Our 5 favourite baby classes
When Bella turned one I realised that we would no longer be going to as many baby classes and we would be looking for toddler classes and play groups. This thought pulled on my heartstrings a bit, baby classes have been a huge part of our lives this last year. They have definitely benefited the both of us equally. Bella has had lots of stimulation and learnt some new skills and I have made new friends, always had an adult to talk to and a reason to get out of the house. I thought I would write about the 5 classes I have enjoyed the most, obviously they differ quite substantially in cost but hopefully there is something to suit every budget.
I have always loved swimming, whether it be a pool, lake or sea i’m always itching to dive in! One of my best friends, Lydia started calling me and my sister ‘waterbabies’ a few (NINE!) years back in Thailand due to our obsession with jumping into the sea off boats. It’s really important to me that our children learn the basics of swimming as it really can be life saving. So when Bella arrived I sought out classes in our area. There are two main companies here in Hertfordshire but I went with Puddleducks as they offer catch up lessons if you miss a class, which with a baby is fairly common due to sickness / jabs etc. We started the lessons when Bella was just 8 weeks old which was quite daunting especially as we dunked her underwater in the first class.
From then we have not looked back, the skill that Bella has in the water at 1 year old blows my mind. Even when she was just 6 months old in Dubai (above) several people approached me to say how they couldn’t believe her confidence and ability in the water. Although this is probably the most expensive class we do we have just signed up for another batch of classes and it still remains a firm favourite.
2. Baby Massage
Baby massage was something we introduced to our routine at only few weeks old. I believe giving a baby a massage right before bed is really beneficial and certainly helped Bella with her sleep - I mean who wouldn’t love a massage every night before bed? Baby massage was part of our bedtime routine until she was around 7 months old when keeping her still became virtually impossible. There are also certain techniques which are believed to help with colic / reflux / constipation.
The class I attended was at the Yoga hall in St Albans and combined post natal yoga followed by baby massage. The class was a total sanctuary to me in those early days. The calmness and the lovely welcoming ladies who ran it made me feel at ease in a very hectic time of adjustment. The extra bonus was that the babies were so zonked and relaxed from their messages they would sleep for hours after. This meant that me and my friend could look forward to a lovely lunch together each Friday while the babies snoozed. The classes are £15 or you can buy a course of 5 for £65.
If you are on a bit more of a budget it’s worth doing a bit of research in your area, my local childrens centre runs course of 5 baby message sessions for £25. Link here.
We started ‘Funnybones’ in January and what a hoot! It’s a great way to get the kids involved in music and quite frankly I love an excuse to have a good old sing song. Each week is a different theme with songs, puppets and props. The team are trained in both music and theatre so they know what they're doing with their catchy tunes. What I love about this class is the humour, which is often for the parents just as much as the children. It’s also a great class if you have older kids as you can bring them along too. I obviously only have experience with one baby but I imagine it’s ideal to find a class where you can bring multiple children of different ages. The classes are run twice daily Monday - Friday, if you live in the Hertfordshire area give the class a whirl.
4. Baby sensory
These classes are very popular and run by various companies all over the country. Here in St Albans, I chose baby sensory run by Laura and loved it. Each week has a different theme from the 'Baby olympics' to 'The beach' with lots of songs and different methods of stimulation. Laura was amazing with the babies and had my Bella engrossed from the start. We were a bit late to the party with regards baby sensory as we only began when Bella was around 9 months. You can do sensory pretty much form birth and I wished I had started sooner as personally I think it’s more enjoyable (maybe just for the mums) pre crawling / walking. Having said that Bella still got a great deal from it and I can’t recommend it enough.
5. Rhyme time
Finally, I have to talk about rhyme time, this is a session run twice a day on Tuesdays at our library in St Albans. The session is free but they ask for a £1 donation. We go along and sing lots of nursery rhymes, it’s nothing fancy but to be frank it’s been great to remind myself of all the nursery rhymes from my childhood. Some have been seriously updated - the ‘Wheels on the bus’ now includes, ‘the teens on the bus go swipe, swipe, swipe’ so down with the kids! It’s a really affordable chance to get out of the house and see some other mums. Have a look to see if your local library runs a similar session.
I hope you have found all the above useful. As you can see there are sessions to suit all budgets, I would definitely join local Facebook groups to ask for recommendations as well as looking at your local children's centre for some really affordable sessions. In my experience it can be daunting and a big effort to get out of the house, especially in the early days but I found it brilliant if only for the company!