The baby groups that I have been to previously, have been used by health visitors as a way of keeping a check on parents and offering a weight in service for the baby. The very first baby group I attended really put me off baby groups for a very long time. My ex health visitor suggested that I attend a group in a village not to far from my home as at the time there were no baby groups in my village; I went along with a 6 week old Ruby and absolutely hated it. I tried to talk to some of the mums, but they were already in a tight knit community which I don't think they wanted me to form part of. They did everything by the book and I didn't conform to their 'normal' (obsessive) way of parenting; it left me feeling like I was a second class and bad mother. It annoys me how comments were made about a baby being chunky or fat; you would not dare to say this to an adult so why to a baby? Babies grow at different rates and come in all different shapes! To this day I have not returned to that group and never ever plan to go there ever again.
Reflecting back, I remember attending a breastfeeding support group when Lottie was only a couple of weeks old; I felt really unnerved at seeing all the mums feeding babies who were toddling around, it wasn't something I ever thought I would be doing. At that point I was exclusively expressing breast milk for Lottie rather than directly breastfeeding her, however as time has gone on the relationship between Lottie and I has grown and she now feeds directly from the breast; I can't see an end to it anytime soon. I never thought I would say it but I will miss the day when she no longer is snuggled up next to me having her milk.
This week I decided to be brave and give a new group a go; as a stay at home mother I find it really hard spending day after day at home on my own with the girls; I long for adult company but to be honest I have very few friends who are still local to me with children or babies, and even fewer who are also fortunate to have the opportunity to be a stay at home mum. I wouldn't change being a stay at home mum for anything right now, as it is the best job in the world, even with all the tantrums and trials it brings at times!
The group I went to was really just a social get-together organised by a couple of mums who are all keen baby wearers. I never thought that I would be baby wearing Lottie, but we both get so much out of it and I would encourage anyone with a baby to consider going to a sling library near you to try some out. I had a mixture of feelings about attending, ranging from excitement to feeling scared that they would either judge me or look down their noses at me like the other baby groups I have been to; however I am very pleased to report back that all the mummies were really lovely and even helped me to get to grips with being able to back carry Lottie in the wrap, which is something I really want to get mastered for the summer so Lottie and I can enjoy some nice walks in the countryside. After my experience with this group I shall definately be going back.
|Lottie enjoying soft play at the new group|
From not being a fan or baby groups, I have partially changed my mind about them as I have finally found one that feels right for me and I really am looking forward to getting to know some new mummy friends and their babies. It has taken quite a lot of time to find a group, but I would encourage anyone who is a stay at home mum to find a group or two that they feel able to go and don't be put off if one is not for you.
I would love to here everyone's comments on this subject; Baby groups do you love them or hate them?