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BAND OF MOTHERS

Five new mums reveal how their mothers’ group has helped them find support with advice, top tips – and fun

“There’s no right or
wrong way”

“It was so great to meet such a lovely and local group of parents at our first mothers’ group class,” says Natasha with her baby son, Raphael. “The first session was a bit awkward, but as soon as we all realised it was nothing like you see on TV (where everyone practises breathing in strange positions), we all relaxed a bit. I think the best thing about belonging to a mothers’ group is seeing all the diverse approaches to parenting among us. Everyone does things differently. And it’s an invaluable lesson to learn that there really is no right or wrong way when it comes to parenting – it’s just what works for you and your baby.”

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“Our Whatsapp group has
been a godsend”

“Thank goodness, no question has ever been too stupid to ask on our Whatsapp group,” laughs Rachel, mother to Joseph. “And more often than not, as soon as you ask, it’s guaranteed that at least one other mum has been through it and another wanted to ask exactly the same question! The group has been an ongoing source of comfort and reassurance since the day we met. From us all beginning maternity leave one by one to the anticipation of waiting for our babies to arrive, through to birth experiences, different feeding journeys, sleep (or sleeplessness!), teething, weaning… the list goes on.”

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“It’s great to have
local support”

“My family live in a different city so it’s really lovely to have met a great group of women who live nearby so I have support here too,” says Dionne, mother to Mila. “Their advice has been invaluable to me and it’s been wonderful to go through all the different milestones together. Tiredness and broken sleep can be the hardest part about being a mum and it can make you less motivated to get out of the house – cabin fever is a nightmare! So, my one piece of advice to new mums is to try to get out of the house every day if possible – to a baby class, for a coffee or just a walk around. While it is hard to actually leave the house, once you do, you feel so much better.”

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“People feel they can
ask anything”

“Our class bonded really well,” says Lisa, mother to Harris. “Everyone’s personality just meshed and there was no single opinionated person which has helped create an open atmosphere, so people feel safe to ask anything. Honestly, I feel like I would have no idea what I was doing without them, they’re so non-judgemental – nine times out of 10 someone will have experienced what you are going through. At Christmas time Harris got bronchiolitis. Thank goodness I was at home with my mum and for the amazing NHS staff. Family is really important – even if they live in a different country, they are still there to support. But having friends close by is everything too. The more support you can find as a new parent, the better.”

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“Don’t be afraid to
reach out”

“For me, having the support of the group really came into its own around the six-week mark,” says Helen, mother to Leo. “There’s generally less family or partner support than when you first have a baby, so being able to reach out to the group and realise lots of them were feeling the same was incredibly reassuring. Getting out, meeting up and being able to share, ask questions and probably, most importantly, have a laugh has been invaluable. And my advice to any new parents out there is to remember you don’t have to do everything by the book. Trust your own instincts because that’s what’s right for you and your baby. Oh, and set up a Whatsapp group. It’s amazing how everyone sharing horrendous nappy pictures can really lift your spirits on a bad day!”

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Kidswear editor: Claire Askew / Photographer: Annie Bundfuss / Art direction: Fleur Harding
Styling: Julie Vianey / Hair and make-up: Rose Angus

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