You know it yourself- winter can play havoc with your skin. You go from warm indoors to cold outdoors and your skin lives to tell the tale. Central heating dries it out while winter winds can cause chapping and soreness too. During the cold winter months it’s not different for babies, which is why it’s important to take extra care to keep their skin protected as much as you can. Here are some tips on caring for baby’s skin in the winter.

Caring for baby's skin in winter~ Cuddledry.com

Protect

Your baby’s skin is a lot thinner than yours. and whatever you put on it is absorbed quickly. This also means that it is a lot more sensitive than yours too, so the cold wind and icy temperatures are likely to affect their delicate skin a lot more. With this in mind, its essential to protect that delicate skin as much as you can.

  • Layer up before you leave the house. Don’t forget mittens and hats too. Make sure your baby’s layers are breathable so that the skin is not too clammy underneath it all too.
  • Protect exposed skin on the face and lips with balm and a good moisturiser to stop it from drying out in the changing temperatures.
  • Protect baby’s chin and neck from dribble and drool. Use a good quality lip balm to stop them chapping and keep a dribble bib handy to keep moisture away from the skin.

At bath time

When you bathe your baby during winter, you will want to take precautions to stop them becoming too cold, so make sure you’re well prepared with everything you need to hand. Make sure the room is a nice temperature and let your baby spend time splashing in the warm water- but keep an eye on how quickly it cools down too as the last thing you want is a cold bath!

After bathing, take your time to dry the skin properly by patting and not rubbing. Have some extra cuddles with your Cuddledry apron towel while you do it!

When your baby is dry, apply a moisturiser all over the skin, to help counteract any dryness that central heating may be causing. This also helps to retain the skin’s natural moisture levels and to protect against cold temperatures outside, so don’t skip this step. It’s a great idea to use a good moisturising oil if you give your baby a massage, as this will help to soften the skin wonderfully.

Watch out for…

During the winter, skin conditions can flare up without warning, so watch out for signs that they may be getting worse. Conditions such as eczema can be exacerbated with colder temperatures outside and warmer climates inside, so check your baby regularly and see your doctor if you’re concerned. It’s also a good idea to watch out for frost bite in extremely cold weather- act immediately if you  believe your baby is affected.

If your baby does have a skin condition, you don’t need to have bathe them everyday- a good wash morning and night every other day will be enough, but make sure you don’t skip the moisturiser!

Bliss, the special care baby charity, provides vital support and care to premature and sick babies across the UK. Founded 30 years ago this year, we offer guidance and information at a critical time in families’ lives. We also fund ground-breaking research and campaign for babies to receive the best possible level of care regardless of when and where they are born. Today’s post is all about bathing your premature baby.

Bathing your premature baby~ Cuddedry.com

Your premature baby’s first bath is a very special and exciting yet often scary event for parents. It is best if you, the parents do the first and subsequent bathing so your baby feels safe and calm.

Wrapped bathing can be very relaxing and soothing for the baby, especially when they are small or still worried about being undressed. Bathing offers parents a valuable time for observing their baby’s behaviour so that the way you bath is adapted to his/her developing needs. Wrapping the baby in a sheet while he/she is immersed into the water and doing everything very slowly, pacing your washing in small bursts according to the baby’s reactions, will prevent tears at bath time and ensure he/she has enough energy to feed afterwards.

maggie hand on bliss kangaroo care cuddledry baby towel

Preparation:

The bath should be planned to enable you to:

  • Include dad or another family member if possible, as bathing is often a 4-hands job!

Before the bath:

  • Provide a warm, relaxing atmosphere, quiet and calm with soft background lighting.

  • Prepare all the equipment, clothing and cuddle towel first.

  • Prepare the baby by approaching quietly, talk softly before and during undressing the baby, and tell the baby what is going to happen at each stage.

  • While undressing the baby, provide hand and/or blanket support to keep the baby tucked up feeling safe and offer containment of any outstretched arms or legs as necessary.

  • Adjust the pace of what you are doing according to the baby’s cues (i.e. look for reactions that mean he/she needs a time-out pause (yawns, sneezes, breathing fast for example); proceed slowly.

  • Support the baby by holding hands or feet and keep one half wrapped while the other half is being undressed.

During the bath

  • Consider ways to help the baby feel secure and to avoid distress when naked and placed into the water e.g. wrap in a thin sheet or muslin.

  • When the baby is ready to go into the water make sure the water temperature has not cooled down too much.

  • Tell the baby what is going to happen all the time.

  • Immerse the baby into the water ……feet first STILL WRAPPED.

  • Make sure the water is deep enough to cover the baby’s torso.

  • Let the baby adjust to the experience of being in the water before washing or removing the wrap.

  • Allow the baby’s legs to be near the end of the bath to brace against so he/she feels secure.

  • Continue to go slowly pacing the way you proceed according to the baby’s behavioural cues.

  • Only uncover one body area at a time while you wash. Replace the wrap and then do the other body area.

  • Allow the baby opportunities to experience buoyancy if stable enough – a floating feeling on his back, side or front is very relaxing.

cuddle premature baby in cuddledry baby hooded towel

After the bath:

  • With the wrap left in the bath water, lift the baby from the bath on his side with the arms and legs tucked into his/her body.

  • Bend down to be near the bath as you bring him/her onto the towel, which is against the parent’s chest.

  • Keep the baby contained in the towel until the baby is settled.

  • When settled dress the baby keeping the top half covered, while drying and dressing the bottom half.

  • Consider Kangaroo Care after to help settle and re-warm the baby.

Result

  • Bathing is completed pleasurably, safely and effectively.

  • The baby’s stability has been maintained and the baby has enough energy to feed if necessary.

  • The parent and the baby have enjoyed the bath experience together.

  • Parents feel confident about carrying out bathing and supporting their baby through what is often a challenging procedure.

  • The neonatal staff have helped, supported and observed the baby during a challenging procedure and are able to assess and record the baby’s strengths and sensitivities.

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bath time and good baby sleep~ Cuddledry.com

Sleep is probably the hottest topic of conversation between new parents. We want it, and more of it, and we will do anything to get it. At the same time, our bundles of joy just don’t seem to understand this need we have for them to sleep well at night. Annoying. But there are ways that you can help them to learn good sleeping habits, and today we’re bringing you a guest post from sleep expert Wendy Dean Did you know that bath time can be an excellent way to ensure good baby sleep? Read on for more tips.

The Bath time ritual and a full night’s sleep

Tips from Wendy Dean author of the Baby Sleep System. Read more about her work here.

Wendy has worked with thousands of parents who have struggled to get their baby into a healthy sleep pattern.

A regular bathing ritual will help you prepare your baby for a quality night’s sleep.

Sleep cue

If you aim to bathe your baby at approximately the same time very night, it acts as a valuable “sleep cue” so that she knows that night time and therefore sleep time is approaching.

Preparing the body for sleep

The act of bathing itself is a relaxing experience which prepares the body for sleep. Ensure that the water is a pleasant temperature by using your elbow or a thermometer to test. Use a soft material to do the washing. Let your baby float in the water being careful to fully support his head and back.

Increasing trustBath time and good baby sleep~ Cuddledry.com

The post bath snuggle in a Cuddledry product builds a bond of trust between parent and baby which makes it easier for the baby to cope when he is put into his cot alone. Talk to your baby in a soothing voice.

Breaking the connection between feeding and sleeping

The bath if used as part of a bedtime routine can help to break the connection between feeding and sleeping which is at the root of many baby sleep problems. The bath should have pepped him up enough to take his feed without falling asleep.

Result

By including a bath in a regular bedtime ritual your baby will be relaxed and happy to go into his bed at night and will settle himself off to sleep. This in itself will help to reduce night time wakings.

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Maternity leave is a wonderful time in so many ways. Months that stretch out ahead of you. Time to bond with baby, catch up with friends and look take up new hobbies perhaps? Or perhaps not. However you spend your time away from work, chances are it will go all too quickly and before you know it you’re looking at going back to the office again. This can be a stressful time! This week we have a guest post from Emma at Find a Babysitter with her top tips on making the transition easy. Returning to work after maternity leave needn’t be a wrench!

Returning to work after maternity leave~ Cuddledry.com

Are you planning to return after maternity leave soon?  Deciding when (or if) to return to work isn’t easy, but once you’ve made the decision to return to work, there are things you can do to ensure a smooth transition from stay-at-home mum to working parent. Here are some tips from Find a Babysitter to help.

  • Sort Childcare: first things first – if you’re not the person who’ll be looking after your little one during the day, then who is? Arranging childcare is key to the rest of the returning-to-work process. Plan time to check-out nurseries or interview child carers, rather than leaving it to last minute.  At Findababysitter.com, our aim is to make life easier for busy parents by enabling them to search for child carers in their area online.  Your perfect Mary Poppins could be just a click away!
  • Have a Plan B (C, D and E)! Make sure you have back-up plans in place for all eventualities.  Who will look after your child if they’re ill and sent home from nursery?  Many of our childcare professionals have their emergency availability shown on their profile, so you can find someone at short notice.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Cut Corners. Juggling work and children is tough, so don’t be too hard on yourself by setting your expectations to high. Shop online and have food delivered, hire a cleaner – do whatever you need to keep yourself sane.
  • Ease Yourself Back Into It. If you’re leaving your baby for the first time, try to have a couple of days with your baby in childcare before you return to work. That way you can deal with the emotion of leaving them before you also have to deal with work. If you can, why not use accrued holiday to work a few days a week and build up to full-time.
  • Don’t be a Doormat. Don’t feel pressured into taking on more than you can handle, at work or in your social life. ‘No’ is a complete sentence – don’t feel obliged to give a reason or feel like you have to make excuses. Try to keep work and home separate. Even if at first it feels unnatural, be strict about finishing work on time and not answering calls when you are at home.  If you stick to it, your colleagues will adapt to knowing that if they call you after work you won’t answer, so they won’t call you.

(Cuddledry Ltd. is not the writer of this copy and accepts no responsibility for its content.  This article been contributed to Cuddledry Ltd. by the author detailed).

As a new parent, one of the main things you want to achieve is a happy baby- and it’s little wonder why! Babies can’t communicate their wants and needs until they are around 6 months old, so before that all they can do is cry to alert you to the fact that they need something. And it’s up to you to figure out what it is and how to give it to them. Luckily, a baby’s needs tend to be fairly basic at first- being warm, fed and loved usually tops the bill for most. And in our quest to provide that love and warmth, we parents tend to look for ways that we can help our babies to understand that they can trust in us to meet their needs. This is where baby massage plays an important role. By gently massaging your baby’s body you are not only focusing all your energy on your baby, but you are showing love, providing warmth and even alleviating pain, stresses and anxieties too. What better way to end the day after a warm bath? We are huge advocates of baby massage (see this post from Mumma Love on the wonders of baby massage) and so today we’re bringing you some more information and advice, this time from Helen at New Stork Times. Please do let us know in the comments if you have any questions at all.

Helen Pritchard, founder of New Stork Times, is an experienced holistic therapist, infant massage instructor and mum of two.

Helen has found the Cuddledry baby towel the perfect addition to her baby massage classes…

Baby massage, Cuddledry towel – A perfect bedtime routine

Around the night time bath is often a good time to give baby a massage, as this helps to relax both you and baby ready for a good night’s sleep.

Babies need to feel secure, and a Cuddledry towel wrapped around the baby after bathing makes them feel safe and warm. It’s while they’re in this comfortable state that an infant massage can be of most benefit.

Baby massage has many purposes, not least of which is the fact that it helps you to bond with your baby in the early months. Bonding is essential as it will form the close relationship with your child that will last a lifetime.

A small baby soon learns that bedtime routine means experiencing pleasurable and comforting times with a parent. Massaging helps baby to relax, but it also aids waste elimination and calms the digestion. By massaging you are helping to boost the immune system, and increase blood circulation.Tips for baby massage~ Cuddledry.com

Bathing at the same time every night also makes the infant associate this with bedtime. The stimulation of the bath will encourage baby to stay awake whilst taking the bedtime drink, and then go happily to bed.

By slowly and gently massaging your baby whilst he’s surrounded by his Cuddledry towel, the feeling of security will imbed itself in your child’s mind. This will inevitably lead to a happy and relaxed baby.

Colic will gradually subside as the massaging helps the body to discharge the build up of wind in the intestines. The benefits of a good bedtime routine, and massage, will make the baby months a happy and relaxing time for all the family.

Find out more about Helen and New Stork Times on her website.

There is an increasing trend in the UK for expectant mummies to be thrown a baby shower. Did you have one?

A baby shower can be a lovely way to celebrate the imminent new arrival, but it can be hard to know what makes an appropriate baby gift. You may of course be lucky enough to attend a party where the host has already drawn up a gift list. Lots of baby companies now offer this service, and it works in much the same way as a wedding list, so you can choose a baby gift that you know the host will like.

Buying new baby gifts and a mama jewels giveaway~ Cuddldedry.com

If there isn’t a list, here are some tips for choosing a gift that both mother and baby will love:

Gifts for baby

Obviously you want a unique baby gift – you don’t want to end up giving the same as someone else – but at the same time you want something that is genuinely useful. It’s no good to anyone having a one-of-a-kind piece of equipment that ends up sitting on a shelf gathering dust.

One solution to this is to go for a personalised baby gift that doubles as an everyday product. For example, a hand embrodiered blanket of shawl. This can be tricky though of course if you don’t yet know the baby’s name! Instead, you could think about personalising it with a favourite colour, animal, or surname. Or even giving a voucher than can be used once the baby is born.

Alternatively, opt for a product that serves a purpose, but is at the luxury end of the market, and so is something that a parent might not otherwise buy for themselves. For example, rather than simply buying a hooded baby towel, buy one of our luxury bamboo baby apron towels! - it’s something the baby will definitely use, but is really lovely quality too. We also stock gorgeous newborn gift sets, if you’re looking for a baby gift that’s a little bit special.

Finally, why not go for a design-led twist on a classic item? Perhaps a baby bath in a bold colour, or a really lovely selection of clothes in organic fabrics?

Whatever you decide, with so many new and exciting baby products on the market, you’re sure to find something to fit the occasion!

Gifts for mum

Don’t forget mum! Baby showers traditionally take place before baby arrives, and guests tend to buy for the impending arrival, but sometimes it’s nice to treat mum too!

This week we’re delighted to tell you about the wonderful Mama Jewels- beautiful, stylish and safe baby proof teething necklaces and soothing necklaces made in the UK.

The idea is so simple. Babies like to chew when they’re teething. Mums like to hang on to their sense of style after having kids. Mama Jewels ensures that you’re able to do just that! Teething necklaces are designed to withstand the strongest of baby’s grabs and the gummiest of chews too- and they don’t compromise on style either. They’d make a wonderful baby shower gift in our opinion!

Fancy winning with Mama Jewels?

Win with Mama Jewels~ Cuddledry.com

All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning a Mama Jewels necklace is complete the Rafflecopter form below.
Mama Jewels are also offering 15% off NON sale items on their website with the code CUDDLEOCT14 at the checkout. And while you’re there, check out the give away running to win with Cuddledry too!
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Your newborn baby’s skin is precious! In contrast to our own skin, it is much more delicate and needs extra special attention if you’re going to take good care of it. Your baby’s skin contains more water than yours, so is able to both take in and lose more water more quickly too. This means that whatever you put on that skin is absorbed quickly, and that your baby can be prone to more mild skin complaints than an adult too. Here is a quick guide to caring for newborn skin.

caring for newborn skin~ cuddledry.com

At bath time

Bath time is a wonderful chance for you to bond with your newborn baby, and it’s a great way to establish a positive and calm bedtime routine. See our post on how to make it as peaceful as possible. At first, your newborn baby may not need a bath every day, and if you notice that baby has sensitive or dry skin, you might want to make it every other night- some experts believe that two or three times a week is plenty. Other tips for caring for baby’s skin at bath time:

  • Choose your products carefully. Skin care experts recommend going for organic products that use natural ingredients chosen to care for delicate skin. We love the Earth Friendly range which is available to buy on the site and we’re huge fans of Childs Farm Toiletries too.
  • After washing your baby, always apply a gentle lotion to restore moisture in the skin. When you apply it, do so with gentle, downward strokes that won’t irritate the tiny hair follicles on your baby’s skin.
  • Never rub your baby dry- always pat gently, so that delicate skin cells are not damaged.
  • Don’t forget to wash and dry in between all the folds on your baby’s skin, as it is very easy for skin to become irritated in these areas.
  • Always use a soft towel. Our Cuddledry aprons are made from unbleached cotton and natural bamboo fibre which means that they are kind to delicate skin and the double layer helps to draw moisture away from baby.
  • For more tips on bathing your newborn baby, see this post.

Exposure to the sun

Your newborn baby should not be exposed to strong sunlight so you will need to take great care to stay in the shade if the sun is shining where you are. Sunblock is not recommended for babies under the age of six months so it really is important to keep precious skin protected and safe.

Newborn skin conditions

Your newborn baby’s skin may suffer from a range of common conditions in the early days; if you are worried about your baby’s skin, do seek advice from your doctor or health visitor so that appropriate care can be advised. The usual complaints that you might find baby suffers from include:

  • eczema
  • dry skin
  • newborn rash- medically known as erythema toxicum
  • baby acne
  • cradle cap
  • nappy rash
  • sweat rash- miliaria
  • impetigo

There is lots of information on all of the above on the NHS website.

Practical tips for newborn skin care

Check baby’s skin regularly for rashes or irritations, and always use non-bio washing products too. Baby massage is a great way to keep baby’s skin moisturised and for keeping on top of skin checks too; baby massage is also a fabulous way to bond with baby and a perfect end to a busy day. For more tips, see this post.

Sleep is like the holy grail when you become a parent, yet for many of us it remains highly elusive and ever tempting. We all want as much as we can get, and that means helping baby to get it too. Newborns are programmed to wake every three to four hours, but that doesn’t mean we can’t relish those brief periods of sleep! If you’re feeling the effects of broken nights and restless days, perhaps these tips for better baby sleep may help…

Tips for better baby sleep~ Cuddledry.com

*Before we begin, we’d like to point out that we are NOT experts on sleep! We are mums, just like you. The following tips are things that have worked for us, and in no way the gospel truth. We are all simply parents trying our best to achieve a happy balance between mayhem and peace, and we hope that you are too. If you have any concerns or worries over your baby’s sleep, or any other issue at all, please see your health visitor or GP for advice.

Nail the naps

Firstly, if your baby does not sleep well during the day, chances are they will not sleep well at night either. Lots of babies struggle to settle well at bedtime if they are over tired, so our first tip is to nail the daytime naps. When you have a workable day time routine, you’ll find that the night times become a lot easier to deal with too!

  • Watch your baby for sleep cues. When the eyes start to look tired, or baby starts to rub them and yawn, chances are bedtime is near.
  • Have a good routine- story, feed, bed for example.
  • Be consistent. If baby sleeps better in the cot, then try to make sure you’re home when you know that baby is due a nap. Of course, this isn’t always possible, so don’t cancel plans if you’re out and about.

White noise

Lots of babies find that the outside world is just too quiet. And it doesn’t help that we naturally tend to tip toe around babies in whispers at bed time too. The problem is that newborns especially are used to lots of noise from their time in utero. All that blood whooshing around and external noises they spent months listening to have a lasting impact on little ears. The result is that some babies respond really well to white noise and many parents have been amazed to find their little one sleeps really well through it all. Great examples of white noise include the washing machine, a radio set to static or the vacuum cleaner. Alternatively, you can buy special machines that play white noise, or you can download apps to your phone or tablet. It’s also worth bearing in mind that you don’t need to creep around when baby sleeps either. Make good attempts to help baby learn the difference between night and day by keeping daytime noise as normal, and night time a little quieter.

Have a good bedtime routine

Human beings respond well to routine, and bedtime is a fine example of this. Babies quickly learn that one thing follows another so if you have a good, consistent bedtime routine there is every chance they will respond well. Most good routines involve a bath (see this post for tips on bathing your newborn) and this can be a lovely way to relax and unwind together. However your routine looks, bear in mind:

  • Your routine needs to work for your family. If going to bed at 10pm works for you and baby, fine. If an earlier bedtime works better, then go for it. Don’t worry about timings as long as the order of events are the same.
  • Anyone who is taking care of baby needs to know the routine so if you’re about to enjoy a night off, make sure whoever is babysitting knows how you like things done.
  • Be flexible if you can. Sometimes the best routines can go out the window, for many reasons. Don’t panic if they do!

Babywearing

Lots of babies like to be held close, but this doesn’t always help if you have a busy day ahead of you. Let’s face it, the baby moon can’t last forever, especially if you have older children to take care of too. If that’s the case, babywearing can really help to both settle baby, and to provide extra opportunities for sleep. Being held in a sling or carrier helps baby to feel secure and snug, much like in the womb, and it also leaves you with two hands free to get on with whatever you need to do! Additionally, studies have found that babywearing helps to regulate baby’s heart rate and temperature and can help to alleviate symptoms of stress and post natal depression too. Another plus point is that babies who are carried tend to cry less and sleep more- result!

What are your top tips for better baby sleep?

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Last week we wrote about tips for helping to prepare your baby for swimming, and this week want to talk about why it’s so important to introduce your baby to the water at such a young age. Of course, we’ll do this with expert help from Water Babies. So without further ado, here is all you need to know about why you should go swimming with baby!

If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about and are thinking you’d rather stay at home in the dry with a nice cup of tea, here are some facts that should get you down to the pool in a shot:

  • It’s a very sociable activity and a great way of making new friends. Water Babies say that clients see it as one of the primary reasons for coming, knowing just how important it is for new mums to get out of the house and meet others. The team do things to actively encourage the social aspect of lessons, like ask whether participants would like them to distribute phone numbers so everyone can easily contact each other outside of class. (For more information on Water Babies classes, available across the UK, look at Water Babies)
  • It’s a really exciting activity to do together: ‘sky diving for babies’ is how one parent described it!
  • It’s fantastic for dads as well as mums (especially in the early months when they can sometimes feel slightly less involved). “The experience was second only to that of seeing my daughter being born,” is how one father describes it.
  • As a parent’s confidence with their baby in the water increases (partly through seeing all the remarkable things their tiny child can do) this often then transfers onto land.Right from the start you’re teaching your child the foundations of a core, potentially lifesaving skill.
  • Although a very supportive medium, water is much denser than air, so muscles have to work considerably harder when moving against it .
  • It’s a fantastic activity for parents who are scared of water. They don’t need to be able to swim to take their baby to a class – but often then learn themselves as a result.
  • Being in the intimate environment of warm water enhances what is already a truly special time for new parents, providing many precious memories.
  • Swimming gives you a break from the normal routine and is also fantastic exercise.
  • It’s the perfect activity to do from birth that doesn’t require the baby to have any additional skills to the ones they’ve already honed in the womb.
  • Everyone needs regular exercise, even babies, and swimming provides the perfect opportunity; the supportive medium of water enables them to do many, many more things than they can on land.
  • Parents love doing it because their babies so obviously adore it.Why go swimming with baby~ Cuddledry.com
  • The first three months of your baby’s life are amongst the most precious for both of you. The intimacy of swimming together perfectly compliments this very special period.
  • It works! Within the UK, many thousands of  two and three year olds now happily swim above and below the water’s surface, having gained a confidence and enjoyment of water that will remain with them for life.
Tips from Water Babies

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Swimming with your baby: getting started~ Cuddledry.comWith summer in full swing, and many of you either jetting off on holiday (if you’re pregnant, don’t forget to read our post on travel tips during pregnancy) or wanting to make the most of your summer by splashing out at the pool, now is as good a time as any to talk about swimming with your baby. It can be daunting when you take to the water for the first time with your baby, but this is one experience that you can give your child that will build on essential skills for life.

Before you take to the pool, make sure that you have everything ready for the changing room. Ideally you need your Cuddleswim baby swim towel, nappy changing items and clean clothes for after your swim- babies can cool down quickly once they are out of the water so it’s a good idea to get these all ready before you get into the water. Anything that can save time afterwards is a good idea!

Being prepared is essential if you want your baby to develop a love of swimming, so today we’re looking at ways to get started on your journey, and tips for preparing your baby to take to the water. We’re delighted to have some tips from the wonderful Water Babies today- so enjoy!

Giving your baby water confidence  is one of the most important ways you can help to prepare them to enjoy swimming and be safe in the water for life.

Having spent the first nine months of their lives suspended in fluid in the womb, babies generally love the liberating sensation of floating freely as it’s such a familiar environment. But, just to make sure their first experience is an entirely happy one, here are some tips on things you can do to prepare them for that all important first visit to the pool.

Here are some top tips for preparing baby for swimming:
  • First and foremost – keep it fun! Sharing a bath with your baby is a great bonding experience and something everyoneSwimming with your baby: tips for getting started~ Cuddledry.com can do. Lie back with them on your chest and encourage lots of splashing by playing with toys. Constantly smile, sing and talk to them whilst maintaining lots of reassuring eye contact.
  • Of course, you don’t always have to get into the tub. In a shallow baby bath, lie them on the bottom with a few inches of water around them, or, if your tub is deeper, support them under the shoulders and then lower them gently into the water, letting it cover their ears. Use your free hand to pour water over their body – you can also swish them gently from side to side in this position and watch them gurgle with delight! As they get older, lie them on their front, making sure you keep their face out of the water.
  • Blowing bubbles has an important role to play in swimming as it helps babies learn to control of their breathing –important for later submersions and swimming strokes – so practise this from early on. Make yourself look as silly as you like and see if they imitate you! As they get older, use beakers, toys and sponges to pour water over their bodies and, as they grow in confidence, their heads as well.
  • If your bath is deep enough, encourage your baby to start kicking by letting them float on their backs in the water with you supporting just their head. Babies love this sensation as it’s a freedom that they can’t experience on land; so let them explore water’s natural buoyancy.  Encourage them to explore underwater by putting toys on the bottom – they’ll keep their eyes open as they put their faces down to see.
  • Whether you’re taking your baby to the pool on your own, or to structured classes, make sure your first visit is a positive, gentle introduction to this multi-sensory world. If you are starting lessons, try to take your baby to the pool before the first one. Spend time on the side getting them used to the noises, colours, splashing and general hubbub of the pool environment – these will all be much louder than at home!
  • Make sure you check the pool temperature – it should be at least 30 degrees – and think about investing in a baby wetsuit if necessary.
  • Swimming with your baby_tips for getting started~ Cuddledry.comWhen you get in the pool for the first time, smile and talk to your baby – show them that it’s all meant to be fun! It’s really important that you are calm and positive as they’ll take their cues from you. Get your shoulders under the water and hold your baby so the water covers their chests.
  • Through the session, try alternating between holding your baby very close, with lots of reassuring skin-to-skin contact, then at arm’s length so they can move freely and feel a bit more independent.
  • Babies tire easily in the water, so restrict your first visit to around 20-30 minutes and make sure you have a hat and warm, cosy towel for afterwards. It’s normal for them to be hungry and tired after swimming, and not unusual for them to sleep for a couple of hours as well – definitely an added bonus to a successful trip!

Tips from Water Babies

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