We took James to the Baby Spa in Kensington from when he was a few weeks old and have started the same thing with Isabella who had her first trip at only two weeks old and loved it! Can babies really relax?!
There was an article in The Guardian today about a Baby Spa in Texas. Did you know that there is one in London too? It's not fantastically well known but those that go tend to be rabid supporters of the concept and huge fans of its founder, Laura Sevenus. Our eldest started going when he was just a few weeks old and we were so pleased with the results that now the latest addition to the family has had her first trip before she was even one week old.
About The Baby Spa
You can read lots more about The Baby Spa on their own website but the "treatments" revolve around hydrotherapy - the principle is that a baby in water has a lot more freedom to move their limbs and so will have better muscle and bone development than a child that is immobile on land.
Logically, it makes a lot of sense. It doesn't, of course, mean that your baby is going to be miles ahead of their peers learning to walk or crawl but hopefully it speeds things along a little. The freedom of movement in water also means that they are exposed to new stimuli and movement.
No, but really?!
In our experience it works well. Whilst most three week old babies are immobile in their crib, Isabella was in the pool and kicking her legs around and waving her arms under the water. She also gave a couple of smiles! You don't have to just buy in to the medical benefits either as after the session in the little pool (it's a large sink for small babies!) they get a massage and look blissed out beyond belief. Seeing your baby looking that relaxed is just amazing.
How does it work?
Upon arrival there is a friendly welcome from a staff member and mum can feed the baby in a very comfortable sitting area. Once baby is ready, it's off through to the pool room where one of the team takes over, letting you sit back and watch. Baby gets put into a little floatation collar (yes - they are medically approved!) and moved over to their float tank. The water is kept at around body temperature so the baby is perfectly calm going in. Smaller babies go into what is effectively a very deep sink about 18" square and older babies go into a pool the size of a hot tub.
They get left to bob around for about 20 minutes, totally safe and supervised. It is amazing to watch them starting to kick around in the tanks when only a few weeks old.
After their session, they get wrapped up in a lovely fluffy towel and given a very gentle baby massage. If they start crying (which is rare!) then the massage pauses while baby is soothed. You NEVER feel rushed.
All-in-all it is a fascinating experience for parents to see and our babies have both absolutely loved every minute of being there.
A stepping stone to swimming
Laura, who owns the spa, is a former competition swimmer in South Africa and helped to pioneer a method of teaching children to swim. Her daughter runs a renowned Chiswick swimming school as well. We think that Baby Spa was a great way to introduce James to swimming early and he transitioned easily from the spa to the pool at six months old. Much of the ethos behind the Spa is that it is a great way to get children comfortable in water.
Oh yes. Very much so. It's a great experience for all involved and the staff at The Baby Spa are fantastic. Try it once and you will keep going back. It also makes a great gift for new mums!
Both mummy and daddy have full time jobs with long hours and so we had to make the decision over whether or not to put Doofy in nursery. Even if we have a day off he sometimes goes in. Does this make us bad parents?...