We know that getting into the pool for the first time can be a bit daunting, but we'll be with you at every breath, kick and stroke of the way. To help you feel prepared, we've answered the most commonly asked questions. But if there's ever anything you're unsure about, do get in touch with your local pool. They're more than happy to help.
Your baby can start swimming with us straight from birth. But if your little one is premature, always check with your doctor before starting your lessons. As long as your baby is deemed medically fit, it should be absolutely fine for them to attend lessons once they are past their due date.
Babies love familiarity, so getting them used to the water beforehand will help them prepare for the lesson.
Having a bath or shower together is the perfect place to start. Laugh, play, splash and natter with your baby to reassure them that being in the water is a fun, safe place to be.
If you can, pop down to your local pool. You don’t have to be there long, but getting them used to the atmosphere of the pool will mean they’re more relaxed for their first lesson.
All you need is comfortable swimwear and a towel. Bring goggles if you’d like to go underwater too (make sure they have clear lenses). But don’t worry, if you’re not a confident swimmer you won’t be forced to go underwater.
Based on health guidelines, your baby doesn’t need to wait to have their vaccinations before starting their Water Babies journey. Take a look at the HSE guidelines here.
If your baby is premature, please check with your health practitioner first. As soon as they’re ready, we’re ready.
Happy Nappy – Every water baby must wear our double nappy system at their lessons, which means a paper or reusable swim nappy with an approved neoprene Happy Nappy over the top. You don’t want to be the party pooper of your lesson (literally).
Changing mat – A small roll-up one so you can safely change your little one on the floor.
Towel – To keep your baby toasty after their lesson.
Wetsuit – To help keep your baby warm if they are sensitive to the cold.
Warm hat – Little heads get cold easily after swimming. A hat helps keep them cosy on the way home.
We’ve had many babies swim with us with eczema, so recommend smoothing prescribed barrier cream over the affected parts before popping them into a sun suit. If you’re ever unsure, do speak to a health professional for advice on your baby’s skin.
If it’s just the sniffles, then it’s fine to attend your lesson. But if either of you have a temperature, then best to give it a miss. If you or your baby have any significant illnesses, including ear infections, chicken pox, vomiting or diarrhoea, then please stay at home.
We also ask that any sickness or diarrhoea symptoms have completely cleared for at least 72 hours before your lesson. When it comes to any medical condition, we always ask that you check with your doctor or health practitioner before coming along to your lessons.
Every pool provides changing room facilities which are suitable for you and your baby. Bringing your changing mat also means that no matter where your lesson is, you can easily change your baby comfortably and safely.
We only swim in pools which have been heated to at least 29 C. If your baby is under 12 weeks or 12lbs, any pool you swim in must be a minimum temperature of 32 C. Older babies can swim in 30 C pools and toddlers under 2 years can swim in 29 C pools so long as they are wearing a wetsuit. Don’t worry though, we’ll make sure you’re always in the right temperature pool for your little one.
Carers and babies need to be ready to jump in as soon as the class before them has finished! We would recommend arriving 15 minutes before your lesson to give you and your baby plenty of time to get ready.
We’d recommend feeding your baby one hour before the lesson starts – keep the meal a light one! But, if they need milk closer to the lesson, do go ahead and feed them.
With toddlers, we advise leaving an hour between them eating solid food and them swimming. If there's anything that you're ever unsure about, get in touch with your local office. They'll be happy to help.
It's absolutely safe for your baby to go underwater. That's because they are born with a reflex called the ‘laryngeal reflex’, or ‘gag reflex’. This kicks into action when your baby feels water on their face, nose or throat. When your baby goes underwater, the soft tissue at the back of their throat (called the larynx) closes to block the entrance to the airway.
Using your little one’s natural reflexes from an early age, we prepare them to go under the water through word association. This means that as the reflex fades, controlling their breathing becomes a learned response.
But we'll never, ever submerge a baby that isn't ready or prepared to go underwater. You can be rest assured that your baby is in safe hands with us.