Kicking off our Baby Business series is Laura Henderson, of Bonding With Baby Aberdeen. I’m delighted to be able to showcase the work of some amazing women on the blog, and am super excited to start with Laura.
I caught up with Laura quickly to ask her some questions about Bonding with Baby Aberdeen and her passion for working with parents
Congratulations Laura on celebrating your 5th year in business! Can you tell me about why you started Bonding With Baby?
Thank you, it has been an exciting month celebrating my 5th Business Birthday! I originally set up Bonding With Baby in 2011 as a part-time venture, one day per week, as my full-time position as a Child & Family Worker was reduced due to funding cuts. I became a Certified Infant Massage Instructor in 2007 with the International Association of Infant Massage and a Rhythm Kids® Teacher with Touch Learn in 2008 and used both of these courses to enhance the support I could offer the disadvantaged and vulnerable families I worked with, however, I realised there were many families who did not have the opportunity to attend Infant Massage & Rhythm Kids® courses and on founding Bonding With Baby, I was able to reach those families. For 2 years, I ran 2-3 sessions per week, and in August 2013 I decided to take the big leap, leaving my permanent post behind to run Bonding With Baby full time and have not looked back since!
What makes your classes special? What can parents expect when they come to a Bonding with Baby class?‘
Both the Infant Massage course and Rhythm Kids courses are Parent-Education courses so the focus can be different to other baby classes. Each course encourages parents to lovingly show respect to their baby and to listen and respond to their own baby’s non-verbal communication – though they do not have words yet….babies can still tell us so much! Valuing the parent as the expert of their own baby, classes are ‘Baby-led’ so parents do not need to worry or feel anxious if their baby needs anything in class, as I ask that they respond to their baby as they would at home. Running Bonding With Baby on my own, with no reliance on a franchise or other members of staff, I am able to ensure I provide a high quality personal service for parents with babies in my classes and this is of utmost importance to me. Expectant parents and parents with a new baby may feel vulnerable at times and by ensuring they only have to talk with me – whether in class, email, telephone or on social media, I can help to alleviate some of these worries.
My Bonding With Baby slogan is ‘Come relax & have fun with your little one’ and I offer a calm, supportive and non-judgmental environment for parents and their babies attending my classes. Each of the courses I run lasts 6 weeks, comprising of a weekly 1.5 hour session where parents learn skills in infant massage or baby exercises and rhymes to develop at home, following the Parent Handbook, at a pace that suits their own baby. Weekly sessions are held in small groups of up to 12 parents & babies in various areas in & around Aberdeen, with the hope that parents will meet other parents in their local area. The first 15 minutes of our weekly sessions is an ‘arrive & settle in’ period giving time for parents and babies to get settled into class. Ending weekly classes with parenting discussions over refreshments each week, allows parents to get to know one another with many forming friendships that last much longer than the 6 week course. I am aware that some of my first attendees in 2011 still continue their friendships, after meeting on my Bonding With Baby courses!
What has been your greatest achievement since starting Bonding with Baby?
Being able to reach over 1,500 parents (so far) with my classes has been absolutely amazing, although last year parents nominated Bonding With Baby for an award of the ‘Best Post-natal Activity’ at the ‘What’s on 4 Junior’ International Awards. After months of parents voting, I was announced as a Finalist and had to travel to the Awards Ceremony at Drayton Manor, Tamworth, before being crowned the Winner of the ‘Best Post-Natal Activity’ in the UK! What an achievement – my wee business, a national winner and as it was the parents, who attended my classes, who voted – it means even more to me!
Who has been your biggest source of support?
Oooh that is a hard one to answer! As a Sole Trader, I saw the importance of creating a personal support network around me, when I set up my business, so I attend different networking activities and have formed business friendships which are a good support, although I couldn’t do it all without my supportive husband, family and friends around me too. From a different angle, I would say the biggest source of support for Bonding With Baby is definitely the parents who have attended and continue to spread the word about my classes, as many of my enquiries and bookings come from parents who have recommended it to their friends!
Where can parents find out more about your classes?
Thank you Laura for taking the time to chat to me about Bonding with Baby!
*Disclosure – All opinions are my own. I have not received any payment or product in return for this article*