My daughter’s baby is almost 12 weeks old. He is very sweet.  We have just been swimming with two other babies who are three weeks younger and eight weeks older. The three babies were quite different in the pool. All had been to a swimming

pool before. The littlest one sat in his mother’s arms and looked surprised, not especially happy, but mostly just a bit confused. The middle one was less confused than last time and after a few minutes started kicking his legs, which he seemed to enjoy. The oldest one splashed and splashed and giggled. She kicked her legs, and the waved her arms in the water. It looked like active enjoyment.

I have no idea what is normal in terms of swimming babies. In fact, since so very few babies have the opportunity to swim when they are very new, perhaps there are no norms at all.  All that we can know is that babies start by not knowing what a lot of water is like, and then learn to swim. And some find it much more enjoyable than others.

This is not true of other areas of development. Walking should happen at by a certain time, being able to drop things should happen by a certain age, chewing food should happen by a certain age. Etc. The interesting thing is that  there is no particular age when this might happen, although there is a stage  when you would say that things are late.

For instance: a very few babies are born with teeth, others don’t have teeth at 12 months. Both are normal. But by two years, you might check that there are teeth ready to erupt. Some babies walk at 10 months, others at 18 months – both are normal although if your child is later than that, you should ask for help. Some babies talk at 10 months, others don’t use words until they are2, and it is said that Einstein did not talk until he was 3 or 4.

Every baby develops in the same sequence of movements, language, play etc.. But your baby might be developing language before he develops his walking; my baby might be practicing his chewing before he tries to vocalize. There is a point at which a baby’s progress needs to be checked, but this comes much later than you might expect. You can not tell if your baby is developing normally by looking at your friend’s baby, or even by comparing this baby with his older brother or sister.

Make sure that your baby has the opportunity to develop the next stage, and then wait a while. Ask someone if you are anxious but ‘Normal’ is usually much later than you think.