Bath time with your 5 month old

Jessie Jones
Baby is now 5 months old and their personality is really starting to show 🙌 They have gained so much more control over their little body and are now starting to make their way out of the Newborn stage. Baby is becoming aware of object permanence, that means they know something still exists when hidden. 
They are also starting to learn cause and effect and becoming quite the little scientist with their experiments like splashing water and dropping food. Water play in the bath and pool becomes a special time for them to experiment further, with toys, games and their own capabilities. 
They start to pick up on the routine of getting ready for bath time and their baby swimming lesson and usually get very excited as they know what’s coming.They are becoming more and more social each day and just love to study faces and expressions, swimming lessons provides them with a regular social activity where they can begin to form their first friendships and communications with other babies, parents, teacher in their community.
According to a study conducted by the Griffith University these early enriching experiences your baby has through regular weekly swimming lessons help them to become more advanced than their peers who don’t attend swimming lessons. The study shows that your child can be up to 18 months more advanced in all developmental areas by the time they start school from regular swimming lessons during their formative years (0-5).

Emerging Developmental milestones and bath activities  for your 5 Month old:

Beginning to learn cause and effect ~ seat her in a shallow bath and support her under her armpits. Give her a variety of toys that sink and float and wash cloths etc. Let her experiment with picking them up and dropping them, pushing them under water and watching them float up, squeezing the water out of them etc. Demonstrate with a few for her and then allow her some time to experiment.

Improved hearing, picks up on different sounds and pays attention to the way words form sentences ~ Babies love to learn through music, and their brain connections are also strongly supported by it. Singing during bath time can help your baby have fun as she practices her speaking skills. Seat her across from you in a shallow bath, hold her hands and sing along to Row, Row, Row Your Boat as you gently move forwards and backwards, she will love the 'scream' at the end of this one. Another great song to sing together is Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes. Fill the bath water a little higher and lay her back on your raised up thighs. Give her a gentle massage with your hands, a wet wash cloth or a little watering can. Try to match the body parts in the song with the ones being massaged. You can also try to isolate one side of her body at a time and then repeat for the other side of her body.

Learning to transfer objects from one hand to the other ~ Lay her back on your drawn up thighs and give her a bath toy to practice moving from one had to the other while you chat with her and demonstrate with your own toy.

Blows raspberries (spit bubbles) ~ Lay her back on your legs and make eye contact, demonstrate blowing raspberries with noises in different volume and pitch, let her imitate you.

Becoming aware of object permanence ~ Use a little bucket to hide a bath toy or ball in, show her the toy and then hide it in the bucket and see if she can reach in and find it. Show her how to tip the bucket to make it fall out.
 Breath control:
 Your baby may have already transitioned from a reflexive breath hold to a learnt breath hold by this age and be beginning to comfortably submerge.

You can continue to practice your breath control cues in the bath and shower to build and extend on your child's breath control:

Seat baby on your lap to one side, so you can see her face. Watch her reaction to the cues and for any signs she has had enough.
Cup of water: Cue baby "Name, ready go" pour on the forehead with a water shot. After the baby becomes familiar with this activity and responds positively for a few weeks, progress to an extended 2-second and then 3-second pour on the forehead. Practice this a few times each bath, Let baby recover and watch for their breathing to come back to normal between each turn.

Shower: Cue baby "Name, ready go" Start with momentarily under the shower.
Progress to 2 seconds and then 3 seconds under the shower. Practice this a few times each shower, Let baby recover and watch for their breathing to come back to normal between each turn.

Read and respond to your babies cues and stop the activity if your baby has had enough for the day or isn't enjoying the activity. This will build trust and communication between you and ensure that baby is happy to try again next time knowing you will respond to how she feels.

These fun bath time activities help to develop the skills you and your baby are learning at swimming lessons together. From here keep learning together on a force free introduction to water, sign up for baby swim lessons at your local Welcome to water provider swim school.
Make swimming together a regular, enjoyable part of your lives.
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