Orla Jennings always had a fear of water. In fact, her fear caused her to not pick up any swimming skills and to avoid swimming pools for the past few decades of her life. However, when she became a mother two years ago, she decided that she wanted her son to feel comfortable in the water. Hence, when he was merely 11 weeks old, she allowed him to experience the water in the swimming pool.


She didn’t just allow him in without any instructors. She ensured that he was under the watchful eye of the Water Babies swimming instructors during his first class. “There was no pool near my school so I never learned to swim when I was young. Then when I got older I went for swimming lessons with a friend but the life guard laughed at me and I was so embarrassed that I never went back,” recalls the 36 year old mother.

“My husband Ronan (40) couldn’t swim either and I always swore I would make my children learn before they became too self-conscious. So when Senan was 11-weeks-old, I took him to his first Water Babies swimming class. I was prepared to get over my own issues with swimming for his sake but the thought of dropping him and not being able to get to him nearly put me off taking the class. I really shouldn’t have worried though as the teachers were beside us every step of the way and made me feel completely at ease,” Orla explained.

It is natural for a parent to be protective over their child despite being aware of the profession of the instructors. Parents tend to feel more secured when they are in control of the situation. By putting the safety of their child into the hands of someone else, they will not feel totally assured. This was the same for Orla. “When I let go of Senan for the first time it was a big shock. He wasn’t even three months old and I had to let go of him in the pool — it felt totally unreal. But he had this wondrous look on his face. The water was lovely and warm and he loved it right from the start,” she admitted.

Not many people area aware that babies actually have a basic instinct to hold their breath when they are submerged into the water. Orla was aware of this, but still did not feel at ease whenever her baby went underwater. “I knew babies held their breath instinctively when they went under water but it still felt completely wrong to me and when he went under I held my breath too — I’d say I continued to hold it for most of the first term,” she stated. For the full story, read it here.

At Happy Fish Swim School, we have designed our Baby Swimming Lessons for infants as young as 6 months old. As a parent, it might not be an easy step initially. However, if you expose your baby to the swimming pool at an early stage, it will lead to a lifetime enjoyment of water activities.