Mom and Dad's experiences of baby swimming
Below are the stories, experience of “my” babies and their parents from baby swimming classes.
Baby swimming – a mixture of energy,
calmness, and experience in the water
Melanie Čalija Kovačević, mother of Stefan, Simona and Sergej. Another baby is coming soon!
I come from a family which had a privilege to spend two months at the seaside every summer. Being on a beach for us was never an effort but a privilege, since as kids we would spend more time in the water than outside of it. When I was pregnant, I read about swimming with babies and splish-splashing in the water. It was logical to me that a baby, after spending 9 months in the water in the mum’s uterus must love water and feel good in it. I gave birth in early April and it was clear to me than that in a couple of months my baby would go to the seaside. The sea was the only option because at that point I didn’t know there were small pools with the water temperature adjusted to children.
We knew we belonged there
Stefan was a baby who couldn’t hold his head firm when he was couple of months old and we had been referred to a specialist (to go to Sokobanja medical spa). It was a holiday season, so we had to wait to make an appointment for the exercises. In the meantime, we spent some time splish-splashing on our own with the baby at the pool where I enjoyed having my muscles relaxed in the water, and Stefan laughed all the time. There at the pool we learnt about the Baby swim club and immediately joined in.
In the first lesson Vlada poured water over the children’s heads (which we wouldn’t have done alone), and doing it was a part of the game and fun with the songs we’re still humming today. After the first lesson we knew we belonged there. All the people who were attending the lessons, both parents and children, enjoyed it, since the swimming was followed by breastfeeding and looong sleeping.
In the second lesson we were already diving
In the second lesson we were diving with our babies. After three weeks of swimming, 2-3 times a week (we’re sad because we can’t go to the pool every day), Stefan began to hold his head firm and we never went to those exercises. The paediatrician examined him 2 months later and was happy with the achieved results in the exercises (which we never attended).
Jumping and diving in the water to reach a sinking toy was not a stress but a pleasure. It is up to us, the parents, to take care of them and “take them out on time”. Floating and swimming while holding on to mum’s shoulder was a routine, when he was ten months old, he swam independently with the armbands, but that didn’t last long, because the freedom of movement in the water was more important. He could get out of the pool on his own, even though he couldn’t even sit right at that time. When he was four, he swam properly and by then he enjoyed it together with his mum, dad, grandma, grandpa and uncle.
Then the second and the third child arrived
When my Simona was born, Stefan was 20 months old. We knew the water was the rescue for us and for them. After two and a half months Simona was already in the pool. When she was three and a half she already knew how to swim.
And today, with three kids of 6, 4 and 2 (at the time of writing) who have the privilege to spend two months at the seaside in summer, and winters at swimming pools, I know that the water is excellent for developing muscles and motor skills as well as for relaxation and play. Everything’s so slow in the water and the children get from the speedy “surface” world to the relaxed water world reaching a fantastic balance.
My body told me “thank you”
I can recommend to all pregnant women, mothers and fathers to get into the pools as soon as possible to overcome the prejudice about germs, bacteria, viruses, and swimming in the pool. As it’s cold outside you should relax in the pool.
I went to the pool regularly until I reached the ninth month of my pregnancy (with the second child). My body was THANKFUL. Since my muscles, joints, and spine were so pleased to be in the “weightless condition” gently caressed by the water.
I would like to thank Vlada for the amazing energy and the professional support he gave us in that new life chapter. With the energy, calmness and experience (like water) he broughttogether those who would have never met on their own otherwise, also making many new friendships.
We overcame the hypertonicity of the shoulder belt
Marijana Terzin Stojčić, mum of Dimitrije Stojčić (6)
Choosing a proper sport discipline is a big challenge for parents of boys. We as parents tried to put all our ambitions and modern trends aside knowing that only basic sports – swimming, athletics or gymnastics would be the right choice for our kid.
When we heard about the “Baby swim club” programme at one swimming pool in Belgrade (Serbia) it made us curious. Out of curiosity, and based on the good experiences we heard about, we decided to enrol our Dimitrije in the swimming programme four months after his birth. It seemed to us that newly born Dimitrije got back to his basic surrounding, the mum’s uterus, where he already spent nine months. And we were right.
Dad also joined the baby swimming
Dimitrije had a great reaction to the water and quite soon he overcame the hypertonicity of the shoulder belt typical for babies. The persistence and devotion of our instructor Vladimir gave us additional trust. As a mother, I personally enjoyed swimming with my child. That was a chance for him to relax and improve his movement coordination and gain additional confidence with the parent next to him. Dad also joined the swimming programme later on before Dimitrije turned one.
The benefit was also meeting other families with whom we have been in contact ever since, for five years now.
And that’s not all.
He became a swimmer!
In the recreational part of swimming, in the same pool, the coach noticed that he was a potential swimmer. With the recognised talent and easiness of swimming, Dimitrije joined the swimming club in which he has been growing and developing for two years now. Now, as a six-year-old boy he is a great swimmer. He loves going to the swim trainings.
Swimming has brought us an improvement
Swimming has taught him the rules of a group, but also how to act as an individual. When he swims, he proves only his own knowledge and skills. There are no excuses that someone else has done him wrong in the games or competitions. Being in the water alleviates tension, it has a beneficial impact on the character, to calm down, rest and prepare his little but still action-driven body for the new activities.
Swimming has brought him a better growth and improvement in fixing flat feet. And luckily it still does, which proves us that we made the right choice when he was a baby.
Enjoying the water is priceless
Andrijana Erić, Uroš’s mama
If you ask me, a child who starts “swimming” as a baby has no fear of water and knows how to enjoy it and feel it. Most children are afraid of water and miss those carefree moments of enjoying the water which is partly because of the wrong attitude parents have when it comes to small children and water, and partly because their first encounter with a pool is when they are older and have already developed various fears.
Baby swimming is exactly what shows the parents how to teach their children properly and gradually how to enjoy the water. The results of it are children who know how to swim and have no problems in physical development.
There is no prejudice, because all babies love the water if they start spending time in it early. And having my baby jumping into the pool over and over again shows that the experience was priceless.
We made the right step
Goran Šebez, Filip’s dad
Filip took up baby swimming when he was 5 months old.
At first, the goal was to adapt the baby to the surrounding, the water, and it later turned into a fun and play. Now, six year later, Filip is a top swimmer who loves the water.
The experience is priceless, and we know we made the right step.
Thank you for your initial guidance!
Baby swimming makes you smile and sleep tight
Vesna Ranđelović, mum of a boy whose name is Filip
When you get your first child, everything is new and unknown to you. You are asking, researching what is good for your baby. When he was eight months old, we decided to start with swimming lessons at the Baby swim club and we never regretted it. We “jumped” into the pool with a smile and we still do the same today.
The entire concept of the club, the friends, play, songs made me and my baby feel happy and relaxed. We slept so well after swimming! And we had such a great group of friends there! It is not the same as when you just to go to the pool alone, without the instructor and friends.
We still love the water and use every chance to spend some time in the pool. I recommend swimming together with the baby. Because then it’s not just the baby who is enjoying it but the parents too, they get relaxed and develop a special bond and confidence.
Our babies were quite special after baby swimming!
Leana Petrović-Vučković, mum of Anđela and Trifun
We heard about the Baby swim concept from our friends who had a son born a week before Anđela. As the mum of our little friend was rather venturesome and openminded, she mentioned the Baby swim club – in our neighbourhood a swim school for babies and parents… because that helps babies develop motor skills, etc.
I have never heard anything like that before, indeed, I have never had a baby before either. As I have spent a big part of my life doing sport I thought “a baby swim instructor, give me a break” it must be a trick for fooling parents into giving money. What is it there to be taught, babies can’t learn how to swim.
But I was wrong.
The first baby swim training
I found it difficult even to imagine the concept of the work and the school itself.
We went to a trial training with our daughter who was 3.5 months old at that time.
The first training was amazing, I remember its great atmosphere – a lot of parents in the pool, walking around with their babies in their arms doing the same thing at the same pace.
The first training as the next ones had the atmosphere for babies filled with peace, tenderness, and silence with various tasks which helped the babies and the parents learn about themselves, babies and basic laws of biology.
From my personal experience I knew that the instructor is the one who makes you love a sport and that in a chaotic atmosphere you’re likely to give up after the second training.
Vladimir was the right one!!! He was an instructor and a pedagogue, teaching the parents how and what to do with the babies in the water. With each training we moved the boundaries of our knowledge and skills. It turned out that Vladimir was not only teaching the babies how to swim, but also the parents how to get back to basics, the things which today’s mothers have no chance to learn from anyone. Biology, life, and the bond between parents and babies.
We were confident and special as a baby team
The atmosphere was amazing, because the parents took all the tasks with the babies in their hands in the pool very seriously. It was a working and “baby” atmosphere in a strange surrounding.
The summer came and the time for outdoor swimming pools, the sea and for other aquatic activities. We were confident with our kids. We knew what to do, and we felt special wherever we went.
After swimming and trainings our babies would sleep “as babies”.
It seems to me that our babies were more active than others, based on the talks with other parents from the pool and observing the parents from our neighbourhood who did not attend Baby swim lessons.
We were the BABY TEAM. We all got the club T-shirts we still keep as a souvenir.
Many of us kept hanging out together.
When Vladimir left, the school was not the “Baby swim” anymore. We continued going there, but nothing was the same anymore. There was more noise, shouting and splish-splashing, and less work and silence which only Vladimir could establish by just being there.
Vladimir pushed the boundaries of the basic essential understanding of babies, their abilities and the bonds between babies and parents. We would dived together with our babies for a couple of seconds. The babies accepted it quite well, since it was connected with the life in the amniotic fluid. We taught our babies to float and be relaxed. We learnt how to do it with our next child too.
One in 100 is a pedagogue. Yes, we would be glad to join the “Baby swim” with another pedagogue! I would recommend it to all parents because the “Baby swim” school was more than a pool, much more than swimming, and much more than play.
I had prejudice, but the water has taken it away…
Jovana Marković, mum of Jakov, Danilo and Žuna
I’m a big fan of water, and trainings and swimming help me shake away the everyday stress. I’ve noticed that swimming and being close to the water makes me feel fully relaxed. Trainings are excellent, and after swimming I feel like had a massage.
That’s why I took my kids to the “Baby swim” club when they were 10 and 6 months old, so that we could all relax. I had prejudice about the water temperature (I was worried as I didn’t want them to catch a cold) and the cleanliness (bacterial infections).
Sometimes I think that the water can take away all the problems, or at least some of them – when children have running noses, they wash them best in the water. They sleep tight and eat better after swimming.
When we talk about water we think of fun and quality time with the family. The result of an early introduction of the water to my children was that they have become more relaxed in the water and around it. Others admire them jumping into the water, enjoying the waves, running down fast on the water slides in aqua parks, diving…
I would recommend it to everyone to find a baby swim club for their three to four-month-old babies and enjoy it.
* All photographs are from private Baby Swim Club archive