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Waterbabies Swimming Lessons

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Swimming lessons for babies in hundreds of locations across the UK.

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      22.04.2013 21:51

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      Great experience despite being expensive

      I have been swimming with water babies with both my daughter (now 3 1/2) and my son (now 22 months) since they were 3 months old. It has and still is a great experience to see how they develop in the pool whilst also teaching them some great safety skills for when they are older.

      The first few months can be quite daunting when Lear ing how to take your child underwater but you soon get used to it (as do they). At times lessons have been hard work when they struggle with the "water wabbles" but if you stick with it it's a great outcome. It makes me so proud to see my daughter swim on her own at such a young age. She can now swim a width (approx 10 metres) on her own without armbands or other swimming aids.

      The lessons are not cheap but I would have no hesitation in saying they are worth it. It's great to have an activity you can really do together whilst your child learns and you can make new friends. Not only do they learn to swim but it also gives them self confidence to do new things.

      We have had a number of different instructors across the Banbury and Oxford regions and all have been great. Our current teachers are both fantastic with the children as well as the adults in giving support whilst also pushing the children to progress at their own speed of development.

      You can take your children swimming on your own but doing lessons will give you the confidence to continue the teaching when you aren't in the lessons. My recommendation would be give it a go, and don't give up too quickly if your child appears not to like it, they will come through it and you will have your own little fish like I have

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      22.04.2013 21:39

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      Fab fab fab!

      Often people don't give positive reviews where they are needed and so I wanted to ensure I did for waterbabies oxford. I was eager to take my little girl swimming when she was a baby and waterbabies seemed to offer everything I , and my other mummy friends, wanted. We signed up en mass and were not disappointed! We had our ups and downs but overall positive responses and both mummies and babies had fun both in and out of the pool afterwards. It's a fun activity to do with your LO and also great for both of your confidence in the water. One of our mummies hated putting her face in the water at the beginning and was like a water baby herself at the end so win win! When I had my little boy it was a natural thing for us to do, and now I am back at work grandad is enjoying time with his grandson( they have a special bond which is lovely) . So conclusion? Great great great for anyone of any age, shape and size! A great support group when you need it .

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      13.05.2010 17:44
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      For me, well worth the cost for an amazing experience.

      2 years ago on holiday in Portugal my 4 year old niece was by the pool area with her father at our rented villa. It was a week and a half into a 2 week large family holiday and just after breakfast we were all getting ready to go to the beach. My niece had always been very well behaved and was singing while she collected her beach toys that were scattered around the pool. Her father was sorting parasols etc to take and turned his back to pack them. It went quiet and he knew something was wrong. My niece had walked down the steps into the swimming pool and was submerged, her hair floating on surface as she stood on the bottom. Her father leapt into the pool and hoisted her on to the side. I am very relieved to say she was fine but we were all extremely shocked and felt very sick as to what could of happened and still don't know what made her do it You expect a child to fall in the water with a splash not calmly walk into the water! Needless to say for the rest of holiday supervision was very tight with the kids. When I had my first child last year I knew I wanted to teach her water safety and swimming from a young age.

      One of our NCT baby group parents lives opposite a special needs school that has a hydro pool for severely physically disabled kids. She noticed a mini going into the school sign written with Water babies details. After looking into it she emailed us all with the all the details and website information and 4 of us signed up to classes. We were all astonished at how young babies could join as our babies were all approx 12 weeks on our first lesson but there was a couple even younger. We each got a welcome pack consisting of an A4 leaflet holder containing a letter of terms and conditions and a smaller leaflet about all the lessons, what you will need, what happens if baby is ill and some do's and don'ts.

      ~What you need~
      In the booklet it explains about the double nappy system that ALL babies / toddlers must wear whether potty trained or not. This is a disposable swim nappy (e.g. Huggies little swimmers found in supermarkets / chemists in the nappy section) and then a Splash about happy nappy over the top that has extra protection from leaking. See my happy nappy review for more information.
      Take a decent changing mat, not the travel ones from your changing bag as these are not thick enough as you will be changing baby on a hard pool side surface.
      Plenty of towels for baby and you! Swimming costume for you. If winter, warm hat for baby for the journey home.
      Surprisingly a camera! You are allowed to take photos providing no one from your lessons has requested no photos, luckily no one from our group did so my husband got some greats shots of baby and me in the water!
      What happens if your baby is unwell? Obviously most of the time you won't take baby but I must add our baby has had a very mild cold for most of her 11 months and the teachers advice was that swimming (underwater ) will actually help clear her nose and it did temporarily.

      ~The pool~
      As I said it's a special pool that is slightly warmer than a normal swimming pool and in the winter feels like a lovely warm bath. Excellent for parents aches and pains! As only one adult goes in the pool per baby my husband and I take it in turns but often try and fool the other into thinking it's our turn again for 2 weeks in a row in the pool!
      The use of chemicals in the water is kept to a minimum hence the double nappy system needed.
      Once in the pool there is a hand rail on every side which is used in all the lessons teaching baby to hold onto it.

      ~Lessons~
      Each lesson lasts half an hour. This is just the right amount of time as in the early lessons we found our arms ached from the swimming position for holding small babies. Any longer and babies might also start to get hungry as they recommend only a light meal 1-2 hours before the lesson.
      The first term is called 'beginners'. You start by learning to hold your baby in a swimming position and getting them used to water being poured on their face. Then your precious tiny baby is dunked completely under water! We were all very nervous about this but the first lesson we did it not one baby cried! It was amazing to see how it bothered the parents more than the babies.
      The second term is 'intermediates 1' buy yourself a pair of goggles as now you have a chance to watch your baby under water at certain points in the lesson, especially during the song Ring a Ring a Roses where you and baby both go underwater at the same time. It's wonderful to see your baby under water but if you as a parent are not comfortable going under water just let the instructor know and you don't have to but you will miss a great experience.
      The third term is 'intermediates 2'. This is the term we are currently in. We have been passing baby under water through a hoop and use toys such a little ducks and fish to teach them to get their faces nearer the water. At this stage all the babies in our group can hold onto the rail around the pool supporting their own weight with us parents letting go. This is an important lesson so if a baby falls into water they learn to hold onto something which could save their life.
      The last term of the course is 'advanced'. Babies are encouraged to launch themselves into the water, take part in woggle races and balance on water floats. I'm really looking forward to this term.

      Plenty of singing and fun is had in all lessons at every stage and you are encouraged to take baby swimming to your local baths as much as possible.

      ~Prices~
      These I have since noticed seem to vary from area to area. Ours are £112.50 for a term of 9 weeks so at £12.50 a session these are not the cheapest swimming lessons you can get. Our local pool offers lessons at just over half the price but when it's your first baby you do tend to want the best and Water babies seemed such a more professional run course with emphasis on water safety so we all decided we would try one term. (3 terms in and we are all obviously very happy we decided to pay the extra).
      What I do like is that you are automatically booked onto the next term and monies taken from your card/bank so no worry about getting a place each time or who will be in your lesson with you as the class stays at the same time with the same baby students and teacher. You just need to make sure that if you don't wish to continue you must tell them before a certain cancellation date or there may be a cancellation fee. Twice our lessons have been cancelled due to a problem with the pool and they are very good at re scheduling the missed lessons (e.g. extending the term by one week) or refunding the lesson. We have never found this a problem with whatever solution they come up with, you are never out of pocket it's just a shame that sometimes it can be cancelled at very short notice but these things happen.


      ~Summary~
      An absolutely amazing experience for you and baby, well worth the money. The teachers are fantastic, on the small number of times our regular instructor wasn't there another fully qualified Water babies teacher was there equally as good. They show a genuine passion for their job and a natural rapport with babies.
      They also do underwater photo shoots which cost extra (not linked to your lessons) and they are very expensive. As we haven't done this I can't comment on the process but I will say that they haven't pushed these sessions so you don't feel any obligation.

      For more information on lessons see the website www.waterbabies.co.uk

      Safe swimming!

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        11.05.2010 12:13
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        Waterbabies swimming lessons

        I think it's really important for kids to learn how to swim and so I have been taking my little girl to Waterbabies swimming lessons for the last couple of weeks. I wanted her to start early because I think the earlier they learn the more comfortable they will be in the water and not scared of it in any way. Also it's great exercise and something they can then do for the rest of their lives and I also think it's important for safety as well to know how to swim in case, god forbid, they ever found themselves in danger around water. Also, I am a big fan of water sports (wake boarding and surfing in particular) and in order to participate in these fun and exciting sports you have to be a strong swimmer so with that in mind every Monday we set off for our local swimming pool.

        If you look up your local swimming pool I'm sure you will be able to find a class as they seem to be offered in most pools. They will give you advice on the age limit but mine was fairly open so we've been going from approximately aged 3 months onwards. We did not have to wait for her immunisations which was nice.

        The classes are conducted in the shallow baby pool which is lovely and warm to stop the babies getting cold. The only problem with the small pool for mummies and daddies is that because it's so shallow you kind of have to crouch down to stay in the water and can get a bit stiff after a while but it's not too bad.

        The lesson is only half an hour and to be honest that is all you need as I think any more than that and the babies either get bored or cold and that defeats the purpose of making swimming something fun and enjoyable. The lesson at my pool costs £3.80 which I think is a bit expensive but for once a week not too bad. I have a little swimming costume for my little girl but I have also seen babies in full wetsuits or sometimes just a swim nappy.

        The class is lead by an instructor who is in the pool with the mummies/daddies and the babies. At this stage it's all about getting the babies used to the water and making it fun by singing nursery rhymes,blowing bubbles etc. We hold our babies on their front and guide them through the water on their front. Then we take them up and down the pool doing a few lengths whilst singing songs. We also use a number of props. A small ball is placed just in front of the babies, just out of their reach to encourage them to reach for the ball, all the time kicking their arms and legs in the water to get closer to the ball. We also splash quite a bit to get the babies used to having water on their face. Our instructor then allows us to decide whether or not we want to put the babies under the water. If you firstly blow on their face to alert them to the fact that something is going to happen then you can very quickly pull them through the water and up and so far my little girl hasn't minded this at all.

        At the end of the class there are float seats that you can sit your baby in so you and they can relax for a bit at the end. It's a nice way to meet people too by going to one of these classes so something I definitely recommend.

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          30.04.2010 08:49
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          Good for parents to enjoy swimming with their children.

          When my grandson was 4 months old, my daughter said she was going to take him to a water babies class, I had never heard of it before and I just thought it was mother and toddler swimming class but she told me it was a class with a difference and when she told me the price, I thought it had to be something special or she would not probably have paid that amount.

          Water babies is a swimming class for babies and toddlers with their parents in the pool with them, the class is designed to help a baby become more confident in and around water and learn how to parents to teach children how to swim without the child being around lots of people in pools making them frightened.

          It was first set up in 2002 by Paul and Jess Thompson for their then young babies Imani and Jai to teach them for later years to save themselves from drowning if they were ever in a situation they needed help in water.

          The lessons are priced from between £10.50 to £15.50 and it is has to be paid for a full term, not each individual class, and so if you cannot make a class for any reason, it is paid for to save keep your child on the course, and if you have more than one child on the course, there is a 10% discount on the total combined course price for them both.

          Spectators can go to the pool and see their children, family member or friend and see how they are getting along and I actually went twice to see my little grandson in the pool.

          What I actually saw was the parents with their babies all in a circle and jumping up and down and moving slowly dipping the child into the water and making it fun bouncing and they turned around and had floats for them to sit on in the centre of the pool and take turns sitting on it and then bouncing back into the pool for the other babies to see and when they saw the other babies laughing and enjoying it, when it came to their turn they enjoyed it too.

          Each week the instructor does different activities, and one of them is he or she has the parent against the wall of the pool and the parent hands the baby to the instructor and she dips the baby completely under the water and up again, and each week, it is done again to eventually get them used to going under water and not being afraid.

          My grandson was fine the first time he did it but a few times after that, he tended to cry and did not like it so much and a couple of times he did not do it at all as the instructor thought it was not suitable for him that day as he may have been tired as it was in the morning.

          There are classes around the country and some of them are in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Staffordshire, Liverpool and lots more areas and if you visit the website www.waterbabies.co.uk you can give your postcode for the nearest class to where you live.

          At the end of the course which lasts I think 10 weeks, the child can have a professional photograph taken, with the child under water and I think 1 basic photograph is priced at around £50 but I cannot be certain on the price as my daughter had a full package of photographs taken and I think about 5 were taken and the price was around £130 or so, and I have one of those photos, 10 inches x 12 inches on my wall at home in a nice frame.

          The photos in the area I live, Yorkshire, my grandson had to travel 60 miles or so to another pool on a Saturday morning appointment to have the photos taken, which I thought was even more expense with petrol etc and for the price that it all cost, I would have thought at least a photo would have been taken in the area and pool the baby used for the class.

          I do recommend this class if you can afford it but if you are struggling, I think you can still go to a baby pool and do the same, but not doing what the instructor does with dipping a baby completely underneath the water at such an early age and the way it is done by the professional.

          My grandson did like it for awhile and then he started to get a little tired quite a lot as it was in the morning and it was around his usual nap time at the class time and he was a little grumpy at times.

          Wet suits can be used and all the details of what a baby can wear, nappies etc is available on the website and it can be booked from there also.

          It certainly is a good way of helping a baby get used to water and have fun with their parents and my grandson is now 16 months old.

          I give it a 5 star.

          Thank you for reading my review.

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            23.04.2010 13:40
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            Excellent swimming sessions for real independent swimming

            Our youngest son attended about three terms of Waterbabies swimming lessons. I only wish we had known about it when our eldest was born, as I certainly would have used it.

            The idea behind Waterbabies is to get babies into the water at a very young age, while they still have the natural instincts to hold their breath and kick towards the surface when underwater, and before they develop any fear about water. It also helps to give parents the confidence to manage their babies in the water. The classes don't use armbands or anything similar, and try to give the babies as much of a feeling of independence in the water as possible. I am not sure of the youngest possible starting age for these classes, but I think my son was about 12 weeks when he started.

            The classes are great fun, and last about half an hour. They are built around great fun songs and games, which teach your child useful skills. So you learn to hold your child in different positions, always with minimal support from the adult, to encourage a good swimming position and kicking. Very early on (ie. the second lesson) the children go underwater, most really enjoy it and it really is fun. They also have release swims early on, where they are pushed across the water to another adult and make it all on their own. As time goes on, they learn to hang on to the side, move along the rail using their hands, jump and dive in.

            The classes were huge fun, brilliant for confidence for both child and parent. We had to stop attending just over a year ago as we moved house, but my son now three and a half is very nearly swimming on his own, and certainly has great confidence in the water. It also had a great knock-on effect on our eldest, who was less confident, but would not be outdone by his baby brother!

            The only downside to these classes is the expense - it cost us about £90 per term (about 10 weeks). I wouldn't say at all that this is wasted money, we really got a lot out of it, but it was a big expense. I believe that there are now a number of similar classes cropping up which work on the same principles but are quite a lot cheaper, so much as I would heartily recommend Waterbabies, I would also suggest having a look to see what else is available in your local area.

            There are lots of useful products available through the Waterbabies website to support your swimming in between classes and into the future. Many of these are rather overpriced and you would be better looking elsewhere - such as floats and toy fish to chase. A couple of things that we received as gifts though (at my request I must add!) were really useful. One is a woggle (also known as a noodle) - a long cyclinder float. This always goes to the pool with us now, and is great for independent swimming, floating on your back with your child resting on your tummy, swimming through it underwater - generally great fun. The other product was a set of waterproof swim cards which have illustrations of the main exercises/games from the classes. I find this really handy since we have stopped going we can still keep on with some of the skills and I don't forget them.

            Four stars from me - would give it five, apart from the cost and the fact that cheaper alternatives are now cropping up, but highly recommended.

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              12.01.2010 22:30
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              If you can afford it, splash out and give at least one term a try

              When I was pregnant I saw a documentary about water babies and I knew I wanted to experience that with my new baby. After completing some research on the internet I discovered 'waterbabies' and I was thrilled to learn that they ran the course in our area.

              Following the birth of my daughter and several phone calls to our local waterbabies instructor, I had secured our little one a place on the course which would begin when she was three months old.

              Waterbabies generally start classes for babies from the age of six weeks although this depends on the age of your baby at the start of the new term. The overall course lasts for a full year and is broken down into four terms. You are required to book and pay for each term in advance to secure your place and the price does vary depending on location etc. (The waterbabies website will give you an indication of what you would expect to pay in your area) Although waterbabies recommend that you complete the full year, lots of parents are unable to do this due to work commitments and may only complete one or two terms. Even if you can only complete one term I would recommend that you do it. We found it a wonderful experience which was worth every penny but I'll come to that shortly !

              Waterbabies lessons are conducted in a pool heated to 30 degrees or above, the lessons we attended were in a hydrotherapy pool which was lovely and warm. The only negative was that the pool was in a school and there were occasions, due to circumstances beyond the control of the waterbabies instructor that the lessons had to be cancelled, although refunds were issued for these. Refunds are not given if you cannot make the lessons due to holidays, sickness, etc.

              Waterbabies provide advice about when to feed your little one, generally 1 - 2 hours prior to lessons to avoid any vomit. We were fortunate that no little ones were sick in any of our sessions and my little girl could always wait until we were home to be fed again.

              The changing facilities at the pool we attended were very basic. Waterbabies have a great and very informative website which I would recommend you read if you are interested in starting lessons with them. They advise that facilities vary from location and that's probably very true. I have never had to change myself or my little one in such a confined space before. Change mats are a necessity, especially if you are on your own. At our lessons grandparents and parents were allowed to go along to watch so I aways made use of these extra hands, I'd change baby first and then give her to the spare hands while I got ready.

              Waterbabies insist that you use a double nappy system, this consists of a huggies little swimmer and a splashabout swim nappy. You are able to purchase both of these direct from your waterbabies class but from experience they are cheaper to pick up elsewhere. I will review splashabout separately but they can be difficult to pull on as they have to be a snug fit but they are excellent at avoiding leaks should your baby decide to have a poo mid class. You can also purchase splashabout wetsuits but these aren't really necessary due to the water temperature.

              Our waterbabies lessons were great fun and a wonderful experience which both my husband and myself shared with our little girl. The waterbabies instructor we had was not very chatty until she got into the pool and then she was great. She made classes lots of fun with lots of parental interaction, singing, etc and if little ones were upset she did her best to help the parent settle them. By the end of our first lesson our little girl had been submerged underwater !!! Only one parent was allowed in the pool with each baby but the other parent could watch the class if they wanted (or in some cases grandparents had turned up to watch). Observing parents were also allowed to take photos as long as no-one else in the class objected - I have managed to create a wonderful photobook containing all our favourite images from our daughters lessons. Classes were fun but very well structured and we were lucky enough to complete the four terms. The instructor will give you commands to use to help prepare your baby to be submerged in water, this starts from water being poured over their heads right through to submersion and as the terms progress your little one will learn to get themself back to the surface and to hold onto the side after being submerged. The class will not teach your baby to swim but it does teach them the basic principles of water safety, something which you can continue to build upon.

              You are able to pay to attend a photo shoot with Waterbabies and have some underwater photos taken. However, we never did this due to the cost involved and the fact that they don't guarantee a great shot. Instead we took our baby and had some underwater photos taken by Urchin Rock, they attend various swimschools and the results are amazing ... take a look at their website if you're interested.

              Anyhow moving back to waterbabies, the classes are expensive and you have to pay for a full term before you know whether your little one will like the class or not. However (little one permitting), waterbabies provide both mum and baby (or dad and baby) with a lovely, bonding experience. It is great to see your little ones confidence in the water grow (and it certainly makes bath time at home a lot more entertaining and in our case all our little girl wanted to do was kick kick and kick like she did in her class).

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                01.02.2009 23:55
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                I would recommend this to anyone even if you only do the first block of lessons!

                Before my son was born I had heard of Waterbabies only in passing at my NCT antenatal classes, and took no notice as I have heard of lots of baby swimming classes called variations of the same name - Aquatots, Aquababies, Waterbabes...the list is endless!

                However when he was born I read something online about Waterbabies and that it was supposed to be a national company (which with swimming lessons is unusual in itself), so I searched on Google and found it has a (very impressive) website.

                I got the number of the local office and called straight away to ask about lessons, as the idea that we could start classes as young as we liked really appealed to me. It took 3 days to be called back but the lady was lovely and very friendly. The courses run in blocks of ten lessons and it was week 2 when we spoke, but as I was so keen and willing to travel anywhere within a 20 mile + radius to wherever we could be fitted in, she agreed that we could start in week 3 when my son would be 2.5 weeks old, at a school pool roughly 15 miles from where we live. I had to make a debit card telephone payment immediately for the remaining 8 weeks of the course, which was not cheap as the classes are £10.50 each (for a 30 minute lesson), but I was happy to do this as I was desperate to secure our place.

                As a former competitive swimmer I am not nervous in the water at all and am really keen for my son to be a confident swimmer at the earliest possible age. The idea of a group activity also appealed to me, as did the idea of being shown how a baby could 'swim' underwater without swallowing water or spluttering as I knew this to be a fact but had never actually witnessed it for myself. I was not happy to just take my newborn child swimming myself and drop him under the water as despite my aquatic confidence I felt this would be utterly irresponsible, therefore I decided the Waterbabies classes would be ideal.

                The confirmation of booking came through the post very quickly after I paid for our place - I believe it had been sent out the same day. Everything is printed very professionally and in colour and looks polished and organised - what you would expect for the amount I had paid I suppose.

                Instructions are included about when to feed baby (1-2 hours before class) and what baby should wear (a disposable swim nappy covered by a Splashabout Happy Nappy). I used to feed my son in the changing rooms immediately prior to the class as at this stage he was feeding every half hour a lot of the time and could not have waited even 1.5 hours (if I had fed an hour before the class, plus the the duration of the class). I did this primarily because I know he is never sick and this is what the 1-2 hours guideline is hoping to avoid. Despite this he WAS never sick and also did not disrupt classes due to hunger, so it was a good decision all round.

                He was by far the youngest in his class (and still is) but he participated just the same. It just meant that while older babies would kick their legs in the water he didn't until he was in the second class (called Improver 1) as he was that little bit older by then).

                The Waterbabies Terms and Conditions that you sign at enrolment state no refunds are given if a class is missed but I have always managed to have credits issued against a future course issued or been able to change to a different day if necessary, as have all of the other mums in our class. This is a definate bonus but one that you cannot take for granted as it is done more as a goodwill gesture.

                The core Waterbabies programme runs for 1 year, split into 4 ten-week blocks (Beginner, Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2 and Advanced) and after that you have the option to move on to toddler classes. All classes cost £10.50 per lesson for 30 minutes, which is a lot when you compare to local leisure centres where they can be as little as £2.50 a lesson (which is what ours cost, but babies cannot start until they are six months old).

                I think the lessons are worth it though as I have tried the local pool ones too (we now do both) and they do not compare at all. Waterbabies are interactive all of the time, and the lesson flies past. I easily enjoy it as much as LO does. With the leisure centre I would say it is OK...definately a case of getting what you pay for in this case though.

                Th instructor gets in the water with you which helps are she can do demonstrations of the different 'swims' the babies do.

                Babies have to be under a year old when they start their first Waterbabies course and throughout the year-long programme learn skills such as submerging, holding onto the side if they fall in and other safety skills. My son has been able to slide in, turn around underwater and reach out for the rail on the side of the pool since he was 6 months old which is fantastic when you think about it - it is not something I would have thought possible. Stimulants and toys are used to engage babies' interest and you sing lots of fun songs in the classes. From the end of the Beginner course you put goggles on and go underwater with baby which is amazing as you see them glide alongside or towards you.

                The pool we go to is attached to a school and is about 36 degrees as it is a hydrotherapy pool which is lovely and warm. The changing room facilities are rubbish considering the cost of the lessons but they will do - you have a communal room and have to bring a padded mat to change baby on the floor. Definately not ideal but you can live with it.

                However a lot of people misunderstand and think that babies are taught to swim in the classes. A child is not physically able to swim until 2 or 3 years old. The Waterbabies 'swims' use the current of you walking alongside baby to make them glide, although often they kick their legs too. It is promoted as 'teaching you to teach your baby to swim when they are old enough'.

                What I dislike is the fact that they use automated rebooking systems. This is promoted as making life easier but basically gives them the authority to charge your card for the next course whenever. In course 1 I asked when the money for the next course would be taken and was told it comes out the week before the course starts. In course 2 they took it four weeks into that course (so 6 weeks before the next course started!). If I did not have a good float of money in my account I could have ended up with a bank charge for that. Because of this I always feel like I am handing money over to them and it is £105 every 10 weeks which is a pretty hefty chunk.

                The other thing I hate is despite the cost, this is the only swimming class I have ever heard of where babies get no certificate at the end of the course - he even gets one ever ten weeks at the cheap leisure centre classes. I think this is extremely stingy I do not like it at all. Instead you get the 'unique opportunity' to attend an underwater photo shoot. Great idea, but just to go it costs £50, and then the prints are very costly on top of that. They don't even guarantee you will get a good shot.

                Also, I think it depends on luck of the draw for what your teacher is like. Ours is great but when I changed venues to somewhere closer to home the lesson was rubbish - the teacher there did not interact at all with the babies and the pool was freezing and the changing facilities were in full view of the pool! A complete joke considering that class was the same price and supposedly the same standard as the old one! We changed back to the old one immediately after one lesson.

                I am going to end this review here as I could write about the classes all day. I rate them 5* as a unique experience - I am very glad I did them and would do them again with number 2.

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                • More +
                  11.01.2009 12:30
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                  A worthwihile investment as it teaches water safety aswell as swimming

                  Water babies teaches babies both how to swim but also teaches water safety and takes babies from any age but must be under one when they start the course. My son was on the waiting list before he was born.

                  The terms are split up into terms of nine to ten lessons which costs about £10 per lesson but have to be paid in full before the term and missed lessons are not credited. The Lessons are held in small pools, mostly hydrotherapy pool so are like stepping into a bath.

                  The babies are required to wear a disposable swim nappy under a happy nappy which cost £8.99 each.

                  The lessons are for 30 minutes which is plenty time especially for the very young babies and you get into the pool with your little one as is the instructor who will demonstrate the activities.

                  My son started when he was two months old and has loved it from the start. The idea is that they learn how to swim under water while they have a natural relax to hold there breathe under water and are taught how to breathe under water so this replaces there relax as time goes on.

                  On the first lesson they swim under water which is a bit scary and initially they can be upset by this but they soon get used to it. I have noticed that the younger they start the more confident and enjoyable they seem to find it.

                  They not only learn how to swim but how to fall in without been startled so don't panic , how to hold on and essentially can be life saving.

                  A lot of the Skills are taught using Rhymes and repetitive words so the babies enjoy themselves and learn through familiar songs.

                  Every lesson ends with singing Twinkle, twinkle little star which is a marker for the babies to understand it is the end of the lesson.

                  You do get to see your baby swimming under water at times and when I see my son always looks so relaxed and happy.

                  I had a photo shoot of my son swimming under water which cost £45 and then I spent another £100 on the photo but it is so amazing everyone who comes to my home comments and it is a truly unique item to keep as a reminder of their childhood. This is optional and at a different time to the lessons.

                  My Son has thoroughly enjoyed these lessons, initially he found them exhausting and even fell asleep in the pool once. He has completed the water babies' course and now attends the toddler sessions which are the same price.

                  At 20 months old he can swim a meters independently, swim and grab on the side on the wall and then climb out. He is learning how to dive in and jump in His does use his arms and legs but he is a bit lazy doing this to be honest. He is very confident in the water and doesn't bat an eyelid when he goes under the water.

                  I would recommend this to anyone with a small baby. It is expensive but the best activity I have ever done with my son.

                  For more information www.waterbabies.co.uk

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                    04.12.2008 14:13
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                    I loved doing this with my baby and it has given us both confidence in the water.

                    When my baby was born I was desperate for something to do with him - even from an early age he got bored spending all day in the house. So I signed up to Waterbabies - baby swimming. And we both loved it! I haven't done any other baby swimming lessons, so I can't say that Waterbabies is better than anywhere else, but I can say that baby swimming is definitely worth the money and Waterbabies were really helpful, organised and efficient.

                    We started swimming when my baby was just 8 weeks old. I was a bit stunned at the end of the first lesson when the instructor said all the babies were going to do an underwater swim but she explained what would happen really well and everyone was fine. There was no crying, no panics, in fact it was easy! The lessons were totally appropriate for the babies' ages and, if anyone didn't want to do anything, or if the babies were unsettled and just needed cuddles then that was fine.

                    The lessons are organised in 10 week blocks - and you need to do 4 blocks (1 year) to complete the full course (but lots of people do less than this). I completed all 4 blocks and enjoyed all of them. The lessons I attended were in school pools - the water was always really warm but the pools and changing facilities were pretty poor. That was really the only negative thing about the whole experience. Each lesson lasts about half an hour and they are a mixture of songs, games etc. Waterbabies say there will be no more than 10 babies in any class but a lot of my classes were just 3 babies - which was great.

                    The lessons are quite expensive (around £10/11 each) and you have to pay for a full 10 week block - so if you miss a session you have still paid for it. However, we found that all our local authority baby swimming classes (ie in council pools) wouldn't let you start until the baby was 6 months and this seemed too late to me. So, if we wanted to go swimming we (me and dad) would both need to go (try getting in and out of a pool with a tiny baby on your own!) and that would cost at least £8 - so Waterbabies wasn't much more. We decided that we would pay for just one activity - and Waterbabies was it.

                    I know a few people who did the Local Authority baby swimming. I can't really compare them as I didn't go to both but from what I have heard the main differences are...
                    At Waterbabies the instructor is in the pool with you all the time so she can demonstrate what you should be doing
                    Waterbabies class sizes are small
                    Waterbabies is totally without the use of armbands etc - babies learn to be independent in the water

                    My baby is 18 months now and he still loves swimming. I don't do Waterbabies any more (you can move on to toddler swimming) - mainly because it is hard to fit it in now I am back at work. But, I do take him to the pool most weeks. He is really confident in the water but, more that that, it has given me the confidence to take him (even when he was tiny). I don't panic if he goes under - I just give him time to swim up and a helping push if necessary. I would totally recommend Waterbabies to anyone with a baby!

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                  • Product Details

                    Teach your baby a core skill that can potentially save their life.