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Infant Aquatics: Birthlight new DVD filmed in Moscow August 2014

It’s now been 7 years since our first Birthlight Infant Aquatics training in Moscow.  Since then, we have moved forward in dolphin leaps and bounds with many groups of new teachers in Moscow and also in St Petersburg.

Amanda Gawthrope is a very loved tutor in Russia as her playful spirit and extensive teaching skills receive great appreciation from parents and teachers alike. I also enjoy teaching water classes in the warm pool of the Bright-Family Birthlight Centre in Moscow.  This reminds me of the Windmill School classes we pioneered in Cambridge since the 1980s: lots of fun but also fine technical skills and progression from newborn floating to toddler swimming, with quite a few babies managing to swim before they had mastered walking. There was perhaps less structure but parents and babies were bolder in relating to water together with their babies, not just coming to baby swim classes.  In Russia there is a widespread love of water sports, outdoors swimming breaking ice on the lakes in Winter and seaside camps in the Summer, lots of diving too.  Our gentle Birthlight approach to Infant Aquatics has gained popularity because babies are not forcefully submerged and our priority is their enjoyment of the water. So our long standing idea of filming our new DVD there took a concrete form last August with the opportunity to work with the skillful and dedicated production wife-husband team of producer Olga Alexandrova and cameraman Victor Alexandrov (Young£Film studio), Anna Shkulanova whose great photos you have probably seen on the Birthlight Training Russia web page, organized the shot to a tee while being 7 months pregnant with her third baby. Our team was completed by Anastasia Volodina, our wonderful interpreter.  Amanda and I both enjoyed the long filming days, full of sweet magic as the interactions between parents and their babies ranging from 2 weeks on Day 1 to 2-3 years on Day 4 transformed within short sessions. Babies were truly showing the parents what they could do, needed, wanted to do… we just supported the process…and crashed exhausted but happy every evening.




We have started the edit process with Olga and Victor and there is a firm plan of releasing the DVD by Christmas!  A clip is being produced for the Baby Swimming international conference where Shawn Tomlinson, accompanied by Sylvie Russell for Birthlight, will be a presenter. (CAIPA conference 3-5th October in Trinec, Czech Republic )

We are buzzing with Aquatics as the new Aquanatal course (NVQ 2/3) developed from Birthlight materials with my consultancy for British Swimming over the last couple of years is now completed and ready to go! We were able to negotiate access to the course for midwives and non-swimming teachers through an aquatic exercise module, matching the status of the stand alone Parent and Baby Course developed with STA twelve years ago (already)…

I am  also (finally) completing a new version of my Water Babies book, just the title is not quite finalized as yet…

And last but not least, our next International Conference (4 years after ‘Light on Parenting’ in London ) will be on WATER! It’s already planned and booked on 22-23 September 2016 at Girton College, Cambridge (did you know the College has a very nice indoor pool?)… So please keep these dates free in your long-term diary as it will be a very special event indeed of interest to all Birthlight members not just the Aquatic teachers.  More and more, it’s time to realize how our land based somatic practices have translated as innovative aquatic practices for prenatal and postnatal support and an internationally acclaimed method for introducing babies to water and the joy of swimming. But what came first? We could equally see it as water practices inspired from Amazonian parents frolicking with their little ones in pools and rivers have contributed to the development of the interactive moves and body-based communication we promote between parents and their babies on land.

The Special Infant and Toddler Swimming that was quietly developed through years of experimentation by several Birthlight tutors has now been formalized into a new training course. Moreover watch the developments of Aqua Yoga with more Aquanatal moves and also a new Aqua Yoga Therapy training course.

I look forward to the release of the DVD in Russian and English as an expression of our shared passion and delight in facilitating babies’ enjoyment of water in a gentle but also dynamic way.




This mini-series of Aqualight Handbooks produced by birthlight give detailed descriptions with photographs showing how a birthing pool, tub or even shallow water in a pubic pool can be used during pregnancy, leading up to a water birth, postnatally as well as simple steps showing how to introduce your newborn baby to water.

The first two handbooks 'Aqualight: Make the most of your birthing pool before and during birth' and 'Aqulaight for newborns: Using your home tun to introduce your newborn to water' are both now available to order from our online shop

The books cost £6.00 each or £8.50 for both booklets (UK postage is included, additional shipping charge for EU and worldwide)