Friday, 09 October 2015
Rebecca Adlington's pooltime tips
With these top tips for swimming with little ones you'll be taking the plunge in no time
Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington took her daughter Summer swimming for the first time when she was only three weeks old, "I was a bit apprehensive, but I've taken her loads of times since!"
With these top tips for taking little ones to the pool from Rebecca and baby swimming expert Laura Sevenus, you'll be taking the plunge in no time.
Most babies love being in the water and if you are confident and enjoy yourself, your baby will most likely have fun too.
"I put Summer on her back, on her front, pull her around, and she's so relaxed," says Rebecca. "I'll be happy as long as she's a confident swimmer."
Holding your baby close will help them feel secure and encourage them to enjoy the experience of being in the pool. Maintain eye contact with your little one.
Smile, relax and drop down to the same level – your baby will love seeing you splash about too!
Get in the pool as soon as you can
Babies have a natural affinity to water which probably originates from their development in the womb. Taking your baby swimming as early as possible reintroduces them to their watery surroundings and is the perfect bonding opportunity.
Parents can sometimes be put off swimming because of the hassle, but with a little forward planning you'll get used to it in no time. Just like taking your baby out shopping for the first time, or the first bath, you'll soon become an expert! Just make a list of everything you need beforehand.
Make the most of bath time
Bath time is a great way to get your baby used to being in the water with you. They love the physical freedom the buoyancy of water provides. They can move around freely, stretching and kicking their arms and legs.
A great tip is to lie back in the bath and support your baby's head against your chest; trickle water down their face while talking calmly to them.
It's a family affair
Men tend to stand taller in the water and have better balance. This can help babies feel more relaxed and comfortable in their father's arms. Going swimming as a family is a wonderful bonding experience and can help build babies confidence in the water. It's also a great way to make sure Dad doesn't feel left out.
Rebecca says that her and husband Harry plan to little Summer swimming together every week.
Make a date with other mums
Sometimes it's easier if you have some morale support so why not ask other mums along, or a friend who can help while you get used to handling a wet baby!
"Getting back in the water is empowering for new mums as well as being a great confidence booster. It's easier said than done, but women should try not to worry about their post-pregnancy figure and instead embrace spending time with their new arrivals," says Rebecca.
"It's also worth remembering swimming is a fantastic exercise that can help tone your entire body. You burn 300 calories for every 30 minutes of swimming; it's one of the most effective forms of exercise. "
Make it a habit
Try going swimming as often as possible; the more you go, the more you and your little one will enjoy it. Very few things are as affordable and fun as swimming! It's a skill that will last a lifetime and something which can be enjoyed as a family for years to come.
Avoid peak times
If you are new to baby swimming go when the pool if quieter – it will make the entire experience less stressful and enjoyable.
"I've started to slowly put her under the water, which is scary at first even though I'm super-confident in water, but she just pops back up and bats her eyes and is fine," says Rebecca. "I'm so happy that she loves it."
Resting their head in the water, with their ears slightly submerged gives them a similar sensation to being in the womb and can be extremely comforting.
For advice, videos and a guide to baby swimming, visit littleswimmers.co.uk.