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Water babies

(54 Posts)
SylviaB75 Fri 07-Sep-12 11:29:52

My daughter has just had a baby. He's nearly 8 weeks old now. They're going to take him for swimming lessons this weekend, I think it's with a company called 'water babies'. Has anyone else done this with their child/grandchild? I'm wondering the benefits and whether it's worth all the money or just a big con!

YBR Fri 07-Sep-12 11:42:54

I'm not going to comment on any one company. I think the commercial prices for baby swimming are extortionate. In our area one did a free trial session which we went to, and it was fun, but not worth the price to continue in my opinion. Also they insist on the more expensive double-nappy systems.

Look for a local children's centre since our Sure-start does swiming sessions using a local primary school pool: £1 per swimmer for a half-hour session.
It's not swimming lesson but a free-for-all; a teacher is present though.

Numbthumbs Fri 07-Sep-12 11:58:54

I did it with my DD. We started at 11 weeks and did one 'term'.

The term cost £130, but we were bought it as a gift from my mother and when they asked us to sign for another term we laughed in their faces when they asked for that much money for swimming lessons personally couldnt afford it.

Its half an hour and my class was large so we basically just stood still in line, waiting for the woman to dunk my PFB baby under water.
Its nice to go to and gave me confidence with DD in the water but i take her to the local baths now shes older and can withstand the temperature.

I think if the classes were smaller and it wasnt so expensive i would have liked to have stayed and perhaps done a full year as my friend does it with her DD and at 11 months she can almost swim by herself, its very impressive to see what she can do. It really is a nice way to bond with your baby and if money isnt a problem i would recommend it.

Gigondas Fri 07-Sep-12 12:07:40

Waste of money and time. Babies that young dont (IMe) appreciate waiting or being dunked by someone they don't know. It nearly put dd1 off water as got do distressed .
Dd 2 done no classes just been out with us and loves water .

It is certainly down as one of biggest wastes of time and money did with dd1.

Just started a course with my 12 week old DS (different company though). Really enjoyed the first lesson and am sorry I'm missing the next couple 'cause we're on hols; will take him swimming while we're away to keep getting him used to it.

Agree it's expensive, but think it's a pleasant way to spend half an hour on a Monday morning at the moment!

DeWe Fri 07-Sep-12 12:26:51

My sister calls it "baby drowning"... grin

vodkaanddietirnbru Fri 07-Sep-12 12:27:59

not worth it in my opinion. Take them to the pool by all means and swoosh them about the water but dont pay silly money to do it. My 2 didnt start swimming lessons until around the age of 4.

SuperSlattern Fri 07-Sep-12 12:33:11

I did water babies with my DD.

I thought it was brilliant tbh. Yes its expensive, but I now have a DD who is very much at ease in the water.

I did two terms, and now we take her on our own and she loves it.

And its a bit more than "swishing" about. It teaches children what to do if they ever fell into the water.

And IMO swimming is an important life skill.

KatyJ26 Fri 07-Sep-12 12:35:59

It's lovely if you can afford it, but it's nothing you can't do on your own with your baby. I also don't think it has any bearing on whether they 'like' swimming or are confident in the water. I have done it with all 3 of mine, 1 is v.confident, 1 doesn't especially enjoy it, still waiting with the 3rd! The other thing to be mindful of, is that you can't get a refund if you miss a lesson and especially over winter when various lurgys (sp?) are around you inevitably have to miss a lesson or 2 - this makes for expensive illnesses! I am not bitter that my son missed 4 lessons at a cost of over £50

tara0202 Fri 07-Sep-12 12:40:18

My DD is 3 and has been in Water Babies since she was 3 months old. DS (3 months) is starting this Saturday.

DD loves it. She is 3.4 and swims like a fish and is very confident in the water. It is not just about dunking them although DD is very confident swimming under water and being under the water. DD has been taught all sorts of safety moves like swimming up to the surface, finding the side and holding on.

It's worked well for us but is, admittedly, expensive.

lottiegarbanzo Fri 07-Sep-12 12:40:24

Common activity among my group of parents of first babies. We are relatively late in starting at nearly six months. Water babies is the most expensive, some gyms run their own but WB is convenient and runs at weekends so DP can go. We'll do one term to get the techniques then probably continue ourselves. I insisted as DP would take her to the pool but I want to use a teacher and esta blished techniques not have DP just throw her in!

Bongaloo Fri 07-Sep-12 12:49:57

My DD did similar lessons. One of the best things we ever did for her.
I know the idea is more about confidence and water safety (not panicking and knowing which way is up, holding on/floating at the surface etc) if an accident were to ever happen. But my DD was swimming 10m (in pyjamas) from age 2.5.
Yes it was a lot of money, but some people spend that on a buggy.
The water was warm, the classes small.

I will say she didn't always love it - sometimes she wouldn't go to the teacher etc, but we went week in week out, through rain, snow, sniffy noses etc. We live on a riverbank so water safety is an issue.

Plus, it made me shave my legs once a week.

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 07-Sep-12 12:54:24

It will probably be good for your DD to get out of the house and meet some other Mums but as others have said, there are far cheaper ways. Some Children's Centres run baby swimming, your local pool probably runs Aquatots and some NCT branches run swimming groups too.

This is not a comment on Water Babies per se, just my opinion on all companies running baby swimming for profit.

Northernexile Fri 07-Sep-12 13:01:36

I am off swimming for the first time with my 6mo DD next week too, so it's really interesting to hear people's opinions. shock and grin at 'baby drowning'!

Sorry for shameless hi-jack Sylvia, but while the topic is being discussed, what do you put them in? Swim nappy with the top? I've been puzzling over this!

SleepyFergus Fri 07-Sep-12 13:02:20

I do agree that it's expensive, but it was one of the best things we did with DD1 and she is so confident in the water, she's 2.9 and can swim underwater and without armbands. That wasn't meant to sound smug, it's just a joy to watch her be at ease in the water and not scared like some other kids we see. I'm not a hugely confident swimmer myself so I wanted to ensure my DD1 has the opportunity to enjoy and be safe swimming. WB does teach them lots of safety aspects too such as getting in and out of the pool, holding onto the side etc.

Now we have dd2 who is 10 weeks and we're going to start with her in Nov.

And totally agree about the shaving the legs comment! grin

lottiegarbanzo Fri 07-Sep-12 13:06:23

OP I think you could argue that all paid for baby activities are stupidly expensive for what they are. I bought books on baby massage and signing instead and there's no way I'm paying for 'baby sensory', which I think I can do at home. I think with swimming there is something useful to learn from an expert.

Mostly though, these activities are as much about meeting other parents as the activity itself. There are cheaper ways to do this; coffee groups, library-run sessions etc. If it makes them happy though what's the harm?

lottiegarbanzo Fri 07-Sep-12 13:07:58

Northernexile, WB made us buy a 'happy nappy' for about £10 and you put a swimming nappy underneath.

TomDaleysTrunks Fri 07-Sep-12 13:09:46

We've done it with a couple of companies since DD was 8 weeks. She is now 18months and still loves going. She is so confident, happy and safe in the water. She holds on to tE side when asked etc. fab activity, probably the only one worth the money.

Northernexile Fri 07-Sep-12 13:10:45

A happy nappy? <intrigued>

Will also be cracking out the razors beforehand, thanks for reminding me!

SleepyFergus Fri 07-Sep-12 13:10:55

As for the double nappies, it is a necessity. You need a swim nappy (huggies or boots make them - you can actually reuse these of you rinse them out and let them dry) and a 'happy nappy' which is made from neoprene and is neat fitting round the waist and legs. Essentially, this helps retain any poo inside the nappy should your LO poo. If poo gets into the pool, they have to be shut down, cleaned etc which costs, and I think some pools will fine WB if this happens as ultimately, WB have to ensure their clients abide by the rules. Which I don't think is too much to ask!

WB will sell you the happy nappies, but you can get them cheaper on Amazon. The make is 'Splash About' which is who WB use too.

Northernexile Fri 07-Sep-12 13:13:06

Will take myself off to Amazon pronto. Thanks all!

BlablaSos Fri 07-Sep-12 15:04:49

My dd enjoyed the taster lesson as she wasn't dunked, after that she got more and more clingy to me and cried every time the teacher came near her. I think if I'd carried on past the 8 weeks I had signed her up for it may have put her off swimming altogether. Friends took theirs to the cheaper council lessons and they don't dunk them under half as much. I may try them but my dd is now 11 months.

naturalbaby Fri 07-Sep-12 15:08:54

It is expensive, I did cheaper baby swim lessons and the swim sessions at the leisure centre which has all been well worth it.
If nothing else, babies generally love being in water and it's a lovely activity for a mum and baby to do.

A couple of friends of mine did it and are amazed by how well their toddlers swim, and their confidence in water.

YBR Fri 07-Sep-12 19:12:46

We've always put DD in just a swim nappy. WB and others require the neoprene outer but I know the Sure-start swimming in the same pool don't. We've never had any problems. The double nappy thing makes practically impossible for any poo to escape, but our DD has never poo'd in a pool ... yet.
We don't even put a swim suit on her yet - can't see the point of some horrifically pink garment she'll grow out of in a few weeks. Everybody thinks she's a boy anyway. smile

beanandspud Fri 07-Sep-12 20:54:56

I took DS to WB from about 10wks. He hated the first term (I was the red-faced mum with the screaming baby whilst all the others were bobbing around singing 'twinkle twinkle' sad).

Term two got better and I kept going because it was a chance to get out of the house and I quite enjoyed having a coffee after the class as I didn't have much company otherwise.

Term three we moved class to the weekends and changed pool and DS was screaming and miserable (and so was I) After a couple of weeks I gave it up as a bad job. I hated the 'dunking' and didn't feel at all comfortable with it which no doubt passed on to DS. For a couple of years he rarely went in a pool except on holiday.

Fast forward 3 years and DS loves the water. He is like a fish, loves swimming and diving and clowning around in the pool and all those terrible memories of WB classes have gone.

So, not sure whether baby swimming makes any difference at all to future swimming potential. If you and your baby enjoy it that's great; if you don't then don't worry and try again later.

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