With the bright new year upon us, now’s the time to start thinking about those all-important resolutions. So why not dive into 2015 with one which will help to burn calories, teach your baby a potentially life-saving skill and get you both out and about and having fun?  Whatever the weather, swimming still provides one of the best forms of exercise for both you and your baby, and is just as perfect for cold winter days as it is for hot summer ones.
 
The good news is that it’s never too early to take your baby to the pool – as long as the water’s warm enough. Water Babies teaches in warm water and hydrotherapy pools, which are just like stepping into a giant bath tub and perfect for new or premature babies. “We see no drop in our classes during the winter months,” says Carol McNally who runs Water Babies classes across Leinster. “In fact, many of our parents tell us that they love getting into a lovely warm pool with their baby, whilst the rain trickles down the windows outside.”
 
So how does Water Babies tick all those New Year’s resolution boxes?
  • Swimming is the only form of exercise your baby can do literally from birth! It provides a complete physical work-out for them and parents often comment that their little ones eat and sleep better on swimming days.
  • The class is also a good workout for you – moving around the pool with plenty of water resistance is harder than you think, while bouncing your baby throughout the lesson does wonders for toning those arms!
  • Trying something new together – babies love the attention that time in the water allows, and the skin-to-skin contact is fantastic for bonding with your baby.
  • Swimming is a potentially life-saving skill – and what better time to commit to learning a new one! Water Babies teaches you and your baby water safety from day one and you’ll be amazed what your little one will pick up in a matter of weeks.
  • Research has shown that bringing baby swimming is excellent for their physical, emotional and mental development so you are giving your baby a real head start in their overall development.
  • Water Babies is a lovely social activity and a great opportunity to get together and meet other new parents. Or why not go along with a friend?  Water Babies lessons teach you to teach your baby to swim, so starting with a friend will give you both the perfect incentive to head to the pool together and practice!
Swimming with your baby is a great way to play and is fantastic for strengthening the bond between the two of you. It will also introduce them to a lifelong love of staying healthy and fit, whilst having a great time too! What could be better?
 
Practical tips...if you decide to take the plunge!
  • Babies don’t need to have had their injections before they can go swimming. For more details visit the HSE website here.
  • Always phone your local pool to check the temperature of the water that day. It needs to be above 30 degrees for a baby older than 12 weeks (or heavier than 12lbs), and above 32 degrees if they’re younger or smaller.
  • Be really relaxed and happy in the water. Whatever you’re feeling will always transfer to your child.
  • Get your shoulders under the water and hold your baby so the water covers their chest. Through the session, try alternating between holding your baby very close, with lots of reassuring skin-to-skin contact, then at arm’s length so they can move freely and feel a bit more independent.
  • Babies tire easily in the water, so restrict your first visit to around 20-30 minutes and make sure you have a hat and warm, cosy towel for afterwards. It’s normal for them to be hungry and tired after swimming, and not unusual for them to sleep for a couple of hours as well – definitely an added bonus to a successful trip!
  • Be ready to give them a big feed after their swim – they’ll be ravenous after such a good workout!
Water Babies classes are available in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Wexford, Waterford, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Carlow, Kerry, Sligo, Meath, Louth, Kildare and Mayo. For more information, please visit the Water Babies website.

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