Francoise Freedman
  • Female
  • Cambridge
  • United Kingdom
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My Background & Birthlight

Françoise Freedman, with a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, has more than thirty years experience teaching and educating instructors in water babies programs from her London area home base. She founded and operates Birthlight - an organization focusing on a holistic approach to pregnancy, birth and babyhood that includes an original water babies program and a pre and postnatal aquanatal program. Growing up as a competitive swimmer in the central region of France Françoise credits her coaches with instilling a drive for excellence without losing the fun of swimming. As a teen she spent summers teaching reluctant children and learned that gentle progressions got children happily relaxing and floating in preparation for more learning more advanced skills. Later as a young fieldworker in Peruvian Amazonia, swimming was again a useful and natural activity – whether to dive down to catch fish in the streams that flow from the Andes or as a daily recreational treat for all children or for bathing. She saw older children teaching little tots to swim as part of looking after them as well as parents crossing rivers with babes on their backs. Francoise was very much in a natural water environment and thereby also observed the movements of pink dolphins, otters and other water creatures swimming with their young. Returning to London to continue her education academically as well as aquatically, she set up a small group of families who were interested in ‘swimming with their babies’ and incorporated the gentle playful ways witnessed in the Amazon. The water sessions became the highlight of each week in Cambridge – Françoise then having children of her own. She states that Virginia Hunt Newman’s book 'Teaching an Infant to Swim' was an early inspiration to teaching babies and young children.

The presentation of her first film ‘Water Parenting’ in 1995 launched the Birthlight approach to infant aquatics with a focus on affective communication between parents and babies in a water environment. The film conveyed the message that water could be conducive to an easier birth, in the water or not, and that it could also help parents bond with their babies at any time by finding ease together in the water.

Her video ‘Swimming with Babies’ came next and then her book ‘Water Babies’. Also working at the time as an academic medical anthropologist at Cambridge University Françoise says that her university colleagues were surprised to see a double page article on Birthlight baby swimming in the Times, and then on the front page of the Daily Mail – the leading UK newspapers.

Françoise continues to impart gentle ways through her Birthlight organization - making sure teachers always create a wave of warmth and a good time in the water for children and parents.

Françoise Freedman was named as the recipient of the WABC Virginia Hunt Newman International Award 2009.

Francoise Freedman commented on Andrea Salzman's group Medically Fragile
"Dear Andrea it's good to see that you are still interested in Aquatic Therapy for babies/children with CP. We have developed a short course and would like to be in touch with you, thanks, Francoise (birthlight)"
Mar 30, 2016
Francoise Freedman joined Andrea Salzman's group
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Medically Fragile

Mini-webpage for those interested in using water to heal CP, DD and the medically fragile patient.
Mar 30, 2016
Francoise Freedman posted a status
"I am replying to an email by Princess and would like to get in touch with her"
Feb 21, 2012
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