General F.A.Q's

Why teach my baby to swim?

The London Baby Swim philosophy is to ensure safety and water confidence, encouraging parents to fully utilise the benefits and enjoyment that they can have swimming with their children - whether at classes, on holiday or trips to the pool. Water confidence and the ability to swim from a young age is certainly a gift for life - opening the door for you to enjoy a wide range of water based activities from diving to sailing. We also provide a great social environment for parents and babies; our pools are a great place for parents to meet other parents with babies of similar ages and many of our little ones have literally grown up together- progressing from their first very experience in a pool at just a few months old to being confident independent swimmers by the time they turn four.

Why start so young?

Babies have a natural ability for swimming, being born with reflex actions. Healthy babies are born with extremely sophisticated natural reflexes that protect them from any harm and are very important to promote their survival. Introducing your baby to water from an early age allows us here at London Baby Swim to work with these reflexes to turn them into deliberate actions. The first of these reflexes is the 'gag' reflex which is activated when water enters the mouth. The glottis and epiglottis automatically close preventing water from entering the throat and providing a watertight seal to the lungs during submersion. This is why you often see babies swimming with their mouths open. 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 Amphibian Reflex is an involuntary movement of their arms, legs and torso, which help us to introduce turns, rotations and kicking in our lessons. Most importantly we believe that babies who learn key life saving skills from an early age, many of whom can swim by as young as 2 years old, whilst not drown proof, have a much greater regard for water and are safer around it and introducing your baby to the water at a young age avoids the trauma experienced by children who are introduced at a much older age and may have had the opportunity to become phobic of water.

What benefits do your courses give?

In the first few years of your baby's life they experience a huge period of development as their brain grows much faster than in later years. At London Baby Swim, we help babies to develop and strengthen their learning through exercise and stimulation.

Strength is built through muscle development from swimming activity, which can aid early walking, Co-ordination and associated motor skills are also improved through regular exercise. A weekly swim provides a good workout and improves the cardio-vascular system - heart & lungs.
Weekly classes stimulate intellectual development - using building blocks of development and progressive practices.
Classes are structured to ensure babies are constantly and continuously stimulated through swimming exercises, colourful and stimulating pool toys and through singing nursery rhymes.
Language development can be also improved through our swimming classes. Babies and toddlers are constantly interacting with their parent / carer throughout the sessions. Our instructors also provides a verbal stimulus through teaching and little ones are also interacting with other babies & children.
Water is a natural environment for a baby as it replicates the womb environment so babies feel safe and secure.
The techniques used in class promote skin-to-skin contact which promotes bonding.
Many parents state that their babies' sleeping & feeding have improved.
Starting to swim early can avoid traumatic experiences that some children go through when learning to swim. It familiarises children with deep water and gives them the confidence to swim below the water level.
Baby Swim lessons are Fun! Classes use lots of games, nursery rhymes, toys and large floats. They perform an integral part of all the lessons and London Baby Swim actively encourages learning through play in this safe environment.

Does my baby have to be fully immunised?

It is never too soon to introduce your baby to water. Medical research shows that a baby does not have to have completed the full immunisation course before you take your baby swimming. However, if you have any concerns about pre-immunisation, we do advise that you speak to your G.P. or Health Visitor or visit the NHS Choices site Swimming lessons can occasionally take place on the day your baby has one of their inoculations. If you are concerned, then this is also something you should check with your GP or health visitor.


Course F.A.Q's

Does my baby go underwater in the lesson (submersion)?

Submersion is an element of our classes, but is not the main focus in our lessons. The exercises are very gentle and just undertaken when both parent and child are ready and happy in the water. We will advise and guide you in the submersion techniques and exercises.

Do parents need to be confident swimmers?

No, although one parent or responsible adult will need to be in the pool with the babies, the pool is shallow enough for parents to stand up. Our teachers are fully trained and experienced in helping parents to feel confident in the water.

What should we wear?

London Baby Swim operates a double nappy system for all babies and toddlers until they are toilet-trained. The double nappy system is a disposable or re-usable swim nappy underneath a Happy Nappy (neoprene nappy), which should fit closely enough to form a tight seal around the waist and thighs. The Happy Nappy is manufactured by a company called Splash About and is available to purchase from their website and other online retailers as well as larger high-street baby shop and some Boots stores. Disposable/reusable Swim nappies are available from supermarkets and drugstores. Children do not need to wear anything else apart of the double nappy system. Children wearing swim trunks, swimsuit, eczema Suit or similar are welcome, however they will still have to wear the double nappy system underneath if not toilet-trained. As our pool temperatures are 33 degrees, we find babies are most comfortable in just a Happy Nappy as other swimsuits may make them overheat. Adults must wear appropriate swimwear and never outdoor wear. No T-shirt or other street clothing will be allowed in the water. Please note, the instructor will not allow any child or parent in the water who does not wear the appropriate swimwear.

I don't have a Happy Nappy for my lesson. What do I do?

Although customers do need to purchase a Happy Nappy for their use throughout the course, both of our centres have a limited number that can be borrowed if needed. Please ask at reception and ensure you return the nappy after use.

When should I feed my child?

Babies can be fed 45 minutes before entering the water to allow food to be digested, when it is still liquid. If you are feeding with solids, please allow at least 45 minutes for a snack and at least 1 hour for a meal. Babies may be hungrier (and sleepier) after swimming due to all the exercise so they may need a big feed after the swim. Please note that food and drinks are not allowed inside the poolside and changing room areas, only in the viewing areas.

What if my child is ill?

Never come to your swimming lesson if you and/or your child have any illness, such as, but not limited to: chest infection, conjunctivitis, measles, impetigo, ear infections, recent asthma attack or a heavy cold (first days of the cold). Please DO NOT come to your swimming lesson until the symptoms have cleared at least 48 hours prior to your swimming lesson or when your doctor has given the all-clear. If your child has just a runny nose but feels happy and active, you will be able to come to your swimming lesson unless your GP has advised you otherwise.Under no circumstances must anyone suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting attend swimming during illness and until fully recovered and stools have returned to normal. If you are concerned about any medical condition, we ask that you always check with your GP before coming to any lessons. Please refer to Section 4 of our Terms and Conditions for Cancellations Policy and Section 6 for Cancellations on Medical Grounds.

Do you offer catch up lessons?

YES, London Baby Swim offers 3 FREE Catch up lessons per term/per child for any missed lesson. However, there are some steps to follow in order to take advantage of this service. For more information, please click HERE

How do catch up lessons work?

When you cancel your lesson, for whatever the reason, we use that space as a Catch up lesson for another parent who missed a lesson; so without parents letting us know in advance they are not attending, there is no opportunity to replace lessons for anyone. That is why it is so important that parents let us know in advance about their absence by emailing us to [email protected] with the minimum notice required prior to their lesson. London Baby Swim offers this service as a goodwill gesture and it is not a statutory right, not having any legal obligation to offer a Catch up lesson(s) or refund/credit for non-attended lesson(s). For full information of our Catch up Lesson Service, please click  HERE.

Tips and Advice for your first lessons

Very young babies get tired and hungry quicker than older babies, so feeding the babies 45 minutes before the lesson is very important. If you are feeding with solids, please allow at least 45 minutes for a light snack and 1 hour for a meal. Try to feed them just enough to keep them going during the lesson and keep the rest for after the lesson, as they will be very hungry. Sleeping time is very important too, so for them to have a good nap in the morning before swimming is vital.
Parents play a very significant role in the babies' behaviour, so it is very important for all of you to feel relaxed and confident in the water with your babies. As you may already know, babies can feel our emotions, so being relaxed in the water is essential. Of course, getting you relaxed in the water is part of the course and it takes time for the babies and parents to feel totally relaxed and comfortable in the water. Because it is very common for new babies to need more time to get used to the water and new environments, please don't worry if your baby is not really enjoying the lessons at the start. After a few weeks of getting used to the new experience, you will find they really begin to enjoy the lessons. Although some babies love bath time, please note that the pool is not the same as the bath. It is a completely different environment, to which babies have to acclimatise. The pool is a more impersonal environment, with a lot of people, noise, changes of temperature, etc. All these factors contribute for the babies to feel more insecure and they need a little time to adapt to the new experience. Usually we really start to notice a big improvement in relaxation and confidence in both babies and parents after the 4th week of swimming.
Very young babies are not able to maintain their body temperature as the older babies. At the same time, the signs of coldness are different, small babies will not shiver when they are cold. The sign to look for is a bluish or purplish lip. (Our pools are very warm at 33oC so this is rarely a problem in our classes but still worth mentioning). During the lesson the instructor will monitor all these signs that will indicate coldness, tiredness, being hungry, etc., and advise you what course of action to take.