When you have a baby your whole life changes. What used to be a simple exercise, say popping down the road to get the milk, now becomes a logistical challenge and a game of "What if"? What if bub needs a sudden nappy change - better take some spares. What if bub gets cold - better take an extra blanket. Before you know it you can't fit any more in your baby bag and instead of thinking about what you should be taking out of your bag - you consider taking two bags instead. It is very daunting at first, but like any new change in your life you soon adapt, find your own way to do things and then start to get out of the house more often. Around the city there are Mums and Bub's activities in various locations, so you can enjoy something for yourself, as well as look after your bub. So why not pack up the baby bag and give one of these ideas try? As a new parent, it is such a relief to meet other mums, dads and carers in the same position - and realise they all feel exactly the same.
Project Fit Mum is a Mums and Bubs fitness group that holds classes on both sides of the city. As they understand what it takes to be a Mum there is no fixed contracts, flexible terms and they will understand if you arrive late a little disorganised. Enjoy exercising in local parks with bubs in their prams watching you, or get them involved in the class (photo above). The first class is free so you can try it out and see if it suits you. See here for details.
Mums and Bubs Yoga is a popular exercise to do after birth, to strengthen the body and help with relaxation. For example, Yoga for Birth and Beyond in Weston hold Mums and Bubs classes with an hour of yoga, songs, baby yoga, relaxation and then circle time to share the joys and challenges of mothering. This supportive environment is often just what you need when your baby is small for both your mind and body.
Pole Dancing may not exactly be something that you thought you would get into when you became a mum, however it is a great way to get fit and strengthen your arms in particular - as if your arms aren't getting strong enough already holding your growing baby! VertiGal Aerial Fitness at Hume hold Pole Dancing classes with a small room next to the studio so you can keep an eye on bub. This beginners course is a great way to get fit, meet other women and master a new challenge.
Get even stronger arms at Pole Dancing, VertiGal. Source: Facebook
Trampolining Centres in Canberra have Mums (or Dads!) and Bubs deals for kids under 5 during school terms only. Flip Out in Mitchell and Hume have $15 Mums and Bubs deals which give you both an hour of jumping and playing on their mats. During the week it is a lot quieter and the Under 7's Trampolines are a quiet place for your toddler to explore. Mums, Dads and carers can also get in a sneaky jump for exercise. Although not advertised on their website, the $15 Mums and Bubs deal is available at the door. If you don't want to jump, you can just pay for your child to jump, with 1/2 hour sessions available. See here for an article on Flip Out in Hume.
If you don't want to jump yourself, Skyzone at Belconnen has Little Leapers sessions for toddlers to safely play and jump for $10 an hour. If you wish to jump too it costs an extra $10 for carers. Little Leapers includes soft toys on the mats and toys to play with outside the trampolines. See here for an article on Skyzone Belconnen.
Annual Passes for museums and tourist attractions around Canberra are a great way to experience these attractions - with the added bonus of being able to leave if your child gets restless, without worrying about the cost. Questacon is a popular venue to do this as they have a Mini Q area for under 5's which is an ideal way to spend a morning playing with their toys, slides and pretend play areas. Here you will meet other parents escaping the heat, cold or rain and spending time indoors during the week. On sunny days, an annual pass to the National Zoo and Aquarium is also a fun way to spend a morning throughout the year.
Local Cinemas have special screenings of the latest movies, where you can take your baby and no one will batt an eyelid if bub starts to cry. They dim the lighting and lower the sound so parents can still see what they are doing and feed their baby in comfort. If your bub doesn't mind the occasional loud noise and will sleep through anything, then this is a great opportunity to catch up the latest movies, whilst having other Mums nearby to chat to if you need a hand. Dendy Cinemas in the city has Reel Bubs, Palace Electric Cinemas have Babes in Arms, Hoyts at Woden and Belconnen have Prams at the Pix , Limelight Cinemas at Tuggeranong has BYO Babies and Event Cinema in Manuka has Bring Your Baby.
Playgroups are located in all areas in Canberra and are an ideal way to make new friends, get out of the house and have some quality time with your young one. Playgroups are an invaluable resource in the community, where friendships are formed and you can enjoy a coffee and adult conversation. Kids also enjoy playing with new toys, gaining social skills and having fun - with the comfort of Mum, Dad or carer being nearby.
Mainly Music is another program that involves interaction between carer and chid, singing and dancing to a wide range of children's songs. Here you will meet other carers, share a morning tea and bond with your child with song and laughter. See here for an article on Mainly Music in Canberra.
Gymnastics Centres have a range of fun programs for toddlers and pre-schoolers starting from 18 months. For example, Southern Canberra Gymnastics Club in Erindale hold Kindergym classes for ages 18 months to 3 years, as well as Gymstart for kids aged between 3 - 5 years. These programs encourage children to practice their balance and gross motor skills. As they get older they are also taught social skills such as waiting their turn, learning to share and following directions. It is also a great way for carers to spend quality time with their little ones and meet up with other carers each week.
Under 5's area at Southern Canberra Gymnastics Club
ACT Libraries have Giggle and Wiggle (age 0-2) and Storytime programs (age 3 -5) each week during term times. These are fun and interactive activities to do with your child(ren) and also get them used to the library environment. Afterwards pick some books together and begin their love of reading and stimulating their imagination. Story time can also be found at the Australian National Botanical Gardens on the first Friday of month and if you are in Braddon, Paleo Café also has Story time on the third Monday of each month. The National Zoo and Aquarium has a new program called Mums and Cubs (Dads too!) to participate in after entry.
Kyodo Shuho Karate-Do in Fyshwick host Mini Dragons martial arts classes for toddlers aged 18 months to 3 years and their parents. This class is designed for both adults and kids to enjoy together, playing and learning. For kids aged between 3 - 5 there is also the Little Dragons classes to attend. These classes are fun for kids as well as developing focus, balance, co ordination and confidence. See here for more details.
To hear of the latest Mums and Bubs deals and what is happening around the community, keep an eye on the Canberra Mums and Little in Canberra Facebook pages.
Here in Canberra, we are fortunate that there is a lot of choice of activities to do with our new babies, toddlers or pre-schoolers. At times it can be hard to just turn up to a new program and make small talk with the other mums and carers, as well as making sure your little one is happy at the same time. However, if you visit one fitness class or program regularly, it gets a little easier each time and before you know it, you have made real friends who you can talk to and share this challenging and wonderful time in your life.
Enjoy your Mum (Dad or Carer) time with your bub at some of these activities - this special time doesn't last long. Before you know it they are "big girls" or "big boys" heading off to school and these early memories will be ones that you cherish forever.
Lovely article, Sue, and even though I'm now a Grandmother, I can certainly commiserate with the 'getting organised and out the house' bit - but you have certainly covered an extensive range of outings for Mums (Dads) and littlies - lovely article!