Babies are born with strong reflexes that can be used in the water. In fact, in the uterus, babies are in an aquatic environment, and for this reason water births are becoming more and more popular – babies are used to being underwater from before birth! By encouraging babies to be comfortable in the water from an early age, the child may build on their preexisting affinity for water, rather than trying to reintroduce them later on when they may have developed a phobia.
When it comes to actually swimming, young babies have an advantage over older children and even adults, due to some residual reflexes that allow them to thrive in the water. For example the ‘gag’ reflex is triggered when water enters the mouth, and seals off the throat so it does not enter the lungs. This is why in pictures and videos, very young babies can be seen swimming with their mouths open – an adult would soon find their mouth and throat full of water. There is also the amphibian reflex which causes young babies to automatically kick their arms and legs and move their torso when they are in water, so they’re already on their way to learning their first strokes.
So when can babies start swimming lessons? Sooner than you might think!
Most baby swimming classes have a minimum age of only six weeks, so even very young babies can start learning. NHS recommendations do not require babies to be fully immunised, however parents may wish to keep these up to date for their own peace of mind.
You may wish to consider warmer, baby pools for their lessons, as babies lose heat faster than adults. In a normal temperature pool, babies should only stay in for fifteen or twenty minutes at a time to begin, and then build up to longer periods. London Baby Swim offer swimming lessons in their 33 degree Celcius pools as this warmer temperature allows babies to stay comfortable for longer and get more benefit from the lessons.
If you’re interested in baby swimming lessons, there is no reason to wait! Most babies introduced early find the swimming pool a fun and interesting environment to explore. Contact London Baby Swim today on 020 8400 9091 or email [email protected] to find out more and book a trial lesson.