instructor was much more picky about technique which was good. One person was told not to step away from the side of the pool when they pulled their baby off the side and into the water. She said this would mean your baby is too far away to grab on right away so prevents them from achieving what you are asking from them until you move them forward.

One person was told to be careful of banging their babies head on the metal bar that we hold onto. I was told to break my baby's fall when I pulled her in off the side. What I was doing was simulating exactly what would happen if she fell in, and I should have been breaking the fall a bit for her by dampening the controlled fall with a little upward resistance in my arms.

baby and dad underwater
picture of baby and parent underwater

There was an extension also to 'ring a ring o roses'. Usually parent and baby go underwater together, parent holding baby vertical under the armpits. The extension was to let go when baby reaches the bottom of the pool, and allow them to float up to the top. We were to be careful not to let go too soon, because if we let go on the downward movement it would work against them floating up. If they didn't float up we were to give them a gentle pat on the rump to send them in the right direction. Amélie floated up no problem at all.

Sadly there was no chasing fishy routine, which is the first favourite. We did on our backs we go kick, kick, kick twice during the lesson. Details can be found in previous articles, but in short you have baby with the back of their head resting on your chest and you are kinking their legs for them.
Both parent and baby are moving backward.

Then came underwater swim, in moving side holding swim position, with a release. Having just written that line, it reads like someone commentating on an Olympic Gymnastic routine! We have done this before but today there was a hula hoop being held under the surface by the instructor for baby to swim through. She said this will force us to release our babies, but to be honest our class is a confident bunch. Myself and the other Mothers have no problem letting go, but it was fun all the same.

As it came to my turn I realised that as a left hander I was holding Amélie on the opposite side to everyone else. This meant I was on the same side of the hoop as the instructor, so would bump into them instead of passing by the other side of the loop to collect my baby. I tried to switch sides but I couldn't hold her very well on the other side, so I just bumbled through. She looked to enjoy swimming through the hoop though.

We did a few other routines, but there was nothing new in them so I won't bang on about them. We are working on diagrams and animations to go along with these articles so do check our swimming section.check this link