My son was perpetually trying to impress his soccer-loving dad from inside my tummy. His little ankles and feet never stopped moving, kicking me right under my ribs - especially at night. He was pulling off some premier league level moves during his watery stay in my womb, but once he made it out, gravity put a serious damper on his soccer dreams.
He didn’t kick as much, and even if he did, it didn’t have the same kind of oomph and power as before – until he got into the Otteroo!
Otteroo Bath Activities - Practice Kicking
Your baby wants to kick and move but it’s not so easy now that they're out of the womb. Not only are they weak and uncoordinated, it takes a lot of strength and effort to lift and bend and kick those legs against the weight of gravity.
Otteroo and warm water create a reduced-gravity, almost womb-like setting for your infant but with much more space & freedom to move about. Since their arms and legs are free to move as they wish, the tub becomes an optimal place for your baby to start practicing various movements like kicking!
Why do it?
- Encourages your baby to kick and move around the tub.
- Gets baby used to moving in the water in different directions, which is also great for their vestibular input.*
- Baby can kick and pump their legs much easier in the water - and even a little kick can propel them much further in the water.
- Baby makes the connection that by moving their legs and body a certain way, they can go from one place to another, an important learning that doesn’t usually happen until baby begins to move independently on land.
* Vestibular input gives baby information about the direction and speed they are moving, which is critical for motor development. Something as simple as twirling the baby around the tub is great!
How to do it:
Activity 1: Kicking Off The Wall
For young babies that don’t know what intentional kicking feels like, try this!
- Once you have the Otteroo on, place the baby on their back in the water and move them to one side of the tub.
- Place their feet so they are touching the tub wall and their knees are somewhat bent so they have some extra leg to “kick” or push off against the wall.
- Once they are positioned, move your hand away so you are not touching the baby. It’s important that they can feel what it’s like to move independently and what they can do on their own!
- Once they “kick off” let them glide in the water without touching them until they come to a stop. They might not travel far but that’s ok!
- You can help them continue to move toward the other side by putting your hand or arm against the bottom of their feet like a moving “wall” so they can continue to push and kick off.
- If they are not kicking against you at first, try giving their little feet gentle pushes until they reach the other side. They’re still putting together the idea that if their feet push off against something, they can move through the water.
BONUS TIP: Try putting the baby tummy side down so they can feel what it’s like to kick from their belly. They’ll learn that they can move forward while on their tummy if they move their body a certain way. Your baby might be more motivated to move on land during tummy time because they’ll learn that it’s possible in water!
Activity 2: Aspirational Swimming Kicks
Is your baby already moving around the tub? This more advanced kicking activity is for you!
- You can use the help of Otteroo to show them how to do “aspirational swimming” kicking moves.
- Bring baby to one side of the tub and this time, gently hold each foot with your two hands.
- Then, move their feet up and down, one by one in a freestyle stroke kicking motion until they reach the other side of the tub.
- They will experience that there are different ways to kick in the water and that they can move across the tub that way, too!
- Your baby might not “get it” for a while but they will think it’s super fun anyway!
Most importantly, please remember to ALWAYS stay within arm’s reach of your baby while in or near the water.