This week Water Babies share how swimming with your baby can increase the bond between parent and baby…
If you’ve ever heard somebody say about their baby’s birth “it was love at first sight” and thought – that just wasn’t me, then you’re far from alone. Research tell us that around 40% of new mums say that they didn’t bond immediately with their baby.
As a pregnant women and new parent, you’re peppered with images of new mums gazing adoringly at their bundles of joy. At a time when your hormones are unsettled, and baby blues or post-natal depression can be a very real dark cloud, it’s unsurprising that you may feel like a failure. But the reasons are numerous, it’s really normal and there’s loads you can do.
“I had a long, intense, induced labour with my first baby,” says Alice. “He was 15 days late, and when he was born, he looked like an alien! I was exhausted and spaced out. Bonding took a few days, and it was a slow burner.”
So what happens? When you give birth, your body releases the feel-good hormone, oxytocin. For some lucky women, they really are flooded with love the second they hold their new baby. But often the birth isn’t what we expected, that and intervention, birth trauma, feeling overwhelmed, exhaustion and health issues get in the way of that bonding process.
But there’s loads you can do. Google ‘bonding with baby’, and it’ll show you how common an issue it is for new mums. Speak to your midwife and health visitor, and they’ll give you the support and tips that’ll help you create those magical bonds.
It’s no coincidence that the Water Babies course is designed to maximise that bonding process. Even mum-baby teams who are already well bonded benefit from these factors:
- Skin-on-skin You in your swimming costume, baby in their swim nappy, together in a warm swimming pool, you’ll get loads of delicious skin-on-skin.
- Chat and smile Mutual communication, ‘chatting’ and turn taking is hugely bonding. You’ll get uninterrupted one-on-one time with loads of eye contact.
- Sing to your baby Love it or hate it, a sing-song voice is very appealing to little babies. In your Water Babies classes, singing will be led by your teacher and everyone’s singing together, so you won’t feel self-conscious – and you’ll learn new songs together!
- Learning while bonding Simple activities that you can do with your baby are fun and bonding, plus they teach them things that are crucial for development.
- Find like-minded mums The 20 minutes in the changing room after your classes is therapy in itself. Getting out and about, finding a bit of mumpathy can be hugely helpful and reassuring.
At Water Babies, we see the full spectrum of post-natal mums who all love the bonding element of the classes. It’s equally magical for new dads and adoptive parents. And the bonds you make in those early classes last way beyond your Water Babies years.
“Our weekly splash was the most bonding thing I did with my babies,” says Alice. “Swimming is still ‘our thing’, and even though they’re both now at school, it’s something we do together to connect, have fun and play. I definitely have Water Babies to thank for that.”
For more information on Water Babies have a look on their website.