How Soon Can I Take My Newborn Swimming?

Updated on March 07, 2008
E.A. asks from Tacoma, WA
35 answers

I really like to go swimming and I'm planning on bringing my son who is going to be one week shy of three months on Saturday. Is that ok?

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So What Happened?

On Saturday I took mini me over to the YMCA in Puyallup. As usual when we got into the water he got real quiet but then he just started shivering. His core felt warm but his arms got pretty cold. Also, the life guard came up to me about 30 seconds in and told me he doesn't recommend my baby being in here for too long because he can't regulate his body temperature yet. Needless to say we didn't last long since he was shivering. I can't stand to see that anyway. I'm very gratful for all the advice. I am going to check with my dr's office tomorrow and check out waterbabies programs. Thanks for all your help.

2/23/08 Today we went back to the pool. We met a lady there that had a six month old girl and she showed us how to swim underwater. It was fantastic! We only stayed for a half an hour but Joe Joe really started to like it!

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L.S.

answers from Seattle on

i think it should be fine = i know that Good Sam in Puyallup offers mom and newborn swimming classes....

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L.D.

answers from Seattle on

My son was about that age when we started going and he just loved it, just be careful not to get water into his ears...good luck and have fun

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L.K.

answers from Portland on

Hi E.
I took both my children in the pool before they were three months they were both very comfortable in the water I don't see the harm in it. I did although rinse their skin off with fresh water after being in the pool because chlorine can be drying have fun!
L. k Mommy of 2 Boys 6 and 2

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N.M.

answers from Seattle on

As soon as possible! Check out the book "Water Baby" by Lauren Heston....great pictures of babies swimming underwater. According to this book, babies have the natural ability to hold their breath underwater. The book includes step-by-step instructions for acclimating your baby to the water for swimming. Heston says that babies often get afraid of water at about a year old (even if they've been accustomed to the water at a younger age). I wasn't able to get my son to the pool and he's 13 months now. I hoe you can get started sooner than I have.

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D.D.

answers from Seattle on

Hello E. -

Babies can swim within days after birth, so long as their navel has closed and they have no open wounds. The problem is that chlorine is toxic, so try to find a salt water pool, or one that uses solar powered "zappers" for purification.

My husband, the microbiologist, has done lots of testing on public pool water samples and they are full of everything - strep, e coli, salmonella - everything! Chlorine takes a long time to spread through that large a body of water and in the meantime there are lots of living critters in there looking for a host.

Also, chlorine exposure, even the amount in tap water, can cause eczema, psoriasis, and.....ASTHMA! Yep, it causes respiratory illness.

So swimming is great, but chlorine is not.

Cheers-
D.

P.S. Bainbridge Island has a great salt water pool!

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L.S.

answers from Seattle on

i think it should be fine = i know that Good Sam in Puyallup offers mom and newborn swimming classes....

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M.B.

answers from Seattle on

E.,

I had my daughter in the water as soon as her belly button had closed. She loves the water. We go to a Mommy and Me water exercise class at the Northshore YMCA in Bothell, WA. That instructor had both her kids (now 5 years and 9 years) in the water shortly after they were born.

If you do go to a chlorine pol the longer you can keep your son in the shower water, the less chlorine his skin will absorb.

If you want to, you can also check out some Parent & Tot/Water Babies classes at your local YMCA. Those are some great classes as well.

Hope this helps,
M.

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M.S.

answers from Portland on

According to our pediatrician, 3 months is plenty old enough. To keep him from unwanted germs, be sure he doesn't drink the water any more than he has to. You won't be able to keep his hands out of his mouth, so there's no point in trying. To protect his delicate skin, bathe him about 6 hours or so before hand and slather him in tons of lotion afterward. This will ensure his skin is very hydrated and it will not soak up so much of the clorinated water. Shower him off immediately afterward with soap. Other than that, I'm sure you'll both do just fine.

Have fun!

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K.M.

answers from Seattle on

i took my daughter at 8wks and she loves the water.

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K.O.

answers from Bellingham on

So I was just reading in a book this morning (I know, don't always believe what you read) that you should limit the exposure to water for small babies and really, after age 3 years is when it's best to do the swimming thing. It was in "what to expect in the first year" in case you want to check it out yourself.

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T.J.

answers from Seattle on

The classes usually start at 6 months. The only thing that I would be concerned with is the drop in body temperature and the chlorine. The Ymca has a saline pool for children that is 97 degrees. Try to find a warm pool in your area.

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E.S.

answers from Portland on

Hi, E.. I love swimming too.
At age 6 months the little ones start regulating their body temperature on their own. So, what it means is that as long as the water is not boiling or too cold, it should be ok for your 3 months old to jump in for a short while. Whatch your son's lips, if it starts to turn color(blueish), then get him out and wrap him in a warm towel. Make sure the water in the pool is heated, though. Cold water pools are definetely not recommended at all before age of 6 months(I would recommend even older). Keep his body always close to your and before going in the water get his feet and the back of his neck and also the lower back wet so that he won't have a shock when diving in.
Other than that, have fun and take lots of pictures.

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J.M.

answers from Bellingham on

Anytime. Babies are born with a reflex to hold their breath in water. This reflex wears off, so to speak by 6 months old. They basically know how to swim at birth and gradually forget. You can also buy a sling that works in water (see www.hugofjoy.com for an inexpensive good one)if you want to walk or exercise in water. You can stay in water longer.
Hope this helps.
J. (mother and grand-mother; childbirth educator)

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E.K.

answers from Seattle on

If you haven't done so already, you should DEFINITELY check out Waterbabies, they are awesome. www.waterbabies.net

They start off slowly with your child and teach all sorts of great survival skills and help get them accustomed to water. I started when my daughter was about 6 months old, and within a few weeks I could take her underwater! I highly recommend them. We now go every Sunday to the pool!

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R.M.

answers from Portland on

I took my baby at 3 months, even dunked and all that. I say, never too soon to get them in the water!

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C.P.

answers from Yakima on

Dear E.;
Three months is way to young..Around the age of 2 1/2 and 3 years of age for swim lessons..

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A.Z.

answers from Portland on

It's never too soon to take your baby swimming! In fact the earlier the better! My daughter has been swimming her whole life and she is very confident and capable in the water at 17 months old.

Make sure if you take her to swim lessons you go to a qualified school. I highly recommend DolFun Swim Academy for newborns. Debbie (owner and instructor) is an expert in infant swimming and physiology, she will teach you correctly. If you wait until 3-4 months, many of the other pools will take him too. Otherwise I would just take him with you to open swims or a family pool for water fun.

Make sure you get cloth swim diapers too. They work better, save money in the long run and many pools will only allow you to use cloth. Disposables are not sanitary and will leak in the case of a runny accident causing the pool to be drained and heavily chemically treated which isn't good for anyone. :(

Also, bring some baby shampoo and body wash to get the chlorine off your little one after the swim. If possible find a salt water pool for a healthier swim option.

Other than that, go have fun swimming with your baby. It will be a great bonding experience, help develop his motor skills and allow him some fantastic freedom of movement!

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L.K.

answers from Portland on

Hi E.
I took both my children in the pool before they were three months they were both very comfortable in the water I don't see the harm in it. I did although rinse their skin off with fresh water after being in the pool because chlorine can be drying have fun!
L. k Mommy of 2 Boys 6 and 2

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P.G.

answers from Eugene on

Super idea! Babies are used to being in "water" for 9 months. You will have so much fun! Most public pools have great mommy-baby exercise classses you may want to check out, especially if it's something you love to do. One word of CAUTION: No regular diapers...I learned in scuba diving that drowning due to diaspers is one of the leading causes of death for infant/toddlers - because of the boyancy of diapers they will float on top, thus keeping the baby's butt afloat, however, baby's necks are not strong enough to hold their head above the water (so without the help of an adult)they drown. GOOD NEWS, they do make two options that I know of. There are reusable swimming pants (around $6) that I use for my day care kids when we go to the pool and there are also diapers that are designed just for swimming. Both are "sanitary" and bigger toddlers don't mind the swimming pants where they may not like the diapers once trained. By the way...they do infant births under water and start them out from the first moment of life "outside" of the womb! Many happy swimming times and blessings to you!

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L.D.

answers from Seattle on

My son was about that age when we started going and he just loved it, just be careful not to get water into his ears...good luck and have fun

S.E.

answers from Portland on

I took my twins swimming as soon as I was done with the lochia. Which was at 8 weeks. My babies love the water. they splash and kick and talk and giggle it is so cute to watch them in the water. as long as you are near him and don't take your eyes off of him, go swimming with him.

S.

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M.S.

answers from Seattle on

I think you can take a newborn swimming directly after birth. BUT please take caution!! DO NOT put you newborn in a pool with chlorine or other chemicals! Their little skin absorbs all of that (ours does too) if you can find another option, go for it! I plan on taking my newborn (due july) to a saltwater pool nearby.
Good luck!

T.R.

answers from Portland on

Oh Goodness GO FOR IT!!!! Last year I took my son swimming every chance we could get!!! He LOVED it... it was kind of a shock at first because the water isn't terribly warm but not freezing. But the end of the summer he was splashing and having so much fun! I held on to him in the shallow end and my husband and I would take turns. Don't hold back!!! I did at the end of the summer get one of those baby floats... it's like the ring but it has leg wholes. It was okay but I preferred holding him as it wasn't that stable and all he wanted to do is eat it rather then have fun in the water. HAVE FUNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! P.S. just remember to rinse him off when you are done so that the chemicals don't irritate his new born skin! :-)

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A.G.

answers from Portland on

That's all up to you. My sister took both her kids swimming around two months old. My son just turned six months and we've been taking him to an indoor pool for about a month. Stick to it even if your baby doesn't respond well the first couple times. Eventually he'll learn to love it!

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T.S.

answers from Yakima on

E.~
Our daughter has been in the water since she was 2 months, with no side effects on her skin, as most parents are worried about. Just make sure to wash him off afterwards and apply a really good moisturizer.
Mostly have a great time! He will!
T. S

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L.W.

answers from Seattle on

what a great gift to give your child! love of aquatics is life long. i am an arc water safety instructor. american red cross recommends 6 months of age for parent/infant swim skills development. check with your local pool to enroll in a class. there is great info on water adjustment and pre-swimming skills that lay the foundation for life long swimming. more than anything else though, have fun in the water. your child picks up on your emotions. if you love it, he will too...enjoy!

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R.O.

answers from Richland on

The sooner the better. My four sons all started swimming once the circumcision was healed and belly button fell off. They are now 5, 3, 18 months and 6 months and none show any fear of the water and my 5 and 3 year olds are little fish in the water they are jumping off the side of our boat into the lake and river, jumping off the peer and swimming around with just their arm floaties on. I am hoping to enroll them in swimming lessons this summer but my husband and I have taught them what they know at this point. I went and purchased and book about infant swimming at barnes and nobles and this really helped my teach them how to go underwater and how to que them on what was going to happen next. If you want the title let me know but at this moment I need to go feed my baby so I can't go look for it but let me know. Good Luck and enjoy this time with your baby time flys by.

R.

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A.E.

answers from Portland on

Hi E.-
I've heard anywhere from 4-6 months is good. Just be sure the pool is kept very warm or your little one will get chilly. I swam with my daughter, Wren, at 6 months and the class and pool situation were a little much for her. I think a more calm scene would have been better at that age. We did dive her under the water with no problem. Up until about 6 months they have a reflex that automatically closes off when water is poured on them or you dive them, headfirst, under the water. We didn't continue with the lessons at that age but continued to condition her to hold her breath by pouring water over her head and saying: "Ready, Wren, swim" , then I suck in my own breath and then pour the water. This was taught to us by our instructo. She is now 19 months old and loves swimming. She gets cold if not moving. She will allow us to dive her under the water and that reflex of breath-holding is still present. I'm pretty sure it's because we kept up the sequence in the bathtub. Have fun! A.

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S.K.

answers from Seattle on

It's definitely OK! We started at 5 months, but I wanted to start earlier, I just never made it to the pool Waterbabies is a program that does swim classes for babies and they start at 6 weeks, and I have several friends that started that early. The good thing about baby classes like this is that they make the pool temp warmer so baby can handle it, and they also offer little baby wetsuits if your baby gets cold. Classes are only a half hour and that is a good length to limit your swim time to. Have fun!

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A.B.

answers from Portland on

I know alot of the classes water babies require that they are 6 months old but I don't know there reasoning behind it. I would worry that the pool would be too cold. I would call the pool and see they will have the most information. Thats my guess anyways

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A.C.

answers from Seattle on

I was a swim instructor for many years and we had a class for infants as young as three months. Your son is almost there, so I think it is fine to take him swimming. Key points to remember: Stay for a short period...they get cold quickly and don't put him under water just yet to avoid getting water in those tiny ears. Also when you do take him swimming get a pair of re-usable swim diapers. Way more cost effective than Lil swimmers. You can get these at the Y, or the Fircrest swim store...sometimes Target also carries them.

Remember just to have a fun time in the water. That is most important at this age and it will help him to develop a love of the water that will last a lifetime.

From one swimming Mom to another,
A.

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L.R.

answers from Portland on

I've read several places that you want to be very careful about getting your baby in water before 6 months, as they're not able to regulate their body temp until then. We tried taking my son to a pool at about 3 months, and within about a minute he was turning blue and looking really miserable. We tried again at about a year and the same thing happened! So please just be cautious about the water temperature and keep a close eye on him. Also, try to find a non-chlorinated pool, as one other responder suggested.

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K.W.

answers from Anchorage on

i took my son swimming at about 6 weeks. as soon as i could get into the water. we went to a warm therapy pool. i think a regular swimming pool would be too cold for a very young baby. they can't maintain their body temperature yet. i think eagle river health wise (i can't remember really - it was in the cache magazine last time) is opening a warm pool here in march.

good luck.

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J.R.

answers from Seattle on

I would say its fine I took my baby swimming very early as long as the water isnt too cold and I would make sure and wash him with baby wash after the pool so the chlorine doesnt stay on his skin for long. Babies usually love to swim.

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R.K.

answers from Medford on

Hi! I work in Sp. Ed. in a middle school AND have been teaching swimming lesssons for 11 years at our YMCA.
I have taught swimming to every age - from 2 months old to 50. Your son is the perfect age to start! Babies naturally hold their breath, from the beginning. If you start early and swim as often as you can, they just get more comfortable as time goes by. I have had children under 1 year old that hold their breath and actually climb up the steps by themselves! At your babies age, you can hold on to
him with him sitting on the side and gently put him uner water. When holding him in the water, always be careful to see that his face is above water, unless you are teaching him
to go underwater.
Just find a good teacher in your area that you feel comfortable with and water activies will be one of his favorite things!!
Ronnie Marie K.

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L.M.

answers from Portland on

Both of my girls were born in the spring and were in the water within a month or two! It is fine...the most important thing is that if they are outside to protect them from getting too much sun. I really think that the reason they love the water so much and are so comfortable in it is because of their early exposure.

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P.H.

answers from Seattle on

Check with your pediatrician first. You can also look into a water babies program I work at Good Sam and we have one here.

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M.B.

answers from Portland on

I think my daughter started swimming lessons for my granddaughter at about 6 months. She is 9 now and a very good swimmer. She has been on a swim team for the past 3 years. Of course, when you take a child to these classes you are in the water with them but you are not actually swimming. It sounds to me like you are a swimmer yourself and enjoy the exercise. I would arrange to go swimming without your child as a way of relaxation and a little "me" time. Sometimes an evening swim after baby is asleep is a nice way to unwind and daddy can be there in case he wakes up. Then as your son gets older you can enjoy this sport together.

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