Returning your baby to the water….

Back in 1994, I took my first born son Spencer to a water babies class. My friend, Michele worked for Barbara Harper the founder of Water Birth International. She knew a lady that taught Waterbabies swimming. Not knowing much about baby swimming, we thought, this sounded like FUN and decided to take our babies to class together. We had no ideas about all the serendipities that our baby swimming class would bring…

I put my goggles on, swam under “with” Spencer, as I was well instructed. To my amazement, he had his eyes open and literally was frolicking, spinning and giggling under the water. Being born with low motor tone, this was a welcoming environment for Spencer, though at the time I did not fully understand how important this was to his development. When we swam back up for a breath, he would leap out of my arms to go back under, and he would be disturbed when I would bring him up before he was ready. This was my first lesson in “letting go”.  Who would have thought that this was a lesson I would start to learn at the pool. We were both drawn into this underwater playground.  I had always loved the water. I started swimming at the age of 5 on a swim team. My mothers tells me she begged the swim coach let me on the team. Swimming together with Spencer, was beyond a blessing and filled me with miraculous moments that I will cherish forever.  The bonding and imprint that was developed will always be the glue between us. He became my teacher in the water, he lead me as I learned to follow his cues as a first time mother and started to learn early to “Let Go”.

And to think, I had never heard of water baby swimming before.

I was compelled to go back to my early childhood development books from college and started studying any and all means of articles, papers and books I could find eventually traveling to Europe to study.  I also found that most formal swimming programs in the United States started babies around eight months.  However, during my research I also learned more about water birth, inborn infant reflexes and as more and more inquiries came my way, I wondered why in the United States we aren’t incorporating infant swimming right when babies are born? Most cultures around the world that live around water incorporate swimming early on after birth.

1996 my second son Bryce was born. I planned a waterbirth…had a second cesarian.  However, I did have the tub set up in the hospital and got to return Bryce to the water the day after he was born. I had learned now that the first 2 1/2 years of a child’s life that all of their innate reflexes are aquatic. Knowing that they are developed in a water environment, this is not so surprising. So my journey continued as I got in the tub and practiced with Bryce, floating on his back, pouring water over his head, massaging and simply spending time…without interruption.  Then to the pool with both boy, with Spencer swimming all around us, hanging on my back for a few short breaths as I swam with Bryce.  By the end of 1996 I had developed the beginning of an aquatic education program I still teach today: Infant Aquatic Beginnings-Connecting the Natural Aquatic Environment from Birth and Beyond

WHY Baby Swimming then you might ask, I ask WHY NOT baby swimming. The serendipity of baby swimming is too numerous to put into a few words. However, I would like to share a few benefit that I have found to be true, as we have taught thousands of children.  At DolFUN SWIM Academy we intend to share and coach you through your families water journey creating bonding memories with you and your child.

Returning your baby to their original element…. Water.
What parents learn are techniques that offer physical,  emotional and psychological support for the  
baby’s innate affinity to water.  Learning a gentle holistic approach to early aquatic orientation for the bathtub or spa will contribute to a lifetime of loving and respecting the water. You can experience the presence of water and touch as a communication element between and you and your new baby.
You will never forget this precious time as you connect yourself with your baby’s neurological development by being conscious of their natural buoyancy and experiencing heightened multi-sensory stimulation involving touch, hearing, sight and taste. Soak in the miraculous moments of intimate time together.  Motor stimulation in an aquatic environment will strengthen your baby’s respiratory system and general health. Additional benefits also include increase muscle tone, neurological (brain) function, improve coordination, enhance parent-child bonding. The water is an excellent medium to help  overcome trauma and improves cranial adjustment after birth.
Swimming classes will reinforce your baby’s natural and innate senses helping them demonstrate progress in key developmental areas: Boost development of the Whole Child, Improves Motor Development, Accelerates Cognitive Development, Increase Memory Capacity, Expands Cerebral Communication, Strengthen Social Confidence, Enhance Neurological Development, Deepens the Parent-Infant Bond and add and extra layer of protection against the risk of drowning.
They naturally enjoy themselves as they are introduced to the water again. Your baby will share with you the experience that began long before their birth, where they first encountered:                              
Torque Rotation, Buoyant Lift, Gravitational Pull. These elements all contribute to the development of long term swim skills.

Most importantly, they are able to identify with all the attention and love that is entirely focused on them. 
Your baby will acquire developmentally appropriate water skills that increase water safety, learning to swim and ultimately contribute to safer swimmer and lifelong love of the water. 

My son Spencer and Goddaughter Claire (and swim playmate way back when) are both going to graduate from High School this year, where did the years all go? Another chapter in the journey of “Letting Go” and the “Serendipity” of life long lessons learned in the pool.