3. Taking the plunge
Your first pool swim with your baby will be exciting as well as a little nerve wrecking! Preparing for what’s in store will banish the butterflies and help you get the most out of the experience.
"Talk to your baby while entering the pool to give him lots of encouragement - some babies don't like bright lights and unfamiliar noises so it's best to keep chatting."
Philomena Geary, STA Baby Swimming Teacher
In you go
To get in the pool, lay your baby safely on a towel on the poolside, lower yourself into the water and then lift her in.
Cradle your baby close to your body and slowly move around the pool with your shoulders under the water and feet firmly on the floor. Once you’re both comfortable, try gently bouncing her up and down in the water.
Build your baby's confidence by moving her from back to front and front to back. Use words for each activity - like 'bubbles', 'kick' and 'splash' - which will help her form associations and predict what's coming next.
Have fun with a favourite bath toy. Hold it out of reach, and she'll try to grab it. Hold it over her head, and she'll look up. See how she reacts when you sprinkle water gently over the back of her head!
Keep checking to see that your baby is warm, comfortable and having fun. Repeating what you did in the bath at home will help her feel secure. Find out what you both enjoy and keep doing it. Simple as that!
Your first few swims could last a quick ten minutes or a happy half hour. As soon as your baby starts to feel cold or look unhappy, it's time to get out, have a warm shower and get dressed.
It's going swimmingly!
Smile, chat, give plenty of eye contact and praise - be natural with your baby.