This can be a very contentious subject to discuss. Some people think that baby classes are definitely worth it and will pay to go, whilst others view it as a waste of time and money because you are paying to go somewhere to play with your child, which you could do elsewhere for free. But it’s not just about money, so here are some reasons why I believe them to be worth it.
- It is good for mum’s mental health. Many people that I have met through baby groups have talked about this. It can be lonely being a new parent in our modern world. Many of us have moved away from childhood friends, family and others we care for, so we can feel very isolated as we raise our children without the support that previous generations would have had. Going to these groups can make us feel less lonely, more supported and help us feel more normal when we have those crazy postpartum emotions. And that is a powerful thing, to just feel normal and supported!
- It is a great way to meet other parents in the area. Linking in to the above point, if we are parenting away from our loved ones, we may rely on these new-found friendships even more. These parents can then lead us to other groups and classes where we can meet more people and, hopefully, make lasting friendships that can grow with our children! Beautiful!
- We can learn to interact with our babies. I often see and hear people talk about how the first time they held a baby, or cared for a baby, is when they went home with their own. We are not instinctively designed to know what to do with a baby. Yes, there are some areas that we could pick up intuitively, but mainly parenting is a lot of trial and error. Talking to others about our experiences and watching others interact with their babies, can help to guide us on our own journeys and grow as parents.
- We can gain education and information about our babies. This is especially true if you are going to a group run by a trained individual. It is all well and good going to baby groups to interact with our babies but for me, the added sweetness of groups is learning just how these interactions are helping baby to learn and grow. It is amazing just how much we can help our babies develop through some simple movement, song and touch!
- It brings structure to our lives. Many of us have very structured lives prior to baby. We have jobs, obligations, volunteering, groups, classes, you name it; all of which usually happen in a very structured and organised manner. It is no wonder that some of us then struggle with the new freedom and unstructuredness of baby life. Classes can also bring in some scheduled time to actually interact with baby undisturbed – by other children, pets or amazon deliveries! Bringing some routine, familiarity and schedule into the mix can be just what we need to keep ourselves sane!
Whilst baby classes can be seen as a place that we just go and play with our babies, I believe they are so much more! It is my belief that they are an invaluable part of being a new parent and should be experienced by all parents. Sometimes we can go to one and just not feel the vibe and that’s OK -there are lots of different ones out there to try. Find what feels good and true to you, stick with it and enjoy!