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Swimming with your baby

Updated: Mar 8, 2020

Babies are born with two reflexes that help protect them in water and give them a natural ability to learn to swim.

* The bradycardic response, also know as the dive reflex: makes them hold their breath and open their eyes when submerged in water. Their heart rate and breathing also slows down. This reflex disappears around six months old.

* The swimming reflex: babies also have a natural reflex which makes them move their arms and legs in a swimming motion when held tummy down in water. Giving them the ability to to be taught to swim from an early age.

It’s not recommended for you to go swimming for six weeks after birth or seven days after vaginal bleeding has stopped, to avoid risks of infection. If you’ve had a caesarian section, your GP may advise waiting longer than six weeks.

However, it is safe for your baby to swim right away, there is no need to wait until they’ve had their immunisation.

The pool should be heated to about 32 Degrees Celsius and sessions kept to around ten minutes to start with, then built up to around thirty minutes from there.

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