Once I had given birth to my little boy and I started to get into the swing of breastfeeding and maternity leave I decided to enroll onto some baby classes in order to meet other new mums and to give us both something interesting and stimulating to do during the week.
I first signed up to Little Bear Baby Signing classes. These classes are really awesome. They include lots of singing and dancing to traditional rhymes such as The Grand Old Duke Of York and Incy Wincy Spider and also a few new songs that were completely new to me. Whilst singing we also do the signs and I find doing the signs whilst singing really helps me remember all the new signs we come across each week.
This class is extremely relaxed and breastfeeding is completely encouraged during the class if baby needs a feed. There are also a selection of toys scattered around the room to keep your little one entertained during the class. An added bonus is at the end of this class biscuits are passed round and there is a short stay and play session which lasts for around 15 minutes where you can chat to the other mums. By this point most of the babies are tired so 15 minutes is plenty of time.
One thing that puts people off of baby signing classes is the fear that it can delay speech because babies become so reliant on signing. This couldn't be further from the truth as studies actually show that babies that sign tend to talk earlier and have a wider vocabulary than those that didn't sign. Baby signing is beneficial because it gives babies a means of communicating. Instead of wining or throwing a tantrum because they can't communicate their needs, babies can sign and we all know that a happy baby leads to a happy parent!
As far as baby classes go Little Bear Baby Signing classes are very reasonable and cost around £3.50 a class. This is a great price for a class that includes a biscuit and refreshments, 45 minutes of singing and signing and 15 minute play.
Another class we signed up to do was Baby Sensory. Baby Sensory is quite a large franchise so you will be sure to find a class relatively close to your home.
Although these classes are more on the expensive side at £7 a class they are extremely good fun and a lot of work goes into organising the class due to the vast array of props that are used. Each week there is a different theme which the props and activities revolve around. Over the summer we have been treated to 'Baby Olympics' and 'Summer Carnival'. Other favourites include 'Jungle' and 'Underwater'.
Upon joining Baby Sensory I was told that I could attend classes for a whole year and I wouldn't come across the same theme used in a class, and so far so good. I have been attending since Easter and each week has been unique. Baby Sensory also put on a special Father's Day class which was especially nice because it allowed all the dads to enjoy a class with their little one. The theme of this special class was 'Car Wash'.
The classes at Baby Sensory last for one hour with a twenty minute play break included which gives the opportunity to talk to the other new mums. There is also a handy changing table set up which includes a changing mat, wet wipes and antibacterial gel for any toilet emergencies! Again, breastfeeding is encouraged and there a a number of chairs set up in case baby needs a feed. There is often a mum in a nursing top or nursing dress sat aside during a class giving their baby a feed so don't feel put off in attending if your baby still needs feeding regularly!
We also attended Water Babies classes just for the one term. These classes are incredibly expensive at around £16.50 for a half hour lesson. We only attended the one term with Waterbabies because quite frankly, our baby hated them. In hindsight, I think he was probably just a little bit too young and was easily overwhelmed. He started when he was around 3 months old and just cried and cried throughout each class and only stopped when he was placed back into the comfort of his car seat. It really was quite stressful! We have since taken him swimming on our own and he seems much more confident and even has a laugh and giggle whilst splashing about. We have now signed up our baby to a new term of swimming lessons at a local school and we are hoping that at 10 months old he will find these classes much more enjoyable.
Finally, I also attended Maraca Jacks classes for a short period. These classes are great because you can pay as you go so you don't feel completely tied to a whole term. They are half an hour long and involve making lots of music with various musical instruments and singing nursery rhymes.They are around the £3 mark per class. They are very laid back and again, breastfeeding is encouraged and there are chairs available to go and sit down and nurse. I ended up leaving these classes because the timing was smack back right during nap time and as a result my little boy ended up extremely agitated during and after the class and it was a pain to get to him sleep as he just became so over tired.
Which baby classes have you attended? Have you found any really great classes? What are you favourites? I would love to hear from you.
Until next time.