Yummy Mummy, Matilda Sturridge, reveals how she taught her wonderful baby Rudy to swim at just four-and-half-months-old.
The many stories of how my family and extended family were taught to swim have been regaled around my kitchen table for as long as I can remember. My Aunt will always beam with great pride when discussing how her daughter (now 24) was swimming at just seven-months old after being taught while they lived in France. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t learn until I was two.
I had forgotten about this competitive swimming streak my family carry until one of my weekly mother and baby yoga sessions – I heard a few of Notting Hill’s yummiest mummies discussing the Baby Spa they all take their little ones to. I know what you may be thinking, and believe me – I thought the same – there is no way I would take my baby to a spa, not only is he only four-and-a- half months old but I don’t plan to enter him into any baby beauty pageants just yet! However, I must admit that I was intrigued, and after I wangled my way into the conversation I soon learned that this ‘Baby Spa’ was not really a spa at all but a family-run private swim-school where babies and toddlers can learn to swim. Run by a South African woman called Laura Sevenus, a national competitive swimmer in the sixties, she and her family launched these fantastic schools to teach babies from birth to swim. She has even developed her own method, aptly named the Laura Sevenus Swimming Method – proven to be incredibly effective. At £45 a session it is certainly not cheap but due to the amazing reviews and perhaps a little down to the idea that my gorgeous baby Rudy might just be the youngest swimmer in our family yet, I booked us in for our first session.
Each session begins with a ten to twenty minute float. Laura’s husband has designed a special head float that gives the babies (from birth to six months) an amazing freedom in the water; literally allowing them to happily float around. The babies then swim alone in a Jacuzzi sized neo-natal tub filled with warm purified water. I can’t tell you how much Rudy loved it. Laura encouraged him to move around and play. After about 15 minutes Rudy was taken out of the water and wrapped up in a warm towel, he was then given a full-body massage using organic baby massage oils. He was in heaven. Not only was it clearly relaxing for him, it was also just as relaxing for me. After his session finished he was incredibly hungry so Laura lead me to a tranquil, dimly lit breast-feeding area where we melted into the comfy sofas. I fell in love with the whole process and made the decision to go back weekly.
Rudy, now almost one, has moved onto the next stage of Laura’s program. Every Sunday we go to Chiswick, which is where Laura’s other school, Sevenus, is situated. It is for babies who have out-grown the spa and children up to the age of ten. Here, Rudy’s sessions consist of a half an hour swim lesson where parents are encouraged to join their children in the pool (a much bigger pool but just as warm as the Baby Spa pool). Rudy can now even swim underwater – he loves his time swimming which completely fills me with pride, not to mention that it felt great to tell my Aunt this Christmas; “you’ll never guess what, Auntie, my son learnt how to swim at just four-and-a-half months old.”