Can Babies Swim? – They Survive But Do They Thrive???

Hello everybody once again we are talking about babies!

I have written us a little information on the capabilities that a baby has, to learn new things… From talking and distinguishing between strangers and their parents to so much more…

Too much for one article.

At the same exact period of months as when they choose to talk, about six or so, you the parent or minder could have entered the water with your baby already!!!

You would have seen them wave the arms & kick their legs in motions close to swimming! It isn’t really swimming as of yet…

Tummy down, this is a protective reflex that displays our ability to understand water!!

Do Babies Learn In Water?

You can, in fact, teach your baby or babies a great variety of things (or lessons)…

Their first years involve all kinds of things they will be involved in learning. Why do you think time spent with them is so busy and exhausting???

Babies learn to:

  1. Sit
  2. Use the hands and fingers
  3. Talk
  4. Crawl
  5. Recognise their name
  6. Stand

You had the same list of fundamental activities to learn…

The Truth on Baby Swimming

Babies can of course learn to swim but most people know very little about this subject…

First things first







  • Carry your baby into the swimming pool from the easiest side.
  • Start by placing your hands under your baby’s back.
  • Set your baby in the water to float facing upwards.
  • They have to get used this before you move on.
  • Next you can get your babies face wet as this will be the last thing to feel the water… It is no different to bathing and so the learning excitement hasn’t begun for both of yet…
  • Is your baby now comfortable whilst floating on thier back? Is that really true???
  • Now this next step resembles swimming much more… It is time for baby to experience the sounds above the waterline disappear as they are dipped under.
  • At first though you just want to sink their ears into the water.
  • Take your baby underneath by holding one of your hands under their little head and use the other hand under their bum.
  • You need to slowly sink their ears under.
  • Keep him/her facing upwards of course…
  • You might find that keeping eye contact will help you both suss out this activity…

Don’t give up! Your baby will be able to swim one day…

Now don’t forget your role in this all.

You are the rudder, the sails, the ship’s wheel (helm) and the captain because if you stay in one position for too long, your baby will get too cold too easily…

  • Keep moving with your little one in you arms. ‘Swooshing’ her in the water; swapping positions and bouncing them in and out of the water carefully!

There is another way to hold ’em. Holding a baby under the arms and sinking into the water is another clever method –

  • Hold your baby under his/her arms or under their armpits
  • You will then need to dip your torso under the water whilst holding onto them until your shoulders are almost under or completely so!
  • Let the water get to about your baby’s chest height only.
  • Eye contact is easier in this position.
  • Your baby must of course be positioned to face you.
  • You can now hold them closely or further away. Whichever suits you. Do what you prefer!

Please make sure that your baby is neither hungry nor  tired when you take him/her swimming!!!

The 101!


Your baby will learn over time to get more and more comfortable in the water. Stay with your baby all the time. It’s unsafe not to!

When you start out, the first thing you do is check to see if your baby can handle the temperature of the water.

Find out the temperature of the water beforehand is possible!

You don’t need anyone else to teach your baby how to swim so go alone with your baby if you want to, it’s just fine!

When babies learn to swim they do so naturally. It is part of their survival…

Nothing they learn is through too much concentrating at first. Alot of things they do are quite simple and easy to learn for them.

It seems they are involved in the perfect program that teaches you slowly in order for you to master certain things without any real difficulty!!!

In other words they pace themselves. I believe I know why. I definitely think they do well learning things because no-one can force them to learn! They have no sense of pressure yet…

There are always things you can do to turn the situation around to best suit you and your baby.

There is no need to push your baby! They don’t understand and they react by using survival instinct…

That would take all their fun away…

Your baby might not like everything that happens in the swimming pool. This is just something to be aware of.

That could mean they are hungry, the water is too cold and other things…

This is a pretty harmless sports day otherwise…

Don’t think too much about how long it will take. Ten minutes will be enough at first! 20-30 minutes is good when you’re confident.

As a toddler they can stay inside the water for even longer!

Take him/her out when they are too tired.

Remember this is not quite time for you to swim but to teach them confidence in the water!!!

A nice dry towel should do well to end with…

Now go ahead and rehydrate your little one. They will dehydrate quickly whilst they are in there with you.

At the age of one year or younger, babies have little to no fear and accept new experiences very easily…

This time period is perfect to teach them how to stay in the water.


Are Babies Born for the Water?

Mammals share with us a reflex called the ‘diving reflex’!!!

Blowing into your baby’s face or immersing them into water, the reaction will be the same.

The eyes of your baby will open and they will hold their breath due to this reflex.

This reflex is also called the ‘bradycardic response’!

It is survival for them.

Once a baby is under the water he/she will hold their breath and open the eyes.

It does seem like swimming but as I said before it is not swimming yet…

Water Births…

Water birth is a gentle and natural experience…

There is a dispute between whether water birth helps relieve pain during birth or not.

Think of climbing into a hot bath to relieve painful menstrual cramps.

Here are four examples of women who have experiences water births:

Ami Burns in Chicago said, “Personally, for me, I had a very fast, intense and painful labor. It still hurt in the water but much less than when I wasn’t in the tub. I had an 11-lb (4.98kg). 4 oz. (113g), 231/2-inch (60cm) baby, so it probably was going to hurt either way!”

Kassie Anderson in New York City said, “The contractions outside the tub were definitely manageable but I knew that the water would bring extra relief. Laboring in the water just made things feel lighter and helped to relax my body in ways that couldn’t happen outside of the water. In the water I could just float in between contractions.”

Bonnie Wiscombe, a mom of six children, in Mesa, Arizona said, “The feeling of floating and being suspended in water seems to help my body to relax and allow the contractions to more fully and easily do their work of bringing the baby down.”

Water birth seems to work for some women and to not really work for others!!!

What Is It Like to Labour in Water?

Again here I am allowing others to do the talking:

  • Laura Kattan, a certified nurse-midwife and Women’s Health nurse-practitioner in Arlington, Massachusetts says “The first word that comes to mind when describing a water birth is gentle. Having been present for many births on water and on land I am always struck by the calm with which a mother brings her baby into the world, aswell as the ease of transition for the newborn”.

Water often acts as a relaxer and can have the same effect during labor as taking a soothing bath after a stressful day…

Teach Them Young

Fear of water is something a many of us have overcome. By the time we have conquered the fear of water we quickly have our basic skills for swimming…

For every person that learns to swim there are many more that don’t know how…

Some humans are much better at swimming than others. We know this from watching Olympic athletes compete at the highest level!

I don’t think it is necessary to wait too long teach your child to swim…

It is up to you!

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Eric Rubin

8 thoughts on “Can Babies Swim? – They Survive But Do They Thrive???”

  1. Hi Eric, thanks for your explanation of how you can teach babies to swim and how to guide them as a parent. It was interesting to read. I remembered a video I once saw about how life-saving it can be. Good luck in bringing this message across. Love, Nanda

    1. Nanda thanks so much for your communication…

      I think people should learn everything they can about babies. The activities you’re involved in with them is precious! Swimming should be something we can all enjoy. Teaching your children to swim from a young age is a healthy activity!

      Thank you again Nanda!

  2. Eric,
    Very informative post about helping babies get adapted to water! Babies are amazing beings as they learn and grow. It has been exciting watch my kids be in the water and try things out. My boy is a little less adventurous than my little girl, but he has gotten a lot better in the water. I enjoyed learning about the diving reflex. Thanks for teaching me something new!

    1. I am glad you have two children that get the opportunity to swim. I believe all children have the right to such an activity. Its a really wholesome outdoor activity.

      Once your little girl gets better in the water it could become time to take them to the sea…

      I hope they get much better (at swimming)… I would recommend buying flippers for each of them but they might get too explorative, especially on a sea holiday!!!

      My blessings to you and your family Bobby!!!

  3. Hi Eric,

    Great post, lots of details and explaining the step by step in teaching your baby to swim is very helpful.

    I love the pics I think you could have a couple more, just cause babies in the water and swimming is just so cute and also will help those with babies to maybe try it and not be scared to try it.

    All the best with your business.

    Take Care,

    Sue 🙂

    1. I get you Sue… The pics are something I was very happy to find and place in my article. I wouldn’t mind adding more so thank you for the advice!

      I hope you enjoyed this subject in that you learnt something new…

      My best wishes!

  4. Dear Eric,

    Your article is very informative and it came right on time for my 11 months old baby to learn swimming. Although you have mentioned that I can teach my baby how to swim, still I enrolled her to a swimming lesson because I myself doesn’t know how to swim. I learned a lot of information in your awesome article.

    1. I am glad to help you out on this subject Hadrian.

      I myself have experienced a young lady, at my friend’s house, who was just learning how to swim. You have started on the right path by getting swimming lessons for your young one! Well done!

      I wish you future success in losing any fears you could have of the water. The swimming classes are worth it so not to worry!

      I learnt how to swim at around 6 or 7 years old. I remember tracing back my steps realising I had jumped into a big pool all on my own! Not safe… Take your time so that you and your baby are involved in learning this activity safely!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *