Last friday I took my daughter to her last water babies swimming lesson. As we climbed out of the pool for the last time, I was a little bit sad. Not only did this class mark the end of our water babies journey but also the end of my maternity leave (I started back at work on Monday). I’ve taken my baby to a number of different mum and baby classes over the past year and water babies is the one I have enjoyed most (and the only one I have done more than one term of which says a lot). Apart from all the numerous benefits of swimming (which are well written about on the internet so I won’t repeat them), I’ve found swimming to be the class where we have both truly enjoyed every class and where I have noticed the most development in Poppet.
We’ve done 3 terms with them (10 weeks each) and loved every lesson. I started taking Poppet last September when she was just 4 months old (you can start classes sooner but they do not run over the school holidays). Our local class is in a school pool and it is a hydrotherapy pool so it’s lovely and warm. So warm in fact that babies only need to wear happy nappies. Poppet seems to really enjoy the classes too. As soon as she is dressed and we are sat on the steps of the pool waiting for the last class to finish she is trying to get in to the water. Once we are, she has a great big grin on her face for most of the lesson. She loves to splash the water in excitement too.
I’m not particularly a strong or even confident swimmer myself which did put me off taking her at first. My husband was more keen than I was that I took her, as he felt it is such an important safety skill to be able to swim that introducing her to water at a young age would be beneficial. I hated swimming lessons when I was a child and I want my daughter to be more confident around water than I am. I also feel that these classes have improved my confidence in the water a little bit too. If you’d told me back in September that the classes involved me having to go under water too, I think it may have put me off. Now I love going under water, to see my little ones smiling face, as she swims through the water towards me.
I still remember how worried I was about submerging Poppet on her first lesson and being totally honest it took me some time to feel confident letting go of her under water. Poppet however has never been bothered at all. She has never once cried in the pool. The instructors are lovely and reassuring and always happy to give you extra guidance if needed. The lessons are well structured and progressive so that you & your baby learn new skills gradually. There is lots of singing and various water toys are used to aid teaching skills such as bubble blowing, reaching out in front of them etc. I’ve looked forward to our weekly lesson too. As well as seeing how much Poppet enjoys her lessons, I have enjoyed the opportunity to spend 30 minutes in a lovely warm pool with Poppet and a number of other mums and babies who I have come to know well.
Three terms in and Poppet regularly swims short distances under water, is not bothered at all when the instructor drops her in to the water (and she goes under the surface), kicks her legs when in the swim position, holds on to the rail at the side of the pool (& has started reaching out for it as we get close to it) & is strong enough to push herself up on the bar.
We’ve stopped now as I am back at work and although I do not work on the day of these classes we would have had to miss a fair few of the classes next term for various reasons. Plus I’m assuming that starting nursery might mean Poppet will get more bugs, meaning more missed lessons. You have to pay for the full term and lessons are not the cheapest (but you can understand why the classes are expensive). Water babies are only able to offer classes for the first 4 terms of their course here, so we could have only done 1 more term anyway (without having to travel to a different town).
I’m going to miss our regular swimming class and hope that I find the time and motivation to take Poppet to our local leisure center regularly. After seeing how much she loves swimming and the skills she has developed I know I have to keep taking her. I’m going to see how I get on over the next few months taking her myself but already I’m thinking about the possibility of taking her to swimming lessons with a different swim school in my town from September.
Disclosure – I have not been paid to write about water babies. We have paid for all our classes and loved them so much I wanted to write about them.