At only 11 and a half weeks, our swimming adventure had begun. And what an adventure it’s been so far. As I update this blog post, we are about to begin chapter 3 of our water babies journey, and our little fishy couldn’t be more chuffed about it. I just mention the phrase ‘splish- splash’ and Matthews eyes widen and his smile grows. He absolutely loves the water! Whether it’s coming out of the tap while I wash my hands, if the bath is running or he has his feet in the Indian Ocean; Matt loves water and literally beams at the sight of it. I could put it down to the fact the babies, from being in utero, are naturally inclined to like water, but I do believe that encouraging him to ‘swim’ at such an early age, gives them the water confidence that hopefully stays with them into adulthood.
Our lessons have been wonderful and the fabulous friends that Matthew and I have made are great! We started our lessons on Friday mornings at 9:30am at the Crown Plaza Hotel at the Royal Docks. The venue is truly lovely. The pool is always in immaculate and the changing facilities are good too, with ample lockers and just enough space for the members of our group to change comfortably.
Katie, our friendly and knowledgeable instructor has been amazing. Always encouraging and welcoming, gently helping our babies reach those swimming milestones. Each 30 minute session is structured and jam packed with activities for our babes to complete. Starting slowly and gradually building up to more underwater swims. I know that sounds crazy right- a baby under 3 months old- doing underwater swims? They can and they do! Much to many mamas and papas (horror at first) and then delight!
At first, some of the underwater swims gave Matt a bit of a shock, but once he started recognising the phrase, “Matthew, Ready, Go!” he prepares himself by closing his eyes and holding his breath before he goes under. It’s rather astonishing actually. We practise this in the bath every day. Did I mention that he loves the bath?
The water in the pool is a balmy 32 degrees, warm enough for the grown ups, and just fine for the babies when they are wrapped up in their wetsuits. For our lessons, we need to be organised. I try to ensure his bag is packed and ready to go the night before. The items included in our bags are: baby wetsuit, happy nappy, at least 2 waterproof nappies, a warm change of clothes for mum and Matt (season depending), a hat, towels, underwear (don’t forget your panties mama!) I also pack a few goodies for Matt to play with while I am changing.
Each lesson, I see his water confidence growing, he loves splashing about, and being thrown up in the air, and one of his best things to do is surf (using the kicking board) while mama creates waves!
I’m so glad that Matt has the opportunity to learn to swim, and safety techniques like holding onto the side of the pool. We will certainly be continuing as long as we can.