Week 14

When Evie is 14 weeks old we venture into the shower again. While Evie does enjoy the shower I tend to stick to bathing her as I find it easier.

When showering with your baby there are a few things to remember. 1. Water temperature 2. Holding baby securely 3. Acclimatizing them to the new environment

Before showering with your baby make sure that other household members know not to touch any taps. Turning on a tap in another area of the house make affect the water temperature and this can be hazardous. Always ensure that you test the water temperature before taking the baby under the water spray. You want the water warm not hot to touch.

It can be very difficult to hold the baby in the shower particularly when they are soapy. If the parent wears a t-shirt in the shower this creates a barrier to that slippery skin to skin contact.

Acclimatizing the baby to the shower spray is also important. You may find that you need to adjust the shower spray. Sometimes the shower spray can be too heavy or may even sting the baby. Remember the baby needs to be able to relax with a soft water pressure that gives them a gentle massage on the skin.

Never try to condition your baby in the shower unless you are comfortable holding them. Remember your child’s safety is paramount. When performing conditioning ensure you hold your baby securely under the arms.

Week 13

Evie is now 13 weeks and I am familiarising her with word action activities like kicking. I’m trying to teach her the kicking action and let her feel the kicking sensation where the water pressure is applied on the toes.

While Evie has been conditioned since birth and is now holding her breath on command she is having a bit of an off day. She doesn’t seem to enjoy my initial attempts with the cups so rather than persist with an activity she is uncomfortable with I move on.

Not only does Evie love to float but she really enjoys being washed. The gentle massage as I rub in the soap is ideal for touch stimulation. The introduction of the washer also exposes Evie to a different texture and helps to remove any dry skin that may have built up on her body.

Because Evie is showing signs that she is hungry I do not keep her in the bath for too long. It’s much better that you read your baby’s cues and leave the bath before the get upset.

Week 12

At 12 weeks everyone is very excited because Evie is now consistently closing her eyes and holding her breath on the trigger words. Last week we noticed this reaction on some occasions but now her breath control has been well and truly established.

Evie is so relaxed that she doesn’t flinch at all when the water is poured over her face. We practice the conditioning routine both in the bath and in the shower.

At 12 weeks Evie is also making some great developmental progress. She is smiling and really trying to communicate. She has also developed an interest in her toys and is putting them into her mouth.

Evie is also becoming really strong in the legs and is enjoying pushing off the base of the bath tub. This pushing off is also being practiced on land especially when she is sitting on your lap. An important note to make is that putting the feet at the base of the bath helps to relax and calm the uneasy baby.

Week 11

At 11 weeks of age Evie closes her eyes in response to our trigger word “ready go”. This is a major achievement. Since she was just 4 days old we have been conditioning her and waiting for the moment when she would hold her breath on command.

While this response is not yet performed consistently it’s a big break through. We have now documented evidence that if performed as part of the daily bath time routine by 11 weeks of age babies can respond positively to the conditioning process.

Evie has responded positively to conditioning by, being happy and confident with water on the face, not ingesting any water and closing her eyes on our verbal trigger ready go.

During the bath time swimming lesson you will also notice that Evie is becoming more alert and vocal. She now squeals with delight as she exercises in the bath. These little noises fill my heart with joy. They give me very early signs that she is enjoying herself in the magical medium of water.

Week 10

When Evie is ten weeks old Grandpa “Lollipop” hops into the bath to see how she is progressing. They have a great time together and I think he is thrilled to see how much she enjoys the water as she exercises freely.

I observe carefully the way he handles her in the bath to see if I can get some tips. I notice that rather than support her by the back and neck he opts to let her lay freely on his lap. She seems to really enjoy this as she has the freedom to exercise vigorously.

I also notice that he sinks her down very low in the water. Perhaps it’s my motherly instincts to keep her a bit higher out of the water. She is really enjoying feeling her buoyancy so from now on I’ll try to sink her a bit lower.

While Evie exercises enthusiastically on her back she seems much more intent on simply floating while on her tummy. This tummy time must feel wonderful for her as she experiences weightlessness as the water envelops her body.

We also give Evie an opportunity to lay on Laurie’s chest. This is great to help her build strength which will enable her to master movement skills like rolling, sitting and crawling. This bath time tummy time may also help those babies who do not enjoy laying on their tummy on land.

When pouring the water we notice that eye is starting to close her eyes. This is a great achievement as she is on her way to mastering the conditioning process. At this stage I think she is closing her eye in response to us pouring the water rather that us using the trigger words.

I think we are making great progress during our bath time swimming lessons and the most important thing is that Evie is having fun.

Week 9

At 9 weeks it is Daddy’s turn to take Evie for her bath time swimming lesson. It is natural that one parent will be more nervous than the other when taking the baby in the bath. In our family Evie’s Daddy is more tentative so I am there to talk him through it.

When encouraging your partner it’s important to talk them calmly and constructively. Try not to be too critical or negative with your feedback as they need to feel good about their participation.

To help relax the more nervous parent, I think it’s important for them to observe the bath time routine before becoming hands on. Then once they are comfortable and with support from their partner they should be encouraged to conduct the lesson.

In our house we try to make bath time a real family affair so Mark has been observing the swimming lessons since birth. Even so, physically handling baby in the bath can be really tricky especially when it’s not practiced regularly.

Furthermore each person will differ in the way that they will feel comfortable handling the child. So be flexible and try a number of different ways.

Conditioning may make some parents quite nervous. If so don’t hurry into it just wait until you are confident. Simply focus on relaxing and floating with your baby. The most important thing to remember is that bath time should be a fun and positive experience for both parent and child.

Week 8

Evie at 8 weeks is really enjoying her bath. She is smiling, splashing and exercising happily and I am thrilled with her progress.

At this stage I’m not incorporating toys into the bath, I’m simply concentrating on using the water to stimulate her.

I have also started to include action songs into the bath time routine. I’m doing this to introduce her to the concepts of kicking and splashing while trying to develop a real love of the water.

Evie is now really comfortable with both back and front floating. These floating activities make up the majority of bath time. When floating I’m trying to ensure that I hold her as soft as possible so she can feel the waters buoyancy.

While back and front Evie is submerged as low as possible in the water. Here she can feel weightlessness and this helps her to relax and be comfortable in the water. Because I’m holding her so low I need to be constantly observing to ensure she doesn’t swallow any water.

Conditioning remains important during bath time. The aim of conditioning is to prepare baby for their first underwater experience outside the womb.

By consistently using the verbal trigger ready go, followed by pouring water over the face, Evie will soon show that she is responding positively to the conditioning process. She is already on her way as she is happy and confident when the water is poured on her face.

Week 7

Now that Evie is 7 weeks old, she has started to kick and splash in the bath showing her pleasure and excitement. I was very excited to get this footage. I really felt that it was during this week that Evie made some great progress with her swimming.

Unfortunately this lesson did not demonstrate what I had hoped. I do however feel, that this video is very useful to demonstrate to parents that bath time swimming lessons do not always run smoothly.

Important things to remember

  1. Don’t force the baby when they are showing signs of discomfort
  2. React calmly and reassure your baby that all is well
  3. Change the baby’s body position to help them relax Place feet at the bottom of the bath or support them on their tummy.
  4. Critique your conditioning If you pour the water too slowly the baby is more likely to drink the water. Try to aim for the top of the forehead so the water runs smoothly over the face,

Parents don’t be disheartened if you have an unsuccessful bath time swimming lesson. If you’re not comfortable performing conditioning then don’t worry. Concentrate on floating activities and simply maintaining your baby’s affinity with the water. Once you are comfortable interacting with your baby then work towards conditioning.

Week 6

At 6 weeks it’s time for Laurie the doting Grandfather to give Evie her bath time swimming lesson. It’s great for me to watch and learn from his interactions with Evie.

I notice that when he’s in the bath with her he lays her on his legs and lets the ears submerge. He’s still very careful to ensure that her mouth stays clear of the water. At this stage Evie wants to taste everything so it’s important to watch her carefully. I also notice that Evie has grown in strength this week. She keeps pushing off his tummy and off the bath.

Stimulation and movement still remain an important part of the bath time lesson. Simply using the cup to pour water over the body is perfect to excite baby Evie and is great for brain development and wiring her body for future movement.

Conditioning Evie to hold her breath for submersion is an important part of the bath time swimming lesson. Condition is done by sitting her upright and pouring the water over the face after the trigger words “ready go”. When conditioning it’s important to support the baby and keep the head upright while the water is poured over the face. This ensures the baby doesn’t ingest any water.

You’ll notice that in one instance Evie has a cough after conditioning. Laurie doesn’t panic but stays calm and relaxed. This is very important as the baby will read your body language. The next time he conditions he does a faster pour so that Evie doesn’t have to hold her breath as long.

Week 5

I can’t believe that Evie is already five weeks of age. The time goes by so quickly. Bath time swimming lessons have definitely become our favourite time of the day. Here, I am able to spend previous one on one time stimulating, communicating and bonding with Evie.

I am now much more confident and relaxed when bathing Evie and I feel as though these daily interactions in the bath have definitely helped to build my confidence as a new mum.

Over the past five weeks I’ve been experimenting with the depth of the bath water. This week I’ve filled the bath quite deep so that she can truly feel her own buoyancy. She seems to really enjoy these deep baths and I try to help her relax buy pouring water and holding her ever so gently supporting.

During the course of every bath I do 5 to 6 conditionings where I pour the water over Evie’s face. I always follow these rules. 1. Ensure she’s upright 2. Ensure I’m consistent with my trigger words 3. Stop immediately if she shows any signs of distress

This week I’ve also started to give her move exposure to laying on her tummy in the bath. She really seems to enjoy this new experience and is always so calm while in this position.

When she’s on her tummy I use my hand to gently lift her mouth and nose out of the water. But a word of warning, when in this position it’s very important to stay down low so you can get good vision of the baby’s mouth to ensure it’s clear on the water.