NHM Reader’s Experience: Children with Additional Needs, 5q14.3 deletion

Thank you very much to the NHM Reader who has written today’s post. It’s a very brave thing to write about and she’s done a brilliant job. 

NHM Reader’s Experience: Children with Additional Needs, 5q14.3 deletion

I have spoken to Louise a few times about how we can raise awareness about children with additional needs so I agreed to write a post.

I am keen for my daughter and children like her to be included, respected, accepted, encouraged, supported and loved. Hopefully raising awareness helps with this.

I have a beautiful daughter with a rare chromosome disorder. That rare it is only seen in 1 out of 120 million people !!!!

I believe there isn’t anyone in Basingstoke with the same condition, so thought it was worth explaining. I will start by describing my daughter’s story.

When she was born in April 2015 and as far as we knew she was “normal”, weighing a healthy 8lb 8oz, passing all tests & was absolutely gorgeous.

We joined the standard classes & groups making mummy+baby friends at each one. Everything was lovely for the first few months. Then between 4-6 mths a few things started playing on my mind, why is she not doing so well as the other babies ? I put most of it down to the fact she was the youngest and everyone kept telling me….

“all babies are different”

“she will get there in the end”

“all babies learn at different rates” etc

When she got to about 7 mths things became more difficult. Taking her to classes & groups started to become a struggle. Simple questions from other mums upset me, even like the standard opening question “how old is she?” I used to panic straight away thinking they were asking as they noticed how little she could do. But it’s the most common asked 1st question. The list was also getting long of all the things she couldn’t do which she should have really done much earlier e.g. roll, sit unaided or crawl. So I went to the GP who agreed a referral to a paediatrician was needed.

We had to wait till she was 9 months to get this appointment. So we enjoyed our 1st Christmas together as a family of 3 and carried on as usual. We also attended a lot of her friends 1st birthdays which was difficult as they were all walking or at least standing and walking with a parent. Whereas we were getting excited as she had just mastered a roll!

When we saw the paediatrician and we stated her short list of current milestones he referred us straight away for tests, bloods were taken that day and an MRI scan booked. The following month she had her MRI scan. Such a scary and long day at the hospital but she handled it so well. She is a placid and content person.

All her tests and MRI scan came back negative. The paediatrician just said they were waiting on the genetics team to get back to him. Everything sounded fine – Big sigh of relief. She then had her 1st birthday in April. She had 2 parties and we had a little holiday in Butlins. Our 1st family holiday. She couldn’t go on most of the rides or enjoy the parks but we had a nice time. She loves the water and the pool there is great.

At 13 months old we went back to the paediatrician and were given the devastating news that she had a rare chromosome disorder. 5q14.3 deletion. What even is that?!? Let’s ask the doctor, but even he couldn’t tell us much about it as he hadn’t come across it before. He downloaded a leaflet which explained the condition & sent us on our way.

Reading the leaflet I was in flood of tears…..

“May not walk till much older if at all”

“May never talk”

“prone to autism, epilepsy, hypotonia etc etc etc”

I was numb. Trying my hardest not to get too upset or stressed as I was 5 months pregnant. I knew I needed to be strong for my unborn child and also be there for my little girl who that same day had further blood tests along with Mummy and Daddy to see if we had passed her this. As if I didn’t feel guilty enough as it was.

We went to see the genetics team in Winchester. Finally, someone can answer our many questions. What did we get, the same leaflet that was given to us at the paediatrician appointment. However, we also found out that within her 5q14.3 deletion she was missing an entire gene – MEF2C. We later found out this is a commanding gene and explained many things.

At 17 months her baby brother was born. As I had to have a c-section the 1st 12 weeks we had visitors every day and a few people supported us so well and I will be eternally grateful. Then followed some of my loneliest & darkest days of my life. It was winter. I struggled to leave the house with both babies as I couldn’t carry them at the same time. The visitors became few and far between and the days were long and hard. Then the 2nd birthday invites started to roll in. I felt pleased that she was still being included but also extremely anxious about the fact that she was VERY different to her peers now. She was still a “baby” & they were all clearly “toddlers” running around, jumping, laughing etc whereas she could not even stand or crawl.

Now she was a little under 2 years old and her little brother started crawling at just 4 months old. I knew 1 day he would overtake her in milestones. But I had not yet prepared myself.  She had been trying all year to master crawling and he picked it up in a few days. I was honestly depressed. But also felt guilty that I couldn’t be happy for him as I was grieving for her. How bad a mother am I!!

However with each passing milestone he achieved, for instance walking at just 9 months I could then be happy for him. The 1st one was just hard. It seemed to come so easy to him with very little effort. Why is life so unfair? To make some children work so hard for what many people take for granted. I may never hear my daughter say she loves me and that is the hardest thing with all this. I can cope (well possibly my back can’t) with the physically side of this. But if she never talks, that will slowly break my heart.

At 2.5 years she got a place at an amazing special needs nursery. She also has lots of equipment now like a stander, a supportive chair and a walker. Within 3 months at the nursery she was doing well and started crawling!!! It’ss about 1 year since then and I still stop whatever I am doing to watch her crawl as I am still overwhelmed and emotional to see it.

She still continues to amaze me all the time. She can almost now stand unaided and is trying so hard to pull to stand up. She loves music and water so we are very grateful we get to do both at the amazing Bluebells facility in North Waltham which is funded by the charity Sebastian’s Action Trust.

If you are reading this and think or know your friend or family member has a child with additional needs, I would encourage you to reach out to them. They just want to feel supported and to be included and treated the same as anyone else. Empathise and listen if you can. But they certainly don’t want pity though, that is very different.

I often wish I had an easier life. But if that meant giving her up (or indeed giving up on her) I soon stop wishing that. I am blessed to be given my daughter. She is unique, loving & so special. She puts a smile of my face every day.

Some things I do that help. Some are much easier than others, some I don’t do all the time and some you may need help with

  1. I don’t compare her to others
  2. I don’t think about what she should be doing at her age
  3. Applied for financial help – Disability Living Allowance
  4. Contacted local help for support and advice hampshiresendiass@coreassets.com
  5. Tree tots. This is a coffee morning. Run every term time Wednesday 10-12. For parents of pre-schoolers
  6. I try to have separate time to concentrate on each child (when possible). My children couldn’t be more different and need/want very different things from me
  7. To not be afraid to ask for help. I need to get better at this myself.
  8. Me time. I don’t get this often, but I try to ring fence some pamper time or catch up with friends
  9. Seek support from charities (Like the above-mentioned Sebastian’s Action Trust)

Also Family Fund give grants (up to £500 per year) according to child’s needs

  1. Find Facebook groups with people who have the same or similar condition. I am on a few groups like this 1 in particular are like my extended family even if the group is only 300 people and are all over the world. This means if I am not sleeping and want to vent someone in Australia for instance will chat with me
  2. Find places that offer child free or carer free. 

If you are in a similar situation or would like me to explain any above points further please do get in contact with me via Louise ! If you don’t want to reach out to me, please reach out to someone. Thank you for reading to the end !!

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NHM Readers Recommend: Pregnancy Yoga Classes

In November 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “I’m just wondering if you know of any yoga classes in Basingstoke for pregnant individuals.”

As always, thank you for all your responses, they are listed below in no particular order.

Please bear in mind that listings may change in subsequent years, but hopefully they will still be a good base point for your own research.

NHM Readers Recommend: Pregnancy Yoga Classes

Yoga with Tory

Melrose Hall suggested, Yoga with Tory

Physical Balance

Becky said, “…Jolene at Physical Balance.”

Fiona Wells Yoga

Amy said, “ Fiona Wells Yoga…can highly recommend Fiona if she’s still running pregnancy classes.”

Wendy said, “I’d second Fiona”

Lisa said,”…Fiona too.”

Nickie said, “I went to Fiona to but that was 10 years ago. She was fab!”

NCT

Lottie said, “I did the NCT one in both my pregnancies and really enjoyed it.”

Elisa said, “I attended (NCT) these 5 years ago. Very good back then”

Anne-Marie said, “Nct at Brookvale on a Tuesday evening was lovely.”

Charlie said, “…I loved these classes and only just stopped going with my now 9 month old. Libby is fantastic.”

Taryn said, “NCT at brookvale is really great!”

Gemma said, ” I’d also recommend Fiona. Her classes were great and I came away with a great group of friends too.”

Hayley said, “Libby Ruth runs both pregnancy and postnatal yoga. You can take it at your own pace, which meant I actually went to class on my due date!!”

Libby Ruth replied, “Thank you so much for all the lovely comments for nct pregnancy yoga! We love running these classes. Do email me for more information yfp@basingstokenct.org.uk”

Helen said, “NCT at brookvale with Libby.”

Cerys said, “There’s a new NCT Yoga for Pregnancy class just started in Overton in Sunday evenings too, 6.00-7.30pm at Overton Community Centre.”

Yoga with Gloria

Helen also said, “… Yoga & Pilates with Gloria

Carly said, “Would recommend pregnancy yoga with Gloria.”

Kath said, “Gloria Jennings.”

Fitmama

Yvette said, “Also try FitMama.”

Amanda Wallace suggested, Marie Fitmama Behenna

Marie replied, “Www.fitmamastudio.comPregnancy courses run every Tuesday evening.”

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NHM Readers Recommend: Dance Classes for two-year-olds

In November 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “Hi, I am trying to find a dance class for my little girl who is 2, I’m struggling as most seem to start at 3, do you know of any?”

Thank you for all your responses, they are listed below in no particular order.

Please bear in mind that listings may change in subsequent years, but hopefully they will still be a good base point for your own research.

NHM Readers Recommend: Dance classes for two-year-olds

Lisa Beaumont School of Ballet

Jo said, ” I would highly recommend Lisa Beaumont ballet class on a Friday. My little girl started there and is 2 year 4 months. It’s a parent and baby class so parent does it alongside.”

Hayley said, “I second Lisa Beaumont School of Ballet too.”

Lottie said, “Another vote for Lisa Beaumont here too! Marnie has just turned 3 and started back in April and loves it!!!!”

Marion said, “A fourth vote for Lisa Beaumont. She’s very good. I danced professionally for a while in my youth (and still teach Zumba now) and I’m really flipping picky about who teaches my kids to dance. I recommend her highly.”

Tracey said, “I’ve just been to Lisa’ Beaumont’s class in Cliddesden painting pottery presents with everyone and they all have such a lovely time at the class and there were 2 year olds dancing too!”

The Lynden School of Dance & Gymnastics

Sarah said, “The Lynden School of Dance & Gymnastics take them from 2 and a half and have a parent and toddler class before this. They’ve been great for both my girls”

Debbie suggested, “Www.lyndendance.co.uk”

Moo Music

Ellie said, “I took my daughter to kids kan dance but she was a bit too young for it. I’m now taking her to moo music and she enjoyed it so much fun.”

Footsteps Dance School

Lindsey said, “Footsteps Dance School – my daughter and nieces have been there since they were 2 and half and Kelly who teaches the class is just fantastic. Would highly recommend.”

Kids Kan Dance

Kat said, “My daughter loved kids kan dance when she was younger.”

Lucy said, “Kids kan dance is great.”

Katie said, “Kids Kan Dance we have two classes for two year olds. Dance with Mummy and Twinkle 2’s…”

Leanne said, “Kids Kan Dance dance with Mummy classes are the best!!”

The M&M Academy of Arts

Lauren said,  “The M&M Academy of Arts in basingstoke take from 2 and a half and is on a Saturday.”

MG School of Dance

Jessica suggested, “MG School of Dance

Angela said, “MG school of dance at Popley fields community centre are a local dance school catering for all ages and abilities. We run classes in Modern, Tap, Ballet and Acro We have places on our Saturday classes offering the First lesson free.”

*Please note, in December 2018, MG School of Dance changed hands and became Poppies School of Dance*

Basingstoke Tappers

Kimberley said, ” Basingstoke Tappers is a good one.”

Basingstoke Tappers replied, “Performing Arts Tots from 18 months ….Also Classes for all aged children & Adults…

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NHM Readers Recommend: Swimming crash courses 2018

In July 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “I was wondering if you know of any local crash swimming courses for children?” 

Thank you for all your responses, please be aware that listings may change over time but this should still be helpful as a basis for your own research. All opinions are the readers own and are not that of NHM.

NHM Readers Recommend: Swimming crash courses 2018

Joanna said, “The sports centre do crash courses.”

Sarah said, “Bluefins at Cranbourne.”

Becky said, “My daughter has just done a crash course at the Sports Centre and she really enjoyed it.”

Karen said, “I recommend the Sports centre too.”

Andrea said, “We go to Bluefins at Cranbourne.”

Amanda said, “Aquadrome and tadley pool both do intensive courses, so five days a week for one week at a time. They learn faster as there’s no gap to forget things. Highly recommend.”

Ruth said, “We did it for our eldest, age 7? over a half term and he hasn’t looked back – Joanne is brilliant.” (Sports centre)

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NHM Reader’s Experience: Rectocele Surgery & Recovery

Thank you very much to today’s NHM Reader who is sharing some of her experience, especially with such a private subject. I really hope this post helps at least one Mum get the support that she needs.

Rectocele Surgery & Recovery

‘Some things are best kept private’ was something I truly believed. Until I faced major surgery, in an intimate area following seemingly a nice quick birth without complications some years ago.

When looking for stories about what it’s actually like to recover from pelvic floor surgery the web is polluted with tale of mesh, slings, multiple surgeries and failure.

Here’s my story, still ongoing, just one surgery, which involved lots of stitches and ‘designer vagina’ jokes but, how my life is changing as a result of this procedure.

This could have been kept private but given how it’s hard to talk about your lady bits openly, I decided to share my journey.

https://nakedtruthabout.blogspot.com/?fbclid=IwAR0aOl2IkMZsdWMIeb2Odl18PSqbXmDFSmZrbGbw4r26c0WtmoN6OduA14A

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NHM Readers Recommend: Professionals For Toddler Sleep Issues

In October 2018, a NHM Reader asked: “I have a friend who is struggling to get any sleep with her toddler who only sleeps for 3 hrs each night! I am sure I read on your site somewhere about a sleep nanny or someone like that who may be able to help?” Can anyone recommend a sleep nanny?”

Thank you for all your responses, they are listed below in no particular order.

Please bear in mind that listings may change in subsequent years, but hopefully they will still be a good base point for your own research.

NHM Readers Recommend: Professionals For Toddler Sleep Issues

Jenny said, “Care it out sleep consultant is a fb page I follow.”

Amy said, “We worked with a lady at Baby Sleep The Night who was wonderful! My 6 m/o was waking every couple of hours and not napping. In 10 days he was sleeping through the night and napping really well. I cannot recommend her highly enough and it honestly saved us from breaking point.”

Wendy said, “…get her to speak to a GP as it could be a sign of other health issues.”

Allison suggested, Kelly-Lauren Warner, who replied:  ” Little Well-Beings child sleep, behaviour and nutrition solutions Please let me know if your reader would like more information. Always best to get it checked out at the GP first.”

Hayley suggested, Tiffany-Jayne Lee, who replied: “I’m a qualified sleep consultant feel free to PM Me.”

Charlotte said,”Victoria Murphy May be helpful for u.”

Kelly Smith said, “If she wants some help…I really don’t mind talking to her.”

Laura said, “There’s a really good book called The Gentle Sleep book if she’s looking for a solution that doesn’t involve lots of tears. You can get it from the library.”

Leanne also suggested The Gentle Sleep book, “I second this. It also helps separate what is normal behaviour from real problems…It helped me realise it was all within the realms of ‘normal’ which was a relief.”

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New Class in Overton: NCT Yoga for Pregnancy

The classes are suitable for women at any time after 12 weeks of pregnancy and focus on gentle postures, breathing techniques, positions for labour and relaxations. The aim is for you to have an enjoyable and relaxing time, whilst improving your physical and emotional wellbeing and helping you feel more confident and positive about birth. The postures are very gentle, specifically designed so you can attend throughout your pregnancy (after 12 weeks) and can be adapted to individual needs. They can be taken on their own or as an add-on to our other antenatal classes.

The classes are suitable for all women, regardless of their fitness level.

Benefits of these classes include:

⦁ Reduced back ache
⦁ Improved quality of sleep
⦁ Reduced anxiety
⦁ Strengthened joints and muscles
⦁ Increased flexibility
⦁ Increased blood circulation
⦁ Reduced swelling from fluid retention
⦁ Improved posture and body awareness
⦁ Strengthened abdominal and pelvic muscles
⦁ Improved digestive system

For those who are already mothers, the class will be a time when you can relax, concentrate on the new baby, and think about your wishes for this birth.

For first time mothers, there will be lots of practical tips, opportunity to meet others and ask questions. Some words may be unfamiliar, please do not hesitate to ask if there is anything you are unsure of, no matter how small it might seem.

* Everyone is welcome, you don’t have to be a member of the NCT. We would like to make sure every parent can benefit from our courses. We therefore have lower prices for parents on lower incomes or in receipt of certain benefits. These concessions vary, from small discounts of 5% to a maximum reduction of 90% off the full course fee. Please ask about these discounts.

Looking forward to seeing you,

Anne Boyere

Sundays, 6.00 to 7.30 pm.

Parking outside of the Community Centre, London Road car park or Overton Hill car park.

£7.50 per class paid on a weekly basis.

Please bring a yoga mat, blanket and a pillow if possible but I’ll have some mats.

Website: https://www.nct.org.uk/branches/basingstoke/yfp
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RelaxStretchBreatheBasingstoke/
Email: a.boyere26617@hotmail.co.uk
Tel: 07515821851

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NHM Reader Recommendations: Toddler groups for socialising children and parents

I recently had a question from an NHM Reader that I was really hoping the NHM Community could help with. I know that there are groups on NHM but thought maybe there were other support groups that could also help: “I have 2 children, a 2yr old and a 4year old. My 4 year old is very shy and I do not have any friends with children. I feel really isolated. I would love to find out about some groups (regular ones that I can keep going to) to give my 4yr old an opportunity to mix with other children and me to make some friends.”

Thank you so much for all the responses and also for the kind offers to meet up. The group suggestions are listed below in no particular order:

NHM Reader Recommendations: Toddler groups for socialising children and parents

Edie said “Sherborne St John baby and toddler group on a Wednesday in term time at 9.45-11.30am in the village hall is a very friendly group that is a good way to meet other mums.”

Shirley said “Sycamore Halls Community Centre has two parent and toddler groups… Monday 10 til 12 and Thursday 10 til 12… term time only”

Hannah said “Basing beans is a lovely friendly group. They have a Facebook page. Also places like fun house are good as the kids kind of gravitate towards each other.”

  • Stephanie asked “Hi,is basing beans still running? We’ve been twice(term time) in the last 2 months and the building was in darkness and locked”
  • Jenni replied “Hi Stephanie, I’m not sure if you know but Basing Beans moved to Lychpit Village Hall a while ago, it’s still great fun!”

Rebecca said “Mini Professors is good for 2-4 year olds.”

Allison R said “Two friendly toddler groups held at St Mary’s Church, Goat Lane Eastrop. Tues and Thurs term time, 10am – 11.30am. Many parents bring pack lunches and stay on for more chats and social ‘indoor picnic’!”

Lene said “I run Little Learners Basingstoke (aimed at 5 months to 5 years). A messy play group developing early writing skills and mark making. The classes are small and very relaxed. https://www.facebook.com/LLBasingstoke/

Joanna said “BusyBees Hook is a lovely craft toddler group, Friday mornings at 9.45am”

Laura said “I really recommend Muddy Puddles forest school. Being outside gives shyer children space to make friendships at their own pace. And brilliant for my 2 who are almost 2 and almost 4.”

  • Edie said “Second that actually, we’ve just started our second term”
  • Sarah said “Muddy Puddle Forest School is amazing!”

Erica said “Come and join the fun at Pop Up Play Village on a Wednesday morning in Beggarwood Community Centre. We’ve had a few people come who have felt like that… It’s hard feeling like that. Once your 4 year old gets school visits underway that might help as they meet Classmates. Www.facebook.com/popupplayvillagebasingstoke

Mary said “Do you use your preschool hours? If you find the one where most children go to the school your child will go to you maybe able to benefit for the rest of the term and then meet up with people in the holidays. My issue with lots of groups is they stop in the holidays so you might need to arrange to meet people through the holidays to maintain friendships.”

Mandy said “The Link, Newchurch Road in Tadley have various toddler groups on, all very friendly. Monday 1.15 to 2.45pm cheeky cherubs, Tuesday Little Squigglers Messy Play 9.30am to 11am, Wednesday Cheeky Chimps 9.30am to 11.30am, 2nd and 4th Thursday 9.30 to 11.30am Little Explorers Soft Play. There is also groups run by others like Totcross Buns on Thursday Mornings and Caterpillar Music on a Friday. All the groups are really friendly.”

  • Allison (Tot Cross Buns) replied “Thank you for the recommendation Mandy. We have spaces on Thursday and love meeting new mini bakers and their grown ups.

Wendy said “Basingstoke gymnastics run classes everyday that would accommodate both children.”

Rachael said “Sherfield Park community centre 0-5 toddler group on a Tuesday 10am-12pm. Very friendly group. If you want a smaller group to get her used to people first there is also Bumps into mums every Friday morning at Sherfield Park community centre just pay for drinks and cakes. Runs every week throughout the year (apart from bank holidays and Christmas) 10am-12pm. Kids ages range from newborns through to school starters”

Cerys said “NCT Coffee & Chat, Friday mornings 10.00 at Brookvale Village Hall”

Rachel said “TinyTalk Basingstoke – Baby signing and Toddler Talking classes have a social time as part of the class and I have had so many Mummies and little ones make firm friendships in class!”

Katie said “Join us at Cookery Doodle Doo – with a max preschool class size of 6, the children sit together and cook with me. You’re welcome to help her, or sit at my kitchen table with your littler one and watch/chat/drink coffee. Whatever works for you on the day. Trial class only £5 if you contact me to book. Or try our short pop-up on Thursday 10th May at the Overton Coffee Shop – all the adults join in and help at this fun Flowerpot Cheesecake class for little tots (walking/talking) up to preschool. Both your kids could do that one Www.Cookerydoodledoo.Com/northhants

Naomi said “Melrose Hall has two tot groups running one on a Tues and one on a Friday. The Friday one is very small in numbers so all are welcome”

Sasha said “Oakridge hall does a lovely playgroup on a Tuesday 9:45 -11:15 I have a 4yr and 2yr old and moved here not knowing anyone and felt isolated too.”

Juliet said “I started taking my shy boy to Tot Cross Buns about a year ago when he was two, the class size was perfect for him and the involvement has done wonders for his confidence. It‘s great for meeting other mums too”

  • Allison (Tot Cross Buns) said “Thank you for the recommendation Juliet. We love our mini bakers and enjoy meeting new faces”

Jaz said “Caterpillar Music is suitable for both ages and siblings are free too. I hated playgroups as would sit on my own and not be brave enough to talk to anyone. Structured classes I find much better and less scary. Being a mum is so daunting when you go to new places. I’m only more confident now I have a 3rd and even now don’t dare try playgroups!!!”

Kim said “‘What’s Inside The Box’ Story Time Sessions with Routine Riots. Teas and coffees for mums and dad’s whilst we explore a story, sing, dance and play. Themed each session. Every two weeks and next one is Thursday 3rd May from 1-2pm at Viables Community Centre. £4 and you’ll need to contact the Centre to book”

Yvette said “I went to caterpillar music this morning and usually I find new places and groups daunting. Being a structured class eased my uncomfortable side! Little ones 5 months and thoroughly enjoyed it!!!”

Kelly-Lauren said “Jiggy Wrigglers is a great class for all your children’s ages and is priced per family and not per child. All children love the music, dancing, props and bubbles! There is also social time with toys at the end where you can relax and have free tea/coffees and biscuits whilst your little ones play.”

  • Emma asked “Where is this one please? I have a baby and need to find classes to go to. All the ones I used to do with my first had stopped coz of the children’s centres cutbacks
  • Kelly-Lauren replied “Hi Emma, we are currently at Hook Home and Garden Centre on Tuesday 10-10.30 and 10.45-11.15 (no refreshments here or social time but there is a free play area you can use afterwards inside) which is £3 per child, Thursdays Melrose Hall in Popley 10-11am and Fridays Crookham WI Hall 10-11am. It’s such a shame about the cut backs as a lot of people are missing out on vital connections and support!”

Kath said” Zoe runs zingtastic and mumbaba. Zoe would definitely make you feel welcome and introduce you to other mums”

  • Hayley replied “Another recommendation for Zoe. I’ve been to her groups with both of my children and she will absolutely make you feel welcome”
  • Lisa said “I second that, Zoe is lovely and we have been going to Mumbaba for 3 years now.”
  • Julia said “Zoe is awesome and so welcoming – as a first time mum I went along to Mumbaba having had no mummy friends. My little girl and I were given such a warm welcome and made wonderful new friends”

Lizzie said “I run forest school sessions in Bramley and in morgaston woods at The Vyne. We have a few parents who bring 2 children along as the child led nature of forest School means children of all ages can join in. The parents are all lovely and welcoming and it’s a great place to make new friends as people attend every week. Facebook.com/muddypuddleclub

Sarah said “I run Hartbeeps multi-sensory classes suitable for both ages and siblings. It is a structured class with lots of fun. Classes in Hook are on a Tuesday morning and I have a special offer of 3 introductory classes for £12.00 on at the moment. sarahjp@hartbeeps.com https://www.facebook.com/hartbeepsfarnham/

Hayley said “Little angels in hatch warren on a Thursday morning is good for mixed ages too. My 4 year old and 19 month old go every week. It’s very relaxed and a nice bunch”

Louise NHM said “I was thinking, maybe we need a “code word” for Mum’s who are a bit shy or nervous, so that when they turn up, the organisers know to make them feel very welcomed and introduce them to others. Would that be a good idea?”

  • Rachael said “I think it’s a great idea just a shame it needs to be done, why can’t people just be more welcoming and introduce themselves when they see a new face walk in the door”
  • Jade said “This has never changed. I first had my first child 7 years ago and I was always the one sat on my own at baby group. 7 years later I take my 8month old little girl to one for her sake. Not mine. I don’t feel welcome no one wants to chat they’ve all got their friends I just go purely to get out the house now and no longer worry about having any ‘mummy friends’”
  • Rebecca said “I know exactly how you feel. This is why I prefer structured classes rather than playgroups.”
  • Mary said “I actually think the organiser needs to be more obvious so you know to introduce yourself to. Also most people who are talking in groups will let someone into the group.
  • The other thing to do is get there early and help to set up or put stuff away, that’s another way to get chatting. I don’t think I’m overly confident but i won’t sit on my own either.”
  • Helena said “Our village playgroup had a designated ‘welcomer’ who would instantly spot a new face, explain the set up and introduce them to the adults who she knew would be friendly and chatty Because let’s face it, not everyone is! It worked really well and no one was ever sat alone.
  • Sasha said “Louise NHM that’s a really good idea, make it easier for people”

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New Class in Overton: NCT Mother and Baby Yoga

NCT Mother and Baby Yoga is a unique and fun exercise programme designed for mother and baby.

Classes provide a wonderful opportunity for you as a new mother to ease your way back into exercise after the birth of your baby. Each class comprises gentle yoga-based exercises for both you and your baby to do together.

Mums will have the opportunity to do exercises and stretches to:

• strengthen and tone your muscles; especially abdominal, pelvic floor and back muscles
• increase your fitness levels
• regain and maintain a good posture
• provide some vital relaxation
• re-energise and motivate you for the rest of the week

Babies will have the opportunity to experience some yoga and massage especially for them to:

• encourage their reflexes to develop
• enhance their motor development
• increase their awareness of their surroundings
• calm and relax them, helping them to sleep better

Overall the class allows time for the mother and baby bond to develop, enhancing your understanding of your baby and hence increasing your confidence in being a parent.

Music features throughout the class, creating a fun and relaxed atmosphere, re-learn those nursery rhymes and come and join us.

Classes are suitable for you and your baby to attend from six weeks after birth. You need to have had your six/eight week check from your GP and been given permission to restart exercising before attending classes.

I will provide mats but you can bring your own if you wish. You may find it useful to have a small cushion and a blanket as well for extra comfort. Please bring along a blanket for baby to lie on and a favorite toy or comforter.

Sessions end with a chance to have a drink and a chat while you get to know the other mothers on the course. Free parking spaces are available at outside the Community Centre, on the London Road car park, or Overton Hill car park.

Many thanks and I look forward to welcoming you and your baby to classes soon. Anne Boyere

5.00 to 6.00 pm on Sundays

Term time in 6 week blocks or book each session from one week to the other.

Babies from 6 weeks (mums needs to have had 6-week check) to 12 months (or walking).

Cost is £5 per session.

Website: https://www.nct.org.uk/branches/basingstoke/mb_yoga
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RelaxStretchBreatheBasingstoke/
Email: a.boyere26617@hotmail.co.uk
Tel: 07515821851

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NHM Readers Recommend: Getting Around with Kids without a Car

I recently had a question from a NHM Reader that I asked the NHM Community to help with: “For medical reasons I have been told I need to permanently stop driving. With 3 young children (1, 4 & 6) the thought of not being able to drive is utterly frightening and I am really struggling with it. I would really appreciate hearing from mums who don’t drive and how they find doing normal day to day things and special school holiday things without driving. I have no idea how we can continue with swimming, Beavers, football etc. I don’t have family to help and I don’t know what I am going to do!”

Thank you to the NHM Community for all of your responses, listed below in no particular order.

NHM Readers Recommend: Getting Around with Kids without a Car

Kathryn said “I don’t drive (hubby does) and was a sahm for the first 18 months of my second daughter’s life… Both of my girls love the bus. I found we were quite well connected, live in Popley, had nursery in town centre and attended various baby groups all over Basingstoke. I downloaded the network map on my phone so I could always check which buses went to somewhere before committing to going. Just had to allow time for longer journeys and the possibility that I couldn’t fit on the bus with the pushchair and having to wait for the next one… But it is doable”

Claire M said “I grew up in a family where my mum didn’t drive. I didn’t miss out at all, you will probably find your kids will become more independent as a result when they get a bit older. Trains are pretty good these days too with the 4 for 2 deals etc. As long as you live close to public transport you will be fine”

Claire D said “I have a 5, 3 and 2 year old (and an almost 18 year old). I am learning to drive but obviously currently dont. When I was with the kids Dad he drove but I still had to make my own way about when he was at work. I rely on buses, taxis and trains. I still am able to get to work and back and take the kids to school etc. I shop online, go and do small shops and also occasionally get lifts to do slightly bigger shops. I get by. It can get stressful, but the norm for me.

I also often have to navigate London with my 5 and 3 year old on foot and my 2 year old in a pushchair. When I have the pushchair, I find my route with buses and plan in advance. When I am lucky to have a babysitter for my youngest, I get the tube. Recently I had 4 London visits with the kids, to places that I didnt know, in two weeks. I survived, 2 visits were after night shifts.

Also a rail card is a great thing to have. £30 for a year and you get quite a saving on train tickets with it. They also do “buy one get one free” deals on entry tickets to places in London when travelling by train with a rail card https://www.network-railcard.co.uk/  https://www.network-railcard.co.uk/news-offers/days-out/

Ruth saidI was going to recommend this too! 🙂and google maps – if you select directions, and the little bus/train icon before putting in where you want to go, it gives you all the bus/train route info plus how long to walk at each stage! And if you can afford to invest in a Merlin card then there is lots to do in London when they are a bit older, plus sealife centre in Weymouth on the pass is a great day out on the train. I remember doing all sorts by public transport with my mum as dad was the only driver and worked pretty much the whole summer hols”

Kate said “There is a service called ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ who are happy to transport kids and support anyone with getting out and about. Driving Miss Daisy Whitchurch

Katie said “Speak to other parents at clubs and see if you can get lifts for your children from them. We share lifts to most clubs and would give lifts to non drivers as we are going anyway.”

Hannah said “I won’t lie it is tough sometimes but my boy is only 3 1/2 And used to only going to places on bus/train with me. My OH drives but tbh if he is working a Sunday he has to miss his rugby because we can’t get there. I would definitely see if there are other parents who could help out with clubs etc”

Zoe said “I don’t drive and have the same age children as you. My husband drives but is only around the weekends so we rely on public transport and walking throughout the week. Don’t think my children miss out because of me not driving. I guess it depends where you live and how far away the clubs etc are from you?”

Kelly said “I do drive but my husband doesn’t anymore due to complications with his type 1 diabetes. You may be entitled to a free bus pass as you have had to stop driving for medical reasons. Online food shopping is vital too it saves carrying bags. As for clubs maybe ask friends to help or move lessons to the weekends so youre not getting home too late with tired children on public transport.”

Sharon said “I don’t drive, and live in the town centre partly for that reason. I do spend a fair bit of time finding activities I can access as a lot of these are out in the ‘burbs. To be honest I limit bus use as I find this a pain with my youngest (2) needing a buggy for longer journeys (and all the stuff we still have to cart around!) – there often isn’t room on a bus for us so I always go one bus early to allow for a fall back plan. We do the things we can get to. My mum or husband help with one-offs if they are around. We arrange further days out when hubby or parents are around, which to be honest works nicely as these are often too expensive to do often anyway! Best of luck sorting out the clubs side of things.”

Mindy said Consider doing your sums and working out what you save on insurance, petrol etc and giving yourself a budget for taxis for some trips”

Mata said “I don’t drive and neither does my husband. We use public transport and taxis. We choose everything based on non-driving: where we live, work, what activities the kids do. Not driving is hard in Hampshire, especially in more rural areas. It is not too bad in Basingstoke. And the norm in London.”

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