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When Can Baby Go Swimming?

Getting your little one comfortable in the pool.

When Can Baby Go Swimming?

Every new parent is getting ready to ask the same question before summer starts, "When can baby go swimming?" In an effort to help you best prepare for all that summer has to offer your family, I'll help you tackle everything from newborn swim safety to those adorable baby swim accessories.

With summer just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to begin thinking about enjoying the warmer weather with baby. Going for walks, playing on the swings, and spending time in the pool are some of our favorite summer activities.

But exactly how early can a baby learn to swim?

With every new baby, we’ve stopped to question whether s/he is ready to swim. Sometimes we’ve attempted a first swim only to have a crying, unhappy baby. Other times, like with our youngest, we’ve been surprised with calm contentedness.

After introducing several babies to the pleasure of the pool, we’ve learned a bit about baby's first swim, how to dress baby for the pool, and a few products that help us out.

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Preparing for Baby’s First Swim

We gauge baby’s readiness for swimming by how much he enjoys bathtime. With the biggest difference between bathtime and swimming being water temperature, we will gradually decrease bathwater temperature and do a trial run. Does baby need bathwater to be close to body temperature or can he tolerate, and even enjoy, when it’s cooler?

Water temperature can fluctuate in our backyard pool, so we wait for a nice sunny day when the water is warm for baby’s first swim. We’ll hold baby close and slowly get into the water instead of handing baby down to someone already in the water. The slow introduction has been key for our babies.

Skip the baby swim gear for this first swim and enjoy just being together.

If baby is content, switching his position from facing inwards to outwards is the next step. Often times our children haven’t been comfortable with this on the first swim and that’s okay. As the summer goes on you’ll ease towards helping baby lay on her belly and kick her legs.

Swim Gear for Baby

Until our babies are potty-trained, they always wear a swim diaper in the pool. When we’re swimming at home, we wear reusable swim diapers. They are easily washable and just get thrown in the laundry with our dirty swimsuits and towels.

When away from home, disposable swim diapers are lifesavers for us. While still containing accidents, they’re perfect for being able to toss when dirty instead of carting home to clean.

For the new mom: swim diapers don’t contain urine, only fecal matter, so you may want to change baby into a regular diaper shortly after swimming.

Sometimes we find that our bigger kids are easily entertained in the pool while our littlest ones soon get bored of being held and watching them. We’ve found that keeping a supply of bath toys handy for the swimming pool is just enough to entertain baby (and sometimes even those older ones)! We’ve also found a love for jellyfish sinkers that float for a few seconds before slowly sinking.

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Dressed for Success

My littlest ones seem most comfortable swimming when they have swim shirts on. These help protect baby from the sun and are stretchy and comfortable to be worn for a long time.

On hot sunny days, we keep a sun hat handy for our pool time. While protecting from the sun, it also shades baby’s face and makes it a bit easier for him to see without squinting.

Part of baby’s swim outfit includes sunscreen; make sure you don’t rush through this part! Spending time deciding what sunscreen is best for your baby will put your mind at ease when you’re outside this summer.

Newborn Swim Safety

As I think through swimming with my children, safety is at the forefront of my mind. Although we get lots of swimming experience at home, my children are enrolled in swimming lessons as soon as they’re old enough so they can formally learn this skill.

Until that time, we have firm rules for water safety. An adult is always present, physically and mentally, when our older kids are swimming. Our phones are put away and we’re enjoying summertime together.

Our non-independent swimmers are only allowed in the pool area while wearing a personal flotation device, such as a puddle jumper. This is non-negotiable and something we’re stringent about. By the time our kids are toddlers they know this rule and can relate it to friends, grandparents, and babysitters.

Ultimately, there is no defined age on how early a baby can start to swim. Getting used to the water starts in the bathtub and progresses as both you (the parent) and your baby feel comfortable. But regardless of the age, having the proper swim accessories and safety essentials at the ready are essential.

As you think through swimming with your little one, gather your gear, decide on your swim rules, and grab the camera for a memorable summer experience!

Honest UPF 50 Swim Shirt - Light Blue
The Honest Company

Honest UPF 50 Swim Shirt - Light Blue

$ 22.95

Super soft and comfy UPF 50 Swim Shirt is designed with baby's wigglability in mind for safe outdoor play anytime! Our full-coverage Swim Shirt is made of water-repellant nylon knit, with comfortable no-itch stretch and flat sewn seams UPF 50 rated to block 97% of the sun's rays, for safe play in the sun or shade Mock neck gives extra protection for your little one Material is extra-stretchy and...

The Honest Company

Honest UPF 50 Sun Hat - Hot Pink

$ 17.95

Stay cool and protected from the sun's harmful rays in our lightweight and comfortable UPF 50 Sun Hats, made from water-repellant cotton with an easy Velcro chin strap. Our full-coverage Sun Hat is made of water-repellant cotton microfiber Light Blue bucket style hat and wide brimmed Hot Pink sun hat both feature soft Velcro on the chin strap, for safety and a comfortable, perfect fit UPF 50 rated to...

Honest UPF 50 Sun Hat - Hot Pink
Honest UPF 50 Sun Hat - Light Blue
The Honest Company

Honest UPF 50 Sun Hat - Light Blue

$ 17.95

Stay cool and protected from the sun's harmful rays in our lightweight and comfortable UPF 50 Sun Hats, made from water-repellant cotton with an easy Velcro chin strap. Our full-coverage Sun Hat is made of water-repellant cotton microfiber Light Blue bucket style hat and wide brimmed Hot Pink sun hat both feature soft Velcro on the chin strap, for safety and a comfortable, perfect fit UPF 50 rated to...

Melissa & Doug

Jolly Jellyfish Sinkers

$ 8.95

Drop these cute sinkers into the pool to kick off diving games, counting activities, races and more! Four sinkers, whimsically shaped like jellyfish with mesh bottoms, are brightly colored, numbered 1-4 and cheerfully decorated with big smiles that will have kids giggling right along with them. Set comes with game ideas to inspire hours of pool-time fun."Maritime Mates" water toys and pool games feature cheerful characters to encourage beginning swimmers...

Jolly Jellyfish Sinkers
Sea Squirts, 5 pk
Munchkin

Sea Squirts, 5 pk

$ 4.77 $ 6.99

Oceans of fun! "Sea" what adventure unflolds at bathtime with these five little sea squirts. Squirting bath toys offer a simple, interactive way to pack big fun into a compact space. With this pack of five sea animal squirters, you can introduce marine-inspired play and teach your child about sea creatures, all at the same time. Each brightly-colored bath toy floats, squirts water, and is sized...

The Honest Company

Honest Swim Diapers - Fish

$ 13.99

Perfect for fun at the pool, beach, or backyard water play! Ultra-light design + premium fit = no more bulky bottom or unexpected messes. Our full-coverage Swim Diaper is made of stretchy waterproof, hygienic polyester knit, with non-chafing elastic edging & soft mesh liner Silky, snug & soft against your childs skin less bulky & more comfortable (wont swell-up like disposable diapers) Adjustable waist with ties ensure a snug,...

Honest Swim Diapers - Fish
Honest Swim Diapers - Watermelon
The Honest Company

Honest Swim Diapers - Watermelon

$ 13.95

Perfect for fun at the pool, beach, or backyard water play! Ultra-light design + premium fit = no more bulky bottom or unexpected messes. Our full-coverage Swim Diaper is made of stretchy waterproof, hygienic polyester knit, with non-chafing elastic edging & soft mesh liner Silky, snug & soft against your childs skin less bulky & more comfortable (wont swell-up like disposable diapers) Adjustable waist with ties ensure a snug,...

GroVia

Swim Diaper - Funfair

$ 12.71 $ 14.95

GroVia swim diapers are the perfect combination of function and fun. Our swim diapers are ideal for the pool, beach, or even sprinkler play! They feature an adorable printed waterproof outer, lined with a soft terry inner that will stop solid messes in their tracks. Stretch side snaps give a custom fit and make for the easiest of clean ups! Swim Diaper Sizes: Size 1: 10-19 lbs. Size 2:...

GroVia Swim Diaper - Funfair
GroVia Swim Diaper - Ophelia
GroVia

Swim Diaper - Ophelia

$ 12.71 $ 14.95

GroVia swim diapers are the perfect combination of function and fun. Our swim diapers are ideal for the pool, beach, or even sprinkler play! They feature an adorable printed waterproof outer, lined with a soft terry inner that will stop solid messes in their tracks. Stretch side snaps give a custom fit and make for the easiest of clean ups! Swim Diaper Sizes: Size 1: 10-19 lbs. Size 2:...

Badger

SPF 30 Baby Sunscreen - Chamomile & Calendula 2.9 Oz

$ 13.59

Pediatrician Tested and Approved Baby Sunscreen Contains Organic Ingredients Broad spectrum protection from UVA & UVB rays using the safe mineral Zinc Oxide No oxybenzone, octinoxate, or other chemical active sunscreening agents. Water resistant for at least 40 minutes. Certified Organic base of Sunflower Oil, Beeswax & Vitamin E is ultra-moisturizing and soothing. Pediatrician tested & approved safe for babies & kids. Non-Comedogenic & Hypoallergenic - safe for sensitive...

Badger SPF 30 Baby Sunscreen - Chamomile & Calendula 2.9 Oz

Jess Wartinger resides in rural New York with her husband and five children. Formerly an early elementary teacher, Jess currently spends her time loving her kids and holding down the fort at home.


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