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Teach your baby to Swim Lesson 17

Today we built on progress made in swimming lesson 16. Clare still sits quite far way so as not to distract Amélie, however she did manage to get some photographs this time although the quality isn't great from such a distance.

baby swim float
picture of baby swimming

15 lessons with no dirty swim nappy and now 2 lessons in a row. A small price to pay though for 2 lessons in a row where Amélie has really enjoyed the lessons, and done many underwater swims without skipping a beat.

Rather than repeating myself and fully explaining here all the techniques I've already been through in previous articles, I'll assume you will reference the previous articles for those details. I'm working on collating all the techniques into concise worksheets which I'll post onto the Website, but for now I'll just be running through our experiences lesson by lesson.

We started as usual, bouncing around in a circle and doing 3 'name ... ready ... go's' you can get the details from the previous articles. We repeated this and the it was time for the first underwater swim. This was the same as we learned last week where we switch places with the instructor and pass our babies to the instructor under the water rather than the other way around.

As I was holding Amélie in side holding swim position I counted her in with 'Amélie ... Ready ... Go' she was looking at me by her side wide eyed with her mouth open. I was sure she was going to breathe in just as I put her under the water, and braced myself for the fallout. However when the instructor lifted her out of the water and passed her back to me she was pretty happy!

Then we did the relatively new holding onto the side technique, where you approach the side of the pool in side holding swim position repeating 'hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on'. Amélie can hold on now and pull herself up. However it's a bit hit and miss whether or not she decides to follow my instructions and hold on. Sometimes she is distracted and looking elsewhere, other times she reaches out and holds on.

Next was the moving underwater swim. We do this in a big circle, one by one. Usually we are moving forward with our babies in side holding swim position. We count them in to prepare them to hold their breath, then submerge them, let go, and pick them up again. This time we were handed goggles and told to put our faces underwater at the same time as we submerge our babies.

We were warned that we may be a little unsteady when we come back up. Should this happen the instructor told us she would be there to catch our babies and lift them out. I was fine though, as always with these articles you need to use your own judgement as to how safe you think these techniques are. I'm just relaying what I've been taught and what I've done with our baby. Obviously the best route is to sign up for a course with a company such as Water Babies, but that is down to availability, cost, and if the lessons fit into your schedule. The next best thing is to go as a group to the local pool.

This routine was a pretty cool experience. I'd seen Amélie swimming towards me underwater, but this time I got to see her swimming in side view. I wish Clare could have seen it for herself.

Next up was an extension of last weeks Emergency Procedure. If your baby does fall into the pool they will most likely go underwater before they float to the top. For this reason we were to allow our babies to fall completely under the water, whereas last week we kept their heads above water the whole time. Check the previous article for the details but basically you sit them on the side of the pool, count them in, splash them into and under the water, immediately turn them around to face the side of the pool, lift them enough to reach the side of the pool and repeat 'hold on, hold on , hold on' in a slightly panicked way. After my turn I was told I should have allowed her to fall deeper under the water which I'll do next time around.

Then came ring a ring a roses, which we learned a few lesson back. I have goggles on for this and Amélie and I go underwater facing each other. The pool is so shallow I have difficulty getting underwater but I just manage. Still no fuss from Amélie about going underwater!

Then some bouncing and splish splashing which we have been doing from the first lesson I think. Then last weeks new version of Humpty Dumpty, 8 Water Babies Sitting On A Wall. Followed by the firm favourite introduced last week, swimming after the fish. This is by far her favourite game to play.

Then came another routine introduced last week, surfing on a foam float to the theme tune of Hawaii 5 0. Another clear winner with all the babies. We finished with gentle bouncing and then twinkle twinkle little star in the new back floating position (again introduced in the previous lesson). I think the idea is that your baby is pretty much floating and you are holding their hands as a precaution so you can prevent them going under. Amélie pulls herself up so she isn't really floating, I tried moving my hands lower (even almost reaching water level) but she just pulls up more. Perhaps she will relax more in time.

With that the lesson was over, 100% fun and no complaints from Amélie. I think that the increase in the variety of activities during the lessons has stopped her becoming bored and grumpy. Another lesson next week, so another article too.