It's a scary, scary world out there when you've just had a baby. But, with some help from our friends at NCT, Isabel Mohan has come up with a list of activities to get you out of the house. You might even enjoy yourself...
I vividly remember the first time I made it to the supermarket (0.4 miles from my house), just me and my beautiful, crusty newborn, both wearing actual clothes and everything – I was so proud that I texted pics to practically everyone I knew.
Within a few months, you won’t feel like this. Getting out and about with your little one will become second nature (although it will always, always take you aaaaages to leave the house). But the key to feeling more chilled in the future is to face your fears and get out early on, if you’re up to it. And you’ll feel much more confident about it if you do it with people who are in exactly the same boat…
1. Become a film buff
Do not put this one off. Baby cinema – where you get to watch the latest grown-up releases with a hopefully fast asleep (or angelically feeding) newborn in your lap - is an absolute dream, but gets harder when they get bigger and more wriggly. I went so many times in the first six months that I was basically Mark Kermode in big pants and a nursing bra.
Top tip: take a sling and you’ll have your hands free to mainline popcorn. Even topper tip: use Mush to invite some mum mates and potential mum mates along so if you need to nip out to do nappy changes or jiggle your baby, they can fill you in on any crucial plot twists you’ve missed. Thanks to a badly-timed poonami, I still don’t know what happened at the end of Carol.
2. Give baby massage a whirl
This is the perfect, gentle introduction to baby classes, and one that’s actually worth doing while your little one’s still tiny (baby sensory and music classes can wait – they can be pricey, and newborns will only cry or sleep through them!). Not only can it help your newbie with their inevitable wind issues, but it’s a great way to bond with other mums in a place where nobody will mind if they wail, poo or demand a feed every three minutes.
I lucked out with a baby massage teacher who happened to be a retired midwife which meant we could throw all sorts of anxious new mum questions at her about feeding and sleep while we were trying to remember the words to This Little Piggy. Jump on any opportunities like these! Find your nearest NCT baby massage course here; many of the courses are led by antenatal and postnatal practitioners who you can fire those questions at.
3. Get pampered
So, your baby’s had a relaxing massage – now it’s your turn. Yes, really – it IS actually possible for you to get pampered during the time of your life when you need it the most. The world of home beauty treatments is huge – and if it sounds like something your mum would do then think about it… you’re a mum now too! Gather some mum mates and book a beauty therapist to come over to one of your houses to do some treatments – massage, manicures, pedicures, whatever you fancy, and the crucial part is… you can take it in turns to look after each other’s babies.
4. Go for a casual coffee meet-up
It can be daunting to go to “official” gatherings where you don’t know anyone but just remember, everyone’s there for the same reason – their life has just been turned upside down by a tiny human and they’re looking for people to share the highs and lows and cake with.
All around the country there are NCT Bumps & Babies groups and coffee groups (I’m reliably informed that it’s OK if you’re more of a tea person) and you don’t even need to be a member. You can find your nearest events here.
5. Gen up on baby first aid
This is one of those things that’s easy to put off, because it doesn’t sound like the most fun in the world, but is actually well worth doing while your baby’s small and portable. You can fill a day feeling like you’re actually learning something and it’s a great way to chat to other new parents and share your anxieties about, well, everything. NCT run regular courses around the country with trainers from the British Red Cross – find out more here.
6. Get moving
OK, so it’s not the best time of year for outdoor pursuits but both you and your baby will always benefit from fresh air. Just a simple walk around the park will clear your head and relax you both. It’s also a good time to chat to new friends away from the confines of your living rooms. Plus your babies are bound to get cooed over by passers-by which is always a confidence boost.
Another great way to get moving a bit, if you feel up to it, is Mother & Baby Yoga. It doesn't matter if you're a total yoga newbie, this is all about bonding with your baby, meeting mum mates and actually taking a second to breathe during this whirlwind time of your life. Find your nearest NCT course here.
Mush and NCT have a shared vision: we believe no new parent should feel isolated and want to help parents build networks in their area. To provide information, support and a bit of entertainment for those long early days (and nights) with a new baby, we’ve partnered with NCT to bring you these special Mush guides. For more information about NCT, please see here.