Premature baby takes first swimming lesson two days before he was due to be born

Finlay Wilkinson takes to the pool.
Finlay Wilkinson takes to the pool.

Little Finlay Wilkinson made his swimming debut when he was eight weeks old - but the premature baby was not even expected to have been born when he took his first dip.

Finlay was born eight weeks premature on April 9 weighing just 3lbs and 2oz.

Finlay Wilkinson

Finlay Wilkinson

But he enjoyed his first swimming lesson on Sunday, weighing 6lb, two days before his due date of June 9.

Today his proud mum Heather Wilkinson, 29, said she hadn’t given it a second thought when she enrolled her gorgeous baby for the classes in Hartlepool.

It wasn’t until the teachers said what an unusual feat it was that Heather realised her little water tot was doing something extra-special.

Heather, an IT and support trainer, from Bishop Cuthbert, in Hartlepool, said: “I’ve had a couple of friends whose babies swim and they were saying how beneficial it was, so I thought I’d give it a go with Finlay.

To be honest Finlay liked it more when he was just able to float, when I was getting hold of him he had a little cry as though to say ‘let me go Mam’!

Heather Wilkinson, Finlay’s mum

“He’s not too fussed on getting in the bath or getting his clothes changed so I thought it might help him get to like the water more.

“I was a bit nervous at first when I went in. I had to hold his head in one hand and leave the rest of his body just to float. I let the teacher do it first to show me but then it was fine. Finlay liked it more when he was just able to float, when I was getting hold of him he had a little cry as though to say ‘let me go mam’!”

She added: “People think that you are trying to teach the baby how to swim but it’s not like that. It’s more about play and relaxation and getting them used to the water.

“It’s also warm like a bath, it’s not cold water. Babies are used to being in the womb and being in water anyway.”

Finlay Wilkinson

Finlay Wilkinson

Heather took Finlay to Puddle Ducks, which runs swimming classes for babies at the pool at High Tunstall College of Science.

Alison Abbott, who owns Puddle Ducks, said: “Finlay isn’t my youngest swimmer, as I have had a four week old baby in the pool. But he is as far as he wasn’t due until the week after he first went in the pool!

“He is also the smallest baby I have ever had in the pool at just 6lb.

“He was a pleasure to teach and I look forward to watching him progress though all our programs.”

Finlay Wilkinson

Finlay Wilkinson

Heather, who is married to Jack Wilkinson, 30, a recycling company manager, said: “Although he was premature, once he was home and everything I just got on with things like he was a normal full-term baby.

“It never even crossed my mind.”

Finlay was born at the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton after his mum’s water broke unexpectedly on Monday, April 6.