Baby Swim Bournemouth



It’s natural to have lots of questions when you are considering baby-swimming classes. The following are questions we are often asked. Click on the links below for more information. If you have any other questions or comments, however trivial you may think they are, please click here to drop us an email.

Your baby can start classes as soon as your are ready to bring them and as long as their cord/belly button is completely healed and that both baby and mum have had their 6 week check. Our recommendation is to start around 6 – 10 weeks.

Introducing your baby to water from an early age helps them avoid the traumatic episodes that older children might sometimes experience in and around water. We believe that babies who learn key life saving skills from an early age whilst not drown proof have a much greater regard for water and are safer around it.

Baby swimming is one of the best ways to give your baby a head start in life and also ensures that they are safe in the water.

Research has shown the regular baby swimming not only helps to develop brain function, but also helps to develop coordination and strength. Baby swimming is great for your baby’s cardiovascular system in the same way as it is for adults.

Babies who swim from an early age are also more alert for their age with better eating and sleeping patterns. As most classes will use word association and repetition this will take a part in their core learning.

Swimming with your baby is also a very rewarding experience. The more your baby enjoys swimming, the most you will delight in their success. Praise and recognition of their achievement will boost a child’s confidence and self-esteem week on week.

Your baby is born with a number of natural reflexes which we develop and reinforce during our swimming courses to help them learn to swim. There are three significant reflexes:-

The Gag Reflex
This reflex provides a water tight seal to the lungs while your baby is submerged and this automatic response is eventually replaced by conscious breath holding.This is why you often see babies swimming with their mouths open.

The Mammalian Dive Reflex
The Mammalian Dive Reflex (often confused with the gag reflex) is activated when baby’s face enters the water covering their forehead and nose area; submerging the face the body automatically redistributes the blood flow ensuring the main organs such as the brain and heart, receive a constant supply of oxygen. The ‘Diving Reflex’ is perfectly natural and slowly lessens from around 9 months of age.

The Amphibian Reflex
The Amphibian Reflex is the most basic of a newborns’ reflexes. It is an involuntary movement of their arms, legs and torso. Our techniques stimulate this reflex aiding the transition to conscious movement

We ensure safety and respect at all times in our classes starting with teaching babies to hold their breath by using word association combined with telling them what we are doing.

We utilise a baby’s natural breath holding reflex and gag response and turn them into deliberate actions.

Your first swimming class can be a very daunting experience for both parents and baby. At BabySwimBournemouth, the interaction between parent and child is an important part of every class and is encouraged. Our teaching method encourages gradual introduction to the holding of breath using word association, before putting their head in the water, supported by praise from us and parents.

According to the NHS website, you can take your new-born swimming regardless of whether they have been vaccinated. If your child has had a vaccination that day, though, they probably won’t feel up to swimming on the same day.

We specialise in baby and toddler swimming with classes catering to all ages and levels. Please contact us to discuss the best class for your child.

Submersion in an important part of swimming, however if your child is showing any signs of reluctance or anxiety, we would encourage alternative activities to keep your child occupied, relaxed and happy.

In addition, it is completely natural as a parent, to not want to put your baby’s head under water. BabySwimBournemouth will never demand parents or babies to do this, but instead show many gentle techniques that can be used when you and your baby are ready. Swimming underwater if introduced in this way will increase your baby’s confidence.

You don’t need to be able to swim to enjoy the parent and baby classes. Our swimming pools are shallow so you can walk around freely without getting out of depth. Lessons will help you to gain confidence whilst learning how to teach your child to swim. You can learn our technique without needing to swim or put your head under the water.

We would recommend that you bring the following items:

  •   A double nappy system made up of a neoprene nappy such as a Happy Nappy plus a disposable swim nappy for underneath.
  •   At least one hooded towel or poncho
  •   A towel for you.
  •   A neoprene baby wrap, sun suite or full body wetsuit if your child is susceptible to feeling the cold.
  •   A snack and a drink/warm bottle (they tend to be hungry and thirsty after swimming.)
  •   A wipe-able changing mat that can be placed on the changing room floor
  •   Your own swim wear
  •   Flip flops

To avoid any accidents, we ask that babies and children up to 4 years of age wear a Happy Nappy that can be washed.

Younger babies are advised to wear wetsuits to allow their core body temperature to be maintained. Please talk to your instructor regarding our recommended suppliers. In some of our venues, a sun-suit may be suitable due to the temperature of the pool.

We’ve chosen all our venues to be safe, clean and warm with good changing facilities.

Aim to arrive 15 minutes before the course. Please remove outdoor shoes before entering the changing room. Please also leave 15 minutes at the end of the course to dry and get dressed, remembering to take any unused or used nappies home with you.

Snacks should be given outside of the changing room and swimming pool area.

We have selected our pools as they are maintained at above 30 degrees, however, if you do find that your baby is shivering or is showing signs of coldness please remove them from the pool have a warm shower and quickly wrap them in a towel.

If your baby is tired or hungry, then they are unlikely to enjoy the swimming lesson. For breast or bottle-fed babies, there is no problem feeding them immediately before or after the class. For older babies on solids, it’s best to leave a little time before to class to prevent regurgitation in the water.

If you child is not immediately happy, with loving encouragement from both you, as a parent and our teachers, they will learn to trust and enjoy the experience. We will never force a child or parent to undertake instructions where they are not content.

All babies cry for various reasons; tired, hungry, teething etc. Your teacher is experienced and can talk you through any problems and adjust your programme accordingly – it may be that you just need a change in class time to better suit your baby’s routine.

Some babies go through a crying phase specific to swimming. This commonly happens around the age of 12 months and can seem frustrating if your baby has been very happy so far. It is important not to stop coming to classes during this time and stay relaxed when supporting your baby in the water.

We would recommend that your child does not attend the class if they have any more than a mild cold. Swimming should not aggravate a cold, but wrapping your child with a towel once leaving the pool is suggested.

Babies or toddlers experiencing swimming or diarrhoea must not swim for two weeks so prevent infection.

Please do NOT bring your child to the pool with anything that could be infectious, such as chickenpox, which is considered infectious until all the blisters have dried up.

According to the NHS website, you can take your new-born swimming regardless of whether they have been vaccinated. If your child has had a vaccination that day, though, they probably won’t feel up to swimming on the same day.

Yes, your child can still swim; we would recommend that parents protect their child’s skin from drying chemicals by applying a layer of moisturiser or barrier cream before getting into the pool.

A swimsuit may also prevent itching on babies. All of our facilities have good showering facilities so that after classes any irritation to the skin can be kept to a minimum.

More information can be found in the following article:

We do not allow photos to be taken of your child or any other child, whilst in our venues. We do offer professional photo shoots undertaken by an outside agency. Please talk to us if you are interested in this service.

Yes it’s a great idea, our teaching methods and classes are designed so that you can continue with the exercises when you take your child swimming on your own. When you take your little one swimming never add to or modify any exercise that you have learnt with us. You will not only ensure the health, safety and well-being of your child but also to ensure they remember the skills they have learnt.

Always keep the emphasis on fun and learning at the same time. The experience will be enjoyable for both you and baby.

Babies are more confident the more that they swimming they do, however 30 minutes should be considered the maximum swimming time and stick to the exercises we have practised in the lessons.

Some pools may be colder than our venues, so please consider this.

This is dependent on the venue, however we never have more than 8 children maximum.

We would ask that only one parent attends the class with their child to prevent the pool becoming crowded. We would however welcome either parent at each session as this ensures that both parties are as confident in the water with their child as each other, enabling them to enjoy swimming together and aids family recreational time.

Absolutely. Each child will need to be accompanied by an adult. Talk to us about our Twin / sibling discount.

No, the ratio is strictly one adult to one child.

As part of our STA qualification, we are instructed on how to teach and care for children with special needs and would welcome them on our classes. We would however ask that you call to discuss with us prior to booking so that we can allocate the best venue and teacher to your child.

Our courses are held throughout the year within our spring, summer, autumn and winter terms. These terms tend to be similar to school terms, depending on the location.

We have found that a five week course offers the best balance for parent commitment and progress for the child.

Courses can be booked by ringing us on the number shown on the contact page of our website. Courses are not confirmed until we have received a completed registration form and full payment.

If payment is not received 2 weeks prior to the start date of the course, then your place will be offered to a client on our waiting list.

Due to the popularity of our lessons, we do operate a waiting lists — so we do encourage you to put your name down while still pregnant. There’s no obligation, but it will secure you that coveted place in the pool!

Our preferred method is bank transfer. Please contact us for details.

Clients will be asked in week 3 of their course if they wish to rebook for the same course or the next level. Please talk to an instructor before rebooking so that we can advise on the best next course specifically for your child/children.

If you are unable to attend a session, we offer the ability to attend another session at any of our venues (space allowing) within your course period. Unfortunately, we are unable to carry sessions into another course due to availability or offer refunds for missed sessions.

If you are due to go on holiday during a class, then it would be advisable to skip the course and book on the next dates which you are able to attend fully.

Should any client wish to transfer to another day or course an administration charge of £20.00 will occur.

Babyswimbournemouth is under no obligation to refund or transfer your money in the event that you are unable to attend part of or the entire course.

Clients may cancel a Course booking providing ‘babyswim’ receives proper notice. Written notice that a Client will not be attending must be received at the above address at least seven days before the start of the relevant Course whereupon any fees paid will be refunded. Without proper notice being received, the total fees for the Course in question are strictly payable in full.
Once a course has started, we regret that we cannot issue refunds or credits as our costs for running a course remains the same and requires an optimum number of people on the course to ensure that the course can be operated.

If you cancel on or after the start date we cannot offer you a refund or a transfer. We will however, where possible, find a person from our waiting list to take your place and refund your course fee.

Refunds are at our discretion. We do however offer the ability to catch up on sessions within the five weeks of your chosen existing course.

We offer refunds if courses are cancelled 1 week before the start of the course. However, all cancellations are subject to a £20 administration fee which will be discounted from the refund provided.

We do not offer refunds for short terms of illness. For longer periods, please refer to our terms and conditions.

Yes, any adult can bring your child to the class although we ask that we are made aware if this is the case for child protection purposes.

We do not advise parents to bring other children unsupervised to our baby swimming lessons.

If you would like to continue your classes as far into your pregnancy as your feel capable of doing so without missing a term, then please rebook your next term as usual. When you are ready to take a pause in classes, please call us and we will make a note on your file that you are taking a maternity break. Once you are ready to return to class call the office and we’ll reschedule you as soon as we are able to, availability allowing.

When you return, we will allow you to bring a baby car seat to the poolside during the class. Please take coats and thick clothing off the baby as the swimming pool environment tends to be warm. Most babies will sleep through the class, however you will need to attend to them should they need you.

Baby Swimming gift vouchers are now available. Ideal for birthdays and Christmas presents, a voucher can be exchanged for a place on any Baby Swimming course.

Please contact the office for more details and to purchase vouchers.

As per our terms & conditions, we offer 2 catch-up classes per course subject to availability.

Unless we know swimmers are absent we have to assume classes are full and can add one extra swimmer. It would be most helpful if you could inform us of any planned absence, preferably by email.

We do our best to arrange catch ups at your regular venue on an alternative day or the nearest available venue, within the current course.

Missed catch-up classes will not be rescheduled unless 24 hours prior notice has been given and are once again subject to availability.

Catch-ups are not rolled over to the following term.

Unfortunately, we’re unable to offer this as an option. Payment is strictly 100% in advance of the course.

We will automatically contact you in the third week of your existing course offering a priority booking. Bookings are reserved on a first-come-first-serve basis and we can only guarantee the booking once payment is received.