Some are likely going to be horrified to learn that we first put our twins in the water at two months old. It was brief and we held them close and cuddled them in cozy towels afterwards, but we started young.
My husband and I are avid water fans. We love pools and lakes and oceans. We love water skiing and canoeing and sailing. Having children that were comfortable in the water was a high priority for us.
Fast forward 5 years and we have two little ones who eagerly change into their swimsuits. They are confident around water and yet respect safety rules as well as preschoolers possibly can. They splash and put their faces in the water.
How did we get there? I believe that their early start was key. Aside from the early start, we have a few tips for introducing your baby to the water.
Please note: I am not a doctor or swim expert, this information is based on knowledge of infants and our experience. Make sure to follow the advice of your child's pediatrician and knowledge of your child.
6 Tips for Infants in Water
- Pick a warm pool : babies are unable to regulate their body temperature as well as adults or even bigger kids. Picking warmer (NOT HOT) water is safest.
- Swim in Brief Increments : to ensure that you are protecting their body temperature and not overwhelming your baby, swim in brief increments.
- Hold them Close : babies feel secure when they are close to your body so they can feel your warm, hear your heart, and smell your scent. when introducing them to something new, start by holding their body close to your body.
- Read Their Cues : some babies won't like the water at first and this is okay. Do not force it. Try for a minute or so and then wrap them up in a towel and try again another time. Other babies will feel comfortable and happy. Follow their cues and make sure to stop before they get overwhelmed.
- Make Sure You are Calm and Relaxed : children are remarkably perceptive. If you are nervous about putting your baby in the water, wait until you are comfortable. You should be calm and relaxed and enjoying the experience. Playing in the water with your baby should be fun.
- Warm them up afterwards : Make sure you have towels to swaddle them in and hold them for a little bit after they swim. Back to #1, babies need help regulating their body temperature. Make sure you pay attention to their body temperature and help them warm up or cool down as needed. Similar to how you adjust their clothing for different weather outside or temperatures inside more than you would an older child.
Looking for more baby water play ideas?
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and For More Mini-Adventures for Young Children Click Below to Learn about our Field Guide.