My Tips & Experiences for Raising a Water Baby

When I was young, I was involved in swimming lessons every year.  Because of this,  I learned to love the water and was able to swim on my own. My family was a “water family” for a while; going to lakes and pools during the summer months. I want my children to love swimming and being in the water like I do, so I have started introducing it to Lucas at a young age.

Lucas and I started taking a water babies class at our local pool when he was 6 months old. It’s a great thing for us to do together as it gets us out of the house. It involves something new and exciting, and it helps Lucas to learn and focus on new things.  It’s quite the day for us.  I have listed out some of the activities in numerical order for you. It’s fun that way.

1. Put on your swimsuit. (I usually do this at home and wear sweat pants over.)
2. Don’t look at yourself in the mirror.
3. Look at yourself in the mirror.
4. You want to lose 10 pounds.
5. Get over it.
6. You start your diet tomorrow.
7. Tell yourself you look good.
8. Repeat.
I pack in our swimsuit bag:

  • 2 towels
  • Lucas’ swim diaper
  • A toy for Lucas
  • Lucas’ shampoo/soap
  • A new diaper and change of clothes for him
  • Pacifier
  • Clothes for me if needed
Normally I carry him in and he sits on the bench while I change and get him dressed. This phase is just about over.  I think bringing him in the stroller is the next practical and safe thing, that way he has a place to sit while I get myself ready.

The dressing room is the biggest challenge.

9. Put baby on seat.
10. Please don’t move. Sit still. This could be dangerous.
11. No, seriously kid. This is a concrete floor. Here, sit there and suck on this toy.
12. LUCAS. Honey, you need to sit still. Look at this! Here, play with this.
13. Take off your clothes as quick as possible and get your baby ready.
14. Okay, stop sucking on that. Come here please. Let’s take off your clothes.
15. No, stop squirming. Lucas, be still. Come on, we have to put your swimsuit on.
16. Seriously, please lay still for 8 seconds?!
17. Look at how cute your swimsuit is. See these turtles. See? Isn’t that cool? Let’s put it on.
18. If you want to go swimming you have to put your suit on. Please sit still now.
19. You won. Or something. The baby is in his swimsuit.
20. Sit still again. Suck on your toy. Now get yourself ready.
21. Put away everything. Shove it in the locker.
We then walk out to the pool. As soon as Lucas gets in the baby pool he starts kicking his legs and smiling. It’s so cute. We play and blow bubbles and jump off the side. We go underwater, we float on our back and we sing songs. I hold him while I walk in the deep end, I hold him out in front of me so he can kick, and I let him sit on the baby stairs.

At our first class, and the first day that Lucas had ever been swimming, he went under water.  I was pretty nervous, but he actually did really well. It’s amazing how babies have a natural instinct to hold their breath when they go under. We call them “dips.” He is under water for less than two whole seconds. (As if you’re counting one-one thousand two one thousand)

It’s simply a dip.

This is how I was taught to do it and how I’ve been doing it with Lucas. First, I try to get his attention which is hard to do when there is a giant plastic whale floating above our heads and ten other kids splashing around us.  I have to repeat myself several times, and then he will eventually focus on me. I look him in the eyes and say, “Are you ready to go underwater? Let’s do a dip? Okay? Ready? We’re going to dip.”  Once I have his full attention and have eye contact with him, I exaggerate my words and motions and count, “Oneeeee  Twooooo” (Big inhale breath) and as I dip him underwater I say “Threeee!”

Here is a video of him swimming under water.  If you look really closely you can see him close his eyes right before he goes under. I wasn’t making eye contact with him for this purpose of the video, but usually I do. I think it’s best to have his full attention when doing a dip, so I try to do that as much as possible. Usually he does a dip right in front of me, with my arms reached out in front. 
He learned really quickly and when he hears me take a big breath to inhale he starts to close his eyes before we go under. It’s just so gosh darn adorable.
A few key points to remember when you’re swimming with your baby.
  • If they get water in their mouth, encourage them to cough by making a coughing sound yourself. Pretend like you are coughing and they will hopefully get the idea to do the same.
  • If they get scared because they got water in their mouth, water in their eyes or tried a new activity, don’t act scared yourself. Even if you are scared, fake it.  Remain positive and calm. They will generally base their reaction of things off of your reaction. Act like it’s “not a big deal.” Smile, reassure them that it’s okay and then move on.
  • Practice blowing bubbles. Babies will watch you for a while and put their mouth/face in the water until they eventually try it themselves.
  • Don’t practice jumps, blowing bubbles or going underwater when they are tired. We always swim for a few minutes and then go right to dips. He does a few dips, some jumps and floating on his back all at the beginning. As soon as I see that he is starting to get tired, I don’t force any  activities on him.
When we get down with swimming I always rinse off while holding Lucas. It makes the most sense to me to change him and give him a shower when he’s already wet and naked rather than waiting to do it when we get home. A lot of moms I’ve seen wait till they get home do shower/rinse off- so it’s definitely a personal preference. After his shower he goes into his sweat pants.
This is another process.
22. Let’s get dressed.
23. Please sit still. Don’t you want to put these soft warm sweats on? Look at them!
24. I need to put your diaper on. We have to put your diaper on.
25. Okay good. You’re dressed now. Sit here for a minute while I get dressed.

He always falls asleep on the way home so he usually goes straight to nap time. Usually swimming makes for a great afternoon nap. Well, sometimes.

26. No. That was a short nap. You just go done swimming. You’re tired. Go back to bed.
27. Lucas. YOU ARE TIRED. Go back to bed. 30 minutes does not count as a nap. Go back to bed honey.
28. See you in a couple hours!

There you have it! That’s what our day at the pool looks like. Swimming for us has been a great activity and I highly recommend it! I would love to hear if you swim with your kids!

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

13 thoughts on “My Tips & Experiences for Raising a Water Baby

  1. I love that you go swimming with him =) I plan on doing a swim class with Brooklyn when she's six months. The class is called Polywogs hehe how cute!
    His picture under the water is the best! Love it!

  2. ours is called micro fish, and i did it with logan and jordan both around 6 months. i got some cute photos when logan did it, but i didn't have anyone to take photos this time around with jordan.

    i love the video!

    you remind me a lot of me when i had logan. i was a much better mommy then!

  3. That sounds like a lot of fun. I took a mommy and me swimming class with my daughter when she was little. I would love to find another class like that out here.

  4. I love our baby swim class. The most challenging part for me was after the class in the dressing room. Before the class, I dress myself and baby in swimmers at home, so that we just have to take off our outdoor clothes when we get there. After the swim was the tricky part!

  5. Great post! Just curious…is 6 months the recommended age for starting, or can babies start even sooner (I have a 3 month old, and I'd never considered doing swim lessons with her until just now!).

  6. So cute! Thanks for coming and following my blog! Your little guy is ADORABLE! I'll keep up with you. I saw that you're moving to Alaska? Wow!

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