Babies Swimming Tips and FAQs
It’s natural to have lots of questions when you are considering baby swimming lessons and classes. The following are questions we are often asked when taking your baby swimming. Click on the links below for more information. If you have any other questions or comments, however trivial you may think they are, please click here to drop us an email.
Q. What should my baby wear for baby swimming?
We operate a strict double nappy policy. Every baby and toddler, unless completely potty trained must wear a disposable/reusable swimming nappy, with a specialist neoprene swimming nappy over the top. You can buy neoprene nappies from your local Turtle Tots office or click here to order online.
The nappy should be quite difficult to get on, and fit snugly around the legs and waist. However they should not be so tight they are leaving nasty red marks on the legs.
The disposable or reusable nappy underneath should be COMPLETELY hidden. If this is peeping out the top of the outer nappy, it is rendered useless should there be poop! If you are struggling to pull the neoprene nappy over the top of the under nappy you may need to pull the nappy up a little at the legs. Or buy a bigger size.
We also sell Baby Warmas and Warming Wetsuits, which you may wish to purchase if your little one feels the cold or you take them swimming in cooler pools between classes. click here to view the products.
Q. Does my baby need to be fully immunised?
It's never too soon to introduce your baby to water. Medical research shows that a baby doesn't have to have completed the full immunisation course before you take your baby swimming. However, we do advise that you speak to your G.P. or health visitor if you have any concerns about pre-immunisation on baby swimming.
Q. When should I feed my child before swimming?
Babies may be fed no more than 30mins before entering the pool, to allow food to be digested, when it is liquid. If you are feeding with solids, please allow at least 1 hour. Babies may be hungrier (and sleepier) after swimming due to all the exercise, so they may need a big feed after the swim. Please note that food is not allowed inside the pool facilities.
Q. What if my child is ill?
It is not advisable to take your baby swimming if they have any illness such as a chest infection, measles, sickness/diarrhoea, ear infections, asthma or a cold (first days of the cold). It’s best if symptoms have cleared at least 48 hours prior to taking your baby to the pool.
If you are concerned about any medical condition, we ask that you always check with your GP before coming to any lessons.
Q. Why teach my baby to swim?
The Turtle Tots Swim philosophy is to ensure safety and water confidence, encouraging parents to fully utilise the benefits and enjoyment that they can have swimming with their children – whether at classes, on holiday or trips to the pool. Water confidence and the ability to swim from a young age is certainly a gift for life. We also provide a great social environment for parents and babies, especially for mums as their social life totally changes with the new arrival, to meet and share their precious baby time.
Q. Why start baby swimming so young?
We believe introducing your baby to water from an early age helps them avoid the traumatic experience that older children sometimes suffer around water. More importantly we believe that babies who learn key life saving skills from an early age, many of whom can swim by as young as 2 years old, while not drown proof have a much greater regard for water and are safer around it.
Q. Is my baby safe swimming in the water?
Babies have a natural affinity with the water. They become totally liberated, as water is a free environment for them. We all have an inborn “gag reflex” and the “mammalian dive reflex” but it is generally strongest in babies up to 6 months old, these enable them to hold their breath underwater naturally and keep supplying oxygen to the main organs, which help us to provide a gentle introduction to submersion. They also have primitive swimming stroke actions up to 6 months of age and can propel themselves through the water. Turtle Tots builds upon babies natural reflexes to enable your baby to be completely happy moving in and through the water. Our highly trained Turtle Tots teachers will guide and show you what cues to look for when communicating with your baby above and below the water. We aim to ensure that your baby grows in confidence through the programme. Through the use of cues and word association we ensure that you baby is always in control.
Q. Do the classes include submersion?
Swimming the babies under the water is not the main focus of a Turtle Tots class, it is a small however important part of our programme. We introduce submersion within our early baby classes as the babies adore moving through the water in this gravity free environment. Babies find this enormously liberating. We ensure that the babies and parents/carers are totally relaxed in the pool environment before introducing submersion. At Turtle Tots we wait until parents and babies are very happy and relaxed in the water and pool environment, which is usually around week 3 or 4. The exercises are very gentle and undertaken when both parent and child are ready and happy in the water. Our teachers advise and guide you in the submersion techniques and exercises.
Q. Do parents need to be confident swimmers?
No, although parents need to be in the pool with the babies, the pool is shallow enough for parents to stand up. Our teachers are fully trained and experienced in helping parents to feel confident in the water. We will assist you with the submersion exercises for your child if you do not want to go underwater, although it is a wonderful experience to share with your child.
Q. Will my baby learn to swim on his/her own?
Our classes are small and are held in warm pools. Getting children in the pool early is vital and means that by the time they are 3 years, they will have learnt to doggy paddle and will most likely have mastered some basic strokes. At the earliest stage they learn lifesaving skills including floating, turning and swimming to hold on. Through continuous development on the course, they should be able to swim 5m unaided by the age of 2 1/2 - 3 years.
We always advise parents that learning to swim takes a lot of practice and patience and every child will accomplish the goals in their own time as it happens with any other learning process. We do not rush or force any baby or parent into any activity they are not ready for.
Q. What are natural baby swim reflexes?
Babies have a natural ability for swimming, having a different reflex that makes them perfect candidates for swimming. Reflexes are defined as automatic responses to an outside stimulus. Healthy babies are born with extremely sophisticated natural reflexes that protect them from any harm and are very important as they promote their survival. At Turtle Tots we work around these reflexes to turn them into deliberate actions.
Q. What is the Gag Reflex?
The ‘Gag’ Reflex is activated when water enters the mouth. The glottis and epiglottis close preventing water from entering the throat and providing a water tight seal to the lungs while your baby is submerged. This is why you often see babies swimming with their mouths open.
Q. What is the Mammalian Dive Reflex?
The Mammalian Dive Reflex (often confused with the gag reflex) is activated when baby’s face enters the water covering their forehead and nose area; submerging the face the body automatically redistributes the blood flow ensuring the main organs such as the brain and heart, receive a constant supply of oxygen. The ‘Diving Reflex’ is perfectly natural and slowly lessens from around 9 months of age.
Q. What is the Amphibian Reflex?
The Amphibian Reflex is an involuntary movement of their arms, legs and torso which help us to introduce turns, rotations and kicking in our lessons.