swimming babies

Friday, July 6

Photos of 11 month old Sherry Lynn Whitford from the April 5, 1948 issue of LIFE magazine
The other day, my mom told me that when I was around Everett's age {8 months), she took me to parent/baby swimming lessons with her and said that I completely loved it and had no problems going underwater. Ever since then I've been obsessed with videos of swimming babies {like this one of Sherry Lynn above, or this one of an 8 month old that pretty much stopped my heart}, and reading up on the topic like crazy. It's mind blowing! Part of me loves the idea and thinks it's an incredibly smart safety precaution {especially since Everett loves the water}. But the other part of me nearly passes out with nervousness at the thought of my baby underwater.

I'm so curious now, so I have to ask you ... has your baby ever taken swimming lessons? How did they do? Do you think teaching babies to swim is smart or just crazy?! I'd love to know!

133 Response to swimming babies

July 06, 2012 6:04 AM

i'm not sure when my mother began taking me to swimming lessons, but i can tell you that i don't remember NOT knowing how to swim, and i think that's the way it SHOULD be! my boyfriend (now 28) can't swim, and i tell him all the time that he needs to take adult swimming lessons because it's something EVERYONE NEEDS to know.

start taking him as soon as you can! it's a great way to meet new friends/lil mommas like yourself too ;)

cheers to the weekend!

July 06, 2012 6:05 AM

I don't have any babies, but my friends do. They have all done a water babies course. They said it was a great bonding experience and that their little babies loved it. You should try it! You and E might love it too!

July 06, 2012 6:14 AM

I took Natalie to a swimming class when she was just shy of 4 months old. She liked the water but she also had an ear infection that we were not aware of so she was kind of crabby the entire time we were there (a few weeks). But part of the class is to dunk the kids under water and none of the other kids there had a problem with it at all, but they were all quite a bit older than her. The next youngest was like 8 months old I think and they did perfect. There were two little 8 month old twins who would kick their feet and "paddle" as their mom and grandma would float them around. It was so adorable. I'm definitely going to take Natalie back again during the next session! I'd be afraid to just let go of her under the water at this age, but I want her to get used to the water as much as possible and I'd be ok with dunking her under a bit. A good trick is to blow on their face right before they go under so that they are already holding their breath and then bring them back out again right away. I think you should do it!!

July 06, 2012 6:18 AM

my mom got us all in the water at a really young age. which was good. though she didn't throw us from a platform! that's crazy :)

July 06, 2012 6:19 AM

I used to teach these classes in college, and I think they are a GREAT IDEA! Kids love them, parents love them, heck, even I loved them. You as a parent will learn how to help your child swim safely, and baby Everett can get comfy in the water for later swimming! I really can't recommend them highly enough. :)

July 06, 2012 6:20 AM

I think in a controlled environment it is absolutely smart. Fear of the water and lack of coordination to handle tides and even the movement of the water in a swimming pool are so dangerous. The argument I hear most from parents near me that are against swim lessons for babies is that the learning curve is too steep and choking on water or the feeling of sinking will sound alarm reflexes in baby and make them never want to go near the water again. I'm sure some little ones have traumatic experiences, but I babies want to live just like adults want to live and their instincts will kick in when the water goes up their nose or they have to kick furiously to tread. A good instructor will get them through it and give them the opportunity to learn, just like we give them the opportunity to learn how to sleep on their own through the night.

My dad was a avid swimmer so we were all in the pool and the lake very early and going under water, diving, swimming assertively.. these were all a regular skill to have in our family.. like walking or riding a bike. But I never fell off the lake and skinned the crap out of my knees, I'll tell you that much.

July 06, 2012 6:20 AM

My best friend has taught all 4 of her littles and it is the best thing! Do it!!!

July 06, 2012 6:24 AM

i want to take my daughter to swim lessons in a couple months, when she turns 6 months. dunk her and get her used to it. i love to swim and was a lifeguard for many years. however, these videos you link to...i have never seen anything like it!

July 06, 2012 6:27 AM

I am a summer swimming instructor at a local aquatic facility, and I have taught many (we call them Parent & Tot) swimming lessons. I agree with what everyone has said about it being a bonding experience and also it promotes comfort and fun around the water at such a young age. The children will grow up being comfortable in an aquatic environment. I would definitely recommend it!

July 06, 2012 6:27 AM

I started my son Ethan on swimming lessons when he was 9 months old. He loved it until about 15 months old, when started going through some stage... where he screamed every time he got dunked underwater. We stopped the lessons because we didn't want him to hate swimming but decided to continue going to our community center pool to "play".

Last Dec, just before he turned three, we got him some goggles in anticipation of our trip to Hawaii the next day. That very day, he started to swim underwater on his own a little bit. We actually got a little video of that: http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/rsrc.php/v1/y2/r/5l8_EVv_jyW.swf?v=2606726320890&ev=0. As soon as we got back, we decided to enroll him in lessons. Seven months later, he loves swimming, and can swim across the pool length and turn over. I don't have a video of this yet, maybe next swim class!

BTW, Everett and his July 4th outfit is stinkin cute.

July 06, 2012 6:32 AM

I have a 9 month old (how did that happen?!?!) son and we've been doing mommy and me swim lessons. He hates it and cries the whole time, but I'm sticking with it because I think it's important for him to learn to be comfortable in the water, even if he doesn't like it. A lot of the class we're taking is focused on safety so I think it's great for me as much as him. We learn about teaching them about their "safe place" (the wall), and preparing them for going underwater, which is actually the only part he doesn't cry through. I'd definitely recommend doing it.

July 06, 2012 6:41 AM

I don't have babies yet, but I think in the hands of a professional, I would do it. Too many kids drown these days from falling in the water on accident :(

July 06, 2012 6:43 AM

I have an 8yr old and a 4yr old and with my first we took her to swimming lessons when she was 6 mos old. She has always loved the water, never been afraid of going under and swims like a fish. But, with my 2nd, we didn't start him in lessons right away and he is much more hesitant, has a harder time/is fearful of the water, etc. So, I have learned that the earlier you start them, the better! :)


July 06, 2012 6:45 AM

Hey! Love seeing photos & videos of babies swimming.

I just wanted to let you know that babies have a reflex in their throat that prevents them from swallowing or inhaling water when they're submerged under water. It's called the "baby diving reflex". You can google it or whatever. So you don't need to worry too much about taking your baby to swim lessons :) Have fun!

July 06, 2012 7:02 AM

I didn't even know this was possible! I'm fascinated.

July 06, 2012 7:03 AM

My daughter is Everett's age, and we've had her in swim lessons since she was three months. We go to a special facility for babies: the pool is 94 degrees and indoor, so she's comfortable the whole time. We both love it! She's swimming underwater on her own for a few feet now (with a push from the instructor toward me), and "jumping" from the side (she sits on the side and the instructor sort of pulls her in). This place says that if you start them at three months, they swim across the pool independently by about sixteen months. It's been an easy, relaxing process from the very beginning. (Side note: I taught swim lessons for years, including "parent tot" lessons, and, while those are fun for the baby, thy don't teach baby to swim.)

July 06, 2012 7:04 AM

My daughter is Everett's age, and we've had her in swim lessons since she was three months. We go to a special facility for babies: the pool is 94 degrees and indoor, so she's comfortable the whole time. We both love it! She's swimming underwater on her own for a few feet now (with a push from the instructor toward me), and "jumping" from the side (she sits on the side and the instructor sort of pulls her in). This place says that if you start them at three months, they swim across the pool independently by about sixteen months. It's been an easy, relaxing process from the very beginning. (Side note: I taught swim lessons for years, including "parent tot" lessons, and, while those are fun for the baby, thy don't teach baby to swim.)

July 06, 2012 7:08 AM
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July 06, 2012 7:08 AM

I didn't have swimming lessons until I was a child but baby classes really are very popular! I'm sure it's perfectly safe but only do what you're comfortable with. xx


July 06, 2012 7:08 AM

Hi. My name is Brooke and I have a 9.5 month old. He's a total water babe but I was nervous about putting him underwater. But you totally should I think if anything it teaches them to be used to it and somehow sets a good foundation...we usually blow in my son's face right before going underwater (I've heard it sets off a reflex that makes a child hold their breath). That said, I still haven't let him go on his own--kind of scary :)

July 06, 2012 7:09 AM

I have a 7 1/2 month old daughter and we are on our last day of a 2 week (30 min a day) parent/baby swim class. It's amazing and I highly recommend. We started out easy and progressed to passing her under the water for a few seconds at a time. She LOVES the water and swimming and is getting better with going under each time. She's getting familiar/comfortable with the water and we learned the fundamentals to continue to teach her the right things. In my opinion, the sooner the better.

July 06, 2012 7:11 AM

I used to teach swim lessons for all ages, but I especially loved the "Mommy and Me" and toddler classes. The kids love the water and it's such a good skill to have later in life. Plus, if they really love to swim, it's great exercise! (Everett could be a future Michael Phelps..?) Don't force him in/under the water, but definitely encourage it :)

July 06, 2012 7:14 AM

Woah, that was amazing? I'm not sure what words to use, considering I was gasping through out.
I agree with the benefits of infant swim and think it should be mandatory. Sure its hard to watch a qualified instructor through your baby about in water, but its even harder to hear your baby drowned.
My father died 6 years ago, he was a fisherman all his life, it was in his blood. He drowned.
When I have kids, I am going to do this, I want to know they are safe and have the skills necessary. Thank you for sharing this post.


July 06, 2012 7:16 AM

Yes! I took twins I nannied for to "swim for life" classes when they were right around 1 year old, where they learned to get comfortable in the water and how to float. Last day of class, the parents/nannies dropped the kids into the 6ft end of the pool, fully-clothed with shoes while the instructors stood waiting to help. Even though most of the kids were crying, they ALL managed to splash their way to the top and float/paddle their way to the side where they hung on til they were lifted out. Then we put on swimsuits and had playtime, but I felt so reassured that if, God forbid, one of them accidentally fell into any sort of water, their instincts and these skills would give them a fighting chance.

July 06, 2012 7:19 AM

I taught baby lessons for a while. The way it seems to be done now is as "mommy and me" classes and they focus more on building comfort and happiness in the water, rather than skill.
I would try it, if you're up for it! Kids in my classes always loved it and they always seemed better off in more difficult classes when they were older!

July 06, 2012 7:20 AM

I am 38 weeks pregnant and so sad that I've missed the summer to take her to the pool! I have also been teaching swim lessons for almost 10 years. The earlier you start putting them underwater, the better. Around 18 months is when it can start to be scary for them. I would definitely start under a year. When they're under about 6 months they automatically hold their breath. When they're older than that blow in their face and go under. It makes them hold their breath when you blow in their face. I'm going to try to have my little girl swimming as early as I can! I loved it so much growing up, so I hope she does too!

July 06, 2012 7:23 AM

My cousin and I used to take her twins to swim lessons weekly from the time they were 5 months to 8 months. It was always a lot of fun, and both of us looked forward to it. The girls liked the water and usually seemed to enjoy it. The lessons weren't like those videos though. Neither baby swam on their own, we were always holding them and supporting them while they floated on their backs. My cousin is currently living in Australia and she and her husband takes the girls swimming but they no longer take lessons. I definitely plan to do it with my own kids when the time comes.

July 06, 2012 7:28 AM

It probably depends on the baby. I just really started letting my 2 1/2 yr old jump in the pool with floaties on but she LOVES it. She watches her 5 year old sister do it and she is so pumped up she just jumps right it. It freaked me out at first because I thought she would inhale a lot of water but I think she is figuring it out. I think it's good to let them do what they are comfortable with but it sure makes for fun times when they like to swim. We go every Saturday to the gym and swim in their big pool. Great activity to get them outside and they take an amazing nap afterwards.

July 06, 2012 7:36 AM

My mother tossed my baby brother in the pool when he was barely one yr old ... he took a really long time to come back up [which freaked my mom out] but he was all giggles when he resurfaced ...

Eighteen years later he swam freestyle for the district swim team ... his signature: resurfacing long after other swimmers. He's my lil Michael Phelps :-D

July 06, 2012 7:41 AM

Boy, did this just spark an interesting conversation with my parents! Apparently, even though I grew up at the pool and was always splashing around, I didn't have my first real "swim lesson" until I was 3 or 4. However, my parents did take my older sister to lessons as a little bity baby, but they didn't seem to think it did all that much good.

I do think it's important to teach kids before they're too old, for two reasons. For starters, it's a safety issue. But there's also such a social component to enjoying the water; if you don;t know how to swim, I think you really miss out, both as a kid and later in life. I can't imagine not having my memories of being part of a swim team for 14 years, or going to the beach with my family!

July 06, 2012 7:44 AM

I also learned to swim as a baby.. before I could walk! These videos are insane! They are sort of scary, but the babies don't seem to mind.

July 06, 2012 7:49 AM

I learned to swim at 6 months. My dad took me to Vanderbilt to lessons. I've been a swimmer ever since.

I was also a lifeguard. I know to well the dangers of water. I HIGHLY recomend infant swim lessons. Not only the lessons but the ISR technique. You just never know when an accident could happen and want them to be prepared.

I was at a local swimming pool where a child (12 years old) drown. I will NEVER be the same. Such a precious life lost at such a young age.

I think the younger the better. My son is 2 now. I hadn't heard about ISR last summer, but this summer it's nagging at me. We have a pool in our neighborhood and are there every afternoon so I'm working with him myself, but am seriously considering ISR.

I think Everett would greatly benefit from it and you would too. Peace of mind from here on out at pools...knowing he's safe. Priceless. Do it girl! They lived in water for 10 months, he'll be ok!

July 06, 2012 8:03 AM

i think some babies might be able to have an instinct to swim or hold their breathe but that doesn't mean all will. It is definitely not something that should be forced or you might make a child that grows up with a fear of water.

July 06, 2012 8:05 AM

Sydney, I have no baby yet, but the kids I nannied for started swim lessons around the same age. I think it's always better to start them early so that they have some skills if anything were to happen. Especially if it's supervised lessons and you know they aren't going to be in any danger. Good luck :D

July 06, 2012 8:07 AM

I grew up in Florida and my family had a pool. My mom was really worried that it would be dangerous for me to not know how to swim, so she brought me to swimming lessons at a very young age.

My instructor would force us babies to go under water, and there were a lot of tears (my mom said she couldn't stay for the lessons always because it was too hard), but by the time I was 18 months, I could go off the diving board and swim to the bottom of our 12-foot-deep pool. My mom said it was the best decision she has ever made. As for me, I never feared water, in fact, I loved it! And went on to be a lifeguard for many years. I'm so thankful for my parents giving me that skill. Go for it with E!

July 06, 2012 8:09 AM

We bought a pool membership this summer for Landon (6mo). Luckily I used to lifeguard and teach swim lessons in high school, so I can kind of work with him on my own. After just two trips to the pool he is kicking his feet in the water like a pro! He loves it- He will occasionally put his face underwater unintentionally, and we have "dunked" him twice which he wasn't so sure he liked. I don't think you can get them in the water soon enough. Now tossing my baby off a diving board or the side of the pool- heck no, but definitely get Everette used to the water!

July 06, 2012 8:27 AM

When my daughter was 11 months old, I took her to a parent/baby swim class. She loved being in the water! Going underwater was no problem (it was very brief). The best part, is that because our class was in the evening, the activities wore her out (for as little as it takes to wear a baby out) and she slept really well during those nights.

July 06, 2012 8:30 AM

I take my 15 month old daughter, Presley to swim lessons twice a week. I have been taking her since she was 6 months old. Not only does she love the water but she is picking up on so many swim skills (she can kick her feet, reach for the wall, find the steps, and blow bubbles). These skills are SO important for a baby. Start Everett as soon as possible! :)

Good luck! You and your family are beautiful!

July 06, 2012 8:41 AM

have you heard of infant swim self rescue?? pretty awesome!


July 06, 2012 8:42 AM

As a swim coach and water safety instructor of five years, I'd say "Teach that baby to swim!" I think it's totally worth it to have your kids do swimming lessons. Teach them to love the water while being safe about it and you won't worry the next time their head goes under water for a moment because they'll know how to swim. Down the road, you will be thankful you had them learn at a young age!

July 06, 2012 8:44 AM

It's brilliant! If you have the right instructors it can save your child's life!

July 06, 2012 8:45 AM

my boys love the water!
Xo Megan

July 06, 2012 8:50 AM

I had a friend whose baby loves going under water! She just puts her floaties on her and just tosses her in (nicely...that sounds like she just chucked her in), completely submerging her under water and then would pop back up. And she just LOVED it! I heard that babies naturally hold their breathe and just know how to do it. I don't have my own yet...but I would love to do it with mine when I do!

July 06, 2012 8:50 AM

That was when her baby was about a year old too.

July 06, 2012 8:53 AM

this is a great idea! watching the lifegaurd just throw that baby in the water was crazy!!! lo she just flipped right over, it didnt even phase her!!!

July 06, 2012 8:54 AM

Oh.my.word. i think my heart stopped beating for a second while those babies were under the water!! I don't think I could handle that!! LOL

July 06, 2012 8:56 AM

What an interesting concept! Though I don't have a child, I do have a nearly 2 (almost 3) year old brother who can't get enough of the water. Whenever we're at the public pool a few times he tries to convince himself he can swim like some of the bigger kids and throws himself head and torso first into the water. I immediately panic and yank him up to spluttering toddler coughs. I wish he could swim or paddle a little more effectively at this age, but he's getting there (we've been working ever since)!

So I think that teaching a baby like Ev to swim could have really awesome results that you will reap benefit from when he gets a bit older!

July 06, 2012 8:58 AM

My aunt takes her daughter! There is debate on whether or not you can start at 6 months or before that but my aunt did take her (Ella is her name) at 4 months. She absolutely loves it and she is now almost 10 months and can be submerged and can breathe okay. I'm not sure exactly what they teach at the lessons but whatever it is, the babies learn! (I think it's (partially instinct as well) But they also live in Arizona and have a pool in their backyard so learning how to swim was a must!

July 06, 2012 9:00 AM

My parents always took me to the pool/swimming lessons (some taught by my taught, ha!) when I was really young and I remember absolutely loving it. I think most kids are drawn to the water, and it's definitely a safety precaution for them to be taught how to properly be by water.

July 06, 2012 9:01 AM

The video's of the babies swimming literally shocked me! Although it makes perfect sense since they were in fluid for so long. Nuts! I think it's a good idea. :)

July 06, 2012 9:05 AM

I think it's smart. Matt and I actually had this conversation 2 weeks ago and wanted to put Luke into baby swim lessons.

July 06, 2012 9:07 AM

My niece just got done with her swimming lessons. She's 11 months old. It's incredible. It takes a lot of fear of her being around the water for her mom and us. In her lessons, they'd drop her in the pool, or put her down a slide, and she'd learn about the flip over and float on her back for 20 min!

If you can get over the first 2 lessons, (my sister bawled because she was so traumatized seeing her baby get dropped in the water) it's genius. It could save their little lives

July 06, 2012 9:18 AM

I don't have any kids yet, but I used to teach a mommy and me and I think it was great for the kids. One of the things we did was having the kids jump in and then turn over onto their back, so they would know what to do if there was ever a chance that mommy or daddy wasn't around. I also think it is great because the parents can be right next to their kid the whole time, and, to me, it seemed like a great bonding experience for the parent and child.

July 06, 2012 9:21 AM

i teach swimming lessons and i work with little babies all the time. :) even the ones that hate it at first learn to love it, and i think it's really good for them! because i've also had to teach 15 year olds how to swim...

July 06, 2012 9:41 AM

I have 2 kids. My 1st started taking swimming lessons when he was 6 months old and the 2nd didn't start until after a year old. I think it helps them to be comfortable in the water. Since my oldest is now almost 5 and took a couple of years break from swimming and started back up again, he actually loves the water. My 2nd just loves the water too. Do they actually learn? A little I'd say. I think overtime it just comes naturally to them. I think what's important is for them to be comfortable with being in a swimming pool versus say a bath tub.

July 06, 2012 9:42 AM

Hey Syd, I used to teach swim lessons to babies. In my experience, the older the kids got, the harder it was to teach them to put their head under water. The toddlers hated it but the little babes loved it! The earlier the better in my opinion!!

July 06, 2012 9:44 AM

I have a 3 yr old and 20 month old, both boys, that both started at around 18months. We live in FL with a pool and a boat so we thought it necessary. My 20 month old is a little timid around the water now but I'm okay with it. So was my 3 yr old at that age and now he LOVES it:) he's a fish! And yes I've seen them use those skills. My 20 month fell in the pool last week. Of course I was sitting right there to get him out but those memorized skills kicked in immediately and in the couple seconds it took me to get to him he was face up trying to float and get air which he did. I don't know I'd do it if our circumstances weren't around water but being that we are i'm so glad we did get lessons:)

July 06, 2012 9:49 AM

I don't have children, but I majored in child development. Babies actually have a basic automatic reaction to naturally hold their breath and paddle when in water. Even newborns do this. So babies usually do quite well with swimming classes, so long as they aren't scared. It's a survival instinct to be good in water!

July 06, 2012 9:49 AM

When I was 10 months, my parents put me in swim lessons. Continued this until I was 5 when I started swimming competitively until I was 8. We do a lot of water activities in my family and my dad wanted my brother and me to be strong swimmers --so I do think its worthwhile and definitely important for baby to learn to swim!

July 06, 2012 9:58 AM

i don't have any babies (yet!) but i was a lifeguard, and would teach the little ones in swim lessons, and i am SUCH a proponent of getting babies in the water as soon as possible!! it's such a smart idea, safety-wise, and i just love the idea of opening your kids eyes to lots of wonderful learning experiences - as soon as you feel comfortable in doing so.

July 06, 2012 10:01 AM

I think it's awesome to start them young, before the fear builds in. My daughter, now 4, is fearless and will jump in without waiting to see if anyone is there to catch her. Which is pretty much how she is in life overall. And this is precisely why she has swimming lessons!

July 06, 2012 10:12 AM

I was a life guard and swim instructor for years and I taught a lot of Mom & Tot classes. I think that everyone should know how to swim but that the earlier the better for kids. So many kids get to be 3, 4, or 5 and are terrified of water. If you can get your baby in the water and comfortable at an early age, it makes swim lessons so much easier for them when they're a little bit older. One of the biggest tips though with water-always celebrate! If you dunk your baby under water, when they come back up-cheer! Make it happy and exciting-and do it with them, so they see if mommy likes it, then it must be awesome :-)

July 06, 2012 10:20 AM

I took my niece to swimming lessons when she was about 8 months as well. She was thrown into the water within the first few minutes of the class and immediately swam herself to the top of the water. I was so scared but she LOVED it! She is 3 1/2 now and has been jumping off the side of pools since she could walk. She wears swimmies and a floatie still but she could probably go without one. It's a great skill to teach kids when they are young. So many babies fall into pools and drown because no one is there to see them struggle.


July 06, 2012 10:29 AM

my mom waited until i was five or six to give me swimming lessons… and consequently i was old enough to be aware of the fact that i absolutely HATED! blowing bubbles in the water with my nose, so i quit… and now i can't swim. ha

July 06, 2012 10:30 AM

I have been wanting to give Stevie swim lessons since the day he was born! Unfortunately with his medical issues it hasn't been possible. But I'm hoping at the end of this summer or the beginning of next! Gotta do it

July 06, 2012 10:31 AM

I taught swim lessons to kids a few summers ago and honestly it kind of seemed pointless for the really young ones. Everything we taught could have been taught by the parents and saved them a lot of money. For example you can teach them on your own to go under water and blow bubbles. But if you have the money then i'm sure a class is fun!

July 06, 2012 10:36 AM

eek, i think id have a stroke watching my baby cannon ball under water- that's way to nerve racking! but i heard it's instinctual for them to swim, so that's pretty neat. i think it's worth a shot :)

July 06, 2012 10:49 AM

Yikes I know where you're coming from! Scary thought... but also super cool. Maybe worth a try?

July 06, 2012 10:56 AM

I strongly agree with all the other commenters. My parents got me swim lessons right before my first birthday. As a college swimmer, I couldn't be happier that they did. Swimming has opened so many doors for me and I think it's important that everyone knows how to swim. I'm also a beach lifeguard in the summer and I can't tell you the number of rescues we have to do that could have been prevented if the child had been taught how to swim. Drownings don't just happen in oceans.... They can happen when the child trips at the pool or even if the baby is in the bathtub. I highly recommend getting Everett swimming lessons! My aunt waited with my cousin because she was nervous to watch her daughter in the water and now my cousin does not know how to swim because she developed a fear. Learning how to swim is one of those things you shouldn't put off!!

July 06, 2012 11:05 AM

Both my sons started taking swimming lessons when they were 6 months old. It is really cool to see them in the water at such young age and swimming is a skill my kids must master since we spend a lot of time by (and on) the water. It's also a great activity you can be a part of as a parent since you are in the water together with the kids until they turn 5 (at least in swimming school in Sweden where I live).

Try it out! I'm sure you will love it!

// Diana

July 06, 2012 11:24 AM

I have taught swim lessons with a woman in Huntington Beach, CA and she starts all of her kids as young as 6 months.. It is extremely beneficial for when they're older. I'd start doing it right after Everett gets really confident and comfortable walking and then do the swimming lessons. At least to teach him how to hold his breath! I know so many families who have lost their little ones because of drowning in public swimming pools! Better safe then sorry!


July 06, 2012 11:26 AM

my daughter is 6months! She LOVE the water!! However has not gone under. It makes sense but I'm just to chicken for it, don't think I could handle it! lol let me know what you do!

July 06, 2012 11:27 AM

my Mom did the same with me when I was a baby ... she said she almost died the first day when they made he toss me in the pool and said not to worry ... I would float on my own!! she said it was the best thing ever once she got over the fear!

July 06, 2012 11:45 AM

I also learned how to swim so early I don't even remeber. I've just always known how to swim and I think it's the best thing. My husband on the other hand was never taught, and then had a tramatic incident where he fell in the water. He was okay, but now as an adult he still has a weird relationship with the water. He wishes he was taught as a baby so he could enjoy the water more like I do (I'm like a mermaid!)I know it seems scary to put your baby under water, but just remeber, he was under water for 9 months! :)

July 06, 2012 11:53 AM

wow this crazy!
ive never seen or heard of this before now.
my heart was thudding in my chest watching these babies swim!!

Redheaded Daybook

July 06, 2012 12:00 PM

Part of me thinks its a great idea. Especially for people who have a swimming pool at home. However, another part of me is petrified at the thought. Both my daughter seem to be afraid of the water. My 6 yr old took lessons at age 4 but is just now becoming comfortable with the water. My other daughter is 4 months old and when I give her a bath she seems very uneasy. She has never gone under or had a bad experience. I wonder if it is her natural reaction or if she senses something from me?

July 06, 2012 12:01 PM

This is amazing! I seriously had no idea that babies could swim, and that they would be terrified to go underwater. Amazing. I learned to swim so young that I don't even remember the experience and as a 4 year old I save one of our neighbors from drowning so I think its a super good idea to learn to swim!
I'd be interested to see what you decide for little E


July 06, 2012 12:11 PM

Hi Sydney,
My sister and I were taught at a young age and through high school and college I taught swimming lessons--including the "parent and tot" lessons. Babies are naturals at that age and not scared at all. They even know to hold their breaths if you just blow in their faces first. The first time their dunked they're a little surprised and look to their parents for a reaction. When the parents cheer, then the babies know it isn't scary and just love it. I think it's better to acclimate kids to swimming young, before they develop a fear of the water or don't want to put their heads in. It also always seemed like a blissful time for the parents and children to bond.

July 06, 2012 12:16 PM

I don't have kids so I can't say from a mother's standpoint, but I know my sister and I learned from a really young age how to swim. I can't really remember not knowing how. I do remember pieces of the lessons, but that's all.

I think the younger the better because especially now as an adult I think it's only harder to learn with age. There's a greater chance of fear stopping you if you learn older.

And if Everett loves the water, why deny him something that later could be a hobby? Maybe he'll want to join a swim team, or water polo, or like to be on boats, in which case knowing how to swim is necessary.

I jut think that not knowing how to swim is not only a safety hazard, but denies the person so many opportunities.

July 06, 2012 12:47 PM

i hav eno babies but a friend of mine has two gorls and she has some fabulous underwater shots of them! i learnt when i was a baby and i'm so glad. it's just easier to teach when they are young. the older you get the harder it is to learn i think...like riding a bike!

July 06, 2012 1:11 PM

my little sister took them with my mom when she was about 9 months old. she grew up always having a fear of the water, go figure!

July 06, 2012 1:39 PM

My family had a pool since before I was born. Since my two older sisters were already swimming, I learned to swim completely on my own as a toddler. I loved it and my parents said I was a really good swimmer (though I of course can't remember being 2) It was a good idea for us kids since we owned a pool.

July 06, 2012 2:02 PM

this is crazy! thanks for sharing the videos... like you said, my heart stopped just thinking of my baby boy, archer, going underwater. but it looks pretty fun :)

July 06, 2012 2:05 PM

I've been taking my daughter swimming since around 3 months (she's just two weeks older than Everett!) and she loves the water! We haven't done an official swim class but I take her most weekends.

I think it's a MUST for kids to learn to swim and babies are not naturally afraid of the water, most of them love it! And on top of everything else, it's such a fun activity to do together.

July 06, 2012 2:26 PM

This is amazing

July 06, 2012 2:49 PM

Oh my! That video gave me a heart attack!
I have two kids who are 8 & 5 yrs old and every summer throughout their lives it's been a guessing game game of who will be terrified of water and who won't. so we never did swim lessons. I think go for it if little "E" loves the water but I personally wouldn't count on them to save his life anytime soon if he accidently fell in the water. My son who is 8 taught himself how to swim last year and is a pretty strong swimmer but when he get's to the deeper end I won't take my eyes off of him.

July 06, 2012 3:00 PM

I'm so intrigued too! I did it when I was small and chubby and my mom says I loved it! Everett would be pretty adorable in the pool I bet :)

July 06, 2012 3:20 PM

If for no other reason, I would do it just to get my baby familiar and happy in water. I've taught swimming lessons for 10 years now and am always so perplexed by the irrational fear some children have of the water. It can be severely crippling... and is just plain sad for kids. If I had somewhere nearby that did this kind of infant swim lessons, I'd be the first one to sign up!

July 06, 2012 3:20 PM

If for no other reason, I would do it just to get my baby familiar and happy in water. I've taught swimming lessons for 10 years now and am always so perplexed by the irrational fear some children have of the water. It can be severely crippling... and is just plain sad for kids. If I had somewhere nearby that did this kind of infant swim lessons, I'd be the first one to sign up!

July 06, 2012 3:26 PM

We are doing the ISR lessons a second year in a row. By the second lesson last year, baby B was able to float on his own. You do 5-6 weeks of lessons (5 days a week for 10 minutes at a time). Of course your child is screaming at the top of their lungs the entire 10 minutes but you have to get over that part.

I would definitely recommend ISR. It should be mandatory for anyone that has a pool :) If you search ISR baby swimming on youtube you can see how the baby immediately turns over and floats.

July 06, 2012 4:15 PM

My mom started taking me to the pool at around 5 months and I never really needed swimming lessons, it pretty much just came naturally. I will definitely expose my kids to water as soon as possible... my husband is still slightly skidish around water and I never want our kids to feel that way!

July 06, 2012 4:28 PM

Sydney! I am a swim instructor and I think it is a brilliant idea. The idea of having my child drown is unthinkable. I'd rather have them in lesson learning in a safe zone where nothing bad could happen rather than an accident occurring. Also some kids just love the water and some don't. If E does keep him in! If he doesn't wait until 2 1/2 or 3 -that is an age where the excell!

July 06, 2012 4:50 PM

get them in, get them comfortable! Nothing worse than a preschooler who hates the water and won't do swimming lessons. I used to teach parent and tot, and its an amazing class. The kids are hysterical, and also helps to get mom and dad comfortable with baby in deeper water!

July 06, 2012 4:57 PM

ISR is the way to go!! My son is 15 months old. The closest ISR instructor was an hour away so I got recommendations here (where I live) of something that was "similar". I regret it. The instructor let him go under for periods longer than I was comfortable with. The water was freezing and he sucked down water the entire time. ISR instructors go through some SERIOUS training (I looked into becoming one since there is no one around here who does it). A huge part of the training is knowing the little babies bodies and watching for medical reasons to stop the lesson (taking in too much water, temp dropping). That company doesn't mess around when it comes to safety. If your baby is going to be going under water, I would take lessons with someone who really knows what they are doing.

July 06, 2012 5:25 PM

My parents took us to the pool and the beach a lot since we were very little. It seemed natural to swim around. I remember watching my dad teach my new baby cousin to swim too. I think as long as you are comfortable, and in a safe environment, it will be more likely that your baby will enjoy it too.

July 06, 2012 5:53 PM

My husband brings my son underwater! He is almost 11 months old. Its only for about 4 seconds though...
He is always fine, just has a look of shock on his face haha :) Cam says he looks at him under water and Knox is holding his little breathe and is wide eyed!
I think it is totally fine, but definitely gives me a bit of a heart attack.


July 06, 2012 8:43 PM

those videos are wild, I tried to teach my son to hold his breath once, he just ended up choking on water, he's now 1 I should try again, but those videos both look crazy to me, I guess after lots of choking they might get it!

July 06, 2012 8:45 PM

I take my son swimming weekly by the way and he loves the water, just not the dunking thing

July 06, 2012 8:52 PM

I would just love that owl blanket on page 35!!!! We decided to keep the gender a surprise...so having an owl would be perfection! 15 weeks to go!

July 06, 2012 9:18 PM

Wow. A baby swim lesson, that's mind boggling! Then again I guess it makes sense... I guess I sort of had one since I grew up in Florida for the first two years of my life. I was a little fish, but I don't know if I ever swam under water.

July 06, 2012 9:38 PM

i've been taking my little girl to the swimming pool since she was two months old. she loves the water and i hope one day when she older we will enroll her in swimming lessons. i think is a smart idea to encourage children to swim

July 06, 2012 11:12 PM

Not only did my mom put me in swim lessons when I was 6 months old I taught babies as a life guard! Do it! So worth the time and money! It scares me when people don't know how to swim!

July 06, 2012 11:13 PM

Not only did my mom put me in swim lessons when I was 6 months old I taught babies as a life guard! Do it! So worth the time and money! It scares me when people don't know how to swim!

July 06, 2012 11:56 PM

I think this is really cool but I'm getting anxiety just looking at these pics!

July 07, 2012 12:44 AM

If for no other reason, do it because babies in water cling to their mamas, give the best snuggles, and look adorable in bathing suits. When is the next time Everett is going to be 6 months old and in a pool with you???

July 07, 2012 12:45 AM

Ok I have never commented before but i am a swim lesson teacher. I take my babies swimming the second it is warm enough to be in the pool. No matter what age. I count to 3 and at 3 blow in their face. when you do this they suck in. then dunk. they should not drink the water. it gets them used to it and helps them to not be afraid of the water. However, as for lessons. I don't take kids until 18 months. they won't retain until about 3 but we just are trying to get them to be able to get to the side if they fall in. I think it's smart. then they will not be afraid to get in the pool. have fun with them and make them comfortable until they are old enough for lessons. Love your sight.

July 07, 2012 5:21 AM

My nephew started swimming lessons at four months, and his mum (my sister in law) would practice in the bath every night by counting to three then pouring water over his head. Within a week he knew how to hold his breath and shut his eyes. My sis in law has never been a great swimmer and fears the water so was determent that he would be able to swim and being there in the classes with him gave her confidence in the water too.

July 07, 2012 6:12 AM

I took A baby swimming class wirh my daughter when she was about 6 months. We did not just toss the baby in the water like that guy in the video that is just messed up. But we did play and let the babies go under water for a few seconds. The teacher would take a little watering can full of water and pour it on their face and they would automaticlally hold their breath and we would pull them through the water. Both of my kids are great swimmers and it gives me peace of mind that I don't have to hover over them the whole time they are in the water. Now I have a 5 month old and I will go swimming with her too.
I love your blog and your little boy is so cute I follow you on Instagram and love the pictures of him.

July 07, 2012 6:16 AM

I took A baby swimming class wirh my daughter when she was about 6 months. We did not just toss the baby in the water like that guy in the video that is just messed up. But we did play and let the babies go under water for a few seconds. The teacher would take a little watering can full of water and pour it on their face and they would automaticlally hold their breath and we would pull them through the water. Both of my kids are great swimmers and it gives me peace of mind that I don't have to hover over them the whole time they are in the water. Now I have a 5 month old and I will go swimming with her too.
I love your blog and your little boy is so cute I follow you on Instagram and love the pictures of him.

July 07, 2012 7:42 AM

I started swimming lessons when I was around 8 months old. If not, full on underwater, I was at least playing in the water. I probably took lessons until I was around 9-10 and when I came back to swimming in my 20s, it just clicked. I think the younger the better because you're jumping into the water, without any fear. My mom never took swimming lessons when she was young and when she was 6-7 and finally got lessons, she was afraid. I was already at peace since I had been in the water at 8 months.

July 07, 2012 8:32 AM

I didn't even have to take swim lessons. When my son was around 7-8 months he naturally tried to dive into pool head first and paddle around with his hands and feet. He went under water a few times and was fine with it. I lightly supported his belly while he swam around the pool. This makes me think it is a natural part of evolution, like learning to crawl and walk. If babies are exposed at the right time they will learn (or remember because they were surrounded by fluid in the womb). Only problem is the chlorine in pools (toxic). Swimming in the ocean is ideal :)

July 07, 2012 11:31 AM

HI Sydney,
I don't have children yet ( we're crossing our fingers right now) but I am a swim instructor. I teach mommy and me classes (6 months-12) and levels reaching to competitive swim. From my research babies have an innate ability to swim that does go away with age if not emphasized regularly. Theoretically you should be able to throw and newborn into the water and they should be able to keep their head above-- I have no idea who would test that theory, I maverick have or would. Remember that old Nervana cover? Yep, that could very well be an example. I did encounter babies, the one I'm thinking of was 12 months, that had every screaming desire to stay out of the water and seniors, two 60 year olds actually, that could not and would not put there face under.

I guess it's just one of those God given gifts that has to be nurtured. But Everett doesn't have to swim like a fish, just make it fun for him. Here are some songs::

Sing this one to the tune of I'm a little teapot:
I'm a little pancake on my tummy
I'm a little pancake yummy yummy yummy
I'm a little pancake on my tummy
Flip me over yummy yummy yummy yummy
(turn Everett onto his back)
I'm a little pancake on my back
I'm a little pancake nice and flat
I'm a little pancake on my back
Flip me over just like that

Sing this one to the tune of wheels on the bus:

The kangaroo goes up and down
Up and down
Up and down
The kangaroo goes up and down
And then her disappears ( bob Everett under the water very quickly)

The kangaroo goes
And then he blows some bubbles

The kangaroo
And then he splashed an splashed

Have fun!!


July 07, 2012 11:56 AM

That Water Babies video was scary! Did she grab the baby by its hair to pull it up too??? And the 8 month old on YouTube - wow!!! At first I thought she was a doll!

My son is 3 and just starting lessons but he loves to go under water & blow bubbles. We haven't put him in the deep end though!

I also didn't know that babies had that reflex to naturally hold their breath! I wonder how long you can leave them under before you should pull them up?

July 07, 2012 2:05 PM

no way thats crazyy!!!!


July 07, 2012 5:21 PM

I am sure it is SUPER DUPER UBER smart...but I hate water myself....and now with kiddos at 6 and 8 yrs of age, still find myself leary of swimming lessons-- even just being in a pool. I guess everybody has their thing. Water just makes me nervous...but, looking back, it would have been easier to take care of it while they were EACH a baby, then now...when I have two floundering kids in the water with me:).

Good luck...Love the photos you found. Kinda weird.creepy.and amazing:).


July 07, 2012 9:33 PM

I started my little guy in swim lessons when he was 6 months old. He clung to me for the first 6 classes, but by the last two he was loving the water and has ever since. He's now 2 1/2 and is in his third set of swim classes and loves it. I think it's a good thing to teach kids to be comfortable and safe in the water.

July 07, 2012 11:33 PM

Hey Syd!
Well I have a pool in my backyard so my parents got me some basic swim lessons I think as soon as we moved in the house in case anything ever happened. Then when I was 6 I had proper swim lessons with strokes, techniques etc. And then I joined swim team & swam for outside leagues and high school. I also was a coach and private instructor for 5 years so I have lots of experience! {I'm not married or have babies yet though!} So I have had a couple kids around the age of 2 and their parents just wanted me to make them water comfortable for the summer; let me tell you it was AWFUL, the kids cried for the entire 30 minutes with me. Personally I think it's a little young, if you want to just be with your baby in the water and play with them and they are happy {I saw E in a previous post in the pool so I totally see that he loves it!} then I would say keep doing that. Around 3 or 4 I would say you can do some private lessons with him so learn to blow bubbles underwater, kick, float, etc. If you come out to California I call DIBS and will totally be his teacher!!! :) I hope that helps!! You can always reach out to me and talk more if you'd like I would welcome it!!!

July 08, 2012 12:00 AM

I'm sure that I must be repeating a lot of what everyone else has said... I think that it's a total MUST to learn to swim. Not just for the obvious lifesaving skill aspect but I think back to my own childhood and there are so many fond pool/lake swimming memories! My Baby Girl is almost 5 months, we'll probably look into lessons towards the end of summer. About that YouTube, I have such mixed sentiments about it! I've watched it so many times before and I think it's AMAZING but it also hurts my heart towards the end when the little baby is obviously tired. I don't feel like Baby is necessarily enjoying the swimming anymore and seems to be just focused on keeping the tired little arms and legs going so as to not go under. Amazing that she's swmming at such a young age though!!

waiting for kittenheart

July 08, 2012 12:00 AM

i don't have children, yet, but i am a nanny. i think it's SO smart to start swimming lessons as young as you can. teach children about swimming and water saftey when they are a little older and can understand.

when my baby brother was 2, he swam really well. jumping off the diving board an scaring the life guards. i say YES, do it. :)


July 08, 2012 12:34 AM

My son is 6 and would probably freak out if he saw me do that with his baby sister in that second picture!! I didn't start my son early on with swimming and he's so scared of swimming (like a cat in water). So with my second I'm definitely going to introduce her to the water PRONTO! (She is hitting 7 months now). I think it's important they learn, I was on a swim team growing up and my husband was a search and rescue swimmer, so swimming is a big deal. The big challenge will probably be getting my son to swim over the baby!! From all the parents I've talked to, best advice to find instructors/swim schools that are really patient and knowledgeable of water fears!!!Good luck!!!

Forks and Kisses


July 09, 2012 8:36 AM

it's so stinkin adorable. i have three little ones and they all swim (7, 4, 1). when they are babies, there's this little trick you do...you blow in their faces, they squish their eyes shut and hold their breath and you both dunk under water for a sec. they come up giggling (or at least mine did). have fun!

July 09, 2012 12:17 PM

Our daughter Stella loved her classes, we started her around 4 months, and are starting again now. I think it really helps with getting over any fear of water.


July 09, 2012 4:33 PM

Hey Sydney,
I actually used to teach swim lessons to babies and parents.... and I think it was awesome... I am also one of those kids that swam my while life, so i don't remember not knowing how... but I think learning to swim is so important.
if anything you get fun pool time with your babe! :)

July 09, 2012 7:03 PM

I live in Australia right near the beach. I don't have any babies but all my friends who do have taken their babies to swimming lessons (its more like play rather than swimming) at around 6-9 months old. They seem to love it, I've never heard anything about the babies not enjoying it. Water safety for little kids is a major, major deal here though because a lot of people visit the beach or have pools x

July 09, 2012 8:32 PM

My daughter starte survival swimming classes at 18 months. In the beggining it was a little stressful to watch but I knew that it was beneficial for her. She passed the class at 22 months where she was pushed in the pool and she knew that she had to turn on her back. At 4 years old she swims underwater and on her back. Its a great feeling to know that she will be safe in the water.


July 09, 2012 9:08 PM

I was a nanny all thru college and took a lot of the kids I watched to swimming lessons, none of them were that young but I remember watching little ones in other classes that were around a year. They loved it!!

July 10, 2012 2:25 AM

This is so fascinating! I've had this post open in my browser for the last couple days, reading through all of the comments. The baby swimming is mind blowing, but what are the odds that so many of your readers have either been a swim instructor or have enrolled their baby in swim classes at under a year of age?? Who the heck knew?

This post sparked a discussion about whether or not my hubby and I want to enroll our almost 5 month-old. Hubby flat out thinks it's ridiculous. I'm not ruling it out just yet, but I searched for infant swim (ISR) instructors in our area, and it seems a little out of our budget at $600-$700 for 5-6 weeks of lessons. If we had a pool in our backyard or spent tons of free time near water, I'd think it more essential, but we don't. We've lived in our apartment complex for nearly 3 years, and we have never been in the pool...

I took multiple swim lessons as a child, but I had no idea how old I was when I first started so I asked my mom. She said I was about 2. Hubby thinks that sounds like a good age to start our baby girl. In the meantime, I'd definitely like to play with her in the pool and safely expose her to the water.

July 10, 2012 1:02 PM

On vacation once I met a couple at the resort pool who started their daughter with infant swim classes when she was 4 months. At the time of the vacation she was old enough to walk, but still looked so small to me. She would jump in from the side of the pool and swim to either her dad or mom, then they would take her to the steps and she would do it all over again. I was shocked when I first saw her because she was so small and swam the entire way with her face in the water. I didn't get my daughter into lessons until she was much older, but I wish I had started her when she was very small like that.

July 11, 2012 7:08 PM

I teach baby swim lessons. I think it is great for kids to get in the water that young. He would be with you so he wouldn't be afraid of the water. If you keep with the swim lessons by the time he is four he will be ready for swim team and you will never have to worry about him going under.

July 17, 2012 2:23 PM

I watched some of those video and tons more on YouTube and I think it's so amazing. It's really unbelievable babies can do this. Living in Florida, I think it would almost be a necessity for my child to learn this, with an open swimming pool every 10 feet.

July 29, 2012 11:05 AM

In Iceland (where I am from) 35% of parents start taking their children to swimming lessons when they are 2-3 months old. The children love it.

August 03, 2012 12:51 AM

Eek, that video did scare me a little but I definitely think it's a good idea to start swimming at a young age.

I'm not a very strong swimmer and I wish I could be better, so will probably take my children when they're quite young.


August 14, 2012 8:56 PM

I'm a red cross water safety instructor turned DC career woman, the most important thing at that age is getting comfortable with the water. You can do mommy and me classes starting at 6 months. The best part is it teaches you tips and tricks for helping your little one feel comfortable in the water and know that between 6 mos and 5 years that he may have a summer where he really doesn't like the pool and doesn't remember the previous experiences, but don't let it be discouraging!

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