Will Your Infant Really Benefit from Swimming?

When it comes to babies and swimming, the internet is divided. While there are some who love the idea, there are others who think it’s just not right to have infants start swimming when they’re a year old or younger.

But what is the reality? Is there something like “swimming too early”? Do kids stand to get hurt when they’re made to swim too young? Or does swimming help infants? In this article, we explore the world of infant swimming.

Looking for more tips and tricks for your swimming pool? Check out our blog!

At what age can a baby start to swim?

Contrary to popular belief, newborns aren’t born with the natural ability to swim, “because they spent 9 months in amniotic fluid”. A foetus floating in amniotic fluid is in no way similar to a person floating in a swimming pool.

 When you see videos titled “Newborn swimming” on YouTube, what looks like a baby swimming, is just the newborn’s primal fight or flight survival instinct kicking in. While the newborn can stay afloat for a few seconds, he/she won’t be able to really swim.

 Just as with any movement (such as walking), a baby human needs to be taught how to swim. It’s just that the way an infant is taught is different from how a school-aged child would be taught.

 But, in saying this, experts say that it’s perfectly safe to have your baby in the pool anytime between 3 months and 1 year.

How are kids that young made to swim?

Parental/guardian support and supervision are imperative for children this young. Your infant will not be able to raise his/her head out of the water until they’re 12 months or older. Even when they are able to, this may last only a few seconds or minutes. You’ll need to give their necks and heads support as you help them float on the water.

 Hiring a baby/infant swim instructor can be very helpful, as they can help your infant gain mobility and flexibility by moving their limbs in a swimming motion. They can also play simple and safe games with your infant in the water. This helps them strengthen their tiny bodies and also become more alert and responsive.

How does swimming benefit infants in the first place?

Swimming helps the infant’s muscular and bone development

The motion of swimming that you or an instructor make the baby do, can strengthen the infant’s muscles and bones. This can be incredibly helpful as the infant grows.

Swimming makes your baby’s brain more plastic and ready for higher-order cognitive development

Swimming requires the body to learn how to navigate a new environment that is completely different from what humans are normally used to. As a growing baby, your infant’s plastic brain will have an easier time coping with the changing environments and learning new ways to subconsciously deal with being in the water. As his/her neurons fire and build new connections, your infant’s brain becomes more powerful. His/her hand-eye coordination and mind-body connection will improve significantly. The infant’s ability to learn will also be significantly better. This makes your baby ready for more cognitively challenging tasks in the future.

Swimming improves the infant’s sleep patterns

Swimming relaxes the muscles and reduces any muscular stress your infant feels. You’ll notice your baby sleeping better and having longer periods of sleep after he/she swims. This is great, because when your baby sleeps, so can you.

Swimming reduces your infant’s risk of drowning

When you get your baby used to the water and start helping them mimic the strokes of swimming, you get them ready for active training when they’re older. This familiarity with the water will mean your child is less likely to panic in the pool when older. Plus, they’ll be equipped with the foundational training necessary to stay afloat, which is imperative to prevent drowning. In fact, baby/infant swimming instructors actually teach techniques to infants, where the babies subconsciously know how to save themselves from drowning. They roll onto their back, so they start to safely float until the parent/guardian gets to them.

Swimming improves the baby’s lung capacity

Since the infant is exposed to very short periods underwater (usually just 1-2 seconds), their lungs start to adapt to the new breathing technique. The infant’s lungs, heart and entire cardiovascular system will become stronger and more effective in circulating clean air throughout his/her body.

Swimming helps parent/guardian and infant bond closely

Swimming with your infant means you spend more hours than usual with your baby. As you hold your infant, the skin-to-skin contact between the infant and parent/guardian (specifically the mother), releases oxytocin in the body. This is called the “love hormone” by doctors because it increases feelings of love and companionship. Oxytocin increases the bonding between the parent/guardian and the baby. By swimming with your infant, you can set the foundation for a beautiful relationship.

Swimming improves the baby’s appetite

Since swimming engages all of your infant’s muscles, joints and bones, it can be tiring and hunger-inducing. You’ll see that after the swim your infant is ready for the breast or bottle and they won’t be too fussy when drinking either.

Swimming can be a great confidence booster and a personality developer

When your infant is able to swim from a very young age, it builds their confidence and makes them develop a healthy self-image. Additionally, if your baby swims around other children or adults, their socialization skills will also improve. Plus, they will want to be active and involved in family experiences. Overall, you’ll notice that your little one is shaping into a wonderful human being partially thanks to swimming.

There are so many more reasons why a swimming pool is a good investment. Check it out here!

Have your own fibreglass pool installed at home and keep your baby safe and happy

Taking your baby to the public pool can be dangerous, because they may get exposed to numerous viruses, bacteria and fungi, which can cause infection and diseases. Keep your baby healthy, happy and safe, by having a brand new fibreglass pool built and installed at home. This pool will be yours to use anytime you want. You can make sure your infant is protected from germs, while also ensuring that he/she receives water time every day. You can also find great opportunities to bond with your little one and have wonderful family time as well.

 Doesn’t that sound lovely? So, get in touch with our team at Barrier Reef Pools New Zealand. We are experienced fibreglass pool installers. We can design a bespoke pool just for you, with proper safety tools and installations that will be ideal for your infant. Contact us for more information.