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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?

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.

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

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


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


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.

BirdFromDaNorf Fri 12-Apr-13 13:44:36

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

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