We decided to start baby swim hobby when our son was around four months old. If you are considering whether you should or should not start baby swim in the near future, you may find this post interesting.
As a starting point it’s worthwhile to think why you would like to start a baby swim. Is it because all the other Mums in your friends groups are planning to do so, or is it something you think you and your baby would truly enjoy? I encourage to think the reasons because taking the little one to swim will be a bit of an effort, you will commit to the hobby for a term and it will also cost little bit of money. Why we wanted to start baby swim so early? Me and my partner both love the water. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a history of competing in water sports and I’m not a hardcore ocean swimmer, but I like water activities like swimming, surfing and snorkling and living near the sea inspires me. My partner is a passionate surfer and quite pro in all water sports. For both us it’s important that our kids ideally would enjoy the water. Of course we can’t force our son to like water activities if he just doesn’t, but we can encourage him and make sure he feels comfortable in the water. We also felt baby swim could be a hobby and way of interaction both parents and our baby would enjoy.
Book your baby in early
So firstly, I would advise to do your research about your favorite swim school ahead of time and book your baby in as soon as possible. Baby Swim is a very popular hobby in Sydney and Eastern Suburbs at least. I was a bit late when booking us in. Term 4 2016 was just about to start when I desperately tried to find a free spot for us. We started with Duck & Dive. They were talking in Mumsense at Randwick Royal Hospital for Women, so I was already familiar with them. Duck & Dive also takes babies in from very early age whereas many of the other swim schools won’t allow the baby to start before six months of age.
Location and logistics matter
Duck & Dive’s Ultimo pool classes were full, but Artarmon had space. I wasn’t sure how tricky the drive from Bondi would be, but I have to say it worked really well for us. I drive to the pool from Bondi in 25 minutes. The parking is just next to the pool, so it’s so easy to drive in, change the baby to the swimmers and then jump to the pool. At the end of the day the logistics is really important when you try to change both yourself and the baby. Location and transport obviously matters even more so if you are using public transport.
What have we learned?
At the beginning I wasn’t sure whether my son will learn anything, the first classes he was so much more interested to look around the new environment rather than being in the water. However, every week we learned something new and suddenly our baby started kicking and smiling in the water. We learned how to submerge him, and now we as parents are confident to submerge him ourselves when we go to swimming pool on the weekends. He seems to like being in the water, and he is very comfortable when we submerge him. He knows some water safety basics like holding on my top or the edge of the pool, he kicks and splashes with his legs and hands.
Now when I look back, I think four to six months age is really good age to start. Babies are more manageable with regards of their feeding and napping schedules, and they are also more alert and can get a bit more out of the swimming classes. Basically if your baby is under one year it’s a good time to start, after one year of age the fear factor can start kicking in. However, don’t panick if you can’t get your baby to swim school before one year of age. They are still so little and sometimes we parents seem to forget that there is no rush. There is several toddlers and kids who start swimming hobby later and they absolutely love the water. I would recommend to ask more details about toddler and kids groups from your local swim school.