Baths versus swimming

When you’re a first time parent, it seems to be obvious (at least from all the information that’s out there) that babies love water…it reminds them of being in the womb, it’s warm and comforting etc.  But not all babies do.

I thought that N started off enjoying the bath – I’d won a Fisher Price acquarium baby bath which had a little ‘hammock’ so the baby would be supported in that without you needing to support him leaving both hands free.  Seemed to do ok, and there wasn’t an issue when he moved (quickly) out of the mesh net and into the normal baby bath bit.  But I wanted him to really enjoy the bath and splash..

Obviously once we started swimming as well, it was evident that from being a bit blasé about water, he was gradually disliking the pool (then improving and enjoying it, then disliking, hating and all the way through every emotional spectrum – we’re currently in the scream all the time mode, hoping that it’ll pass sometime soon!).  Luckily this didn’t reflect too badly in the bath, although a friend said that she only ever put a tiny amount of water in the bath so her son could lie on his own – and he always splashed loads.  So I tried that – some improvement, although I then realised that it was being on his back in the water that he hated (following learnings from swimming where he’d refuse point blank to be put on his back).

Luckily by 4 months he was sitting well, so that seemed to work much better – he could sit and play although still didn’t splash for a long time, even if he was in the bath with his dad.  Eventually though, he saw his friends at swimming splashing about, and when he realised he could splash hard and get the water to splash mummy sitting outside the bath (thanks dad for encouraging that!), he’s never really looked back.

We now have the water quite deep again, he loves bubbles, loves pouring water from one container to another, and there’s splashing galore.

What I now find amusing is although he seems to hate swimming lessons and refuses to take part in most of the activities (kicking when he’s sat on the side of the pool he likes), at home he’s just started doing some of the activities and saying the word triggers…so far we have:

  • Blowing bubbles (well, putting his face in the water, then saying bubbles once he’s come up, he’s obviously not really getting the blowing bubbles bit!)
  • Kicking and swooshing the water around while saying “kick kick”
  • He’ll also tip water over his head like washing his hair.  At swimming he hates this, won’t take part, won’t even do the action to me.  He also hates going in the shower, so I’m hoping that maybe the more water he’ll be happy to tip over himself, the more chance I’ll have of getting him in the showers and to take part at swimming.
  • He does like the singing parts at swimming;  in the bath he’ll play with his boat and sing “row row” which they usually sit on the mat for (another hated activity).

He does love the bath which is why I find it totally bizarre that he hates swimming so much.  He’s got 5 weeks to change and enjoy it otherwise we’ll be changing to mini kickers instead!

(We also need to work on the shower as well!  He likes to put his hands under, but will not go anywhere near it himself, at home or at swimming)

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