The physical and emotional impact of a new arrival can be intense. Happily, help and support is there to help make sense of the flood of new feelings that go with having a baby. Every week in Water Babies we see how baby swimming helps new parents.
We could talk all day long about the benefits of baby swimming for the baby. But we want to take a moment to focus on the new parents, and how getting in the pool with their baby can help them too.
While swimming helps your baby develop physically and cognitively, it also helps ease your physical aches and pains, bond with your baby and adjust emotionally. This is wonderful for postnatal mothers, and also for fathers, adoptive parents and extended family members.
Let’s start with the obvious benefits to your body. Water is supportive and gives resistance. That means that by moving through it for half an hour, you are getting much more of a work out than you would on a 30 min walk, while the strain on your body is much less.
Importantly, in the face of growing rates of obesity, you’re also establishing a weekly exercise routine for you and your baby – healthy habits than can last a lifetime.
Many new mothers feel some sort of post-natal low, from what’s called ‘baby blues’ to clinically recognised Postnatal Depression (PND).
We see new parents visibly relax in the warm water with their babies, and that’s when the magic begins. Bond-strengthening skin-to-skin, eye contact and engagement – it’s hard to describe how amazing it is to swim together.
“I started Water Babies lessons with Archie when he was six months old,” says Ali, who suffered from PND. “Right from the start he loved it. We soon began really enjoying the sessions together and it helped me to get to know him much better as we were both relaxed.”
Lots of men have swimming as ‘their’ thing that they do with their baby, and the magic bonding effect also works for them. Of course, that goes for adoptive parents, grandparents and other carers too! The way in which you interact closely with your baby in warm water is really quite unique and very special.
If you’re suffering from depression or anxiety, having a routine where you meet like-minded parents is one of the best things you can do. If that routine involves exercise, even better because it releases endorphins, our happy hormones.
Come On In!
Humans are 80% water, our babies spend 9 months growing in it, and for centuries, people have used it for healing. Just as it helps in labour, water soothes physical aches and pains and helps calm your breathing, reducing tension and anxiety. It also lets you gently exercise, which releases happy hormones, and bond beautifully with your baby.
We teach in warm, private pools across Bristol, Bath and Weston-Super-Mare. You can start your baby from birth. If you’re a new mum, you can get in the water as soon as you feel ready. We also have early evening and weekend classes which are popular with dads too.
Please call us on 01179466919 to find out more.