Encouraging reluctant swimmers

"My 3 month old baby hates bath time - is attempting swimming a waste of time?"

Absolutely not! In fact, the longer you leave it, the worse your baby’s fear or dislike might become. It's best to gently introduce them to warm water, in a calm, nurturing environment, from as early as possible. Often as a new parent you may well be unsure of what to do - and local pools can be a bit chilly - so joining a baby swimming class is a good alternative. Here you'll also be able to socialise with other parents and babies and you'll find there's plenty of support for the two of you. 


There's also plenty you can do at home to help your baby. Share a bath with them, gently lying back with them on your chest and trickling water over their tummy and limbs (but not their face at this stage). If you show your baby you're really enjoying sharing the experience, they'll pick up on this and start enjoying it more too. Also, giving milk in the bath is a good way of allowing your baby to associate its comforting properties with that of warm water.

As they begin to grow in confidence, start trickling small amounts of water over their face, instantly wiping it away. Over time, a little watering can is a great way of increasing the amount, and they’ll love playing with it too.

Finally, it’s worth remembering that your baby won’t have been born with a fear of water – it will be other issues that might be spooking them. Perhaps they don’t like feeling enclosed in the bath, or haven’t enjoyed the change in temperature. Try alternating your bath-time routine a bit and see if that helps.  And don’t forget to wrap them up in a lovely warm towel once bath time is over to keep them nice and toasty!

Written by Jess Thompson, founder of Water Babies.