15.3.16

Northcote Baby: a review

This is one specifically for the London mums, and probably South London ones at that, so apologies to anyone else reading. But you could always, like, move - in fact, you probably should. 


I first came across Northcote Baby when one of the other mums in my antenatal group suggested we try Baby Massage classes. I'd wanted to try baby massage so we signed up for a four-week course, starting when Annika was around 7 weeks.

Our classes were held upstairs at The Northcote pub in Clapham, which is nice and central (on Northcote Road) and very easy to get to with a little one, and Northcote Baby also runs baby massage classes in Tooting. A course of four sessions costs £60, which is pretty competitive for London. 

The sessions started with some gentle relaxation exercises for me to put us in a nice calm frame of mind for massaging our bubbas, then we moved onto massage. Sandra, who founded Northcote Baby, is AMAZING. She's one of the nicest people I've ever met, super friendly and doesn't get fazed by a room full of crying babies - probably because she has two adorable littlies of her own. Sandra explained things really well, showing us how to massage our babies with the aid of a doll, and was always happy to adapt the sessions to accommodate the babies' particular needs, for example showing us how to modify techniques to help soothe reflux or wind. Annika LOVED it, especially having her legs and feet massaged, and I still use the techniques I learned to calm her down when she's all worked up. 

After the massage part of the class, we'd move onto some baby yoga, and Sandra would teach us techniques for calming our babies and for getting up wind. This part of the class was really useful - I've always been a bit lazy when it comes to winding Annika, and it helped to have some techniques other that just a rub and pat to bring up stubborn wind. 

We loved Baby Massage so much that we thought we'd try some of Northcote Baby's other classes, starting with their weaning workshop. 

The weaning workshop was held at Sandra's beautiful home, just off Northcote Road (seriously, how many times can I write 'Northcote' in one post?!) and was led by Sandra and her colleague, Jocelyn, who's every bit as lovely as Sandra. We were one of about six carer & baby pairs (not just for mums - our group had a dad and an au pair too!) which was just the right size for a good discussion. 

The workshop covered everything you need to know to start weaning your baby, including how to know your baby is ready to be weaned, which foods to introduce and when, and how to encourage your baby to eat. As usual, no question was too small or ridiculous for Sandra and Jocelyn, and they were very happy to adapt the session to cover the particular needs of our group, some of whom had started weaning, some (like us) weren't there yet. Sandra and Jocelyn were also able to give me some great tailored info on weaning with allergies, something I'm nervous about given Annika's still-unidentified issues. I found the session really informative - I'd read up a bit on weaning, but it was great to have mums who've done it to talk you through the practicalities. I have yet to put my new knowledge into practise but I feel much more prepared now to start the weaning process. 

Next up was Northcote Baby's Sleep Workshop, as I was keen to get Annika napping more regularly in the day and into more of a routine at night, as well as getting her to sleep in her cot and not always on/next to me. The workshop was held at Sandra's home, and covered everything you could possibly want to know about babies' sleep, including recognising your baby's tiredness cues, bedtimes routines, how long and when your baby should be napping during the day, and how to settle your baby when they just won't go to sleep! As well as being a mum of two with plenty of first-hand experience, Sandra is also a qualified Sleep Trainer, so really knows what she's talking about! 

Now, I should mention that I am definitely not a 'routines' kind of mama, and even the thought of picking up anything by Gina Ford makes me want to scream and run, so I was dubious as to whether I'd find the workshop useful. I needn't have worried - Sandra's an advocate of routines, but totally understands that not everyone shares that approach, and presented everything in the workshop as a 'pick and mix' of techniques to try. So while I've given some of the things I learned a go, like getting into a more fixed, and earlier, bedtime routine, right now I'm not going to try any sort of timed or controlled crying. And that's ok; the things I learned in the workshop have still been incredibly useful.

So has it worked? Yes. Annika can now nap in her cot and will fall asleep there at bedtime. She's doesn't yet stay there at night, but that's more to do with my particular parenting style than anything else! But that's major progress for the baby who would only feed to sleep and only napped on me or in the pram. I couldn't believe it when she happily went down for a nap in her cot the very first time I tried Sandra's techniques! 

Northcote Baby's sleep workshop costs £60 for a two-hour workshop and course materials. I'd recommend it to anyone who's having issues with their baby's sleep, big or small. Sandra's a sleep genius so I'm sure you won't regret it! 

Northcote Baby also runs a Baby Yoga course, which I'm sure ill be trying soon! 

For more info on any of Northcote Baby's courses, check out their website 

1 comment :

  1. Thank you so much Elizabeth! It was a pleasure to work with yourself and Annika and I am delighted you found what works 'for you' from my workshops!

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