Whether you want to feel prepared for the birth of your first baby or navigate the treacherous waters of the teen years, there’s a parenting podcast for every stage.

As anyone who has ever left a hospital with a tiny babe in arms will know, amongst the delirium, exhaustion and elation lurks a hefty dose of nervous trepidation. Wondering whether you’ll be equal to your new and most important-ever role is par for the course and calls for plenty of solidarity – both from those also going through it for the first time, and from others who have been there and done it before you and can thus reassure that you will, one day, sleep again (amongst other things).

Some are lucky enough to have a coterie of friends and family around to step in and lend a helping hand; others less so. Whichever camp you fall into, there can be few new parents alive who haven’t fretted in the wee small hours that they’re getting it all wrong. And those moments of crisis do not, alas, subside once your child is out of nappies, either; with every stage comes new bridges to cross.

The good news is that helpful parenting podcasts abound at every stage of rearing your progeny. These are just some of our favourites, all of which make the perfect companions for those small-hour worries.

Happy Mum, Happy Baby




Giovanna Fletcher’s book of the same name gave an honest, personal and positive account of life as mother to her two boys, Buzz and Buddy. The non-didactic advice contained within its pages clearly resonated and it quickly became a number one Sunday Times bestseller. If you loved the book and want more – or, indeed, if the demands of parenthood mean that you haven’t time to read it – then do tune into Giovanna’s podcast. Her belief that we’re all just doing our best is evidenced through her convivial and warm chats with well-known mothers (and occasionally dads, too), from Millie Mackintosh to Jennifer Garner to Lorraine Kelly. Listen in on Acast here.


Spinning Plates




We loved Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s lockdown kitchen discos, not least for her ability to sing flawlessly and dance under a glitterball while dressed in sequins as her five sons wandered around in various attitudes of engagement. As well as delivering a much-needed dose of fun, she became the ultimate working mother. It makes sense, then, that she should have followed up her Instagram lives with a podcast exploring what it is to be a mum with a hefty workload, via chats with a host of other similarly busy women. Guests include Nadiya Hussain, Jess Phillips, Hadley Freeman, Holly Tucker, Jack Monroe and her own mother, Janet Ellis. We especially like the Caitlin Moran episode. Listen via Apple here.


Birth-Ed


First things first. For women who are pregnant – whether for the first time or the fifth –the age-old sleep training versus co-sleeping debate (and its ilk) will probably feel like getting ahead of oneself. Before any of that becomes a concern, there is the small matter of giving birth. For anyone who wants to feel more prepared, Birth-Ed, hosted by Megan Rossiter, features midwives, doulas, obstetricians and activists and, as they say, leaves ‘no stone unturned when it comes to preparing you for your pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period.’ Expect discussions on everything from home birth; to pregnancy yoga; exactly what your midwife does; and pregnancy after loss. Listen in here.


The Scummy Mummies




The term yummy mummies long ago crossed over into the modern lexicon. Should the idea, however, make you feel somewhat queasy (an entirely reasonable position, especially since it is just another invention to set women apart from one another), then tune into Helen Thorn and Ellie Gibson for a hearty antidote. Guests have included the most excellent likes of Mel Giedroyc, Sandi Toksvig, Dr Ranj and Hurrah for Gin and subjects are as wide-ranging as culture, current affairs and, er, socks. Listen to reassure yourself that being less than perfect is, in fact, not only normal but more fun, too. Tune in here.


The Dadcast




Parenting podcasts are not, of course, exclusively the domain of mothers. After all, fathers make up half of all parents, and deserve to be included in the discussion too. Self-proclaimed super dads, Nick Nieblas and Shawn Warner, show other paterfamiliases how it’s done, with their series of 70-minute shows, which discuss everything from the top five reasons why kids’ birthday parties suck to why it might be ok if your child drops out of high school. Tune in here.


Talking To Teens




At the start of parenthood, one tends to imagine that once past the sleepless nights and toddler tantrums, everything gets somewhat easier. On the one hand, of course it does. But many parents – some of whom may even have sailed through those earlier challenging developmental milestones – hit a wall as adolescence begins. This excellent resource explores topics such as how to heal a broken bond; what the upsides are of having a rude teen; how to prevent alcohol and drug misuse; and ways to instil healthy habits. Mine this treasure trove of wonderful advice by tuning in here.


The Boob Group




Any woman who has ever had a baby will be familiar with the mantra that ‘breast is best.’ But many people, for many different reasons, do not find it quite as simple as having their newborn immediately latch on without a drama. From tongue ties to mastitis to low milk supply, there are a raft of reasons that what seems like the most natural act in the world might prove tricky. The Boob Group offers non-judgemental support to women struggling with breastfeeding and covers topics such as feeding in public to worrying about the return to work. A great resource for busting myths. Tune in here.


The Parent Hood




Dr Chiara Hunt and Marina Fogle present The Parent Hood, a podcast dedicated to the minefield of worry that can come along with being responsible for the health and happiness of children. A new episode is delivered every ten days, covering the big questions, from birth trauma to how to encourage children to be brave in a post-pandemic world. Great, supportive stuff. Tune in here.


Rose & Rosie




Rose and Rosie are more than just a comedy couple; they are also a married one. This podcast tells the story, episode by episode, of their route to parenthood, from how they chose the father of their future child to their experience of miscarriage and loss, right through to the birth of their son, Ziggy. Tune in here.

By Nancy Alsop
August 2021

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