Early introduction to the water is very important, but that does not mean you need to rush out and sign up for Mommy and Me swim lessons this summer. Most babies are very comfortable in the water, especially when introduced to it in a gentle way. Start with bath time.
I was given a really cool baby bath tub for my baby shower last year. It was extremely cool! Unfortunately, it didn't get much use. That's because I know that little babies are much more comfortable in the bath when held close by their mom or dad. Yes, this means you must get in the tub with your baby. But it's only for 6 months or so. By the time your baby is sitting without assistance, he or she will be comfortable being placed in a bath without you in the tub (under CLOSE supervision, of course). Once your baby is is sitting (without constantly toppling over), fill the tub with toys. You want the water to be something the baby associates with fun and excitement. Bath toys should be bath toys. This means that you leave the bath toys in the bathroom when bath time is over. It will give baby something to look forward to (as though the warm water isn't enough).
Spend the first 10-20 minutes in the bath holding or playing with your baby. Then, in the last 5-10 minutes, soap up and do the washing. That way, you'll keep from getting soap in his eyes so easily and it won't be a drying on his skin.
Coach Mandi has been teaching and coaching swimmers at the USA, summer league, high school, and Masters