It's my fourth baby's turn to learn to swim! I've always lived near the ocean, so swimming has been a huge part of my life. For our family, it's important to start water play with the kids at a young age so that they're comfortable and happy during all of the time we spend poolside (and lakeside, oceanside, riverside, you name it!).

Little Swimmers swimming pants on baby

This summer, Bam and I are working with Huggies Little Swimmers to help babies thrive in water through fun, safe water play. Michael Phelps and his wife are even taking part with their son Boomer (you can see all the action on the hashtag #trainingfor2032 on Twitter and Instagram).

As for us, we have a pool and most of our friends in Southern California have pools, too. That seemed like the logical place to get started. That's where we began with all of the other boys, in a nice environment that we can control without the unpredictability of waves or crowded beaches.

Water-Wise Baby Tips

Introducing baby to water

Gear up

First things first, you'll need swimming gear! We're working with Huggies Little Swimmers disposable swimpants are our go-to pick for baby swim time. They don't swell, and they have easy-open sides for an adjustable fit. That's super-handy with babies, who come in all different shapes and sizes! Our dude is a roly-poly little man, with a great big belly. I love that I can adjust the swimpants on him so that everything is perfectly contained without pinching or squishing.

Mom holding baby in the pool

Ease in

Remember, it's not a race. Water training may look different for different babies, depending on your child's preference and where you live. You can start with sprinkler play, blowing bubbles or a day at the beach! As long as they're having fun, they're doing it right.

Baby floating on his back with mom's help

Keep them close

I try as best I can to give them every sensation related to swimming, holding them on their back and front and straight up-and-down so that they can get a feel for the buoyancy of water. That being said, I always hold them close to my body so they can reach for me if they're feeling out of their comfort zone. My boys always seem more willing to try new things if I'm constantly there, reassuring them that it's something we're doing together as opposed to something I'm simply thrusting them into on their own.

Mom and baby ready to get in the pool

Wear something fitting

Speaking of keeping them close, I learned quickly that it's best for me to wear a full-coverage swimsuit when introducing baby to water. They inevitably wind up yanking at my top and grabbing at any loose straps, so something secure will keep you and baby comfortable!

Baby splashing mom in the pool

Let them get water everywhere

This may seem counter-intuitive since parents later end up spending half their time telling kids not to get water on other people. With babies, however, you want them to feel as unconstricted and free to explore as possible. Let them see the cause-and-effect movement of water! Safe water play can positively impact baby's development, as it helps them grasp the world around them and serves as fun exercise.

Mom wearing a water sling with baby

Hold them up

Give baby a break every once in awhile, lifting him up out of the water and putting him back in so he starts to really grasp the concept of water versus air. I use a water sling to help support baby's weight so I can stay with him as long as his older brothers want to keep playing next to us.

Baby floaty in the pool

Make it fun

Toys, floaties and squishy water balls can help make swim time even more fun for baby by giving him something to focus on instead of the vastness of the water all around him. Do what you can to keep him having fun swimming, but when he starts to show boredom or frustration, it's best to go ahead and take him out so he keeps thinking of the water as a happy place. For another fun water activity, check out this video showing how Michael Phelps and his wife teach Boomer how to blow bubbles in the water! You can also join in the conversation with the hashtag #Trainingfor2032 and save $1.50 with this coupon for Huggies Little Swimmers to get your own baby swimming along this summer!

8 tips for introducing baby to water

What age were you when you learned to swim?

Huggies believes deeply in the Power of Hugs. That's why every Huggies diaper and wipe is inspired by parents' hugs. For nearly 40 years, Huggies has been helping parents provide love, care and reassurance to help babies thrive. No Baby Unhugged is Huggies promise to ensure babies get the care they need to thrive – from innovative everyday products, growing hospital hugger programs and specially-designed products for the tiniest of babies, to diapers and wipes donations. Huggies is the fastest growing diaper brand in hospitals and partners with NICU nurses to develop diapers and wipes that meet the specific needs of pre-term infants. For more information on Huggies No Baby Unhugged program visit the “Why Huggies?” page at Huggies.com.

This post is sponsored by Huggies Little Swimmers Disposable Swimpants.