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Saturday, 25 September 2021

swimming pools melbourneBeyond the lounge room floor and past the green grass of the park lies a lovely sensory experience for your baby. Wide open, brilliant blue, echoey, shiny and wet, the pool is a great place for exploration and weightless relaxing.

Infant swim lessons generally start from six months, but you can get your baby back in the water anytime. Given they spent their first nine months floating in the womb, bubs are often quite happy in water.

Here are a few tips to help make that first swim a fun one:

Where: Start off in a warm pool as cold water can scare babies. Rather than the shallow-end of a big swimming pool, look for separate toddler’s, learn-to-swim or hydrotherapy pools (which your baby carrying muscles will love).

Gear: It’s great for parents to wear a T-shirt in the water to give bubs something to grip. Put baby in a swimming nappy. **These only work in the water - something you really don't want to learn the hard way with a puddle in the car seat upon arrival at the pool, for example. Disposable swimpants (such as Huggies Little Swimmers) are an easy option for babies weighing 7+ kilos. If you want to take a smaller baby swimming, check out a reusable option such as Eenee Swimmers, which can be adjusted to fit a variety of shapes and sizes. Many pools sell reusable swim nappies.

What to do in the pool? Start by holding baby close and making eye contact. Graduate to gently swooshing your baby along in the water like a little ferry penguin. Walk around, allowing them to glide. Early splash time and formal infant swim lessons are about getting babies used to the water rather than teaching technique. Encourage bub to kick, kick, kick and move those arms and legs. Every outing is an opportunity to teach language! If you want to have a go at quickly dunking them underwater, say 1, 2, 3 and then take the plunge. Surprisingly, many babies will instinctively hold their breath.

If baby sniffs water up the nose: Pinch it tight to take away some of the sting.

Keep it brief: Initially, keep swim sessions to 30 minutes or less. Much longer will be too tiring.

After fuel: An icy pole for you and something milky for bubs. Many paddle like mad and work up an appetite.

Bonding and sleeping in: Swimming is a great bonding activity, which often gets handed to dads. Pools are chock full of dads and babies on Saturday mornings, leaving mum to sleep in. A win-win for the whole family!    

Check these lists of public pools and registered swim schools in Victoria to see what is available in your area.

 

HERE ARE A FEW OPTIONS IN AND AROUND MELBOURNE

Hydrotherapy pools (check the schedule for availability):

Reservoir Leisure Centre

Ashburton Pool and Recreation Centre

Knox Leisure Works

Indoor learners and toddlers pools:

Coburn Leisure Centre

Richmond Recreation Centre

Collingwood Leisure Centre

Outdoor toddler pool:

North Melbourne Pool

 

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