Basingstoke Homebirth Group

Denise sent me a message via NHM Friend asking me to let you know about the Basingstoke Homebirth Group: 

I co-ordinate meetings for the Basingstoke Homebirth Group and we meet monthly at a member’s home.

Meetings are a very informal chance to discuss any aspect of homebirth over a cup of tea and a biscuit. We generally have a mixture of parents that have had a homebirth and midvives/doulas attending.

Our aim is to share information and support those interested in planning a homebirth.

Details of meetings are posted on our Facebook page “Basingstoke Homebirth” and email address is for any enquiries.

12 Things to do when you are pregnant in Basingstoke and North Hampshire

1. Check out NorthHantsMum – obviously! 😀 Especially the newborn page and pregnancy pages. I also recommend requesting to join the secret FB NHM Pregnancy group.

2. Find out where your local baby clinic is. There is a previous post on NHM which details local baby clinic’s in the area. Click HERE for details.

3. Book up for your NCT Antenatal class early – else you not find one close by, which can become complicated (especially if you have had a cesarean) if you want to catch up with your Mummy friends and they all live miles away. NCT also do discounts on courses for those with limited funds. Or if you are looking for an alternative to NCT and live in North Hampshire, you could also try FitMama classes.

4.  Go do the “Hospital Look” round tour a few weeks before you are due. Try not to be too scared if you hear someone in labour 😉

5. Get hold of a Tumble Dryer or find out which of your family and friends have tumble dryers and start being very nice to them! Or, find out where the local laundrette is. You will be horrified by the amount of washing you suddenly have to start doing! The only laundrette details I could find in Basingstoke is the one at Elmwood Parade in Winklebury. Let me know if you have details of any others.

6. Check out the local Breastfeeding support if that’s what you want to do. Check out my previous post about Breastfeeding in Basingstoke HERE.

7. Get your maternity Bra’s from the NCT website. Much cheaper than Bravissimo and I found the selection in Bravissimo to be quite limited.

8. Find out where your local children’s centre is and see if they have a Bumps n’ Babes class you can attend, if only to meet other Mum’s in the same situation and area as you.

9.  Research what is on for Mum’s with new babies in the area. Winter is a notoriously hard time to have a baby because you are stuck inside a lot more, so you need to make more of an effort to get out and about. NHM will keep you up to date on what’s going on in Basingstoke! 😉

10.  Sign up for some of the free pregnancy “stuff” that you can get when you are pregnant. I signed up for the free Bounty Pack. When I received mine it had a bar of galaxy and a can of appletiser. I don’t think they made it out of the car park (blush)! Sainsburys and Boots used to give them out.

11. Attend a Pregnancy Exercise Class. The FitMama Studio in Stroudley Road has a number of classes that are specifically designed for Pregnant Mum’s.

12. Have a pregnancy massage.

I can probably come up with a lot more, but I think twelve (the list was originally 10!)  is a pretty round number for this kind of list! Do you have any other good suggestions for those who are pregnant?

13 Things to do in Basingstoke with a newborn


1. Subscribe to NorthHantsMum

Obviously! :-D. 

The best way to ensure that you receive each post is subscribe using the “Email Sign Up” box” on the right hand side of the home page of Every time there is a new post on NHM you will receive an email in your inbox.

I get the most interaction on” Louise NHM Smith” on Facebook . The best discussions and comments are always via “Louise NHM Smith“, so I also recommend adding me as a friend. Don’t worry, I don’t ever look at anyones’ profiles. I don’t have the time or interest! lol.

Also ask to join the secret “Newborn”  (or “Pregnancy”) facebook group that I have set up on “Louise NHM Smith” for parents of Newborns. It’s a great way to meet other Mum’s who are in the same stage of babyhood as you.

2. Join a Baby PEEP course

Click for more details about what a PEEP course and Baby Sensory.

3. Go swimming with your baby

Go swimming with your baby (after 12 weeks old) at the Sports Centre in the week or QMC swimming pool at the weekend. See Swimming with Babies for more details. You can check out other baby and child friendly swimming pools. Or maybe look into structured classes with Water Babies.

4. Go to a baby weighing clinic

Go to The Nest at Chineham Church on a Monday morning. I always found the cafe area to be lovely as everyone was very friendly and willing to chat to each other, even if you didn’t know them beforehand! You can check out other baby weighing clinics: Baby Weighing Clinics in Basingstoke. 

5. Visit a local coffee or tea shop

Visit the Little Roses Coffee Shop in Elm Tree Garden Centre for coffee and cake with your friends who are also on maternity leave. You can find other baby friendly tea and coffee shops: Reasonably Priced Afternoon Tea‘s and NHM Recommended Children friendly Coffee Shops.  I also recently reviewed The Parlour TeaRoom which also comes highly recommended.

6. Go to the Newbies cinema

Go to Newbies cinema on a Monday morning at the Odeon. It’s specifically for parents with babies. The sound is reduced and it’s half lighting so you can still see your baby. Much cheaper than normal cinema tickets and includes free biscuits and tea and coffee (if you get there before the Senior cinema oldies demolish the lot at 11am!). Also recommend signing up to their Odeon Club as you get points and it’s amazing how quickly they rack up and convert into free tickets or free food! Miss NHM went to the cinema every week from 3 weeks old till 6 months old!

7. Take a Baby Massage Course

You can book independently here or investigate whether one of the local children’s centres has a course. (this tends to work out much cheaper!) Gail who often does the courses is lovely and a real calming influence.

8. Go to a Baby Rhymetime session

Go to a Baby RhymeTime session (normally hosted at one of the libraries).

9. Visit “Coffee and Chat on a Friday morning

Visit “Coffee and Chat” on a Friday morning. This group also host a “Sling Day” on the 1st Friday of the month (see Slings for previous posts about slings) and they also do bra fittings on the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month.

10. Have a photography session with your newborn

You can click Family Photographers in North Hampshire for a list of family friendly photographers in the area. Some do specific newborn packages, so have a look through.

11. Join a local baby class

There are LOADS going on in the area (Tots Play, Buggy Fit, Baby Signing and Baby Sensory are just a few). To find more details about which classes are available have a look at the Activities Page on which lists classes by day.

12. Take some hand prints whilst your baby is tiny

Get a head start on those all important first Christmas presents at Pots2Paint. Perfect for creating keepsakes from your baby for your loved ones.


I found it really important to get out and about with my little one in those first few months. The house became thoroughly neglected but it was totally worth it for my sanity!

If you have any friends who have just had a baby, don’t forget to share this post with them!

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Google+Facebook Profile, LinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Slings and Sling Meets in Basingstoke

You may have seen that I recently put out a plea to see if anyone had any advice or details about slings. I wish I had been able to find more about slings before my little one was born because once she was here there was no time to get things sorted. I really wanted to get one but had no idea where to start. I ended up buying a really expensive sling from Mama’s and Papa’s which we’ve used twice. Not the wisest of decisions.
After seeing my plea, Martina sent me a document that she wrote with Heather that she has very kindly given me permission to publish here. There is also a PDF document enclosed in this post which Martina sent which details the T.I.C.K.S. rule for safe baby wearing. I am going to post this on Thursday. If you are looking to buy a sling I urge you to read this document first.
Martina also highlighted information about your local sling meet which you can find from the following two websites:
Thank you very much to Martina and Heather for the details.
Please add a comment if you think the details will be useful as I’d like to pass that feedback onto Martina and Heather.
SLING GUIDE: Choosing a Sling for your Baby
by Heather Chinn and Martina Kraner
A sling should be on every new parent’s wish list. It is the closest thing to an  extra pair of hands you are likely to come across. They are infallible for  soothing a grizzly or colicky infant, keep the baby happy while letting you get  on with essential chores, and are invaluable while out and about, whether  travelling on public transport, negotiating steps, escalators and busy shops, or  on country walks.
So many slings are available today we are spoilt for choice, but the selection  is so wide it can be bewildering. When choosing a sling it is best to consider  when and how you plan to use it, if anyone else will be using it, and whether  you have the patience to master one of the trickier types. Or you could buy more  than one for different purposes.
Soft carriers which have been tried, tested and have had the seal of approval  from experienced sling users are usually sold by online vendors or at baby  shows, including NCT shop that has some new exciting ranges coming up in the near future.
But opportunities to try different types before you buy are available at local  sling meets held throughout the UK. They are organised by volunteers to help  others make the right choice of sling and they are also a good chance to meet  other new parents for coffee and a chat as well as sling tips. For information  about your local sling meet visit . The Basingstoke slingmeet at Buttercups children’s centre is no longer operational, but we will have slings regularly at the NCT Coffee and Chat on Friday’s if there is sufficient interest.
A wealth of helpful and friendly advice about slings is available at the UK  parenting forum . Clear, concise, independent information  about different types of sling, the best places to find them and how to use them  is set out at , a website set up by experienced and  impartial sling users to help parents choose and use the sling which is right  for them. As with all baby equipment the safety of your child is the top priority in  making your choice,  so do ensure you choose from recommended brands, follow the  instructions for use, and check for wear and tear with secondhand slings.
But be warned, they can be just as addictive as handbags and shoes, and you  might find yourself building up a collection! With that in mind, read on for a  brief guide to the most  popular types of sling.
Pouch Slings.
A pouch sling is a simple tube of fabric with one half folded inside the other  to form a pocket which is worn across the body like a sash. It allows a baby to  be carried in a variety of positions, for example upright facing in, or sitting on the parent’s hip. It can be used  from birth to toddlerhood by altering the carry position, and allows an older  baby to have arms and legs outside the sling. Pouches are made in a variety of materials from cuddly fleece to cool linen and  are quite cheap in comparison to other types of sling. They are also quick to  master, easy to put on in a hurry, and pack up small to carry in a change bag.  Unfolded, they can be used as car seat or buggy blankets, especially the fleece  types. They do, however, place all the weight on one shoulder, which can get  tiring for long periods with an older baby, and they have to be made to fit the  wearer so it is unlikely a partner could use it as well.
Ring Slings.
A ring sling is a long length of fabric with two rings sewn in at one end. The  other end of the material is threaded through the rings like a belt to form a  pocket for the baby with a tail of fabric hanging down. Ring slings are worn  over the shoulder like pouch slings and have the same variety of carries, but  the rings allow for adjustability in different positions and for different  wearers.
They come in a range of fabrics, can be padded or unpadded, and some are frankly  stunning for special occasions. However, learning to adjust the rings for a  comfortable fit takes a bit of practice – the rings are meant to sit in what the  Americans call the corsage position, not cutting into your neck. The types of shoulder vary (for example gathered, pleated, etc.) and what suits one person may not suit another. And, like the  pouch slings, they place all the weight on one shoulder.
Mei Tais.
These are a traditional type of Asian baby carrier. They consist of a shaped  piece of fabric to fit around the baby’s body with long straps at the base and  the top. The lower pair of straps tie around the wearer’s waist, and the top pair goes over the shoulders.
Mei tais can be used on the wearer’s front, back or hip, and, as the weight is spread  across both shoulders, they are very comfortable for long periods and with  heavier babies. They can be used by different sized adults without any  adjustments, and are suitable for babies with good head control until well into  toddlerhood.
Most mei tais come in a sumptuous range of fabric designs but plainer ones are  available for fathers! They are very easy to use, although back carrying single  handed takes a bit more practice. The only disadvantage is the length of the  straps which can trail on the ground while putting one on outside.
Soft Structured Carriers.
These are superficially similar to the mass-produced baby carriers available in  many high street mother and baby stores, having a padded body and fastening with  straps and buckles but, unlike the mass-produced carriers, are designed to take  the weight of heavy babies and toddlers. They can be used on the wearer’s front  or back, and, as the weight is distributed across both shoulders, they are very  comfortable for long periods.
They are quick and easy to put on, but if the carrier is to be shared with a  different sized adult you will have to learn to adjust the fitting of the  buckles. They are suitable for babies from about three-months-old until well  into toddlerhood. Some makes come in a beautiful range of fabrics, while others  are more utilitarian in style.
Wraps. W
raps are very long lengths of material which are wrapped around the wearer and  baby, and tied. They are very versatile, allowing a complete range of carries on  one or both of the wearer’s shoulders, can be used by different sized adults and  are very comfortable for long periods.
They come in either stretchy or woven material. Stretchy wraps are easier to use  but do not give as much support for an older baby, so they become less  comfortable as the baby grows.
Woven wraps can be used from birth into toddlerhood but are more difficult to  master. All wraps require some practice before using them but most makers  include very detailed instructions and/or DVDs. They are not, however, the  quickest to put on and the lengths of fabric do trail on the ground while you  are wrapping.
The range of slings and soft carriers now available in the UK is very large so  only the most common types have been described in detail. Framed back pack carriers are not covered because, while many may be excellent  for hiking the Pennines carrying a toddler and outdoor activity gear, most  people find soft slings are more suitable for their everyday needs, and are far  less cumbersome, much lighter to wear and give babies the reassurance of contact  with a carer’s body.
The mass-produced carriers available in high street stores vary greatly in  quality and in comfort for the wearer. While for many experienced sling users  they were their first introduction to the convenience of hands-free baby care,  few would buy one for a second child as they tend to be comfortable only when  used with very young babies, making them a very expensive purchase for the time  they are used.
Have fun choosing!