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Do Babies Instinctively Know How to Swim/Busting The Myths

The truth is:

Babies are far smarter than we give them credit for.

And no, I don’t mean like you would see in the hilarious movie Baby’s Day Out. Really, babies have much more ability than we give them credit for.

So, can infants swim instinctively? The answer is yes. They have something that is referred to as bradycardic response. It is responsible for making them open their eyes wide and hold their breath. Pretty much, this is what we do when swimming, right?

However, this natural response disappears with time. In fact, it goes away after the first six months.

Babies cannot swim naturally

can babies swim naturally?

Just because babies have bradycardic response, it does not make them natural swimmers. After all, they are not old enough to understand the importance of holding in their breath. However, by instinct, the answer is yes, babies can make swimming movements.

If you would like to find out on your own, it is pretty simple!

Take a large baby basin and place your baby inside, belly down. Hold their face to stay out of the water and support them on the belly.

Make sure they do not swallow the water, it is not good for them at all. Swallowing pool water is not good for toddlers and the same applies to babies and bath water.

You will see them make swimming movements with their legs and hands. The smart little one can almost convince you that he or she can swim.

However, your baby cannot swim, not without being trained! However, because they have the instinct, it is ever so easy to train your baby to swim.

But …

Yes, there is a but, do not train your baby how to swim if they are under a year old. While it is recommended that babies learn how to swim, they are safer and better at it when they are 12 months or older.

Can babies under 6 months swim?

Can babies under 6 months swim

While they can start having fun in the water as soon as they are 2 months old, they cannot swim.

So, the answer is no, just to reiterate because we have already discussed this in the past section. Just wait until your baby is 12 months or older.

While babies who are less than 6 months love warm water, and their face will gleefully light up when they are bathing, well, the truth is that they cannot swim.

Since their love for water does not disappear with time, you can take advantage of that and train them to swim when they get to one year.

They cannot also learn the basics like how to float in water, which is one of the main pillars of swimming.

Is it safe to dunk a baby under water?

The answer yes and no. Skimpy, I know, but it is true. Babies can instinctively hold their breathe. However, at the same time, they would not know the right time to hold their breathe in.

This is just not the right time to get the baby to learn how to swim underwater without holding the nose. Such advanced swimming skills can come much later.

Therefore, the best answer is no. It is not safe to dunk your baby under water. Should the baby be late in closing their mouth, the water will get into their airways. It will also head to their lungs and stomach.

Whether the water is clean or dirty, it should never find its way into the young and delicate lungs.

Besides, dry drowning is bound to occur when someone inhales water into their lungs. This can happen fast with your baby.

How soon can infants start swimming?

How soon can infants start swimming

It is best to give the baby about 2 months before you can take them to swim. Even then, they cannot swim, but they can have fun in the water.

Do not take your bundle of joy to the swimming pool. Pool water has microbes and pollutants. Also, shocking the pool with chlorine makes the water a bit unfriendly for the children.

To get the baby used to la lot of water, get them to swim in the bathtub. Since babies’ bodies cannot regulate their temperature, it is best to get them to swim in the tub. There, you can ensure more cleanliness and regulate the temperature of the water easily.

To start swimming in the pool, wait until your baby is at least 12 months old. By then, their immunity is more stable. Their body can also regulate temperature properly.

Also, by the age of 12 months, the baby’s immunity is able to protect them from the water. If the temperature of the water goes down, your baby need not fall sickly.

Prepare your baby amply for swimming lessons. To prevent your baby from peeing in the swimming pool, put him in a swimming diaper.

Also, make sure the weather is fine because babies have delicate skin. Apply the recommended sunscreen for swimming to protect him or her from sunburns.

Also be sensitive to changes in the weather. Once it starts getting cold, it is time to take the baby inside. Clean them and change their clothes.

Overall, swimming with a 1-year old should be a fun experience for the baby and the parent.

Can 1 month old baby go swimming?

One month is too young for anything apart from the regular baby things that a baby should be doing. It is best to wait until a baby is six months old, so that you can take them swimming outdoors.

When you want them to have fun in the bathtub, the best age to start it is when they are six months old.

By two months, make sure the water temperature is okay for the baby to have fun. The recommended water temperature for a baby who is below 6 months is 89.6°F/32°C on the minimum.

If it is lower than that, the baby can catch a cold easily. It can be a little warmer than that, but just by a few degrees.

If you would like to know how to teach a baby who is below 6 months old to swim, watch the video below:


Can infants swim instinctively? The answer is no, unfortunately. However, you can use their instinct for moving the legs, arms and holding their breath to train yours how to swim.

It is recommended that you only train your baby how to swim when they are at least 12 months old.

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