It's been some years since I have done it with my own kids but there is nothing more fun then taking a baby for a swim. I was watching some lessons the other with babies between six and twenty-four months and it was an absolute riot.
For those of you who are scared the baby will drown, don't be. They are buoyant and naturally enjoy it. Moms and Dads go into the pool with the infants. You always see pictures of mummies and babies but there is no reason why a Dad can't get right in there with the kid too. You can check at your local Y or community center to see what lessons are available.
The safest classes are the ones with the lower numbers. Be sure a qualified instructor teaches the class just in case there is an emergency. However mainly the lessons are designed to give your child confidence in the water. The best classes are the ones that are kept small. The smaller the class the better it probably is. Eight adults with one kid each in the water sounds right and there should be an instructor plus a lifeguard on duty as well.
If you child is uncomfortable then you can show him or her how easy it is by putting your face in the water. The hardest thing for any kid is to put the face in the water. It is natural for the child to be nervous at first. Be very encouraging and be prepared to be patient. This type of thing does not happen over night.
One way that worked for me was to blow bubbles in the water. Babies love this. It is similar to blowing on their tummy to make noises. You can also encourage the babies to jump into the pool by holding them on the edge. Get the baby used to leaping into your hands and then get then lower them more and more into the water with each leap.
The aim is not really swimming but more about confidence in the water. It would be a mistake to expect too much. You need to hold them up in the water and supervisee them at all times. It is a mistake to think that classes like this removes the risk of an accident.
You don't have to pay for classes either. You can also practice in a public pool or been in the bathtub. This is of course cheaper. The idea is to get your child to be as confident in the water as possible.
Whenever your child is near or in water simply be as cheery and fun as possible.
Lure your child in with toys and make sure the water is warm enough and your baby will soon lose any fear of water.