Lockdown may have eased but it will be a little while before new mums can socialise again. Here’s how to connect in those sometimes lonely early days.
Whilst it is no substitute for the physical support from loved ones, we have put together seven virtual resources, apps and websites to help new mums navigate those first few weeks
JoJo Maman Bébé
JoJo Maman Bébé has collaborated with Mama Society on a series of free virtual meet-ups for mums to connect peer-to-peer, as well as offering the opportunity to hear from a series of experts in the parenting field. Mums-to-be and new mums can sign on to the sessions to join conversations in their local area and discuss topics such as hypnobirthing, sleep, baby massage and more. Each virtual meet-up can be booked through their new digital calendar.
Whilst the Peanut app was originally created as a way of finding fellow mums to hang out with IRL (like Tinder for mum mates), its online content and community has come into its own during lockdown. Download the app and join in with the active and inclusive group chats; read posts from other mums in the forum asking advice on anything from dream feeds to weaning; and connect online with local mums, forming friendships ready for when lockdown is over – or meet up for a socially distanced buggy stroll now. They have just rolled out a section for fertility and conception to connect soon-to-be new mums.
Gingerbread has been supporting the UK’s two million single-parent families since 1918. Specifically during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has created a resources page with links to its community forum for single-parents to support each other through lockdown, as well as informative FAQs around guidelines for shared parental access at this time and details of its emergency appeal offering financial support to vulnerable single-parent families at this time.
Mummy Social was founded in 2015 by Devon mum-of-three Josie Barron. Having herself experienced loneliness as a new mum, Josie set about creating a website that would offer a solution to the isolation so many mums face. Updated to an app platform and a growing team of mums, including blogger-turned-author Unmumsy Mum aka Sarah Turner, and TV presenter Helen Skelton, the app now has 90,000 users across the UK. Use it to create virtual connections with mums in the same area as you and then suggest a ‘New Social’ – whether that’s a walk in the park or coffee meet-up post lockdown, or simply chat in-app with those at the same stage of motherhood via this supportive community.
Since the beginning of lockdown the mum social networking app, Mush has been running daily meet-ups online. Free to join and run via an in-app video call each morning at 11am, Monday to Friday, it has a range of themes, from how to baby wear to ideas for entertaining little ones at home, as well as informative talks from midwife experts on giving birth during lockdown and coping tools around mindfulness and maternal mental health. A great platform allowing isolated women to chat with other mums and participate in useful discussions around early motherhood.
If you’re finding it hard to find the time to exercise as a new mum with zero childcare while stuck at home, Carifit could be the answer. The live exercise classes are designed to be done whilst ‘baby wearing’ (i.e. with a baby strapped to you in a carrier). With an infectious soundtrack and plenty of cardio and body-weight training, it’s sure to get the endorphins going. You can pay for a one-off class (£5), or commit to a nine-month package (currently 50 per cent off at £97) and get further support via a private Facebook page with advice on nutrition, recipes and chat with other mums on the programme.
Feeling guilty that your baby is missing out on the socialisation and developmental skills that a playgroup or baby class environment offers? Baby College at Home runs over 50 classes each week, live on Zoom for babies from birth to age 4. There are sessions covering motor, social and language skills, all taught through play, music and dance by a qualified teacher. There is also an online baby massage course to help new mums bond and connect with their new arrivals through specially designed massage techniques.
By Lydia Mansi
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