Having a baby can be an isolating experience, babies, especially crawlers and new walkers are up and about from dusk to dawn, and as a new mum, I found it challenging finding activities to take my son to, a hyperactive toddler, who kept me awake most nights, and whose lack of sleep didn't seem to deter his level of energy throughout the day.
At the start of my journey I made myself a short list of things I was aiming for as a new mum:
To find a safe space for him to safely roam about
A place to go that wouldn't cost me the world, where we could visit on a regular basis.
To find activities that would somehow stimulate his development
I don't remember even thinking of meeting other mums at that stage, but that was definitely a bonus. Looking back, I wish I had known about some of the places and activities I know about now, so If you are a new mum looking for activities to do with your baby, take a look at the below options, it might just be what you are looking for.
Children Centres in Suffolk
I found Children centres to be a great support, best of all they are free! When I had my child back in 2008, I could just walk in at my local centre at any time I’d like and have a cup of tea as I watched my son play safely with the many toys. All children centres are different but nowadays, they will most likely have a weekly schedule of; activities, support groups meetings and play times, rather than a drop in service.
Their baby friendly services include;
antenatal services for expecting parents,
child health clinics,
support groups and advice on finance
Some of my favorite activities for babies at children's centres are: “stay and play” “baby bounce” “messy play” and “Time with Dad”
They also offer support to parents with SEND children (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) and information about local support groups, and some have specifically designed and fully equipped sensory rooms to provide children with a safe environment to play in.
I have only had positive experiences with Children's centres, their staff is friendly and knowledgeable and the centres gave me the chance to meet other local mums too.
To find your local children's centre please click here.
Follow the Suffolk Family Information Service on Facebook here
Another free service, Suffolk libraries run regular activities such as;
Baby Bounce and Tot Rock: songs and rhymes for babies and toddlers,
Grandparents and grandchildren sessions: free play and talk for grandparents and 0-5 years old grandchildren
Tot Rock: songs and action rhymes for toddlers,
amongst many others,
to find out what is on offer at your local library please click here
All Suffolk libraries are child-friendly! There is a designated area for children to participate in their lively activities, for parents that are concerned about their children being “too noisy” Do not worry, it is OK for the children to make noise in the library whilst there is a child’s session on!, There are also breastfeeding friendly, although there are no specific areas, please contact your local library for details. You are welcome to bring your buggies to the sessions although there are some libraries that are smaller, and hence, might lack parking space.
Parents and Toddlers groups
Parent and toddler groups are the most obvious places to go for new parents. The vast majority are run in places of worship and others are run privately. There is usually a small contribution of around £1 for tea and biscuits but they are a great way for your child to develop early social skills, learn as they play and for you to meet other new parents.
For parents and toddlers groups in your area search the Suffolk County Directory here
The Ipswich Community Bus
This popular community bus is a non-profit charity for families with children under 5. It has been beautifully remodeled and holds a messy play area which includes sand, painting, baby area, puzzles and toilet facilities and Upstairs: there is a built-in slide, cars, trains, themed home corner, soft play and much more. It only operates during term-time and is free but donations are welcome.
Please click here for information about Locations and Times
Being new parents is a journey of discovery for all mum, dad and baby, and because there is no way to know what our baby’s individual needs will be in advance, having the right support and being part of a community that understands what you are going through, can ease the stress of raising your newborn child. Suffolk Babies is a community organisation, whose aim is to provide high quality support to new parents from birthing courses to toddlerhood and what is great is that all of their profits go into funding their Essential Preparation for Birth Workshop which is a FREE service providing the very best antenatal education for ALL couples in the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust area.
At Suffolk Babies expect high-quality support, a friendly environment and a wealth of knowledge. Take a look at some of their classes below:
*Suffolk Babies Active Birth Classes*- During these classes you will explore essential elements of birthing
Munchkins Baby Massage — progressive course for mums and babies from 4/6wks to 3-5months
Explorers Sensory Baby Yoga — is suitable for babies from 4/5m up to crawling.
Moving Onwards — This class is suitable for babies that are beginning to move
Moving Upwards — This class is open to children who are confident walkers to preschoolers
Story Adventurers — For children aged 2 and a half to 4 years.
Understanding Your Toddler — Courses or workshops to help you understand your toddler's brain development
To help new parents and expecting mums Suffolk Babies have partnered with other high-quality providers in Suffolk, please find them below and click on the link for more information.