So you’ve all seen the Nirvana-esque images of babes underwater, heading for the camera with eyes wide open and arms and legs spread wide. Capturing that very image might even be the reason you’ve signed up your brand new little babe for swimming lessons only weeks after they arrived. But what you may have failed to spend much time thinking about is that to catch that fabulous shot your precious little bundle, the one you’ve spent 9 months creating will have to be dunked under water! Wait it gets better… that first dunk under water happens in the very first class where babies from days, weeks and months old are initiated into the pool.
As with many of the things we fear for our babies though ‘the dunk’ was nowhere near as terrifying as I had first thought and to help you get your head around what to expect from Chapter one of a Water Babies course I’ll be blogging weekly with updates on what Phoebe the fish gets up to.
Week one began by squeezing that cute little baby bum into a Water Babies Happy Nappy. These are designed to contain even the sneakiest of poos (you know the sly ones that sneak up the back and you don’t realise they are there until you go to refasten the vest)! These are compulsory in the pool, for obvious reasons, and you’ll be asked to pick one up before the session.
Getting organised for anything with a newborn is a mission but Water Babies have you covered by sending out a list of what to pack, they will also bring along anything you order from the online shop to the first class for you to collect, so no crazy buggy dash around the shops needed!
The pool we are using at Princes Primary School is perfect for Chapter one as the water is particularly warm, a must for the age of the babies in the class. We have purposely selected an early evening class as swimming is going to be dad’s domain and it seems that a lot of other families have had the same thought. There’s a good mix of mums and dads both in the pool and on poolside ready and waiting to get every second of this momentous moment on camera.
Our instructor Louise introduces herself and her calm nature immediately puts parents at ease. If you’re going to let anyone dunk your little nugget under water 15 minutes after meeting them then someone who has previously had extensive training with Emirates Airline, full Water Babies training as well as her own experiences of being a mum, is not a bad choice to make. Louise understands that this first session, in many ways, is harder for the parent than the baby and she puts these anxieties to bed quickly and sensitively.
The session begins by building the foundations of what will be a routine that babies remember and recognise each time they get into the water. This involves different ways of moving them through the water as well as repetition of verbal instructions that will eventually help babies to prepare for what is coming next.
The session is 30 minutes long and by the end of it all of the little swimmers are suitably exhausted (another great reason for an early evening class) as we peel away the Happy Nappy and snuggle into the towel I know we’re in for an early bedtime (result!)