I'm writing this article after our 3rd swimming lesson, Amélie is now 8 weeks old and started swimming in a real pool at 6 weeks old.
Just a reminder that if you find this interesting you should go back and read our previous articles which go through the techniques mentioned in more detail. Clare has written articles concerning equipment, nappies and the like.
Last week I wasn't feeling well, and today I had a fierce hangover. I'd not eaten anything on Sunday because I'd worked all day. I didn't really drink a lot but my alcohol intake has been so low over the past few months my body wasn't prepared for it.
I forced down a glass of resolve and Clare offered to take her instead, I felt so guilty all of a sudden. I was not able to take my daughter swimming because I'd been drinking the night before! That sounds like a terrible Father to me, there was no way I was going to miss this.
I didn't say a lot in the car, I was feeling too grim. I carried Amélie from the car to the pool in silence. We shower with our babies before we enter the pool for hygiene reasons. I was glad to be standing under the shower, this was the last time I even noticed the hangover until the lesson was over. The whole experience is just so fantastic you can't help but enjoy it.
Again it was all mothers apart from myself. There was one father but he was by the side of the pool taking pictures, he didn't know what he was missing! We started with bouncing, splish splashing, some forward swimming, everything we had done before.
There was a new Mother this time, her baby was the only one that didn't seem to be 100 percent comfortable in the water. She cried quite a lot but I think she enjoyed it for the most part, her mother was pretty confident which helped. Her baby looked much bigger and older than the rest, and she was the only baby that actually seemed to have a bit of fear of the water. I'm pretty glad we took Amélie at such a young age. If we are lucky enough to have any more children then we will definitely take them sooner rather than later.
My favorite part is always the dunking or under water swimming part. I was not to be disappointed, just like last week the parents did this themselves. Holding baby in front of you in the 'swim position', say the words 'Amélie ... Ready .. Go' (to get them to associate the word 'ready' with holding their breath) and then pulling them towards you, under the water, and back up for a cuddle. I always give Amélie a really good dunk, probably a man thing. The mothers are a little less cavalier and a few of them laughed when I did it. Amélie just as every other time seemed quite happy being dunked.
Then we had to do the 'swim position' with a difference. Just as usual parent moving backwards, baby on their tummy moving forward, supported by their chest, but this time we were to sweep them left and right a bit as well as moving forward like a zigzag. The instructor said this was a very nice feeling for the babies and Amélie loved it, she has started to lift her head up nicely now. On previous occasions she had just turned her head to the side.
We did Humpty Dumpty, which Amélie loves, and face wetting which she doesn't seem to like much. We are supposed to do it 3 times but I only do it twice as she doesn't seem comfortable with it yet. Then it was backstroke time.
This time we were only to support our babies with one hand, I was glad as this is what I'd been doing since her first bath and it felt much more natural to me. With the other hand free you are supposed to hold it up and wiggle it while you sing twinkle twinkle little star. I'm happy to wiggle my hand but I don't sing, the mothers do a much better job at that. You have to be careful not to hold your hand over your babies face, because it's not pleasant for them to be splashed in the face without the 'Amélie .. Ready .. Go' warning.
Next was a moving underwater swim. While moving in 'swim position', you lower your arms and allow your baby to dip underwater and out again. Naturally you need to warn them with 'Amélie (or your babies name) ... Ready ... Go' before you do it. The instructor stressed that you don't pull your baby towards you with this new move, because they are moving forward anyway and they would be going to fast under the water. After they come up out of the water then you give them a big hug.
When it was my turn I found it hard not to pull her towards me, but just about managed it. As usual I allowed her to go well under, no messing about. She seemed nonplussed my the whole experience.
Before I knew it the lesson was over. I handed Amélie over to Clare and got out of the pool, then I remembered my hangover. It had given me 30 minutes of respite but it was now back with a vengeance and giving me hell. At least I didn't let the little one down, and we had our Monday swim together. Next week it's half term so no lesson. I'm going to try and edit some video footage of her swimming to put up on bringemup.com, so I may post that instead of the usual lesson report.