to not see the point of baby swim classes?

(109 Posts)
Madmum24 Fri 12-Apr-13 12:28:11

Another epic thread about baby swim, but I honestly don't know what the point is so someone please enlighten me.

My kids go swimming once a week and at the same time there is a baby swim class in another pool; it is a half hour class with babies ranging from about 4 months to maybe a year. All they do is walk back and forward and occasionally join in a circle and the instructor (who is by the pool side) floats little plastic ducks in and pours over some water in a little watering can.

I understand these classes are a rip off expensive, so I am seeking MN wisdom on this one :-D Are they more a social meeting for the parents? I get the whole water confidence thing, but you could just take your baby for a regular swim and walk up and down the baby pool for a fraction of the price.

Have my children been disadvantaged due to missing this experience?

givemeaclue Fri 12-Apr-13 12:30:06

Yanbu. In my experience there is no difference in swimming ability between those who have and have not attended there classes. Actual swimming lesson another matter. But if people enjoy it let them get on with it

livinginwonderland Fri 12-Apr-13 12:32:30

i think it's mostly about confidence annd it's probably a good chance for parents to socialise and meet other parents with children of a similar age.

Madmum24 Fri 12-Apr-13 12:33:18

givemeaclue that was something I forgot to add, the parents seem quite non-happy throughout, but there is an awful lot of loud parenting in the changing room after, and exchanging stories of how many classes each baby goes to.

willyoulistentome Fri 12-Apr-13 12:34:04

Yes, I think its mainly about giving mums of babies a chance to get out and about.

Sirzy Fri 12-Apr-13 12:34:33

I guess its like any other group and as much about socialising for parents as anything else.

Perosnally i would rather just go for a splash around occasionally!

Kaluki Fri 12-Apr-13 12:34:41

IMO it is a waste of money and a hurrendous amount of hassle for the mothers.
I took DS1 to baby swim because at the time it was recommended and it was pure hell. He hated it, I hated it and I used to come out of the pool feeling exhausted and looking like I'd been pulled through a hedge.
I never took DS2 as by then I'd wised up and the thought of taking a baby and a 3 year old swimming was a punishment worse than death!
Both boys can swim like fishes now so it obviously makes no difference.

BigFatBarry Fri 12-Apr-13 12:35:43

It is actually slightly cheaper to do baby swim lessons at our council pool than to pay for casual swimming once a week, every week.

Loupee Fri 12-Apr-13 12:36:35

I love our baby swim class, DS seems to enjoy it as well, and I tires him out so he as a long nap after grin
The one I go to is only £2.50 and has given me so much confidence with my DS in water.

schnauzerfan Fri 12-Apr-13 12:37:29

Looks like an absolute waste of time to me and anyone who says they are doing it so their babies are better swimmers is talking out of their arse.

MidniteScribbler Fri 12-Apr-13 12:39:04

Our classes work out at $5 Australian per class, which is actually cheaper than the casual rate for using the pool. They sing songs and play games, and with DS being an only child, I like to get him out among other kids. He has always enjoyed the classes. It's no different to attending playgroups, or any other group. And since it's not affecting your enjoyment of the pool, then why do you care how others choose to spend their money?

LadyVoldemort Fri 12-Apr-13 12:41:44

I think it is mostly for the parents to get out and feel like they're doing something active with their baby. I did it lots with ds as we got a free swim pass from our local sure start, would be daft not to take them up on it.

Succubi Fri 12-Apr-13 12:41:51

YABU. Both my boys have been to swimming classes since they were 3 months old. It is good exercise, it builds up their water confidence, and from my experience it helps them sleep better.

It is a huge amount of fun and it is an opportuinity to meet other parents.

YANBU

Obviously nothing wrong with taking these classes, but I don't think anyone should feel their kids are disadvantaged if you don't.

People can get OTT with this idea that you have to expose babies and young children to things very early in order to make sure they're comfortable with them later. Not just swimming but types of food, computers, etc.

I mean, I assume we're not all sitting here in diapers, eating puree and writing with crayons, so obviously it's possible to adapt and like new things at any age?

cansu Fri 12-Apr-13 12:43:10

It's really for the parents to have something to do with isit ds and meet other parents. I didn't do them as I found most mother and baby activities pretty awful generally.

ghosteditor Fri 12-Apr-13 12:46:35

Meh, it's up to you whether you're interested, but my daughter enjoys her class and at 15 months can get into and out of the pool safely, float on her back, doggy paddle around with a bit of support, swim underwater and other stuff. I (a) wouldn't have thought to teach her that way and (b) am too lazy to go regularly unless motivated by the fact that I've paid for a class already.

I'm a confident swimmer but lots of the other parents aren't and probably want reassurance. And one of the younger kids fell in a pool on holiday while his parents were packing up, but at 11 months was found (only moments later as they heard the splash) clinging safely and happily onto the side. So it does happen...

Succubi Fri 12-Apr-13 12:52:20

And to those that don't see the point of it you might want to read the Griffith Institute's paper on it (link below).

www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252945.php

Not that actually it makes a difference whether there is an additional benefit over and above the fact that it is fun.

If you are confident and happy in the water yourself, and would take your child regularly to the pool anyway, then no it probably doesn't add much, unless you like to have things scheduled into your week and it gets you out of the house.

But for parents who aren't keen on swimming themselves and aren't that confident in the water, but would like their child to be encouraged to be ok with it, it instils more confidence to go to a planned activity where the leader takes them through what can be fun to do in the pool with a baby.

It also pushes them to go regularly, which helps if 'go to swimming pool' is a very long way down your list of favourite activities.

Going for a swim barely makes it onto my 'things to do when hell freezes over' list, so it took a real effort to take DS there, and it would undoubtedly have been good for him (and probably me too!) to have had a regular slot.

MyDarlingYoni Fri 12-Apr-13 12:56:54

There is no real point to any baby classes at all, not sure about those with SN though.,

Its just fun and an excuse to get out, all babies will usually develop and do things regardless of whether you take them to music. tumbletots etc.

Carolra Fri 12-Apr-13 12:57:46

I took my dd when she was tiny, as someone else has said, it was cheaper to book a block of session than to go causually (local council pool). I'm glad I did it, got me out of the house, met some nice mums, DD loved swimming and still does but we just take her on Saturdays now I have gone back to work.

If you want to see something amazing - google Infant Swim Self Rescue and watch a couple of the videos. Its proper swimming lessons for babies in the USA, its amazing what they teach them!

Bejeena Fri 12-Apr-13 12:58:38

www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0mUPr68x2U

Watch this video to the end (it is a very happy ending don't worry) and then tell me you really don't see any point at all.

Blissx Fri 12-Apr-13 13:00:22

My first clear memory is actually of going to mother and baby swim classes-random I know as it's unusual to remember that far back! Personally, I prefer to take mine swimming than any other activity but that is my choice and therefore YANBU as it's your choice too. However, YABU to say they are pointless.

lakeofshiningwaters Fri 12-Apr-13 13:00:35

YABU to not see the point. There are lots of reasons why people go to these classes. They may not be your cup of tea but plenty of people enjoy them.

I'm not convinced they help with swimming ability any later on, but my dd and I enjoy the classes, and I don't think I'd be brave enough to do all the swimming, splashing, chasing balls etc in the pool on my own in a normal family swim session!

Certainly don't think a child who doesn't do them is missing out (my ds hated them so we soon gave them up. He is still very nervous in the water (aged 5) though).

Carolra Fri 12-Apr-13 13:02:51

Blissx - that baby has been taught Infant Swim Self Rescue - that is not what they teach at baby swim lessons in the UK! I wouldn't want anyone to think that their baby who's done a few WaterBabies classes is going to be able to do that - its a totally different thing....

Carolra Fri 12-Apr-13 13:03:11

Sorry Blissx - wrong poster! Bejeena!

Smartiepants79 Fri 12-Apr-13 13:05:45

I can see why for many they are a waste of money and I'm not sure how much they improve swimming ability.
However I have been takin my 2.5 year old since she was about 5 months.
She has enjoyed every minute. She loves the swimming pool and is very happy and confident in water.
She has learned some skills such as how to get out and how to float.
It was also a lovey social time for me. I met some great mums every week and it gave a focus to our day.
I'm a fan of it personally but can completely understand that others see it as a waste of time and money.
She doesn't do any other classes BTW!

Floweryhat Fri 12-Apr-13 13:06:25

Yeah, also do a search for how they teach the babies to self-rescue. The youtube videos of the lessons are horrible.

Carolra Fri 12-Apr-13 13:09:44

It is a really contentious issue Floweryhat! The lessons are pretty unpleasant, and they do them every day for 6 weeks... but then if you have a pool or pond in your garden then maybe its worth it.... better than a drowning... I still think the videos are amazing!

Catsize Fri 12-Apr-13 13:11:28

My son (15mths) loves his lessons. We have taken him since he was a few weeks old, and now he can do lots of things I would not have thought he could do. And as someone else said, I wouldn't have done the things myself (eg swimming under water stuff - we do get some funny looks when we do this when swimming elsewhere!). Yes, it is pricey, but worth it. And I don't pay for gym membership anymore, so works out okay.
Has the added benefits of him not being bothered about having his hair washed in the bath (can use the same signal so he knows what is coming), and my parnter, who is a stay at home mum, enjoys it for other reasons.
Perhaps wasn't such a good move for me. My mum took me to similar classes, dropped me on the floor of the pool at one point and seriously hesitated before picking me up due to her own fears of getting her head under water. We both lived to tell the tale... grin

ghosteditor Fri 12-Apr-13 13:14:07

Our classes are based on the InfantSwim rescue principles - our instructor spent 6 months working on the course in the US. It's not so critical here as far fewer homes have pools, so it's gentler and less intense, but my daughter is being taught to roll on to her back, swim a short way, rest on her back etc.

I wouldn't bother with a baby swim class, my daughter goes swimming regularly though, she's almost 10 weeks and just LOVES water.

I really want to take her to Self Rescue classes, but I don't know where they'd do it near to me.

TSSDNCOP Fri 12-Apr-13 13:16:07

I took DS from 6 months.

I strongly believe that swimming is both a life skill, excellent form of exercise, fun and can't be introduced too soon.

We were in a group of 5, the children are still friends.

I am friends with the mums. We have been through many ups and downs together. Our weekly swim and lunch after we're often a bright spot in a hassled week.

Who knows whether it makes a child a better swimmer. DS is one of the best swimmers in his class. All the good swimmers had lessons from babyhood.

DS loves water. He loves swimming and just playing. To him, a pool is an extended play area.

Overall conclusion: worth while

gamerwidow Fri 12-Apr-13 13:16:26

I took dd to a term of classes when she was about 4 months. In retrospect I think they are a waste of money and I wish I'd had the confidence to just take her for a weekly splash about by myself like I do now.

badguider Fri 12-Apr-13 13:17:28

My mum was a swimming instructor before I was born and took me swimming a lot as a baby and toddler. I don't remember ever being nervous of the water or even learning to swim - it just happened. When I was about 6 I went to proper stroke lessons then coaching. I saw how much stress my peers had through school 'learning' to swim and getting water confident and I am so glad that I bypassed all of that.

I will take my baby swimming (even though I no longer like indoor chlorinated swimming pools myself). But I am not sure if i'll bother with the classes - it will depend on relative cost and on whether or not it's a nicer environment in the pool and changing rooms than other 'free swim' times.

But I've worked as a pool lifeguard and open water (sailing and canoeing) lifeguard and I have noticed that people on MN can border on hysterical about the risks at public pools. I know that very occassionally an accident happens but I'd be surprised of pools are more dangerous than playparks. I certainly have watched various pools for goodness knows how many hours and mainly only had to deal with health problems in middle-aged people....

but if you are worried about the pool environment or even self-conscious about being in the pool then I am not surprised that you'd feel safer in an organised session with an instructor.

melliebobs Fri 12-Apr-13 13:21:15

Yababu

Me and dd did it. It was cheaper than paying for going for a swim. Couple of quid a week and we always did something different in the 30 mins. Dd loved havig a splash around. It was novel for her to be submerged in water cos we don't have a bath at home! Lol oh and it guaranteed an afternoon of sleep from dd so I could do stuff without interruption grin

TallGiraffe Fri 12-Apr-13 13:21:34

YABU. Just because it doesn't appeal to you doesn't mean it is pointless. I've been taking DS since he was a few weeks old and now at 6 months old he gets so excited as soon as we see the pool that I'd happily keep going just for that moment. Apart from that, I've made some great friends and when your baby is as heavy as mine I consider it a 30 minute aqua aerobics class for me! Yes of course I could just take him swimming but as with a lot of other things it just wouldn't happen if it wasn't programmed into our week.

Chocotrekkie Fri 12-Apr-13 13:21:38

I went with dd1 from about 6 months till she was about 2.

It was just the standard pool entry price of about £3.

It was nice to meet people and the more experienced mums with toddlers would hold the baby for you while you got dressed (they had a toddler playpen in the changing room) as the floor was a bit mucky to put babies on. Once mine was able to stand I then held someone else's baby for them.

No room for pushchairs or car seats in the changing rooms.

OneLittleToddleTerror Fri 12-Apr-13 13:29:32

It's about the same price going to the baby swim class as actually paying to go to the pool. So YABU without knowing how much the costs.

Also, my DD didn't like the cold pools, it has to be over 30C. She screamed the whole time when we took her to pools that are only 29C. (Once abroad, once here in the UK). The pool we do waterbabies in is 31C. There's only council pool around here that's also at that temperature. It's their teaching pool, and you can't use it when there's a class on.

CSIJanner Fri 12-Apr-13 13:30:12

YABU

I have two LO's - the first swam from @5months and the second from 3months. Both love it and it really does calm the youngest down. My eldest sees swimming as a highlight - was treading water and doggy paddling from just before 3 years and can now swim without aids, getting on for badge number eight. I saw early swimming lessons as a necessity as I'm scared of water with horrific memories of school swimming lessons, plus the NDN has a 6ft deep pond.

It's horses for courses - the youngest's swimming lesson is now part of the weeks routine, as are my eldest's 2 lessons per week. It's fun, they get excited seeing the pool and see swimming with the parents at the weekend (if it happens) as a fun thing to do, mucking around, whereas the lessons are structured learning.

mrsscoob Fri 12-Apr-13 13:35:23

YABU it works out at around the same price at our pool to go to a baby swim class. You know the pool is just going to be mums and babies and no bigger children splashing about so in that respect it is more comfortable, plus as you pay in advance it kind of makes you go if you don't feel like it where is if I had to pay weekly and just decide to go I probably wouldn't have bothered.

Ledkr Fri 12-Apr-13 13:38:06

No I don't get it either.
My five all swam by two just by me taking them regularly.
Dd is two and is crazy in the water. Lobbing herself in head first while the life guards twitch grin I think if you take them early and often they will be fine without classes.

OneLittleToddleTerror Fri 12-Apr-13 13:39:05

mrsscoob I agree with the aspect of being only mums and babies too. My DD is very nervous with older boistrous children. She doesn't like softplay for that reason.

I think YANBU if it's not for you. Because different things - classes, approaches to parenting and all sorts of stuff, works differently for different people.

For me, our baby swimming lessons were a god send. We did them with Water Babies and it gave me the confidence to let our first do his own thing and with our second, to not give up just because he wasn't as initially keen on the water as the second. I agree they are expensive, but I loved the warm pools (much warmer than council run), easy parking, and nice areas to change the baby in. So much less stressful than council lessons.

It was our "thing" to do together. And now they are 4 and 6 and swim like fish. They love the water and I love the confidence of knowing that they know what to do if they fall in, or get into difficulties.

The link to the video is not the way that anyone in the UK teaches as far as I know. It's not done like that here. I wouldn't have gone and done that. It would be too upsetting for me, let alone my baby!

mrsnw Fri 12-Apr-13 13:49:58

I started baby swim classes when ds was 6 months and dd 18 months. I can't swim very well and hate getting wet! If I hadn't paid for the lesson my children would never of gone swimming because I dislike so much. It gave my children the confidence I want them to have in the water. It also taught me how to teach them to use floats etc. if you are confident in the water and love taking your children swimming then great. But if like me you don't, then classes are the way to go. I mean if you've paid for a lesson you'll make sure to attend ;)

AmandinePoulain Fri 12-Apr-13 13:51:28

YABU, it's their money!

I've taken both of my dds from a few months old, like others have said it's actually cheaper than paying to get in at peak times. Both of mine enjoy(ed) it, we do splashing, singing and playing, not lengths! The instructor throws in some safety stuff too - at 8mo dd2 knows how to grip the side and as she progresses she'll learn basic techniques. I have no idea if it's related but my 5yo is a very confident swimmer now she's attending formal lessons, we live by the sea so swimming is an essential life skill as far as I'm concerned.

ffscatmove Fri 12-Apr-13 13:53:42

YANBU if it's not for you but DS (7 months) & I love it - he gets really excited when we get there & it's the same cost as a general swim. I'm not confident in the water & DH can't swim well - organised lessons give us an idea of what to do and we can now continue on our own.
We started WaterBabies but there were issues with the pool & tbh the council ones have been just as good. It's the only non-free activity we do.
Different strokes for different folks I guess!

Kiriwawa Fri 12-Apr-13 13:55:35

My brother is a PE teacher and he reckons that children that have been to baby swimming are more nervous when starting swimming lessons than those that haven't. If you both enjoy it, great but I don't think there's any point in doing it through gritted teeth.

Summerblaze Fri 12-Apr-13 13:56:26

I think that swimming is an essential life skill and while I would love to think that I would take my lo swimming every week without fail, in reality I probably wouldn't. The fact that I have paid my money already makes me go when I can't be bothered.

My DS2 loves it (12 mo) and my DD and DS1 loved it when they were little. DD started swimming early and although I don't think the classes help with getting them quicker at swimming, she wouldn't have learnt as early as I wouldn't have gone as often.

Summerblaze Fri 12-Apr-13 13:57:50

And FWIW all 3 of mine are super confident in the water. They may have been anyway but they certainly wasn't nervous starting swimming lessons. DD was only in there 5 mins before they moved her up to the next set.

andubelievedthat Fri 12-Apr-13 13:58:40

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Mutley77 Fri 12-Apr-13 14:01:45

I'm sure your children haven't been disadvantaged by not going but both my children have gone and been hugely positively influenced by them.

I started both at 6 months and it was a way of "encouraging" me to take them weekly because I had already paid and made the commitment. I think it is absolutely essential to develop water confidence from an early age - and yes I could have taken my children each week on my own but I know what I'm like and I wouldn't have bothered!! As others have said the cost for doing a weekly lesson is the same as going in for a casual swim (I have only ever done Council or similar type lessons).

The benefit to them (and me) was that they could get in a pool for a lesson on their own at age 3 without a backward glance and both swimming independently without flotation device by age 4. If they hadn't had regular exposure to the pool/lesson set up/teacher I am not sure they would have been able to achieve that. I am not saying they wouldn't but there are no guarantees and I see so many friends (or unknown children in lessons with my children) where children have struggled to cope with water/swimming/lessons if they start at a later age.

BigFatBarry Fri 12-Apr-13 14:10:16

Lobbing herself in head first while the life guards twitch grin

Do you mean from the side of the pool? I'm not surprised the lifeguards are twitching. If she does that in a too shallow part of the pool, you are risking a broken neck.

MrsKoala Fri 12-Apr-13 14:13:16

We love it, it's the highlight of our week. Very active DS (7mo) squeals with delight and laughs all the way thru. It's the only thing which really tires him. He started at at 8weeks old and now kicks along happily and more importantly, is very confident and loves the water. He holds on the edge of the pool quite happily. This was important to DH as he can't swim and is terrified of the water.

Mehrida Fri 12-Apr-13 14:16:30

My local pool has free parent+baby swimming classes one morning a week. If I want to go outwith this time it costs me £3.50.

We sing songs and play with more bath toys than we could fit in our house, never mind bath! DS loves it and I get a chance to chat with other mums as not many of my usual social circle are off during the week.

So yabu. Just because it's not for you doesn't make it pointless.

TheSecondComing Fri 12-Apr-13 14:22:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ledkr Fri 12-Apr-13 14:25:27

Shut up big fat berry I was obviously exaggerating. As if me or the life guards and me for let her dive into shallow water.
It was a turn of phrase sorry if you couldn't see that.

mrsscoob Fri 12-Apr-13 14:27:23

little over the top there Ledkr! Having a bad day grin

BigFatBarry Fri 12-Apr-13 14:31:10

No need to be rude, ledkr. It wasn't obvious to me that you were exaggerating and not a turn of phrase I am familiar with. Thanks for the clarification.

bruffin Fri 12-Apr-13 14:31:20

YABU

My ds 17 started swimming lessons the week of his first birthday, my dd 15 from 6 months of age. My DS stopped at 13 when he passed his bronze medallion and has now got his NPLQ and works p/t as a lifeguard. My DD has just passed her BM. From monday it will be the first time since she was 6 months old that she doesnt have lessons. She is very sad about it and DS tells me he misses lessons as well.

Baby lessons are more than just bouncing up and down. It teaches them to automatically reach for the side if the jump/fall in. They teach babies not to panic underwater etc

There is also the social side, i made friends having lunch with the other mums after lessons etc.

OneLittleToddleTerror Fri 12-Apr-13 14:41:00

Well to all that says it's a waste of money. Do you buy annual passes to zoos, farms, or take your kids to other lessons? All my mummy friends seem to have multiple annual passes, and go to gym tots, sing and sign, music bugz, soccer/rubgy tots, etc. They are all equally a waste of money, isn't it? You could just take a football to the park and kick around. It's free, cheaper than even going to the council pool for a swim!

thermalsinapril Fri 12-Apr-13 14:41:13

Some of the classes are focused on safety, even though it's disguised as fun and games. Learning to kick up to the surface, blow bubbles if the mouth goes underwater, float on their back, turn over, and pre-swimming skills like holding onto the side and climbing out of the pool.

OneLittleToddleTerror Fri 12-Apr-13 14:42:21

If you only go for free activites, then maybe you aren't the type who'll pay for baby swimming lessons either. I bet not many of our premier league footballers went to soccer tots.

GadaboutTheGreat Fri 12-Apr-13 14:53:44

YABU. Classes such as WaterBabies (which my DD has done since 10 weeks) are a vital life line to new mums/dads. Having the weekly class brings a bit of structure to an otherwise chaotic first few months grin

Yes you can go to the local pool whenever but it's really not the same. I know first hand as I've been intending taking DS (now 11mo) but 'never get round to it' sad

DinoSnores Fri 12-Apr-13 15:00:48

I did them with DS at the local swimming pool and only stopped with DD arrived. It was good for us to get out each week. I was very, very nervous about water until I was an adult, so I want DS to like water and also to know that he is not to get into water without asking permission. He can now (at the age of 2.5 years) jump in, swim for the side and then 'monkey walk' along the side and get out. It took me until I was in my 20s until I was able to put my face in the water, so he's doing a bit better than me!

Wannabestepfordwife Fri 12-Apr-13 16:32:42

I take dd to lessons a course of 16 lessons was far cheaper than paying every week and it makes sure I go.

I take dd as i was to anxious to take her alone in case I dropped her or I slipped with her in my arms etc etc.

I've met some really nice mums and I have the confidence to take her alone now so for me it was well worth it.

JsOtherHalf Fri 12-Apr-13 16:35:49

I used swimbabes for ds. We went from he was 4 months old, until he started school at 4. He is now 6, and the youngest in his swimming class at a local high school on a weekend. He has his 50m breastroke, can pick up objects on the bottom of the pool etc.

He loathed swimming for months when he around 18 months old, but he has no memory of that :-D

BackforGood Fri 12-Apr-13 16:58:01

IMO, all baby 'classes' are for the benefit of the parents rather than the babies. In this example, the child isn't going to improve as a swimmer, or with water confidence anymore than any parent who takes their child swimming regularly, however the fact there is a commitment probably means the parent is more likely to go than motivating themselves, and it is a chance to get to know other parents with little ones the same age - same as all baby classes - and that can be a lifeline to otherwise isolated parents.

MrsKoala Fri 12-Apr-13 19:04:40

i disagree Backforgood the benefit is that DS is taught how to hold on if he falls in and gets to play with structure like songs and actions - none of these i would have known/thought to do with just taking him to the baths alone. So i think he benefits more with a class than just messing about with me in the pool.

If you follow a similar programme once a week on your own and are confident enough to dunk your baby without a teacher there to help you then yes it wouldn't be any different - but i don't know anyone who would have that knowledge.

BackforGood Fri 12-Apr-13 23:06:27

Seriously ? A 1 or even 2 yr old demonstrated that if they fell in, they would know to turn and grasp the rail ? Must be more of a MN "G&T" child than a normal one, who are not developmentally ready to grasp such skills so young. confused

MsBella Fri 12-Apr-13 23:10:47

Baby swim classes are great I think! Took my last 2 dcs to them, its just a bit of fun really and gets mums and dcs out of the house to do something and socialise a bit

YoniTrix Fri 12-Apr-13 23:26:40

Backforgood, all of the kids in my DC's swim classes were swimming unaided at 2.5, and able to climb out of the pool unaided. They weren't all G&T. Of course a child younger than 2 is capable of turning round and grasping a rail.

TheDetective Fri 12-Apr-13 23:47:51

I have been taking my 4 month old weekly since he was 10 weeks. We go to council run schemes, and they cost a couple of £. You pay as you go.

Why? Well, I wanted him to be in a session without toddlers or older children splashing him before he was confident in water.

I wanted him to have some structure to his week, and we have a couple of groups, and swimming is one of them. All the classes are for his benefit not mine. We do baby sensory - that does not benefit me. Baby bubbles and rhyme, which is an hour of singing and action rhymes. No benefit for me. And swimtots. Again, no benefit to me.

He loves going to the groups and gets excited at the activities.

When we started at swimming, he cried. The water was cold for him. I bought him a neoprene wrap, and he was a lot happier. Each week he has grown in confidence, and as long as he is warm, he is happy! I can safely dunk him under water (I did this myself, not as part of the session) to get him used to the sensation of being under water. He does not cry now when he gets splashed, or water on his face/in his eyes. In fact, we have just been away to Switzerland, and went to an aquapark there. He had a lovely time, and happily went in the water, which was cooler than he was used to. He loved the lazy river, and I took him down the little baby slides.

So for me, I can see the benefit for him. It isn't about learning to swim, it is about having fun.

If he isn't having fun, we stop. Simple as that.

WilsonFrickett Sat 13-Apr-13 00:07:24

We did them at the local pool and it was something like £2.50 a session, so cheaper than a 'normal' swim. Im not hugely confident in the water and as pps said, often it's about giving the parents the confidence to splash and dunk. And all while the pool is otherwise empty, so just a lovely environment for 10 or so parents and babies to enjoy. It's actually the only 'baby group' I'd recommend.

I am totally shock though that 3 pages in no one has mentioned the main benefit: swim, baby starving hungry, eats for Scotland, then naps for at lest two hours and then still sleeps for longer at night

bruffin Sat 13-Apr-13 00:12:43

baby swimming survival

Agree with Yoni, as said above mine were taught to automatically turn to the edge in their baby lessons.

MajaBiene Sat 13-Apr-13 00:22:09

Don't see the harm in baby swim classes if parents enjoy and can afford it, but also don't see any advantage for under 3s over just taking them swimming yourself.

Also really don't get the point of putting babies through horrible self rescue training. When is a baby/toddler going to be unsupervised near water? Can't imagine the kind of parents who aren't with their under 3 near water are the same ones who shell out for the training!

Backtobedlam Sat 13-Apr-13 00:26:01

Its been one of my favourite things to do with my dc's. The lessons are so much more than splashing about! We have been taught a lot of safety skills (breathing, holding on, safe entry and exit etc) that I'd never have thought of, and it gives us some ideas to do when we swim on our own. The main thing is that its fun and great exercise-what's not to love?

bruffin Sat 13-Apr-13 00:43:56

I just showed the link to ahowvwhat babies are capable of as there seemed to be doubters. The baby classes we went to were lots of nursery rhymes and play but also teaching them to automatically turn to the side, hold breath when going under water etc.
This set them on a life long love of swimming although they never got into competition swimming, they love water sports so being strong swimmers is vital.

YoniTrix Sat 13-Apr-13 00:53:18

this is probably a better example. You can see the baby turning round and swimming to the side at the end.

MajaBiene Sat 13-Apr-13 00:58:38

I just don't see why it is necessary to have lessons to teach a baby that. My ds is coming up to 3 and has never been in a situation where he could fall alone into water.

YoniTrix Sat 13-Apr-13 01:21:51

Neither has mine, but in this kind of situation I'd rather they know how to hold their breath and kick to the surface.

And we usually holiday in a villa with a private pool, so although we are ultra aware about keeping pool doors locked etc would rather the kids were water safe as soon as possible.

MrsKoala Sat 13-Apr-13 01:23:24

well Maja i would hope DS wouldn't be in it too. But DH can't swim and often walks with DS near water. i want DS to be as confident in water as soon as possible. Plus he loves it.

Backforgood - i have no idea what a child's developmental age for doing stuff is, i have no experience of babies at all. All i know is ds has been able to stand and hold onto the side in his tummy tub since he was 3mo and now at 7mo if you hold him in front of a rail at the pool he reaches out and holds on - just like all the other same aged babies in the class.

YoniTrix Sat 13-Apr-13 01:42:16

But the main reason I took my DC was for the sheer love of it. Theirs and mine. Plus it helped to get me out of the house when I was struggling on mat leave.

Madmum24 Sat 13-Apr-13 01:43:17

thanks for the replies :-)

I was asking a genuine question, wondering what is the purpose of these classes, I certainly haven't witnessed any of the babies swimmers performing any dramatic tricks, rescues or hand rail grabs (and I have been observing for several months) The class in question (which seems to be crap in comparison to those that sing/dance aswell) is £7 per half hour, so I'm wondering where those of you live who get it free? I wasn't aware of these when I had my pfb I'm very sure I would have been first in the queue if I had

Actually my five are all good swimmers, despite the fact that they had very little exposure to any water other than the bath, until they started lessons at 5.

From a medical point of view falling into most waters, whether they be rivers, lakes, sea etc baby swim will not prove very useful as hypothermia sets in very quickly so I'd hardly think anyone would join these classes in fear of their three month old falling off the Stena Line?

Again, just want to reiterate that I'm not against them, just wanted to know why people went/if they enjoyed it.

Backtobedlam Sat 13-Apr-13 01:55:45

Actually swimming lessons or not a baby wouldn't stand much of a chance in rivers/lakes etc. However, a lot of drowning actually don't happen in deep water, it can be in a bucket, or paddling pool, bath or other shallow water. We all think we wont let our children get into those situations, but none of us are perfect and those things do happen. In the situations I've described a young child who isn't familiar with water/submersion may be more inclined to panic and not know how to get out, compared with a child who regularly looks for objects under water, reaches for the side, dips their face in and raises it out.

YoniTrix Sat 13-Apr-13 02:02:54

Exactly. Or small ponds in back gardens.

Madmum24 Sat 13-Apr-13 02:15:57

What techniques do they teach in order to prevent a child in (water related) danger panicking? It has been mentioned a few times in this thread.

bugsocute Sat 13-Apr-13 03:44:59

listen up and listen too me good ! as long as the babys there have got bubbles it ok by me. babys and kid 1s need too be wearing bubbles when there in the water and when there by the water too drop in so they dont get drown

bugsocute Sat 13-Apr-13 03:46:02

water is a mean bitch and then you can die. pools are a evil peace of work some times just make sure your babys and kids is wearing bubbles at EVERY time !

lifesisabiatch Sat 13-Apr-13 04:41:09

I had a chat with my gf over the weekend about this.
She think I should put the kids in swimming class as lil as 1 like her and everyone according to her. I think is fine not against it or anything but I never get the chance to do so. She would go out of her way just to get to class, find a class to register, get frustrated looking for a class calling around but she manage to get them done. I think is unnecessary to go through all. You can just take the kids to swims at your own time and you both have fun. She think that you have to get them start early in order to learn how to swim, the older you wait the harder for them to learn. I totally disagree.

If you have the time and money yes go for it. If you have to go out of your way to go be in the class don't.

MyShoofly Sat 13-Apr-13 05:18:38

YABU. According to the lifesaving society...

"In Canada, drowning is the No. 1 cause of unintentional injury deaths among children 1-4 years of age, and the second leading cause of preventable death for children under 10 years. With some 500 fatalities annually, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death among Canadians under 60 years of age (surpassed only by motor vehicle collisions and poisoning)."

I know your probably in the UK but I'm sure you'll find drowning similarly concerning in your area.

Baby swim might not teach your child to swim but it doesn't hurt to get them comfortable in the water while having fun. Classes keep us in the routine of going when we would otherwise perhaps not feel like it. We slacking off on classes for awhile and my 2 year old was noticably more skittish when we would take him to the pool. Now that he has been back in a weekly class his confidence has quickly grown - he is putting his face in the water, kicking his feet, laughing, smiling and having a ball with it.

Beats having the kiddo who's terrified down the road, clinging to you leg refusing to get in the pool. That is not going be the outcome for all kids but I used to teach swimming, lifeguard etc and saw plenty of that too.

If you don't want to do baby swim then don't but I wouldn't be smug about others "wasting" their time and money participating either.

yabu we did them £10 class in private pool on sun so was me husband n baby n between 3 n 7 other babies. if we went to local council pool would cost £4-£6 per adult.

my now 2yr old is confident in water puts his face in climbs out n jumps in happily all taught from early age.

we only did lessons from 5-9mths then as i was night nannying weekends husband took him local pool as cheaper on his own used all things taught n i slept!

atrcts Sat 13-Apr-13 08:38:23

You dunk the babies under water - just because you can under the age of one because they have an automatic reflex action to hold their breath - and the thought is that they come accustomed to water and so don't fear it.

I tried it with my son who hated it so I stopped!

rainbowfeet Sat 13-Apr-13 08:50:54

I recently looked into swim classes for my 14 month old ds & was shocked to find they cost the same as those for my 10 yr old!! I don't feel the need for them at such a young age! I'd rather go when it suits me & pay half the price for a splash around as I don't think they'll actually be learning to swim that young. Hopefully my dd will have completed all the levels in a year or so & then I'll start ds as I can't afford both. I don't feel my ds is missing out though as my dd only started lessons aged 8 & is already a fab swimmer she's even been chosen to swim in a gala (very proud mum)!! smile

aufaniae Sat 13-Apr-13 10:34:24

I think YABabitU!

I signed up for baby swim when DS was a baby. It was the only costly thing I did. It wasn't about socialising for me. I booked it as a treat for myself really, just to spend some time with baby DS doing something different / nice together.

I preferred to go to a class rather than just splash about as DS was my PFB, and so I appreciated being in a class where an instructor demonstrated what was possible / safe to do. Also signing up for a class made me get out and do it every week rather than putting it off.

Now I'm pregnant again (due 2 days ago!) it's much less likely I'll do a class this time round (although I might). I'm much more confident with babies in water now so I'll probably just go for the splash about option this time. I might do baby massage or something though, that reminds me I must have a look at what's available locally.

MajaBiene Sat 13-Apr-13 11:34:06

Relatively few children under 5 drown in the UK (about 15 in 2010) and half of those are children drowning while unsupervised in the bath. I fail to see how baby swimming lessons are going to prevent a baby drowning in a few inches of water, or indeed how swimming lessons make a child that age any safer than just regularly splashing about in the pool with a parent.

As I said though, I have no problem with baby swim classes and understand that many parents like the routine and structure of them, I just don't buy that they give babies/toddlers any advantage over just going to the pool.

aufaniae Sat 13-Apr-13 11:39:53

This thread prompted me to book DS (4yo) into lessons at the local pool, been meaning to do it for a while, so thanks for that!

bruffin Sat 13-Apr-13 12:02:36

Its not just about life saving, its part of a fun time. It doesn't cost any more than going swimming by yourself and usually a bit more fun because you got to meet others.
You can always tell if children have been taught to swim by parents. They have no breathing technique or good style.

MajaBiene Sat 13-Apr-13 12:10:57

You're lucky if it costs the same as just going to the pool - Water Babies type courses cost about £12-£15 a session! The local council classes are only a couple of quid more than just going to the pool, but just seem to be splashing around in a group with singing and games rather than teaching anything.

Actual swimming lessons, for 3/4+ year olds I can understand. Still don't see the benefit for babies.

MrsBungle Sat 13-Apr-13 12:13:09

Op - it seems obvious to me that the specific baby swimming class you are watching is shit.

My kids both do them - 3 yo DD has just finished and is now in local authority lessons. 11 month old DS has been in them since he was 3 months.

They hold onto and move along the side of the pool, get used to swimming under water, build their water confidence, have fun and many more things. They are sat on the side and helped to 'fall in to the water', they learn to turn in the water, make their way back to the side and hold on. The kids learn not to panic as they are so used to the water from an early age.

My kids love it. DD is 3 and can swim on her own and is very confident in the water. It is also an activity that I have met loads of new friends at. We have thoroughly enjoyed baby swimming lessons and I am glad my kids are water confident.

difficultpickle Sat 13-Apr-13 12:13:43

Baby swim classes didn't help ds to learn to swim but it gave me time out of the house with other mums. There were many activities ds did as a baby which had very little to do with what he learned and had more to do with my social life!

bruffin Sat 13-Apr-13 12:25:13

Its not just splashing around that's the point. They are learning through play ie jumping in, you automatically turn to the side. Blow on the face so they hold their breath then dunk them etc. Its fun that's it.
Mine went to council lessons and there was pennies in the difference and because you overpaid you are more likely to go.
I have spent 1000s probably on lessons for me and the dcs over the years. I don't
I have gone to adult lessons for the last 10 years and am still learning, but i go for the social aspect as much as anything and its my me time.

Madmum24 Sat 13-Apr-13 13:48:55

How many baby swim lessons are "needed" before they are able to rail grab, not panic etc? What age would this be expected at? I don't imagine that a four month old would be able to do this? Genuine questions by the way......:-D

hackmum Sat 13-Apr-13 14:15:39

I think it's true that if your child to swim when it's older (say four or five) the differences even out - you don't get a long-term advantage from baby swim.

However, I did take my DD to swimming classes from when she was a baby. I did it partly to get out of the house (I was fairly desperate) and partly because I wanted her to have confidence in the water. I liked the idea that she wouldn't be able to remember a time when she couldn't swim. That indeed proved to be the case - she loved swimming lessons and she was able to swim independently by the time she was three. And that meant that for the next few years, taking her swimming was a lot of fun (for her, anyway!) She was and remains extremely confident in the water, though now she's a teenager, she isn't any better than her friends who learned later. But I have no regrets about doing it.

YoniTrix Sat 13-Apr-13 14:22:59

Maja, babies lose the reflex that makes them automatically hold their breath upon their face being submerged at between 10-15 months. It then becomes a learned response. So babies that have done baby swimming lessons will still automatically hold their breath even if they have lost the natural reflex. Babies that have never been submerged and have lost the reflex may not hold their breath and instead inhale on their face being submerged.

No madmum, that would be G&T at 4 months. grin I can't remember exactly what age my two were able to hold onto the side themselves, but it was surprisingly early.

MummyBre Sat 13-Apr-13 15:44:51

I took both my babies to baby swimming classes and yes, it was expensive and yes, it was a big committment but i can now see the results as they are now 8 and 10 - both really confident in the water, swimming really well and will be moving onto swim club shortly, and both very strong physically. It was hard work at times when they went through wobbly stages but Water Babies were brilliant at helping us with this and building confidence and reassurance. Having had a really bad experience as as child, i really think swimming is a life skill and all children should learn. Of all the baby activities I did, baby swimming was the most worthwhile for us as a family!

AmandinePoulain Sat 13-Apr-13 16:32:47

Mad we started when dd2 was around 4mo. We go weekly, apart from lessons missed whilst ill/over Christmas etc and she's now 8mo and knows to grab the side, and has done for a few months I would say. She can't get there by herself though obviously! We don't go to water babies and don't practice submersion in our lessons, just playing, 'swimming' across the pool (ie. I lead her across) and jumping in from sitting.

Mutley77 Sun 14-Apr-13 13:14:51

madmum - it's just about instilling the basics really - lead a horse to water enough times and eventually they will drink. Babies do learn to instinctively grab and hold the edge under 1 year old - mine certainly did.

So for example (although I am sure this actual circumstance is very rare and it would not be the reason I took my DC's to baby swimming) if my child was 2 and had been doing that swimming routine for 12 months at lessons, then fell in water somewhere unsupervised where he was in reach of an edge, I am confident his instinct would have kicked in to reach it. As I say very unlikely a) he would fall in water unsupervised and b) in reach of an edge - but it is about general habit forming for water safety. Not essential by any means but certainly not pointless IME. When they get in the water for "proper lessons" and are swimming initially unaided these habits are helpful. As is the fact they are familiar with being in water, a lesson routine, and being confident in putting their head underwater etc.

JuliaScurr Sun 14-Apr-13 13:22:44

It was the only way to use thewarm hydrotherapy pool It's to keep the advantages of the early instincts so they never lose them and become anxious. I never learned to swim until age 35 smile
so wanted dd to learn easily - which she did

PenelopeLane Tue 16-Apr-13 09:06:38

I think it depends on how often you take your dcs to the pool otherwise. I've had my DS in lessons since he was 9 months, and he loves it. I've also learnt some good tricks for how to increase his water confidence including ways to hold him and games to play that never would have occurred to me otherwise.

When I signed up, my antenatal group was split in two, those who did lessons, and those who said there was no point as they could go themselves for less money, that they didn't learn etc - much the same as said here. Last time we caught up 2 of the women in the latter group admitted that at best they go to the pool once a month, so while they could go all the time in theory, they don't. Whereas when you've signed up to lessons, at least you make the effort to go regularly. If you take your dcs to the pool often anyway, then sure, no reason to enroll a baby.

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