We are almost half way through our first term (Chapter 1) with Waterbabies and baby S and I are both having so much fun. She loves being in the water and it’s a fantastic bonding experience – plus I’m amazed by how much she’s learnt.
I’ve written previously about our first swimming lesson with Waterbabies and what to expect. Each week builds on what has gone before, reinforcing the skills and often adding something new.
We practice basic movements in the ‘swimming position’ – holding the babies a certain way so they are horizontal, with their heads just above the water – and baby S always kicks her legs as I move her through the water. We’ve done ‘humpty dumpty’ – where the babies are sat on the side of the pool, held securely, and brought into the water on the word ‘fall’ – and practiced holding on to the bar at the side of the pool, an important safety skill.
I’ve floated on my back helped by a pool noodle (a long cylindrical float) with baby S on my chest, and she’s been underwater in every lesson apart from one time when she had the hiccups, as it isn’t safe for babies to be underwater when they have the hiccups!
We have progressed from a short placement underwater to being moved through the water (still underwater) and then up again, and then this week the most impressive thing of all so far: actually realising our babies underwater.
Our teacher Emma held the babies one at a time – though I suspect in future weeks it will be the parents doing this! On the words ‘Baby S – ready – go’ Emma gently placed her underwater…. And let go! Baby S then swam up to the surface and I took her in my arms just as she broke the surface for a cuddle and lots of ‘well done’ kisses.
It’s amazing that a seven month old who has only had a handful of swimming lessons can do that – but all the babies (even younger ones) managed the same, though Emma had told us it’s nothing to worry about if the babies go down instead of up or rotate in the water once she lets go!
I love taking the mini moo swimming because she loves it so much – she smiles in the water, grins when I bounce her up and down and laughs when I put my face in the water and blow bubbles at her. She seems a natural in the water and is very relaxed and takes everything in her stride, even the underwater swims, and is really curious about what is going on around her, watching the other babies with interest. I feel like it’s given us an extra way to bond as I’m holding her for the entire half hour (unless the teacher takes her for a demo) and we have lots of skin to skin contact and eye contact. I can’t believe how quickly the weeks are going and that we are nearly half way through Chapter 1 and it will soon be time to sign up for Chapter 2!