Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Baby Sensory Classes in the UK

Baby Sensory Selfie
I found out about Baby Sensory when searching online for local baby massage classes, as Joseph seemed to be suffering from gas and I thought it might help to dispel the bumhole-gremlins, as I like to call them. My Googling led me to a 'pure' baby massage class as well as Baby Sensory, which incorporates massage along with a load of other activities in an hour-long weekly session. I emailed both tutors asking if I could come along to try their classes out. Rebecca at Baby Sensory came back to me first and said I was welcome to come along, as was Ruari as they were having a Father's Day themed class. The baby massage lady, however, said that they were coming to the end of term so suggested I try her yoga classes instead. By this point I'd already been to the Baby Sensory class and decided that it was enough for me for now although baby yoga does sound quite cool.

The classes cost £7 for the first trial session or £6.50 each if you book for the term. (I think the tutors are all franchise holders and Baby Sensory is actually a huge thing in the States which has crossed the pond... I dunno if prices vary depending on where you live.) Classes are suitable from birth; I think Joseph's one of the youngest there at 11 weeks old and some babies there are about one year old. There are 'Toddler Sense' classes for older babies available too from the same company that started Baby Sensory.

Ruari and I went for the trial together (he gets one week day and one weekend day off), then the following week I intended to go back by myself but we were 10 minutes late and I was in such a fluster that I decided not to go in and went to my mum's house instead. The week after that (last week), I went and managed to get there just 2 minutes late but the carpark was empty. I later found out that the tutor was on holiday so it wasn't on... Gahh. This week, I emailed the tutor in advance, filled out the registration form she sent me and transferred £19.50 (the cost of the remainder of the term) into her account, then today we magically arrived with two minutes to spare. I swear that Ruari dressing Joseph this morning before he went to work is what saved our Sensory bacon this week, allowing us to actually get there on time.

The class I go to is at 11.30am on a Wednesday but is on the other side of Canterbury, so the traffic is what can be an added pain if I'm already running a bit late after expressing, giving Joseph his second breakfast then cleaning up his morning poo and dressing him before wrestling with the bastard car seat.
Flashcards. Say 'Custard Pie'
The class starts and all the mums and babies are sat in a square. Your babies are either on your lap on laid out on the colourful foamy mats and fleece in front of you... or both depending on their mood. The atmosphere is pretty chilled and you're welcome to change their nappies or whip your boob or bottles out whenever you need to, which is nice. You sing and sign-language a 'hello' song... Ruari didn't enjoy that at all and I think if he was left to his own devices he'd have walked out. The song is stupidly catchy and the signs aren't too hard to grasp (the sign for corn (as in cob) is interesting!). You say hello to stuff like the sun, moon, corn, stars, rain, flowers and friends. Then there are a few activities - for example, today all the mums (and some babies) held onto a giant blue sheet and waved it about (to simulate the sea) whilst the tutor dangled giant fish in front of the babies faces and put on a bubble machine. The babies looked at flash cards of animals whilst being told (by the parents) what they are and what sound they make... It tickled me that we got a flash card of a ginger cat. Joseph's probably always going to think that orange cats are called 'Custard Pies' (we have a ginger cat called Custard and a black cat called Marmite).

There is then a 10ish minute break of self directed play - the class is taken in a big village hall where half of the hall is just filled with all kinds of toys, play mats, fabrics and texture for the babies to play with and explore whilst the mothers have awkward conversations and I tell total strangers things like I struggled with breastfeeding and that Joseph's just started sleeping through and I don't know what to do with my boobs.
Pillow pit.
I try to make Joseph feel all the different textures.
He wasn't sure about the shiny inflatable and weird foily stuff.
In the second half of the class today, Joseph was getting ratty as he didn't really nap this morning. We gave them a little foot massage to 'this little piggy' (all the activities are done to short songs), then signed along to 'Old McDonald' which then made me think I'd get a McDonalds on the way home (Veggie Deluxe meal, thanks.) I can't remember what the other activities were because Joseph was freaking out, but the last thing you do is sing and sign a 'goodbye' song.

Joseph fell asleep the second he was put back in the car seat and the tutor did say that she's had reports of babies napping really well after the classes.

I'd totally recommend Baby Sensory classes as it gives babies access to loads of toys that you don't have, and you get loads of ideas for things to do with them at home... My fave is an alternative to tummy time where you lay on the floor with your legs bent in the air and you balance the baby on their tummies on your shins (if that makes sense?) I'll try to get Ruari to take a photo of it and I'll bung it on my Instagram. Joseph seems to enjoy the classes and all the different noises and things to do. He also likes eyeballing the other babies! Also, each week is different and has a theme. This week it was 'animals' whereas the other session I went to was 'dad' related so we did things like pretend to wash a car (dusting the babies with dusters whilst 'carwash' played and the bubble machine went on.)

Have you been to any classes or play groups? Let me know if you think they're any good!

Nicki x

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Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. It really means a lot! Nicki x