Preparing your bub for swimming lessons can be a wonderful bonding experience and a great way to introduce them to the water in a safe and positive manner. Here are some tips to consider:

1. Practice Water Familiarisation at Home

Well ahead of any swimming lessons, gently introduce your baby to water at home in a warm, shallow bath. Babies have a natural affinity with a fluid environment, so bath times will help to maintain that “womb to water” connection , keeping them accustomed to the sensation of water on their skin. Also, gently splash water on their face or use a sippy cup to pour water over them slowly.

2. Ensure Safety Measures at Home

  • Secure Grip
    Purchase a non-slip bathmat or a special baby bathtub seat to give you a secure grip while bathing your bub. It’s surprising how slippery babies can be when wet, especially newborns!
  • Supervision
    Never leave your baby unsupervised for any amount of time when they are in the water. Constant supervision is necessary at all times, even turning away from a baby in the bath can be dangerous. Focus on your baby during this time and do not allow distractions to get in the way.

3. Gradual Introduction to Swim Activities at Home

Begin with gentle activities like holding your baby in the water, letting them splash their feet, or supporting them as they float on their back. These are some of the things you will be doing with them in swimming lessons, so give them a head start. Then, when enrolled, keep on practising at home.

4. Wait for the Right Age

It’s generally recommended to wait until your baby is at least six months old before starting formal swimming lessons. This allows more time for the baby’s medical history to develop, their immune system to strengthen and the completion of their immunisation shots. Also, at six months, a baby has more neck control, which can be much better for those first swim lessons.

5. Find a Suitable Swim School Pool

Find a swim school where the pool is well maintained and heated to a comfortable temperature (around 30°C for babies). Ensure there is a designated area for infants, which does not have to be a separate baby pool – a designated area in the shallow end of a larger pool works well, too. Aquabliss centres tick all these boxes and all offer Baby lessons!

6. Choose the Right Instructor

Instructors must be qualified and have essential experience with infants. They must also be knowledgeable about baby-friendly teaching techniques and have appropriate certifications in infant CPR and water safety.

Importantly, the instructor needs to be good with teaching adults, too – because you will be in the water as well, being taught how to hold and move your baby in and around the pool. You will love it!

7. Gather the Essential Gear

  • Swim Nappy
    You don’t have to wait until your child is potty trained before starting swimming lessons. Babies and toddlers not fully toilet trained just have to wear tight-fitting waterproof swim nappies, which many pools will have for sale.Your child’s safety is far more important than a “code brown” happening in the pool. Which hardly ever happens by the way. But if it does, staff have seen it all before (“déjà poo”), so they know exactly what to do to protect both the hygiene of the pool as well as you and your child’s dignity.

    Click here for more information on why swimming lessons should trump potty training.

  • Baby Swimwear
    Choose a snug-fitting one-piece swimsuit or a rash vest.
  • Sun Protection
    If swimming outdoors, consider a wide-brimmed hat, baby-friendly sunscreen and
    a rash vest to protect their sensitive skin.

8. Who is Going to be in the Pool with Bub – Mum? Dad?

Swimming lessons are an integral part of your baby’s development. Watching them become water-competent is a fantastic experience; being part of the ups and downs of learning to swim is something special.

Anyone important in your child’s life can be the one to guide them during their years of water safety, and remember, swimming lessons are for Dads too, which might give Mum a well-deserved break.

9. Stay Calm and Positive

Babies are sensitive to their parents’ emotions. Remain calm and positive during the experience. If you are relaxed, your baby is more likely to be too.

10. Feeding Time

Establish a predictable routine for swimming, such as feeding your baby about 30-60 minutes before the lesson. Avoid feeding immediately before as it may cause discomfort.

11. Be Alert for Signs of Discomfort or Fatigue

Pay attention to your baby’s cues. If they seem unhappy, overly tired, or cold, then its ok to end the session and take a break. Whilst qualified and experienced swim teachers have been trained to assess a child’s reaction, no one knows your child better than you do.

12. Post-Swim Care

Rinse off any chlorine or other pool chemicals after the lesson, and dress your baby in warm, dry clothes.

Unless your baby has a skin condition, pool waters should not cause any problems. The chemicals used in pools are not harmful and are necessary to help keep you and your bub safe, but chemicals and salt water can create irritation if not rinsed off the skin.

And remember to rinse your swim gear, too. Pool chemicals and salt water, if left on swim gear, can erode the material.

Consistent exposure to the water can help your baby become more comfortable. However, always prioritise safety and don’t force your baby if they’re not enjoying it. As we all know, every baby is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Pay attention to your baby’s cues and adjust your approach accordingly.

Contact Us

Not currently swimming with us? Talk with our Aquabliss team to assess your baby’s readiness for swimming lessons, or take a look at our programs and contact us.