9 Oct 2012
Dipping a toe in the water
I’m not the world’s strongest swimmer. Tucked away somewhere in a cupboard at my parents’ house are a string of swimming certificates, and if a brick is in danger of drowning at the bottom of a pool, I’m your woman to rescue it. As long as I’m wearing pyjamas of course. The emphasis is definitely on slow steady breaststroke than any dramatic feats in the water though.
But without those years of swimming lessons, I’d never have got to try some of the amazing experiences I’ve had on my travels – swimming with stingrays, snorkelling a string of beautiful reefs, floating aimlessly in an infinity pool and learning to scuba dive, including a few wrecks.
Admittedly, I’m not sure if you really need to be able to swim properly to dive, as it’s mostly propelling yourself a bit with fins, but I doubt I’d have attempted it otherwise.
So I’d love for Minnie to have similar experiences (if she wants), quite apart from the safety aspect. And the earlier babies learn, the better, as it’s less foreign to them after having spent nine months floating. They’ve even got two helpful reflexes which wear off relatively early on – the bradycardic or dive response, which makes them hold their breath and open their eyes when underwater, and another where they’ll move their arms and legs in a swimming motion if they’re placed in water on their front.
Plus it helps their developing muscles, and as an added bonus from my point of view, is tiring enough exercise to send them right off to sleep according to various friends who’ve tried it with their babies.
I’m off to London Baby Swim, which has dedicated baby swimming pools, although a lot of councils and private pools offer sessions as well, and we start tomorrow.
So I’ve picked up some disposable swim nappies for her to wear under the neoprene Happy Nappy they recommend. Now it’s just a question of finding a swimming costume for myself!