Being a new mom can sometimes make you feel isolated or detached from the world around you. Outdoor mommy-baby groups can help you socialize, make new friends and share with new moms who are probably going through very similar experiences as you. Did we mention it can be fun for baby, too?
The excitement of bringing baby home from the hospital for the first time is now a memory, and the comings and goings of guests who are eager to meet baby have subsided. Your partner is back at work, and you find yourself with no one to talk to … except for your newborn baby. We chat with a parenting expert who shares why mommy-baby groups are so important for new moms—and baby, too.
Ann Douglas is the weekend parenting columnist for CBC Radio and the creator of Canada’s bestselling series of pregnancy and parenting books, The Mother of All book series. Her most recent book, Happy Parents, Happy Kids, was recently published by HarperCollins Canada. A passionate and inspiring speaker, Douglas delivers keynote addresses and leads small-group workshops at health, parenting and education conferences across the country.
“As a new mom, you’ve just embarked on the adventure of a lifetime,” says Douglas. “It’s helpful to hear from other moms, including those at different stages of motherhood. They validate your emotions and can offer practical advice based on what worked for them,” she explains. “It’s like they’re holding up signs of hope for you.”
Mom and baby yoga classes were a favourite release for me, as were outdoor mommy-baby groups when the weather got nicer. These organized outings gave me a reason to leave my home and helped me share my ups and downs with other moms. I soon came to realize that we all had similar experiences. These classes and groups helped me get back in shape, while enjoying time well-spent with my new baby. I also had the perfect excuse to treat myself to a new pair of running shoes, like these Ladies’ Enchanted Athletic Shoes. (My post-baby arches were ever-so grateful!)
With summer rounding the corner, now is as good a time as any to leave the comforts of home and venture outside with baby. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the fresh air while in the company of other mothers. You should be able to join an organized walking group in your area (check your local listings). If you’re planning on off-roading, you should consider purchasing a jogging stroller, like this Stroll & Jog Travel System with LiteMax 35 Infant Car Seat. Stroll & Jog travel systems (like this one) are engineered to help provide a smoother ride for baby on park paths, while offering safety features to help protect baby’s delicate head.
The Evenﬂo Folio3 Stroll & Jog Travel System is a cross-over stroller engineered to be lightweight. This model can be used for everyday strolls, as well as all-terrain touring, thanks to its large, air-filled tires and front-wheel swivel lock. The LiteMax 35 Infant Car Seat is designed to move from base to stroller with one secure click. This model includes a sun canopy, up-front harness adjust and a plush infant head pillow to help protect baby’s head and neck area.
“We all know that getting outdoors can be a mood booster,” says Douglas. “Enjoying the sunshine, fresh air, time spent in nature—it’s escaping the confines of the four walls and the same old routine; it shakes things up for you psychologically. And it exposes baby to new sounds, sights and smells, things they wouldn’t see indoors.”
All that fresh air is beneficial in so many ways for both mom and baby; just be sure you’re both protected from the sun’s harmful rays as you pack the diaper bag for baby’s outing with you. A stroller canopy can help keep baby comfortable, while a baby hat and sunscreen can help offer added sun protection. When it comes to choosing the best sunscreen for baby, the simpler the ingredients, the better. That’s why a lot of parents reach for Thinkbaby Sunscreen Spf 50+.
You can still do most things you love with baby in tow. If you like to swim, check your local listings to find out if there’s an outdoor mommy-baby group that meets at the local outdoor community pool. Or, create your own group for mom-and-baby swims. You can enjoy lakefront meet-ups or discuss your favourite reads with a backyard literature and fiction book club. You could share some of these Thursday Quotes from women.com with the group to help you all make it to Friday. Or, with the right gear (like this Escape Backpack Carrier), you could plan a hike with other moms through your favourite conservation areas.
This backpack baby carrier from phil&teds helps make it easier to take your little one with you on your next adventure. This carrier is engineered with a body-tech fit system so it can be adjusted as baby grows. It’s designed with a full-coverage cockpit shoulder cradle and moldable headrest to help support your baby’s head and their developing neck muscles. Suitable for children 3 months up to 3 years or 40 pounds.
There are so many fun ways to enjoy the company of other moms and babies. Best of all, as Douglas says, “While you’re building your community, your baby is building theirs.”
Nap time shouldn’t have to get in the way of your mommy-baby group time. Place baby in a baby tent like bblüv Nidö Mini 2-in-1 Travel & Play Tent where they can lie back and take in the wonders around them, investigate in the shade or enjoy a nap while you connect with the group.
I have a bblüv tent. It traveled with us on all of our outdoor day trips—including our trips to the beach. This model helps protect from sun, sand, wind and mosquitoes. It features a cool pop-up system that helps make it easier to set up, take down and tote around.
Search for outdoor mommy-baby groups online or at your local community centre. If you’re having a hard time tracking down a mommy-baby group, ask your family doctor for recommendations. You could also query other moms in your neighbourhood. If they’ve moved past the initial baby stage, they may still be able to recommend a mommy-baby group in your area.
“Mothers really need support at every stage of motherhood,” says Douglas. “Keep in touch with the people you meet in your mommy-baby group. They may become lifelong friends.”