Swimming class for babies

I am pretty sure many of you are aware of the swimming classes available for babies.  Just Google and you will find.  This is not a review of the class that my baby and I went.  I just want to share the benefits of swimming for babies.

It all started when I saw the video of the Baby Elizabeth who demonstrated how she fell into the water and manage to turn and face upwards and floated to the nearest stairs to survive.  When I saw this, I was intrigued.  

As I do not know how to swim, never had any lessons because my parents thought swimming was bad for my sinus (which is still true today), I always envied kids who knew how to swim.  However, over the years I have self-learn how to swim.  Though not perfect, at least I can float in the water.

When I was 6 or 7 years old, I almost drowned in a hotel swimming pool.  The adults had organised a family trip to PD with few families.  So I was in my float and swimming in the big adult pool, say 4-5 ft with my cousins.  Don't know what was in my head, but suddenly I thought I can just swim like the adults without the float.  And I took out my float and jumped into the water.  However, I began to go underwater very quickly and I couldn't go up.  Luckily my uncle who was swimming saw me going down and quickly scooped me up.  I got a earful for that brave adventure and since then I was very terrified of deep waters.  

When I had my girl, I knew immediately the first class that I want her to join will be a swimming class.  My reasons are very clear.  I just want her to know survival skills when it comes to the water.  Because both her parents are not swimmers (father is even worse than mother), I wanted at least my girl to survive if she happened to drown because I knew neither one of us will be able to save her, unlike my uncle who saved me.

While my other friends sent their babies to music class, left-right brain class and so on, I decided on swimming right away.  Mainly because I can teach my girl music (I have Grade 8 piano) and other things at home.  I read that the youngest you can send will be at 6 months so I quickly enquired around when she reached 6 months old.  On top of having a survival skill, there are many benefits of learning how to swim early.  

However, the nearest swimming class only have a new intake in October, when my girl was 9 months old.  So I immediately signed her up.

Babies swimming classes are not cheap.  I won't say how much is it that I paid (in respect of the teacher), but it's an investment you need to fork out.

So after 3 terms of 8 classes per term, we finally got our certificate.  What have my girl learned so far, now that she is almost 1.5 years old?  I will share with you the pros and cons of swimming classes for babies.

Pros
1. Baby is not afraid of water.  She can jump into the water confidently.
2. Baby knows how to swim to the nearest person/ladder for survival.
3. Baby knows how to hold her breath underwater and can hold for quite some time.
4. Baby doesn't fuss when water is on her head or her face during shower unlike other kids.
5. Baby get a good workout and will knock out after classes.

Cons
1. Not cheap.

The swimming classes that we went were in a heated pool but still chlorinated as they found out that salt is not good for babies' kidneys.  It is an indoor pool so no worries of sun.

In the beginning, she started out being afraid.  It is also because as her mom who was taught to guide her in the water was also nervous for the first time and baby felt it from me.  The instructor told me few times to relax and baby will also relax.

Now I haven't been to other classes so I cannot compare.  But I do wish the instructor will be more organised in terms of the syllabus and at least inform the parents what we are to expect from this.  I was not told that I have to guide baby to float on her back before she is 1 otherwise she will not want to do it when she reaches 1 years old.  Baby hated to float on her back and always want to be front view instead.  For the first term, I found that I only manage to get baby to like water and nothing more.  So I wish the instructor would at least prepare the parents what to do and what to expect.  Each class we were told to do the same thing.  And then were told that as parents we didn't listen to instructions.  

By the time it comes to the second term, baby already knew how to stand and walk (she is early for her age), which makes things a lot easier.  I can make her stand at the stairs or walk along the bench that is in the water.

By the third term, baby can understand instructions.  Baby is confident to jump from the stairs or the bench.  She also did some obstacles task by swimming from one side to another (very short distance).  She learned to control her breath better.  She likes to jump into the water knowing full well I will catch her.  

She doesn't really know how to swim yet (say breaststroke and all that), but if she fell into the water, she can survive because she will swim to the nearest person.  She doesn't know how to float on her back, no matter how many times I tried which is something I wish I can guide her earlier because that is the whole point of survival.  To float on the back and breath.  I am still not confident how long she can hold her breath though she is quite good with that.

So, all in all, I wish she benefited more from the class (ok I am greedy and want to entitled for what I have paid), but at the same time I feel that thanks to the 3 terms of swimming class, she is more confident in the water, compared to her peers or even my nephew who is still afraid of water and hate having water on his head.

Now that the next term is only starting in Oct, I might sign baby up at another place, further than our home, but cheaper.  I just hope she really know how to swim next, floating and all.  

In conclusion, I think my baby has benefited from the swimming class.  

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