Most mothers know that babies are supposedly able to hold their breath under water for the first few weeks of their life. Most of us have also seen the cover of the Nirvana album with the baby swimming towards the dollar bill. However, when it comes to our own children, we are often scared of doing it for real. We fear that they have gone past the age at which they can still hold their breath, we fear that our child is different and won’t hold their breath and we generally fear that they will drown as we watch. However, the reality is that your child is not different and that they can do this, and that the moment is actually magical. If you know how to do it and how it works, you may not be as worried about the experience.
Start at Home
Without any water, blow in your child’s face (gently). If they breath in and then pull a funny face, your child can use this as a submersion technique.
Bathe Your Baby
- Look your baby in the eye
- Count one, two, three and blow in your baby’s face as you have practiced
- If they pull the funny face, pour a little bit of water on their face
- Practice this until you don’t have to blow anymore. Once they pull the funny face when you count to three, they are ready.
In the Pool
- Make sure your baby is comfortable and in a playful mood
- Hole the baby under their arms and make eye contact as they face you
- Count to three and blow on their face again
- If they pull the funny face, pour some water on their face. Then, for a single second, submerge your body for about a second, all the time holding on to them
- As soon as you bring them up, smile and laugh and praise them with a toy or something else to amuse them
- At no point should you show and concern or stress
- Play and enjoy the pool for a bit and then repeat
This is where your baby will swim:
- Hold your baby and give them the signal – one, two, three
- Raise the baby a tiny bit and then submerge them fully
- Let go and place your hand very gently at the back of your baby’s head
- Glide them towards the person that is with you, who will receive the baby
- They then need to lift the baby out and praise them, giving them a toy or something else they enjoy playing with
- You can repeat this exercise a few times, but always make sure your child is still in the mood and that you have included plenty of regular play and swimming time between each glide
If at all possible, have a third person there who is able to take pictures of your child as they are submerged. Get them to see where they could take a picture of the submerged baby without also photographing your legs and those of the person your baby is gliding towards, or that they will at least be able to cut the legs out!
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