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Keeping busy and finding support as a new parent in Basingstoke and Deane

Becoming a parent is certainly the most incredible but life-changing challenge many individuals will ever experience. With its great highs can bring crushing lows of exhaustion, postnatal depression, loneliness and a longing for the life you previously knew. All your feelings are valid and you are not alone. Navigating the unchartered waters of becoming a new parent is certainly daunting but a support system and being in the company of others on the same journey comes the realisation that the world is not as small as it can sometimes feel within the walls of your home, with your little one.

For new parents in Basingstoke and Deane there are a huge number of baby groups, classes to enjoy with your baby, exercise groups for those wanting to get active and places to get discounted baby items. We’ve done some research to help you discover the wide range of resources on offer and what is available for you in your local area.  You don’t have to be alone in the biggest journey of your life.

Baby groups in Basingstoke and Deane

These are great for socialising, sitting in the company of others or just enjoying a hot drink whilst your baby is distracted by the bustle of the goings on at your local group. It may seem overwhelming at first but many new mums and dads will tell you that they left their first group with a newfound sense of parent comradery, self-assurance in their ability and reduced feelings of isolation so please check out some of the amazing new-parent focused groups and events in the area to help support you and your baby - there are plenty. Most are drop in so if you’ve had a bad night and can’t face getting out the house, you’ve not lost anything.

In the rural areas of Basingstoke and Deane, the majority of villages have their own village hall where they hold regular groups for parents and babies, we can't list them all so be sure to check out your nearest hall online for more information. In Oakley, St Leonard's Centre holds three regular weekly baby groups with refreshments and toys on hand. In Whitchurch, you’ll find Jolly Babies . Focusing on friendships, in Kingsclere there is the regular Tuesday Village Bunnies Toddler Group, with a dedicated baby area equipped with changing mats, toys and bouncy chairs; perfect for parents and carers of very little ones to make their visit as stress-free as possible with a baby in tow!

Oakley

For a group with a warm atmosphere and plenty of toys to keep your baby entertained, Cheeky Chimps in Tadley is perfect. In Festival Place, Basingstoke Discovery Centre is a community hub great for socialising and meeting other parents, with its range of different child and parent focused groups. There are groups such as 'rhyme time’ with songs every Saturday and ‘new parent and baby rhyme time’ every Tuesday with 30 minutes of rhymes, rhythm and actions to get your little one moving and singing! Along Winchester Street is The Safe which holds a drop in support, chat and play group every Wednesday.

Hatch Warren Community Centre is a fantastic resource for new parents and carers to utilise and make new connections. There is Warren Tots Pre-Play every week for ages 0 to four years old. Every Thursday, in term time there is no need to book just simply turn up to Little Angels Parent and Toddler Group. It is an ideal place for parents, grandparents and carers to bring their babies and the helpers there will be sure to make you welcome. There is also tea, coffee and biscuits with snacks and drinks for the children available, always a win! Every Friday there is a Baby and Under 2s Stay and Play Group where all sessions are free with stimulating activities on offer such as bubble play, sand and water, garden time and music and movement.  Come and meet new mums and join in the fun! If you attend four sessions, you will receive a free gift. Nearby, The Hatch Warren Under 5s Parent and Toddler Group has a focus on interaction and community, so please try out one (or all) of these groups and meet fellow parents and carers in similar positions to you.

If you are local to Popley, pop into a Popley Little People class, running multiple sessions each week from birth to five years old and providing toys, a craft table and snacks for all.

In Chineham, Sparklers offers a great chance to interact with adults in similar positions and are a fun and friendly supportive group of mums, dads, child-minders and grand-parents. There is also a much smaller group for first-time mums called Twinklers, if you are looking for a more intimate group for specially very young babies.

From pregnancy to experienced parent and even grandparents, Bump Into Mums at Sherfield Community Association is for everyone with a baby or expecting one. It is a weekly group with a friendly warm vibe to support everyone who arrives, alongside a chat, a slice of cake and a much-needed coffee!  In Oakridge, inside the local village hall, Tuesday Tots is a relaxed weekly run local playgroup, where for £2.50 a week you can access free tea, coffee, biscuits, toys and a new craft activity each session. At The Sycamore Halls in Winklebury the Munchkins Baby and Toddler Group runs Thursdays term time from 10am to 11.30am. Expect toys, singing and arts and crafts. You'll find NCT Basingstoke Bumps and Babies at Brookvale Village Hall on Fridays.

Baby classes in Basingstoke and Deane

Why not venture out with your baby and discover the joy of a class? They aren't just a fun way to get out of the house, they also offer a chance to learn new things, bond with your baby, and connect with other parents.

There are plenty of music-based groups. Caterpillar Music run weekly classes around the borough including in Chineham and at Brookvale Village Hall for those aged 0 to four, with a sibling being allowed to go free of charge. They include lightshows, parachutes, instruments, props and a new weekly theme making the classes engaging for both adults and children. Bloom Baby and Toddler Classes in Popley is a fun, lively musical baby development class encouraging fine and gross motor skills, body awareness and early language acquisition, a great way to encourage your baby to get moving and grooving! Tadley has the exciting weekly music-focused class, Baby Moo from birth to five where adults and children can sing, dance, learn and have fun! There is also Jiggy Wrigglers held weekly in the East Oakley Village Hall at the Beggarwood Community Centre and Atmosphere Trampoline Park and Music with Mummy in Whitchurch.  

If you are looking for a baby sensory class you’ll find Peepo Sensory every Tuesday at St Luke’s Hall in Overton, focusing on fun and socialising whilst engaging your baby. Baby Sensory Oakridge is run by trained class leaders and builds upon your baby’s natural play-rest-play cycle so they are not overstimulated whilst learning. Glow Tots Sensory runs relaxed sensory classes every Monday at Sherfield on Loddon village hall. Choose from two great classes suitable for babies from eight weeks old.

For messy play and mark making take a look at Little Learners who run classes for babies over 5 months at Basingstoke Soccer Centre.

Or how about trying out a baby signing class with TinyTalk Tadley, where themed lesson plans are focused on allowing your little one to more effectively communicate their needs and reduce potential frustrations.

Perhaps you may be interested in a few different classes such as baby yoga, massage, sensory classes and music but don’t have the time for them all? Tots Play Basingstoke combines all these aspects into each of its classes to give your baby a great all-round experience and a fun way for you to bond with your baby in a new environment.

Exercise

Exercise certainly has amazing benefits both physically and mentally, but we must stress there is no rush and absolutely no pressure! If and when you feel ready and with doctor’s approval, Basingstoke and Deane has many exercise classes to explore for new parents and babies. Fun and friendly exercise class MummaBfit is postnatally safe, suitable for all abilities and allows you the opportunity to undertake a workout with other new parents without the need for childcare. Every class ends with a cuppa, chit chat and biscuits, it’s all about balance after all!

Created by a women’s fitness specialist in pre and post natal pregnancy FitMamaClub Mum and Baby Class is a fun way to workout with or without your baby, whilst building your strength and becoming fitter and healthier. Or have you ever thought about trying out a yoga class?  Yoga Babes classes blend postnatal and baby yoga, in a relaxed and friendly environment to safely increase body strength and flexibility and it may even help your baby sleep better, surely worth a shot! Alternatively, Yogabellies runs mum and baby yoga at Herriard Village Hall.

If you fancy some fresh air and exercise, there is the Ready Steady Walk weekly volunteer-led walk every Wednesday in the War Memorial Park. Hampshire Healthy Families offer these free sessions for everyone with babies and children aged five and under. Look out for the lead volunteer wearing a bright green Barnardo's lanyard!

If you like the idea of a personalised fitness programme and one to one support, Beechdown Health Club offers a postnatal membership which includes six creche vouchers, two guest passes and gold level club membership. 

Essential baby items at great prices

A great way to cater to you and your baby’s needs and items are the brilliant Mum2Mum Market Nearly New Sales that take place throughout the year. Check out their website for each local Basingstoke event. You’ll find a huge amount of great quality pre-loved and sometimes never used items from fellow parents to purchase at amazing prices.

Every Thursday charity The Safe runs a free two-hour drop-in for parents and carers interested in receiving nearly new and preloved free baby and toddler clothing and equipment, a fantastic resource to help with the ever rising costs of raising your little people.

Basingstoke Community Wardrobe is a good place to browse for some great bargains. There is the choice to swap a like for like item with your own, donate clothing, or fill a whole bag of clothes for just £10! Reducing waste and keeping clothing affordable, it is a great chance to shop without the extra cost of buying brand new.

If you are looking to go hands-free with your baby, why not try out a sling without the cost of purchasing a brand new one. The Basingstoke Sling Library is a brilliant alternative without the cost, so pop along and see what they have to offer, tailored to your specific needs.

For only £20 for two months use of 20 reusable nappies, the Nappy Library in Overton offers a fantastic alternative and a cost effective way of keeping your baby clean and dry, whilst helping to reduce landfill waste.

Other support

The Safe offers free confidential advice and support, in 15-minute bookable sessions every Thursday for those in need, or to be pointed in the right direction for suitable resources. Additionally every second Saturday of the month, there is The Dad's Hub Venue. This is free of charge and provides a chance for dads to meet other people in a similar position. 

Home-Start Basingstoke and Deane offer volunteer home visiting support for those that live within Basingstoke and Deane, have one or more pre-school children and are in need of a little extra help. A trained volunteer can come to your home every week for a couple of hours and provide some adult company, be a listening ear and provide practical help. They also run a number of Family Groups including a multiple birth group.

If you are looking for some breastfeeding support, B.A.B.I.E.S. Breastfeeding Support every Friday morning Brookvale Village Hall offers face-to-face appointments, with the opportunity to arrange an online appointment for any worries, advice and support on your breastfeeding journey from a fully qualified breastfeeding councillor. For any medical concerns, please always contact a medical professional.

Weigh and Play runs at the Roger Morris Centre on Wednesdays between 9.30am and 11am. Whilst they are not medical professionals, it’s a good place to weigh your baby and make decisions about whether you feel you need support from a health visitor or GP.

Becoming a parent can truly unite people from all backgrounds and different ages through the shared highs and lows of rising a child. There will always be plenty of others in a similar position seeking connection and support so please explore what Basingstoke and Deane can offer you and your baby. Through the haze of sleepless nights and learning rapidly on the job being a parent is so incredible and we hope that the information above helps just that little bit on your amazing journey with your little one.

Please note the inclusion of any business within this listing should not be seen as an endorsement of their services. Whilst the information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information. If we’ve missed you off the list or missed your favourite then drop us an email: hello@lovebasingstoke.co.uk.

Updated April 2024

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