So this weekend, we decided to introduce Nat to the big cold pool during our staycation at Amara. The water doesn’t have such an overwhelming chemical smell so I figured it would be quite safe. Timing-wise, we went at 5pm yesterday and 11am this morning so it wasn’t too cold. Our main purpose was to get him comfortable beyond his inflatable pool. He also seems to kick more without his neck float so we’ll probably ditch that soon.
“Swimming” with a baby is very different from without one!
- I can’t dip in the pool longer than 30 minutes as babies lose heat faster than adults so 30 minutes is the maximum time for now. When Nat was younger, the recommended time was 15 minutes.
- There’s no actual swimming being done unless one of us tends to the baby so the other can do laps.
- There’s also not much sun-tanning while having an ice cold beer, until after dipping with baby is done.
- Most importantly, one needs to plan and pick the right time to go to the pool.
- Baby must have been fed, but not too recent as the last thing you want is for baby to vomit.
- Ideally, baby should have already pooped or not going to poop anything soon. Nat strangely poops slightly before 2pm everyday so bringing him at 11am and 5pm was safe. Nonetheless, always wear swim diapers as insurance!
- Baby also needs to be well-rested i.e. not just before nap time if not you’ll be dealing with a potentially cranky and overtired baby. Yesterday we brought him after his PM nap and today we went down at 1115am, 1hr after his 1015am feed and 1hr to go before his post-bath cat nap.
- If the baby is unwell, or just recovered, swimming is definitely not possible.
- Lastly, the weather needs to be on your side. Swimming before 10am and after 6pm is too cold. The noon-day sun is also another no-no.
So when all the above is met, then yes, perfect time to go dip baby in the pool.
I also say “swimming” because I personally think that one needs to be of a certain age before they can listen, understand and perform the skills related to actual swimming strokes. Previously, I came across a video where babies were taught how to roll and float as a safety measure in the event that they fall into a swimming pool. The context for this is that in the US, quite a lot of private houses have pools in the backward. Nevertheless, this isn’t to say there are no perks associated with baby swim classes or bringing babies to the pool at a young age. I also believe it’s entirely possible for them to blow bubbles and swim underwater. Just that for now, we’re focusing on building water confidence such that Nat will eventually be comfortable enough when it’s time to learn the actual swimming skills. Like this article summed up, it’s more fun than form at this point.
If I have to pick something to teach, the first one won’t be kicking per say, but floating. That was what my Grandfather did with me and I plan to do the same with Nat.
He called it the “telephone”position because baby is lying horizontal like a telephone. I was told since young that babies or toddlers need to be comfortable lying in the water, with their heads partially submerged (eyes and mouth above the water). Their back are supported initially until they get the hang of it, then the extent of support can gradually decrease.
In the left pic, I supported Nat with both hands under his back but I loosened my grip and didn’t support his lower back anymore in the right pic. Hopefully, floating will come naturally in due time.
Blowing bubbles, going underwater etc. all can happen later on because now, loving the water is no.1 🙂