Getting out and doing fun local activities with your baby not only supports their development, but it gives you back some structure to your day. Life with a baby can be a little like Groundhog Day, can’t it? Having a scheduled activity or two to look forward to each week helps to break up the repetitiveness.
The best part of it, though, is that it encourages you to get out of the house and meet other parents. We can’t stress enough the value of finding your village. Chatting to other mums makes you realise that what you’re going through is normal, and you won’t feel as alone during the challenging times with your mama tribe nearby.
Find a mother’s group (or start one up)
If it’s your first baby, your maternal and child health nurse should appoint you a mother’s group, but otherwise look online for local ones, or start your own up to suit your niche. Also, search for a Facebook mothers group in your area, or again start one up yourself – it’s simple, and there are always mums with babies looking to connect with others.
Mums and bubs fitness classes
Both you and your baby benefit when you’re filled with feel-good hormones, and that’s what exercise can do. Yoga, Pilates, Personal Training sessions, jogging in the park…there’s something for every fitness level and taste. There are so many different options, depending on what you’re interested in. Look for local flyers, ask you maternal and child health nurse, or find a Personal Trainer and start your own sessions up. Some gyms have crèches too, so that’s another great option to still fit in some exercise and self care.
Baby story time
Inspire a love of reading, while getting your baby moving and socialising. Most libraries hold regular free sessions just for babies with stories and action songs. Look up your local library’s website; they have regular baby storytimes that are lots of fun for the babies, and a great opportunity to meet new mums in your area.
Meet up with mums at baby-friendly cafes
Why not combine socialising with some much-needed caffeine (or wine!) if you’ve met some lovely mums nearby. Look for some great baby-friendly cafes that are breastfeeding friendly, have space for prams, and provide nappy-changing facilities.
Baby sensory classes
These classes expose your baby to a stimulating variety of sounds, smells, sensations, sights, music, dance, and textures. Find out about the benefits and a class near you at Baby Sensory.
Baby massage classes
Taught by qualified infant massage instructors, these classes are designed to enhance your bond with your baby while offering all kinds of other benefits such as helping to develop their motor, cognitive, language, and social skills. It can also improve digestive discomfort and aid sleep (bonus!). Find a class near you here, or get a group together and request an infant massage instructor to come and provide some classes.
Baby gym classes
Gymbaroo classes provide activities that stimulate brain development: gentle movement, music, massage, tummy time, baby games, and dance will help your baby learn about themselves and the world around them. Find out more here.
Baby music classes
Learn how to use music and movement to stimulate your baby’s senses, or to soothe and settle them. Classes are available for each stage of development, and are fun social activities for both of you. There are plenty around, and most offer a free trial session. Examples are Mini Maestros and Kindermusik.
Babes-in-arms cinema sessions
You can still go to the movies…but with your baby! These special sessions are usually dimly lit so you can see what you’re doing, and include a change table, and space and easy access for prams. Tickets are cheaper because the other audience members can be pretty rowdy!
Bowling with babies
Yes, you read correctly. Go and try out lawn bowling with a few of your mum friends – just keep the crawlers out of the way of the rolling balls!
Baby swimming classes
Get your baby water-confident and have some fun together. Equip your little one with the skills that will help to develop their physical, social, and emotional development. Contact your local swimming pool for classes run especially for babies.
At playgroups you get to meet other parents going through similar experiences, which can ease the isolation that often comes with caring for young children. You’ll also find out about the local community, health, and support services. Some playgroups are free, many are only a few dollars per casual session, while others charge a small amount per term. They’re totally worth the money though! Find your nearest one here.