I couldn’t wait to take our baby girl out for some daddy and daughter time. Although I was excited, there was also a sense of anxiousness as this would be the first time that it would be just the two of us going out. I’ve always looked after baby in the house for a few hours while my wife caught up on some sleep but there’s something very different about being out in the big wide world, solely responsible for your babies safety and welfare!
We booked onto a baby massage class as 11am on Sunday 10th January, one day before our daughters 3 month birthday. The night before I planned out a schedule for my morning to make sure we were on time for the class. Any parent knows that leaving the house at a particular time with a small baby takes military style preparation and execution! That Saturday night I went to bed excited about the day ahead and Sunday morning arrived after a half decent nights rest. My plan was going well, I even managed a full breakfast while baby fed and we left the house just in time to arrive before the session started. Recently I’ve become big on time keeping and I’ve been keen not to to take advantage of the fact that I now have a baby as to why I can turn up late to places. I see other parents on time for plenty of events so why can’t we also be on time? I will not be doing my part to re-inforce that stereotype that black people are always late!
I arrived to a room of 9 dads all with their babies laid out in front of them, ready to find out what this baby massage was all about. Some looked excited, others looked a bit bemused but everyone was in good spirits. We started by introducing ourselves and our babies. It just so happened that my daughter was the youngest in the class, this gave me a sense of pride that I was able (and allowed!) to take my young baby out the house without mum! Baby massage was interesting. As well as learning massage techniques to relax our babies we also learnt about ways to help relieve wind and aid baby to learn about the world around them. We sang songs, had a little tummy time and even snuck in some yoga!
The class lasted an hour. For the first half most of the babies were awake and enjoying the experience. An hour long activity is a long time for young babies though so by the second half most of the babies were either crying or falling asleep! My little girl was fully asleep by the second half so I just watched and learnt from Jo, the instructor, for the remainder of the session. I do understand while the class needs to be an hour though, as it makes sure that everyone will at least get some time with their baby awake and present in the class. Jo made sure that everyone felt comfortable and reassured us that it’s fine if you need to feed or change your baby in the middle of the class.
After the session the dads, and some of the mums who were waiting outside, had some coffee and cake and we took some time to get to know each other. The main thing that occured to me was the amount of dads out there who play a really active role in their child’s life. Around half of the dads were there on there own with their young babies and it really confirmed to me how society is changing and a lot more men are sharing a lot of the traditionally female parenting roles. I may even get a couple of them to do a guest blog post about the parental experiences. I was also glad to see another black man in attendance. I really didn’t expect to see any other black guys there so it was a pleasant surprise. We got on really well and will definitely be hanging out with our babies around Walthamstow real soon!
I left the event around 1.30pm to take baby back home for a feed and cuddle with mummy. I was so relieved that our first daddy and daughter trip had gone so well and I felt a real sense of accomplishment. I was already a pretty confident dad but that has really helped me feel even more assured. All in all it was a great experience, I was buzzing for the rest of the day.
The baby massage class I attended was run by Jo Redmond from Health Works. Jo is based is Walthamstow and is like pretty much the local Godmother! Jo supports parents on their journey through pregnancy, birth and as new parents with Hypnobirthing classes and many other activities. My wife and I did hypnobirthing with Jo and it’s something I plan to talk about on here in the future. If you live in East London, or are willing to travel, I fully recommend a Daddy (or Mummy if you are a woman reading this), Baby Massage class. Check out the Health Works facebook page here.
Right, I’m off to plan our next daddy and daughter trip.
Peace & Blessings