When you finally feel ready to leave the house on a regular basis, the options can be overwhelming, describes Isabel Mohan
0 - 6 weeks: Baby massage
You want to do a class already? Sheesh, you’re good at this. But the thing is, your newborn is basically a cute accessory at this point. If you’re a total joiner, baby massage is a good option for the early days. It’s pretty gentle, can help with some of those early wind issues (the baby’s, not yours – that’s a whole different article), and if you’ve got a group of mum friends already, you can get an instructor to come to your house for a private class which is infinitely more fun with added cake and prosecco.
4 – 12 weeks: the pub
Why bother paying to sing Incy Wincy Spider when you can just go out for long lunches and pelvic floor banter? At this point, your baby is small and portable enough to drag anywhere, and cute enough that nobody will mind if he or she kicks off. Enjoy your freedom – when they’re bigger, you’ll be so obsessed with naps that it will feel impossible to coordinate schedules with your mum chums, plus your little darling will want to throw food everywhere.
0-6 months: Parent and baby cinema
Most years, I stare blankly at the Oscar nominations, but this year I’d seen pretty much every film on the list – give or take a few annoying nappy change interludes. Baby cinema is genius – you get to feel culturally savvy while your baby does what it does at home anyway: feed, sleep and squawk, without judgment. Make the most of it in the early months – soon they’ll be too big and flaily and shouty to sit through a two-hour thought-provoking drama.
4 – 8 months: baby sensory
Baby sensory is just a fancy name for a room full of women (and the occasional apologetic looking man) flapping scarves around and wondering if bubble solution will stain their suede boots. But middle-aged babies love it – especially as the group leaders are usually utterly transfixing failed kids’ TV presenters with booming voices and fabulously garish hair.
6 – 12 months: anything noisy
Hate nursery rhymes? Sorry, but you should’ve stayed on the pill: you’re going to be hearing a lot of them. You’ll soon even have a favourite (it’s Horsey Horsey in this house, for the record). Baby Bounce classes (free at libraries across the land) are a good place to start, but wherever you live, you’ll find a church hall or pub function room with a variation on the same theme. Your baby will love getting to jangle the selection of musical instruments. You’ll love having fellow tired humans to chat to.
12 months +: the park
Your baby is now essentially a puppy and must be exercised accordingly. Grab a coat and a coffee and off you trot.