The Clever Hack to Make Swim or Bath Time More Fun for Baby (and Less Stress for You)

So you’re all set to make a splash this summer, but your little one screams the house down every time you so much as dip their toes in the water.

If your little one is more landlubber than water baby, then do we have the perfect hack for you.

All you have to do to get your baby to hold their breath is to blow into their face. Seriously, it’s that simple.

Blow baby, blow

Babies have a clever reflex, called the mammalian diving reflex, which makes them gulp air, close their eyes and hold their breath if you blow gently in their face. Not only is it cute to watch, and can stop them from crying, it can also help them get used to going under water.

YouTube video

This video from swimming instructor Beatriz Skeens shows the hack in action. See how she uses the technique, then very quickly dips the baby in the water.

Five easy steps

Beatriz says to practice the technique at bath time using the following steps:

  • Make eye contact with your baby.
  • Count to three to set the signal.
  • Blow quickly on your baby’s face.

clever baby bath time hack

  • Watch your baby make the funny face then pour a little water on his head.
  • Smile and cheer after to reassure them

But is it safe?

OK, so it’s a cool idea and it definitely looks cute, but is it a safe way to teach bubs to swim?

Mum Central spoke to Debby Tattoli, Aquatics Manager at 5 Star Swim Schools and Swim Australia Advisory Board member, to get her take on the hack.

Baby learning to swim under water

“It’s a natural reflex, so of course children will react to this, but it won’t help them learn to swim,” says Debby.

She suggests slow, gentle conditioning at the child’s own pace, to help them learn to love the water.

“All the good programs let them explore the water, to let them experience the water the way they want to. Whether that’s by splashing, moving or even tasting the water, as young babies feel things with their mouths,” she says.

“These programs teach good swimming techniques, and the children will learn swim safety as part of that.”

Baby swimming hack breath under water

Kids Alive has loads of great resources if you want the heads up on water safety, because let’s face it, summer’s a great time to learn to swim! It’s also a good time to remember the golden rules of swimming – when it comes to little ones, always stick close to them in the pool and NEVER take your eyes off them around water .

And if you need another reason to teach little ones to hold their breath in the pool, take another look at our terrifying article about how much wee there really is in a public pool!

Avatar of Sarah Long

Originally from the UK, but now very much at home on the sunny NSW Central Coast, Sarah is mum to 18-month-old Freddy. When she's not writing, you'll find her at the beach, chasing Freddy at high speed, or drinking tea and eating cake whilst thinking about going to the gym.

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