Now in its third year, National Baby Swimming Week (14-20 October) is a time to discover all the joys and benefits of baby swimming for babies and parents alike.
Water Babies is celebrating National Baby Swimming this week across the country and aims to create awareness about why swimming is one of the best starts you can give children in life. Discover all the benefits it brings, from keeping the safe to nurturing their development and boosting their confidence – to name but a few.
Babies love swimming! It’s one of the few things they can do from birth, and it feels entirely natural to them – as they’ve just spent nine months in the womb! Because they’re free of the restrictions of gravity, and able to use muscles they’d never use until they start rolling, crawling, walking and running, babies love the sense of freedom water gives them. And whilst the emphasis in Water Babies lessons is often on strengthening the bond between parent and child, swimming from birth is also excellent for their development.
Enjoying a swim, with all these added benefits, is a great reason to take to the pool during National Baby Swimming Week.
Meet some of the babies who are celebrating National Baby Swimming week across Ireland!
Freddie Gilbane, Co Dublin
Freddie attends Water Babies Classes in Carmona, Glenageary on Saturdays. Mum Jennifer said “Swimming has really helped Freddie’s physical strength, he was commando crawling at 5 months and properly crawling at 6 months. He uses ‘hold on’ in daily life and it also helped when he came to stand up. We love our time together in the pool 💙.”
Alex Milmo, Galway
Alex swims with Water Babies at Enable Ireland in Galway on Sundays. When Alex was born, he suffered from severe reflux. His parents were told by their GP and the hospital that once his core strength was developed, he would grow out of it. Alex started swimming in late August 2018 and his parents noticed that he was getting sick less and less. At about 8 months old his reflux was gone, four months earlier than expected. Mum Julie said “We definitely credit his Water Babies classes with developing his core strength much quicker than if he wasn’t swimming. By the time he turned one year old he was almost ready to take off without Daddy! Alex absolutely loves swimming and it can be a struggle to get him out of the pool most of the time. Since he started Water Babies when he was 6 months old it’s also become a struggle to get him out of the bath!
Max Hickey, Cork
Max who swims in Cope Foundation’s hydrotherapy pool, didn’t have the best entrance into the world and was very unsettled however he would turn into a different child as soon as he got into the bath, he would instantly calm, kick his legs, float and just chill. Bathtime soon became the family’s favourite time of the day. Mum Laura said “When I heard about Water Babies, I knew it was for us. We love Water Babies. It's great to see how confident our little ones are in the water. And it's so lovely to be able to have that one on one time in the pool with him, have loads of cuddles and fun together. It's a really special time for us."
Max has just moved to Sunday mornings swimming now with his Daddy as Max’s little sister Elsie has just arrived. Max and his Daddy now have amazing bonding time together while giving Mum a chance to have one on one time with their newborn. Laura added “We will be making Water Babies our Sunday morning ritual with our two babies soon. We just had our two year anniversary with Max in Water Babies and I love that he is in the pool weekly as a part of life, a habit I will want him to keep up forever. "
Aria Neary, Kilkenny
Aria was diagnosed with epilepsy in November 2018 when she was only 6 months old. Mum Denise said “When I decided to do Water Babies I was a nervous wreck. I was terrified of her having a seizure in the water. But I got the ok from her neurology team and decided to just try and see if she liked it.” From the minute Denise and Aria met her Water Babies teacher Sandra, she was put at ease as Sandra made the two of them feel safe and comfortable in the water.
Aria has come on leaps and bounds since starting swimming, she has been in physiotherapy since before her diagnosis and swimming has made a HUGE difference. Both her physiotherapist and myself Mum Denise agree that swimming has helped her so much. She has smashed all the development goals set for her and has done things earlier than expected. Denise said “I truly believe Water Babies has been a very big part in that. Not only has Water Babies been great for Aria physically, it has helped both her and myself so much more beyond that. It’s the one half an hour during the week where I find I can relax, bond have fun while she is also learning how to swim and about water safety!”
“Aria loves the water so much and has learned so much from water babies. It has been a tough journey for Aria but Water Babies has made her stronger, confident and a happy little girl. Thank you so much to water babies and especially her incredible teacher Sandra.”