By Max Jennings
Having launched app Hoop to help parents find out about thousands of activities happening locally, entrepreneur and parent to two girls Max Jenning knows all too-well the importance of getting out and about as a new parent.
Here, he shares his expert tips on how to make the most of getting out of the house with a newborn baby, from getting help to trying new things…
Becoming a parent is one of those times that words can’t really do the mind-blowing brilliance of it all justice. It’s also a time when your life is unequivocally turned upside down, shaken up and down and then returned to you. What you’re left with is this incredible little baby, a sense of awe and a need to figure out what to do next.
At some-point getting out of the house starts to feel less terrifying and more realistic, even exciting.
Here’s some thoughts on how to make the most of getting out of the house and exploring your local community as a parent with a new baby.
Having a baby isn’t always plain sailing, there’s no instruction manual, and advice that you are given just might not work for you and your baby. Don’t suffer in silence, find health clinics and baby feeding cafes that can support you while you’re finding your feet.
Additionally, seek out baby coffee mornings, these are great to finding other parents that you can chat to in intimate and comforting settings.
Meet other parents
There are many different ways to meet other parents today that if you didn’t do an antenatal course, and haven’t got any friends on parental leave at the same time – all is not lost!
Make the most of the local parent and baby classes on your doorstep. These classes are often restricted age wise – which is great because you know that the people that you meet will have babies that are a similar age to yours.
Parents we speak to have compared the mentality of meeting new parents in the early days to that of travelling solo. The reality is that parent and baby groups are filled with people who are looking to meet other parents, and they are winging it as much as you are, it just takes that first hello to break the ice.
As a parent it can often feel like you have so much time to fill, but also no time at all. So when you’re physically and mentally ready to leave the house it can help to have something booked to focus your mind on having an ‘appointment’ to get to.
91% of parents that we recently polled, told us that Hoop helped them to do more out of the house than they would have otherwise done. There are often a lot of free activities for parents and babies in your local community that you didn’t know existed, find out what’s happening near you, and book a spot – even if that’s just putting it in your diary – and give it a go!
Try new things
There are thousands of different classes out there for parents and babies, and lots for new parents are focused on entertaining parents and the baby at the same time. From baby yoga and Bach to Baby classical music concerts, to baby and toddler raves in the Ministry of Sound – these are classes that are designed for young children, but allow the parents to have fun too!
Get fit (with your baby!)
If fitness was a part of your life pre-baby, no doubt you’re keen to get back into it. The good news is, there are lots of classes out there that are designed to help guide you back into fitness carefully and mindfully whilst enabling your baby to be attached to you in a sling, asleep in the pram or just watching you from a mat on the floor.
These parent and baby fitness classes cover yoga, pilates, HIT workouts, buggy fitness and tons more.
Do things for you
As a new parent your life is no doubt all consumed by your new addition, but beyond all of the nappies and sleepless nights, no doubt you’ll be craving for some grown up conversation and entertainment!
Activities like Babble talks ‘talks for parents…not about parenting!’ and spoonfed talks are designed for you, the parent and your baby just accompanies you there. These talks cover various topics, from starting your own business, to self care, to the science of who and why we love.
If you need a laugh, there are plenty of comedy events in the day in great venues for parents…Bring Your Own Baby Comedy is a great example, the content is for parents and babies up to 12 months.
Dads are welcome
Dads, don’t be shy about getting involved, mums and dads are welcome to all classes. If you’re a dad and you’re struggling to find other dads – there are plenty of classes just for dads.
From baby massage for dads and baby, to baby and toddler groups like ‘who let the dads out’, it’s important for dads as well as mums to socialise with new parents too.
Max Jennings is the co-founder of Hoop, the free app that helps families discover what’s on locally for their kids. Downloaded by parents more than 1 million times in the UK, Hoop makes it easy to find 1,000s of local activities for babies and toddlers.