Updated: Apr 4, 2019
The saying goes; ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ but many of us don't have family locally to help and support us, and that can make things really hard for new mums.
So, that's is why I wanted to put together a "Little Black Book" for new mums in Teddington, Twickenham and Richmond and share it with you.
As a first time Mum, in those early tired, foggy days when I didn't really know what I was doing, it was so easy to find myself still in my PJs at 5pm, but I found that making sure my week had some structure was a huge help.
Having one thing planned each day became my lifeline. Too many plans became too stressful, but with too few, I felt lost and alone.
I tried to make sure I had planned a coffee with friends from antenatal classes or booked a spot at baby massage - and just knowing that I was going to see some friendly and supportive faces that week was enough to help lift the feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Of course, the need to have a network of help doesn't stop once your baby is a bit older - having a second child or third child changes things again - and although we have more experience as mothers, we still need support and help.
When I was 8 months pregnant with baby number 2, we moved to Teddington and I knew NO-ONE. I didn't know the area at all and I had left my network of mum friends back in Zone 2. It seemed like they were a million miles away, especially now that I had a toddler and a newborn to look after. So I frantically started googling local toddler groups and playgroups and went off in search of new mum friends!
Luckily I did find welcoming mums but it was a very different experience than first time around when I had my well established 'village’ of people around me. I spent a lot of time alone in cafes breastfeeding and stuffing cake down my 2 year old. This is perhaps why I found the jump from having 1 baby to 2 so much harder than 0 to 1.
I was not the best at asking for help either, but my mother-in-law used to come around one day a week and bring lunch and we could chat and I'd have an extra pair of hands for a few hours. If I hadn't had her I would have definitely gone down the ‘mother's help’ or doula route.
We are not meant to do it alone!
So, it is important to build your support network and ask for help where you need it - from making new local mum friends at antenatal classes, to feeling empowered and supported in your birth through hypnobirthing or having a doula , to knowing who to turn to if you are struggling with breastfeeding or a traumatic birth, to how to ‘fix’ your postnatal body, to having mum & baby classes to go to that you actually enjoy and look forward to going to each week - there are lots of wonderful individuals and organisations who will be able to help you.
So here it is, my list of the people you should know locally for help, support and advice if you are pregnant, postnatal or beyond.
Some of these are people who I wish I had known back when my children were smaller.
Some I have met through my work or have been highly recommended to me by my clients.
Some of them are the people I did find who kept me sane, helped me get back to ‘me’ and gave me (and my boys!) something to look forward to each week.
My Little Black Book for Twickenham, Teddington
and the Surrounding Area
Teddington Midwives - Antenatal classes
HypnobirthMe - Hypnobirthing courses with Mary-Anne
Pregnancy Yoga - Muriel Mueller
Pregnancy and Post Natal Yoga and Pregnancy Day Retreats
Mobile Women's Health Physio - Claire at La femme Physio
Women's Health Physio - White Hart Clinic, Barnes
Massage with Jo - Pregnancy, Postnatal and C-Section Scar Massage themobilemassagetherapist.co.uk
Doula - Lucy Symons
Mindful Magic & Motherhood Support - Kate at Effie & Ros www.effieandros.co.uk
Private breastfeeding Consultations with Geraldine Miskin
Other brilliant local services and baby & toddler classes:
Baby Massage with Heidi
Pregnancy & Newborn Photography
Rainbow Music with Phoebe
Mini Professors with Nansi
Useful websites for support, help & advice
NCT Breastfeeding Support Helpline - 0300 330 0700
Find a Women's Health Physio anywhere in the London & rest of the UK - Mummy MOT
Spinning Babies - Easier Birth with Foetal Positioning
Let me know who I have missed off! Who was essential in your pregnancy and postnatal journey? Who did you turn to for help, advice and support? Do let me know!