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Why it's okay to use your new-born baby as a dumbbell

Before I became a mum, I had no concept of the 'alternative world' which exists once you give birth to another person. There are so many mum's networks, baby groups and soft play areas out there that I'm constantly amazed when another one pops-up. I do wonder whether there are enough babies to go round them all?

The choice is definitely a blessing, however, because when you are a new mum yes, it's wonderful, but it can also be a daunting and isolating experience. I was clueless when my first baby came along — my husband had to give me a 'step-by-step' demonstration of how to change a nappy and even then, my confidence was lacking. I felt as though I was playing at being a mum. I just hoped my new baby wouldn't figure out my inexperience!

And so being able to attend baby groups and baby-friendly play areas so that I could get out of the house and 'compare notes' with other mums was simply a god-send. I joined ' Exercise with Baby' held in the Elim Church Conference Centre in Nantwich. Run by a lovely lady called Charlotte, it provided the perfect opportunity to mingle with other new mums whilst getting back in shape. And who would have thought that a new-born baby would make such a great 'dumbbell'? Then there's baby sensory, baby massage, baby yoga, Rhythm Time, Jo Jingles and a fairly new addition to the baby groups — 'Dance Baby Sling'. The list is endless!

As my mum tells me, when she was a new mum there was just one playgroup she could take me to and that was only open for a few hours each week. How times have changed!

And so, although I'm no longer a 'new mum' and can no longer use my (now 2.5 year old) as a handy dumbbell, I still value the many baby-friendly groups and venues out there for mums and dads. I see what a huge difference they can make for providing physical, emotional and mental support and am happy to be a part of this 'alternative world'. And you'll be pleased to know I'm actually rather good at changing nappies these days. I knew I'd get there in the end!

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