Kicking in the Water

Baby Splash Program: Why does my baby kick?

woman helping baby swim forward in pool

Although your baby has minimal control over their body movements at this age, your baby’s reflexes can be stimulated in the water which show a left and right kicking action. This swimming reflex is useful for waking up a whole body movement. When we gently pour water over the head of a baby not only can your baby hold their breath, but they kick their legs in preparation for propulsion through the water. This becomes a learnt action through muscle memory.

The more babies ‘feel their feet;’ the more they recall the sensation of kicking to develop into a controlled kick. Pushing off the wall with their feet stimulate another well known reflex known as the plantar reflex. With your baby on their back and their head on your shoulder, gently guide your baby’s feet to the wall, encouraging their heels to touch the wall and allowing free movement without your hands touching their legs will see a kick.

Keep a close eye out for these little kicks! To stimulate a kick a simple tilt of left and right can also activate a kick through the water. This reflexive movement strengthens the muscles for your baby to be ready to move on land at around 4 months of age. The more you and your baby experience this action the stronger and more confident you both become.