Practiced for several generations now, free swimming is a technique that has many benefits for the baby. This original practice allows infants to enjoy the joys of water while respecting a few safety rules. Here’s everything you need to know about free swimming, its benefits and how to practice it safely.
The free bath of the baby: what is it?
Free bathing is a technique that consists of bathing the baby in a depth of water about 5 to 10 cm deep. More concretely, this method consists of laying the baby on his back in a tub with very little water and then let him move freely, obviously under close supervision. Inspired by the concept of free motor skills and the Montessori method, this practice, which is not new, is generally recommended to young mothers by physiotherapists because of its many benefits. However, this method requires some preliminary precautions.
Necessary security measures
The free swim is above all a moment of pleasure and sharing between the parent and his child. It is a practice that requires good autonomy on the part of the child. To this end, when the child is stressed, tired or less receptive, it is advisable not to insist too much. The open swim should not become an ordeal for the baby at the risk of frustrating him or putting him in a difficult situation.
Moreover, it is essential to maintain constant physical contact with the baby for example by placing a hand on his stomach. This gesture reassures your child and puts him in the best conditions to enjoy his bath in peace. Water your baby regularly to keep him warm. Also remember to check the water temperature from time to time and make sure it is neither too low nor too high. Never take your eyes off your baby.
In what type of bathtub should you practice free bathing for the baby?
In general, the free swim can be taken in a family bathtub. It is therefore not necessary to invest in a special baby bath. On the other hand, if you do not have a bathtub, use a basin the size of the child to practice free bathing. However, regardless of the type of bathtub or shower tray chosen, it is important to be present at all times to accompany the child well and reassure him.
From what age can you practice free swimming with your child?
Physiotherapists generally recommend that free bathing be practiced from 2 months. Specialists consider that at birth, the infant does not have enough maturity to be introduced to this practice. It is only from the second month that the latter has the means to freely experience the sensations of his body in the water, without being bothered by the arms of his parents or by any object present in the bathtub.
How to practice free bathing for your baby?
The practice of free swimming is very easy. Fill your family bathtub, your shower tray closed with a stopper, your basin or any other container of your choice with a bottom of hot water, including the temperature will be between 35 and 37°C. Make sure the water line does not exceed your baby’s ears. Then lay the baby in the water and let him move freely for a few moments while keeping an eye on him. To ensure your baby’s comfort and prevent him from slipping in the bathtub, it is advisable to put him on a bath towel or on a soft non-slip mat.
Let your child splash freely in the tub for a few moments and then soap it directly in water. Then use the shower jet to rinse your baby. If your child looks calm and reassured after rinsing, you have successfully completed your first free swim. Feel free to repeat this method.
The benefits of free swimming
Practiced by many parents to their children, free swimming allows both parents and children to benefit from many advantages.
The benefits of open swimming for parents
With the free motor bath, you use less water to bathe your child. After having soaped your child, it is enough to rinse it with a small container filled with water or with the help of an apple tree and that’s it. The practice of free bathing also saves parents some sometimes unnecessary purchases such as a preformed baby bath or a bath ring, among others. It is therefore an economical practice, but also ecological for the planet.
In addition, the practice of free swimming is less tiring and less painful for parents, especially if they suffer from back problems. The person giving the bath does not actually need to bend over the bathtub to wash the baby. She has both hands free and all she has to do is watch the baby and help him relax with songs or small games.
The benefits of free swimming for the child
Free to move, the free swim allows the baby to discover the aquatic environment independently and without hindrance. This practice allows him to develop his motor skills with confidence and safety. By being free to move, the baby can indeed develop independence more quickly while experiencing his body.
Thanks to the practice of free bathing, the baby learns on his own to change position and get out of awkward positions without the help of his parents. He manages from the 7th month to move from the position on the back to the position on the stomach with ease. Free swimming is also a very relaxing practice for babies. When done well, free bathing gives your baby a feeling of well-being and relaxation. Free swimming thus allows the baby to develop his autonomy and motor skills, but also to discover the aquatic universe in complete freedom. It is also a good moment of complicity and sharing between the parent and his child.