Experience of baby groups?(40 Posts)
Just wondered what your experiences of attending baby groups with a newborn were? What happens at them? Are they worth it?
Ive been to baby massage and I hated it. My DD was only 7 weeks when I went and it wss such a faff. Shes 5 months now and thinking about going back to try a different class next week. I think I would have enjoyed itmore if she had been a little bit older. Dont put any pressure on yourself just yet its tough with a teeny one.
I followed the advice and went to one every day to 'get out of the house'. I came home and cried nearly day afterwards. DD had silent reflux and pretty much screamed all day, every day. The other mums were so perturbed by her behaviour and I felt so jealous of all the other babies who were eating, sleeping or just lying down without screaming. Not the greatest experience!
I didn't start going to groups until about 4/5 months, just went round people's houses until then. a baby that tiny won't get anything out of it.
I didn't really enjoy them much later on either, but DD seemed to like some and it got me out of the house so I went. Never made friends with anyone at any, chatted to a few people but found there were a lot of groups of childminders/nannies, especially after most friends went back to work when their DC were around 10/12 months.
I started baby massage at 8 weeks and met some lovely friends who I still see once a week (9 months later). I also went to an NCT course post birth and local Action for Children groups and met a different set if people who I see a lot too.
For me they were a lifeline - didn't know anyone in area, DH working long hours and I don't do well floating round the house. DD loves being out and seems to get bored at home.
What group are you thinking of? Some have a loose structure - topic / info / toys / singing. Others are just chatting and baby admiring.
I know they can be a bit competive parenting and you say the same stuff over and over again but it's good to meet people, get ideas, learn some stuff.
I am not a people person and don't generally make many new friends.
However, I found going to some activities to be vital for me, rather than my baby. I went to a baby sensory class which I found interesting in terms of baby development. We also went swimming (although I don't really like swimming!) which my DS did really enjoy. The best one that I went to was a music class, which we still go to now. My DS really loves all the singing and instruments and some of the lullabies that I learnt are his favourite.
I went to a couple of play group type sessions when DS was about 3 months and hated them. They were full of established groups of friends and I didn't really want to sit on my own in a church hall for an hour.
The group of friends from my NCT course was the most helpful and useful thing. We tended to organise something weekly even if it was just meeting in the park.
I went to groups from 6 weeks and made some really goo friends. I recommend finding some specifically for new babies as the baby/toddler ones can be a bit lively. IME you need to put in a lot more than you get back socially (lots of small talk/baby talk) but after a bit you'll become a familiar face and it'll start being fun.
I went to a baby/new parents group at the local children's centre with both of mine from a few weeks old. It was more a group for the mums really to sit round and chat and I made good friends at both.
Later I did baby massage, sensory groups, rhyme time also at the children's centre.
I've always found those groups really welcoming and supportive, there are staff to chat to you and introduce you if you are new. I don't recognise any of the cliquey/competitve groups I read about on here.
I'm fairly certain, Hollie84, that I'm not making it up that I found "baby & toddler" groups to be full of established groups of friends who didn't particularly welcome new people. No one was horrible to me, but it was very difficult to engage with the people that were there.
However, that's just how I found 2 or 3 groups in the town that I live in. I'm sure there are lots that are nicer. I wish there was some way of telling!
Your comment about not recognising the description of cliquey groups kind of implied that my experiences were not valid or correct. Apologies if you didn't mean that.
I went to a lot of different baby groups. A couple of them I made good friends with some of the mums, others it was the loneliest place on earth. I am still friends with some of the mums from the ante natal group. I found because we were all going through the same things at the same time we all helped each other out.
There are definitely cliquey groups. Ive been to a few and its very hard to break into already formed groups. I just don't go back and try elsewhere until i find somewhere that i feel comfortable. It does sometimes take a few months for me to get to know people though. Im naturally quite shy so find it difficult to break into groups. It all depends on the vibe of the place as to whether i give it another shot. I have sat uncomfortably on my own in one or two groups for half an hour not talking to anyone because theres no one to talk to, everyones in their groups, been bored out of my brains and thought sod this, we're going and collected DD and taken her to the park where shes been just as happy, if not more in the open air. They tend to be the toddler groups though. In the newborn days I tried baby massage, baby yoga, baby sensory- mine was the one who screamed the whole way through while I nervously tried to latch her on in a vague attempt to feed her knowing she'd just been fed but not knowing what else to do to stop her crying and gone home feeling like a failure because all the other babies were cooing up at their adoring mothers looking on while I faffed around in the back ground missing out on the class because my newborn was screaming her lungs out. Having said all that, im glad I went rather than festered at home on my own because throughout it all I have made some lovely friends and have a nice social life meeting friends on different days that ive met at various groups. Been difficult in parts but positive overall.
I am as thick skinned as a dragon and wouldn't go back to one of these baby groups. I find them cliquey, judgemental and most of them run by some real life form of hyacinth bouquet. I had nothing in common with any of these women and frankly if i would have said black - they would have said white. I preferred to stay within my own circle of friends who had kids of their own for 'baby bonding'
culture I don't think hollie was saying anything other than she hadn't experienced cliqueness etc. Nothing to do with you or your experience at all.
Tarka, I'm glad you know what Hollie84 was referring to. Obviously I've completely misunderstood. Silly me for thinking my experiences were relevant or worthwhile.
Yes, I'm getting that loud and clear Tarka.
You are takings a bit personally there, Culture! Doesn't sound like you are respecting Hollie's experiences yourself.
I've not seen the cliques at baby groups either but I do find the constant baby chat a bit painful! We all used to be interesting, balanced people before we had children. Surely we have something else other than our children to talk about now!
I did baby yoga, baby sensory and a baby swim class and loved them! It really helped me to structure my day without it seeming like I was watching the clock till bedtime!
It also lifted a lot of pressure that I had put on myself to play with & stimulate the baby!
And I have made sone brilliant friends who I regularly see outside of baby groups.
Go along and see what you make of them! What's the worst that could happen?
To be honest Culture I hadn't read your post when I made mine, but reading back through it now I'm still not sure how you're making my post about yours.
I'm sorry if I'm pissing anyone else off.
Everyone's experience is clearly equally valid, and I'm not intentionally trying to pick a fight, believe it or not.
My original point was that sometimes, for some people, a class centred around an activity is better than a general baby and toddler group. There is something specific to do, along with the opportunity to discuss what you are doing, rather than just hanging out with strangers for an hour. Which may or may not work for you, depending on how friendly/cliquey the strangers are plus how gregarious you are personally.
In the first weeks I went to a mum and baby postnatal pilates class run by a wonderful private MW and an ex-nanny, it was great, and they were lovely but I didn't chat much to other mums there.
In those early weeks I mostly met up with my pregnancy yoga class and they encouraged us to take our baby back to the class after the birth. I was first to give birth, once we all had we met up in a café for about twelve weeks then gradually lost touch (we were spread widely across the city).
From about 5/6 weeks our nhs area organised a HV drop in for six weeks, mostly the same people who were in our nhs ante-natal classes. I am still in touch with most of the mums who went to the post-natal drop-in (ds is 11months). These mums mostly live close to me.
I went to baby swimming from 12 weeks. Made lovely friends there I still see weekly. Three of us were from the nhs group and three were from the same nct group but I knew one of those pre-baby so the class bonded more than most and went to the café every week after the class - we always invited the two other mums who weren't part of that core six so hopefully we weren't too cliquey even though we already knew each other.
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