The importance of parent and baby groups on maternity leave (for me)

Little man is nearly 5 months old and one of the things I researched quite heavily when I was pregnant was what groups were around for us to join that were suitable for tiny ones. I know myself and I know that if I hid away from the world early on I would struggle to get back out there.

I didn’t want to have to plan our week with military precision by booking multiple classes every day or anything like that, but I did want to get out and meet other new mums and socialise little man from an early age. This was especially important for me as we only moved to our new town last Summer so I’ve not really built a network here yet.

tiny talk logo

Tiny Talk

One of the first classes I found out about was baby sign language. I’ve always wanted to learn British Sign Language (BSL) and have the basic alphabet down.

Tiny Talk is based in BSL and gives your little ones the chance to express themselves by learning basic signs for the every day objects, activities and people that they will encounter.

Each week is themed around a topic, such as going to the park, or snack time. a handful of basic signs are taught and then any number of signs are incorporated into the songs and activities that take place during the hour. We sing songs, play games, encounter something for our senses and then there is time for parents and carers to socialise whilst the children play together. Little man is slowly getting braver and is utterly fascinated by the other children.

This class is one of the highlights of our week and whilst we haven’t really picked up any signs yet I am trying to incorporate them into our day so that they become part of our language at home. I’ve made friends with some other lovely mum’s and we are starting to socialise outside of the group as well, which is a godsend!

Mum-centred Groups

In the UK, mum tends to be the main caregiver in the early months, and whilst I know this isn’t the case for everyone it is in our family. One of the issues I found (selfishly) is that everything I could find was built around an activity for the children and the carers were an afterthought. Largely this is the way it should be of course, but I have found a group in my town that is actually aimed at time for the mums, with a safe space for baby too. This group is for new mums of children up to a year old, which means you don’t feel as though your little one is getting in the way of the bigger children who want to be up and about the whole time. Whilst the group I am part of is based around Mum I have no doubt that any caregiver would be welcome. This group has been a Godsend for me and the friendships I have made are very real.

We’ve tried other groups – baby massage wasn’t really for us (we’re not zen enough!) and whilst I really fancy baby sensory and swimming I think I need to build up to these! Some weeks, like this week, we have lots to do – other weeks it’s quite quiet, but committing to these groups means I know we have somewhere to be and a reason to get dressed and up and at-em! I know that we are really privileged to be in a position to be able to pay for these activities and not everyone is. I know our local library does offer some free groups as well, so hopefully that is an option where you are too.

What activities do you enjoy with your little people?