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parenting

Babies + Kids

3 Things Every Parent NEEDS to Know

Congratulations…you’re officially a Parent! That’s Parent with a capital “P”!

Because being a Parent is awesome…..but also being a Parent is hard as hell.

You welcomed this precious little baby into the world and oh man, it was cute as a button, smelled so dang good and was itty bitty teeny tiny! You thought to yourself, I got this!

And you do “have this!”

But also, more often than not, you don’t.   Parenting is tough shit.

I wish someone had taken me aside and told me some of the hard truths of my new role as a Parent.

Parenting is a journey and sure, you may have felt prepared at first, but chances are there will be something that throws you off your game and you’re left with a jaw dropped “WTF?!?”.

Yep. That’s being a Parent.

But here are three nuggets of advice I want NEED to share with you, my fellow Parent:

1. Lower Your Expectations

I’m serious.

Don’t expect a lot from yourself OR your partner for that matter.

That’s because most days taking a shower will be a huge accomplishment…and it is.

You’re in survival mode for the first few (read: several) months.  Also, all of things you expected your partner to do or the things they had done before are NOT fair game anymore.

But hey, as a bonus, if you don’t expect a lot and then stuff does get done it’s like Christmas morning!

 

2. You’re not the same person you were before kids

You will never be the same person you were before kids. Let that person go. Because the truth is, you just can’t be the same. You’ve got a tiny person that needs you for everything and you’re priorities will be different.  That’s the other thing, your relationship will not be the same either (more on that in another post!).

The problem starts when new Parents try their hardest to be their “before kids” selves. It’s not possible, friend.   And the more you try to be your BK (Before Kids) self – the harder life will be. Embrace your AK (After Kids) self for all that it is – compassionate, empathetic, nurturing, responsible, protective, and loving!

You are one hell of a person – and I promise you’ll love the new (Parental) you!

 

3. You will never be prepared. ever.

Your diaper bag could be the most organized, most well stocked baby bag on earth, there could be a Wal-Mart in that bag….chances are your baby will need the one thing you didn’t pack.

Yup.  That’s the world of these magical, unpredictable AF babies.

You’re going to forget things. You’re going to screw up. And you’re going to be “that Parent” at some point. We are ALL “that Parent” at one time or another.

I’ve yet to meet a Parent who’s got it all together, all the time. Even us “experts” are just making it up as we go along.

But you’re also going to learn a ton and you WILL figure it out.

It’s a steep learning curve and you learn new things every day for the rest of that baby’s life. It’s life long, it never ends and it’s the best ever!

parenting1

So listen, I’m not an expert in all things babies by any means. But the above three nuggets are things I’ve learned on my own the past 3.5 years and things I wish someone, anyone, had told me. So I’m sharing them with you.

But in the end, this shit doesn’t matter. What matters is the smile on your baby’s face when they first really see you, or the laughter or joy they get from just hanging out with you!

That’s the good stuff that makes the other stuff totally worth it!

Being a Parent is the most important job in the world and you just landed the gig!

Challenge accepted.

 xo

Dr Aliya

Babies + Kids

Baby’s First Library

 

Our family is big on books. It’s one of our go-to quiet time activities. We actually have a name for it – it’s called “Library Time”.

When my daughter Rose was teeny tiny – we started incorporating story time into her daily bedtime routine. It was a way for us to wind down with her and gave both me and my husband some time to just “be with her” when the kerfuffle of dinner and bath time was over and done for the day.

She loved it and we loved it. And so “Library Time” was established.   And to perfectly honest, we also quite enjoyed reading some of her books – they were as much for us as they were for her!

Our six months old son William is no different. This kid loves being read to and developmentally its never to early to start exposing your baby to the world of books and reading.

Reading aloud to your baby is such an amazing shared activity that you can continue for years. It’s a great way to teach your baby about communication and enhances their vocabulary skills. It’s also a wonderful way to introduce concepts such as numbers, letters, colours and shapes.  Black and white books are especially awesome in the newborn stage when contrasting colours help stimulate baby’s early vision.

One study found that babies whose parents read to them  scored higher on language tests when they reached 3 years of age.   Ah…I love brainy kids!

 

baby reading 2

Here are a few of our favourites that are a great addition to Baby’s First Library!

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury

ten fingers

Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

each peach

Mrs Mustard’s Baby Faces by Jane Wattenberg

baby faces

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

goodnight moon

On the Night you were Born by Nancy Tillman

night you were born

Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox

green sheep

Black & White by Tana Hoban

blackandwhite 

Of course there are so, so many great books out there for the 0-6 month age range!

Does your little one have a favourite book? I’d love to hear what you guys are reading!

 

 

xo

Dr Aliya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Babies + Kids

Swaddling: The Do’s and Don’ts

As if being a new parent isn’t hard enough without the constant controversy over a whole host of baby-related topics from breastfeeding to co-sleeping to babywearing!

It may take a bit of time, but I find most parents end up learning to trust their instincts and doing what is best for their babies and for their families.

Swaddling has been one of those hot “baby” topics recently and everyone and their mother has an opinion!

For newbie’s, swaddling is an age-old technique used for many moons in many cultures. It involves snugly wrapping baby to help him feel safe and secure. The idea is that being wrapped up snug can stop your baby from being disturbed or awakened from sleep by his own startle reflex.

The startle reflex (occurs in infants and disappears at 4-6 months old) causes babies to make sudden jerky movements in response to being startled – sometimes to loud noises and sometimes to nothing at all. It’s a protective mechanism but becomes super annoying when baby wakes herself up from deep sleep. Ugh!

Swaddling lessens and even prevents the effect of this reflex, essentially keeping baby cozy, secure and sleeping. Swaddling can also help settle babies down when they are over-stimulated.

Sounds like a dream, right? Although the benefits to swaddling are pretty amazing (I mean, why wouldn’t you swaddle?!? A sleeping baby rocks!), there is also some debate about the safety of a swaddle.

But from what I can gather (after reading a ton of articles), if you follow the infant safe sleeping guidelines, which includes safe swaddling technique, set out by Canadian Pediatric Society, you will provide a healthy, happy and safe sleep environment for your baby. Even if you choose to swaddle. The details can be found on the Canadian Pediatric Society website here.

Following the infant safe sleeping guidelines will provide a happy healthy and safe environment for your baby

I’ll simply say that if you choose to swaddle your little nugget, following these basic Do’s and Don’ts will help keep your babe safe and snug:

Do’s

Do use a light weight blanket to keep baby from overheating

Do always place swaddled baby on his/her back to sleep

Do leave two fingers space between chest and swaddle

Do provide baby enough room to move legs and bend at hips

Do have a trusted expert teach you how to swaddle properly

Do switch to a sleep sack when baby starts to show signs of rolling (see below for my sleep sack suggestions)

Do follow the safe sleeping practices outlined on the Canadian Pediatric Society website.

Don’ts

Don’t swaddle using a heavy thick blanket to swaddle

Don’t swaddle too tightly around chest, hips and legs

Don’t leave the swaddle too loose so blankets come undone and could potentially cover baby’s face

Don’t place swaddled baby on his side or tummy to sleep or nap

Don’t continue to swaddle when baby starts initiating rolling

swaddle will2

A few months ago, we were looking to transition our little babe Will from his swaddle to a sleep sack. I was on the hunt for a sleep sack that would be cozy but also light weight and would be a smooth transition for our little guy – who absolutely loved to be swaddled in snug. I came across the Nested Bean Zen Swaddle and Zen Sack!

Best. Thing. Ever.

swaddle will 5

Ok so here’s why I absolutely love this sleep sack.  Both the sack and swaddle come with this gently weighted center that’s like a super lightweight bean bag built right in. Basically, it simulates a mama’s soothing, comforting touch on the baby’s chest with a lightly weighted pad.

The Zen Sack had William sleeping longer!

The first time we used the sack, William napped like a star! He fell asleep super easy and stayed asleep for longer. Plus, they now ship to anywhere in Canada!

Um, can we say #MomWin?!

Follow my latest post on instagram for a code that gives you free shipping! Yay!

Happy Sleep Mamas!

Xo

Dr Aliya

 

Pregnancy

Things I wish I had known before my first baby!

Yup – that’s me! 2 years and 8 months ago. Almost 40 weeks pregnant with my first baby and not quite sure what to expect after the baby was born.

I did what most pregnant women do. I listened intently to the advice and stories of all the other moms around me – my mom, my mother-in-law, my grandmas, aunts, friends and even random women in the grocery store. Everyone had a story or some tidbit of advice they wanted to share.

I also tried to read every book and article related to pregnancy in a last ditch effort to prepare myself for what was to come.

Looking back now, it was super overwhelming and just a bit over the top. Ha! That sounds like me.

Inevitably, by the time my 2nd pregnancy rolled around, the “overachiever” in me was too exhausted by my crazy toddler to even pick up a book. And honestly, I felt I didn’t have to. I had mentally compiled a list of all the things I wish I had known the first time I was pregnant and ready to give birth to a tiny human.

I call it my list of “Wish I Had Known’s”.

Here are a few things “I wish I had known” before having our first baby:

  1. Expect the Unexpected…for life

“My pregnancy, labour and delivery went exactly the way I had planned” said no mom EVER. Be prepared to just “go with the flow”. Sounds cliché I know, but it has become my mantra. Letting go of plans was the absolute hardest thing I had to do from labour and delivery to my baby’s sleep and feed schedules to handling my toddler’s meltdowns.

  1. The first 12 weeks are going to be HARD

This is one of the single most important things every mom should know. The first 12 weeks or fourth trimester (as it’s often called) is super duper tough. It calls for survival mode. Recruit help as often as you need and just keep your head down to get through it. It gets better, promise.

  1. You will not sleep (soundly)…again

Even if your baby is a “sleeper”, you still will not sleep soundly every again. You will worry constantly. Is your baby still breathing? Is your baby too hot? Is your baby too cold? Do they have enough blankets? Did they wet the bed? Are they home from that party? Etc.

  1. Your Post Pregnancy Body WILL be different than your Pre-Pregnancy Body

And that’s more than okay. It’s amazing! It will forever be your reminder of the truly remarkable, life-changing thing that you did.   You will have a few more stretch marks, there may be some weakness or a scar, but look at what you’ve created! Be easy and kind to yourself and to your body. It’s recovering and healing and it will feel different and may not be what you had expected (see number 1 above). But it’s still yours to love.

  1. Motherhood may make you feel more vulnerable than ever before, but you are NOT alone

Many, many women feel isolated after childbirth. You question your identity, your ability as a mother, your body. Your sense of confidence is shaken by the challenges that come with a new baby and it may leave you feeling raw, emotional, and vulnerable. You are not alone. At some point, almost every single mother goes through this and please know that the transition to becoming a parent isn’t an easy one for anyone, no matter what instagram portrays! Talking to someone will help. I promise.

  1. Girl, trust yourself!

We all have natural maternal instincts. Trust your gut! It may take a bit of fine tuning and honing but they’re there and they will help you figure out what’s right for your baby.

 

Honestly, I wish I had known half of these things before my first baby was born. But that’s how life unfolds. You learn those key life lessons from experience not from Chapter 4 of a pregnancy book. You’ll get there mama!!

 

xo

Dr Aliya

 

Health + Wellness

DR ALIYA….2.0 ??

OK, maybe 2.0 is a  stretch – let’s call it Dr Aliya 1.0 to start.  This is the relaunch or more like restart of this blog – my blog –draliya.ca.

I’ve been MIA for the last 4 months and I apologize.  I’d like to think there are a few people out there that follow this blog – maybe if it is just a handful of close friends – missed my weekly blog posts.

The truth is, I’ve been avoiding writing.  Not just writing articles/posts or pieces of content, but  “real” writing.  Writing my thoughts and opinions.  To be quite honest,  it hurt too much to come up with any type of original thought and put it out there in cyberspace to be read.

Here’s the reason.

In late May of this year, my dad was admitted to the hospital with what seemed like your regular run of the mill pneumonia.  We thought he’d be discharged in a few days.  But a few of days turned into a week and a week turned into a couple of weeks and there was no sign of him coming home.  He had an underlying condition called Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM), which is a type of muscular dystrophy that causes progressive weakness of muscles in the legs and arms.  The IBM made his condition worse and the pneumonia took hold of his lungs making it difficult for him to breathe on his own.

After a couple of weeks in the hospital, the prognosis of recovery was grim.  He wasn’t coming home.  He was palliative and there was nothing the doctors or specialists could do.  My family was shocked.  Shock is and was an understatement.  We were beyond belief, in denial, that my dad, although he had his share medical issues, was near the end of his life and all we could do was just wait and watch.

What came next was the hardest, most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do.  I watched my dad die.  It was a peaceful dying and one by one my family took turns having our final moments with him.  He shared some age-old wisdom with me, told me how proud he was of me and my life successes, warned me (yet again) to find a balance between my work and my family life, touched my pregnant belly and said a prayer for the baby within and finally told me to allow myself to be happy and that he loved me and will always be with me.   It was a perfect goodbye and yet I wanted and needed to say more.

On Saturday June 25th, my father passed away peacefully, surrounded by all of us.

The last few months have tested many of my relationships as I process through all of the emotions and stages of grieving.  I’ve been reclusive of social engagements and gatherings.  I’ve managed to get through most social meetings and events with a somewhat happy demeanor but most days I feel a deep sense of loss and hurt.  I’ve struggled with letting myself get swept up in emotion and have tried to be brave and strong for my family and for my work.

 

Walking down the aisle at my wedding in 2010.

Walking down the aisle at my wedding in 2010.

This brings me to my writing, particularly my blog.  I’ve avoided it at all costs.  Sure I’ve been casually posting on instagram and facebook but when it comes to writing posts – I’ve put up a wall.  I have felt closed off.

Until now.

What I’ve realized is that my posts and articles came from a place of expertise and imparted my knowledge based on experience, what I’ve seen in my clinical practice mostly.  I had forgotten the real me.  I had avoided anything too personal, too intimate in an effort to remain professional.  Well, screw that.

I’ve been through too much this summer to remain professional.  I’m raw and emotional….and well, pregnant.  And I’ve decided that I need to put it all out there – because that is part of my healing.   So here’s my authentic voice coming out.  Sure I treat pregnant mamas and love being a prenatal chiropractor….but here’s the truth – this pregnancy sucks (more on this later).  And yes, I am pediatric chiropractor who loves my little patients, but this summer, my 2 year old tested my patience and pushed ALL of my buttons and I’ve had days where I’ve felt like a pretty crummy mommy.  And finally, my last truth –   I love yoga and being active and staying fit and healthy….but the very thought of doing a workout or taking yoga class has me reaching for a large caffeinated beverage.

So there it is – all on the table.

Welcome back friends.  I hope you enjoy the relaunch, restart, re-something of my new, maybe not so improved, but honest to goodness blog.

I promise to keep it real.  Always.

xo

Aliya

Babies + Kids

Things I Never Leave Home Without

Going from a designer bag to a diaper bag was not an easy transition for me – I’m sure a lot of mamas can relate. Trading cute style for multiple storage compartments and an easy to pack diaper pad was not my idea of staying on trend.

As Rosie got older and became a toddler, the big cumbersome diaper bag filled with baby essentials like extra sleepers, bottles and a supply of diapers was replaced by a cute leather tote with a handful of key items for both of us.

Here’s a list of the things I never leave home without (from left to right):

1. My BKR bottle

A BPA-free glass reusable water bottle that often feels like a cute accessory more than a necessity. The stylish design of this bottle allows it to fit neatly into my tote making it easy to stay hydrated all day long. (find it here shopbeautifully.com)

2. Rosie’s Kleen Kanteen Bottle

I love this super light-weight sippy water bottle for Rose – and it’s drop-proof!   It’s aluminum and BPA free and small enough for her little hands.

3. Love Child Organics Fruit Pouches

By far the best tasting fruit pouches out there – it literally tastes homemade. So easy to pop into my purse and have on hand when Rose gets super hangry. PS the company is Canadian! Love!

4. Robert Munsch’s Mud Puddle

Um who doesn’t love a good Robert Munsch book?! Rosie loves this story and it’s super mini so it goes everywhere!

5. Raisins and Almonds

For mama and baby on the go. A little snack during errands and some play time keeps us going all day long.

6. Burts Bees Beeswax Lip Balm

So nourishing and hydrating for my lips and I love the little zing from the peppermint oil.

7. Aleva Baby Wipes

I never, ever, ever leave home without these wipes. Not just for bums, but for sticky messy fingers and runny noses – they are the best. Super sensitive and not overly fragrant. They are awesome for delicate skin.

8. A Diaper

We are now starting to potty train Rose so I pack at least one diaper when we are on the go!

9. Thomas the Train

Obviously.

10. Dimpleskins Naturals Bum Bum Balm

For those unexpected diaper rashes. It’s zinc-free and made with calendula oil which provides natural healing for rashes. (find it here well.ca)

11. Substance Natural Sun Block Stick

As the weather gets warmer, I always have some sunblock handy for Rosie especially. It goes on super easy and doesn’t leave a filmy residue like most other sunblocks. Plus it’s super natural and safe for babies.

12. Honest Company’s Face + Body Lotion

Travel size lotion for dry skin and not greasy at all.

13. Minions Band Aids

Because sometimes you get a boo-boo and you need a minion band-aid to make it all better (and a mommy kiss of course).

14. KIND Granola Bar

No one likes a hangry mommy.

 

OK, so that seems like a lot – but they are my essentials for a day on the go with a toddler.

I’m curious to know… what are some of your diaper bag essentials?

Babies + Kids

4 Fun & Easy Ways to Re-connect with your Partner – Post BABY!

I had a mama-to-be come in to see me last week and she asked me if I had any advice for the first few months after baby is born.

“Just try to survive the first 3 months”, I told her honestly.

Remembering the first three months after Rose was born was difficult. It was a complete blur!

My husband and I found ourselves managing on a day-to-day basis and our relationship took a toll, to say the least.

That is until about 4 months post-birth when I found myself missing him and trying to come up with different, unconventional ways to re-connect. Our new responsibilities were crowding out everything that seemed important before baby.

One day we found ourselves on the living room floor playing cards (our internet was down and our Netflix was out of commission), enjoying each other’s company in a way we hadn’t since becoming parents.

Trust me, I get it.

It’s easy to fall into a routine, the hum-drum of life takes over and we forget to nurture the relationship we have with our partners especially when kids enter our world.

For this very reason, I’ve thought up some easy and fun ways to re-connect with your partner.

  1. Learn something new together

To keep things interesting, try learning a new skill or hobby or playing a new sport with your honey. Things like taking a wine-tasting course, or a cooking-class, learning a new language or even trying out a new sport such as tennis or squash or my favourite thing to do – going for an easy casual bike ride around our ‘hood!

  1. Day dates

Perhaps an evening date may not be in the cards for you two, but meeting for quick coffee or lunch during the day can easily fit into your schedules. Take a longer lunch break and meet your partner downtown for bite or even schedule an afternoon off to hang out and get a couples massage.

  1. Games night

Board or card games aren’t just for your kids. Challenge your sweetie to a game of cards, Monopoly, Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit to lighten the mood and reconnect.

  1. Get in love!

Remember how it felt when your partner gave you flowers for no reason? Or that time you were wearing something sexy and the look on their face? Every relationship needs a kick start of romance post-baby. Try things like writing a sweet note, or buying a nice bottle of wine.

Rekindling a connection to your partner is crucial to any couple’s relationship and can easily fall by the wayside after baby is born.

Start with small gestures and easy, fun things to do with one another and your relationship will be back on track in no time!

 

 

Babies + Kids, Health + Wellness

Life Lessons Learned from my Little

 

No one ever said motherhood would be easy.   Actually, I’m pretty sure we’ve all had our butts kicked by our kids at some point or another. For me, it’s a constant reminder that she really is “The Boss”.   And the boss is a little crazy.

But I will say one thing….my little boss is constantly teaching me things.

Today I took a second to stop and think about all the little nuggets she’s shown me or taught me over the last 2 years.   Some pretty awesome life lessons.

Here are a few:

1. Take pleasure in the little things.

Blow bubbles. Splash puddles. Let snowflakes land on your tongue. Try on mommy’s jewelry.   Eat raisins one at a time. Lick the jam off the toast before you take a bite.

She loves taking her time, investigating and savouring the little details.  Life moves so fast – it’s easy to get caught up in it and forget the little things that make you feel joy!

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault

photo rose 1

 

2. Dance to the rhythm of your own drum.

Sing off tune. Dance they way you want. Wear mismatched socks. As adults we’re constantly fearful and mindful of what others will think or say. Her life is limitless. She’s not scared or fearful of failure or judgment.

As we get older, we fear the unknown, stay safely in our comfort zone and perpetually match our socks. I’d like to think the sense of unknown exhilarates our senses and keeps our spirit awake.

3.  Baths aren’t just to get clean.

Baths are to practice swimming or to pretend you are an octopus. The crib isn’t just where we sleep – it’s a giant castle for all of your stuffies or a boat that’s sailing through the sea.

A child’s imagination is wild. I can’t believe all of the things she dreams up and how creative her mind becomes. She sees an elaborate fairytale story everywhere!

“Logic will get you from A to Z. Imagination will get your everywhere” ~Albert Einstein

photo rose 2

4. Every day is a new day

She pushes a reset button every night.   Every morning is a fresh start and all of the worries from the day before have flown away. Her adaptability constantly surprises me – she kinda just goes with the flow (clearly she doesn’t get that from me!).

There’s no baggage from day to day.   How I wish I could as easily let go of the past with its often tenuous situations and just chuck my baggage out the window!

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” – L.M. Montgomery.

5. A hug and kiss fix EVERYTHING.

I’m serious. It’s like a magic potion. It works for skinned knees, major meltdowns and a lost stuffed bunny.   It still amazes me how powerful a loving hug is when she’s in the throes of her emotions – whether it’s anger, sadness or frustration.

It’s such a tremendous feeling to know that I have the best antidote to all of the crappy things life hands her… she still needs her mama to make things better!

“The Best Medicine in the World is a Mother’s hug”

Babies + Kids

YOGA: Not just for grown ups anymore!

 

The benefits of yoga for grown ups are well documented- helping with things like stress reduction, increased physical strength and flexibility, mental clarity…the list goes on.

But I bet you didn’t know that yoga for babies and children is also super beneficial giving kids increased emotional awareness and boosting their self-esteem and confidence!

Recently, a study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies found that gentle mindfulness-based yoga helped children regulate their emotions (bye, bye tantrums). Children’s ability to stay focused and attentive was also noted after yoga.

Exposing your kids to yoga at a young age helps them to learn about themselves and empowers them to be in charge of their emotions.   Our daughter, Rose goes to a daycare centre that incorporates yoga into their weekly routine and she absolutely loves it!

We’ll do a yoga session together and she’ll be the teacher, showing us all the poses. It allows us to take some time out of our crazy hectic schedules and find some calm and peacefulness together as a family.

Here are a few ways you can practice yoga at home with your child:

  • Be the example. One of the most important things is for parents to do yoga while their kids are present. Modeling poses or lying still in Savasana will peak your child’s interest and curiosity and they will definitely ask what you are doing.
  • Create a warm yoga space. Lie out mats, use cushions and pillows and choose a space clear of furniture and toys to eliminate distractions.
  • Get creative. Encourage your children to use their own creativity and invent their own poses. Children will love playing animals, trees, flowers and warriors. Barking in dog pose, hiss in cobra pose and meow in cat stretch!
  • Make it a ritual. Similar to brushing teeth, your family yoga practice can be included in a daily or weekly routine. It could be a few minutes of quiet breathing or a 20 minute yoga practice with posture. Our daughter knows that “yoga time” means bringing out her little yoga mat and towel.

Yoga classes for families are a great way to spend some time together. Toronto Yoga Mamas offers weekly weekend family yoga classes. For more information, check their website www.torontoyogamamas.com.

I would love to hear about your family’s yoga time – send me a note at hello@draliya.ca.

Babies + Kids

The Ins & Outs Of Swimming With Baby

Yes, it’s -10°C outside. And yes, maybe the last thing you are thinking about is a dip in the pool.   However, Toronto’s indoor pools are pretty busy this season with parents finding indoor swimming and lessons a great way to keep their children busy as outside temps fall below freezing.

Swimming at all ages is awesome and it’s particularly amazing for infants for a whole host of reasons.

When can you take your little one for a dip?

Although a specific swimming age appropriate guideline doesn’t formally exist, most pediatricians and health practitioners advise parents to wait until their baby is about 5-6 months old before enrolling in swim classes. By this age your baby should have pretty good head and torso control. Plus, at that age your baby will be able to splash, kick and enjoy the water.

After spending nine months suspended in fluid in the womb, it’s not surprising that most babies have a natural affinity for water.  Babies have primitive reflexes that actually help them in the water.

Specifically, the laryngeal reflex (or gag reflex) allows them to hold their breath and avoid inhaling water in response to the sensation of water on their face, nose or throat.

 

The Benefits of Swimming in Infants

The American Academy of Pediatrics states that younger children may benefit greatly from swimming classes.

New data shows that early swim training may actually lower drowning rates in children under the age of 4.  Swimming also helps to develop a child’s confidence, as well as improve motor skills and co-ordination.

Swimming helps develop a child’s confidence and improve motor skills and co-ordination

Here are a few tips to turn your tot into a water baby:

  • Visit pools that have warmer water temps for baby’s comfort
  • Use bath time as an opportunity to get your baby used to the water.  Sing a song, use a cloth or sponge to dribble some water over baby’s face, splash, and blow bubbles.
  • Take your time and be patient.  Give her plenty of time to get acclimated to the water.
  • Start with slow, gentle motions like bouncing up and down together or swaying from side to side.  Once she’s more comfortable with her surroundings, explain and demonstrate some fun, basic skills like blowing bubbles or splashing.
  • Hold off on introducing floats or other floatation devices until baby is comfortable in the water.
  • Enjoy yourself.  If you are relaxed, smiling and having fun, your baby is more likely to be at ease!