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Tips for Swimming with Your Baby

Updated on February 27, 2008

A lot of parents take their babies to swimming lessons from a young age. You can introduce your baby as soon as you feel ready. Some parents start as young as two months, while others prefer to wait until six months (or older).

As long as you put pool safety first, everything should be fine. Check around for Mommy & Me (Daddy & Me) type classes, and find a certified instructor you feel comfortable with. A great way to find the best classes is to ask around with other parents.

Adapting to the Water

Most babies don't have a natural fear of water, so getting them used to it at an early age is great. Adapting a little one to pool is pretty easy. The most thing to do for your baby is to go in the water with them. This will give the baby a sense of security as you both explore the really big bathtub. Make it fun, and start by showing the baby how to splash.

If your baby seems afraid of the water, just go in slowly. While holding to him, slowly place his feet into the pool. Give the baby a little time to adjust, and then slowly put your baby further into the water. If the water isn’t warm enough, your baby simply might not be comfortable with the temperature.

Holding their Breath

A lot of parents are wary of putting their baby’s head under water, but it is safe to do so. You can’t teach them to “hold their breath” until 1 or 2 years old. However, babies will naturally react to being under the water by holding their breath.

Blowing into a baby’s face will cause them to automatically make him hold his breath for a second. You can do this, and then put the baby underwater so he relates the idea of holding his breath to going underwater. Your baby will probably swallow some water, and even cough a bit. You won't have them under long enough for it to be too much—really, you will only put the baby under for less than a second.

Follow the swimming teacher’s instructions when it comes to putting your baby’s head underwater, and don’t do anything aren’t comfortable with.

Your Baby’s Safety

The number one reason to teach your baby how to swim is for safety. Once your baby is mobile, you can’t control everything that happens. Of course, you won’t ever leave your child unsupervised, especially near a pool or other body of water; but, if something were to happen, your baby’s life could be saved if you have taught him how to swim.

Your infant isn’t going to be swimming a strong stroke, but he can learn how stay afloat and move through the water on his own. Teaching your baby how to swim won’t make him drown proof, but it will help prepare him in case he falls into water. Not only will he be less afraid, because he has been exposed to a swimming pool before, but he will feel comfortable about what to do.

A baby who can swim should never leave you with a false sense of security—constant supervision and safety precautions are the best way to keep your baby safe.

Most of all have fun with your baby. Swimming together can be a great bonding experience for your family.

Video of a Baby Swimming


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    • profile image

      6 years ago

      My almost 6 month old has had little lessons with my mother at their place and now ducks her head, closes her eyes and holds her breath on the count of 3 ready to be jumped into the water and dunked. She enjoys it :-) We did start with counting and then blowing in her face and she very quickly learned the cue and we don't need to blow in her face anymore :-)

    • profile image

      sharon 6 years ago

      wouldn't they just sink and drown? Who does that to their children???!!

    • JasonPLittleton profile image

      JasonPLittleton 6 years ago

      Cute babies! It is so fun to see babies swimming! Love this hub!THanks.

    • profile image

      Winter Kurtich 7 years ago

      My son had just started going to the pool he will be 6 months in one week. He LOVED it! It was his very first time and he was splashing, going under, and putting his face in the water and trying to blow. (His dad taught him how to do that with his mouth when he was 4 months old) It was so cute seeing him trying to do that in the pool. I feel confident in teaching him myself and it helps that he already has so much confidence in himself already in the water. So I won't be taking him to any classes. As far as when to start your baby in the pool. Let your baby decide. He will let you know when he is ready. Use bathtime to determine that. Pour water of their eyes and let them go under and pull them up. If they have a good reaction to this they are more then likely to start going to the pool. As far had pool water temperature. Your baby will let you know if it is too cold or hot. Just watch and see their reaction you will know. I know today the pool water was no where near 84-86 degrees F but he was still ok with the temperature. I am confident that he will let me know if it is too cold for him. Swimming with your baby is tons of fun.

    • skydiver profile image

      skydiver 9 years ago from UK

      My 6 month old has just finished the first stage of his waterbabies classes. Whilst he won't be doing lengths anytime soon, he knows when to hold his breath and is happy in the water. It was great getting go under the surface with goggles on in the last class to see him put under the water in front of me and kick to the surface!

      There are 6 babies in each class, but in ours there was just 1 mum in the water against 5 dads! So its good for the dads to spent some quality time with there little ones :) Our baby was born into the water (see my hub!), so it seemed like a natural progression to get him swimming :)

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 9 years ago from London

      We started taking our baby swimming when he was about 6 months, and he's now 3. He can swim a whole length (under VERY close parental supervision!) which is 20 metres, and absolutely adores it. Plus it wears him out!

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      Baby Bob 9 years ago

      Excellent hub Stacie. The bottom line is, every baby is different. We started taking our baby to the YMCA at about 9 months, he loved it. They have a 1.5 foot baby pool that is great for infants to get used to the water and enjoy playing with their parents.

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 10 years ago from Seattle

      If you had started him earlier than 3, he probably wouldn't have been so afraid. But, if he enjoys swimming with his friends, it sounds like he will be fine. I think most parents, and swim instructors, wait at least until their babies are 6 months. I do know some people who started their baby at 2 months, but they had their own pool.

    • sminut13 profile image

      sminut13 10 years ago from singapore

      thanks for the hub. i had heard about getting babies to swim at a young age but didn't know tht they started so young at even 2mths. my son started at around 3 and he was afraid. but the second time i brought him with his friends he was more confident. thanks again.