Three or four birds and all that… by Caroline Woffenden, MD

As a new mum I’m always on the look-out for opportunities to meet fellow new mums (to think anyone else has gone through this…), and introduce those all-important experiences to my little one.

Following the three month haze immediately after having Martha, when leaving the house before 4pm and changing into something other than my pjs or tracksuit was among some of the most triumphant moments of my life, the two of us have since clocked up swimming lessons, ‘singing’ classes (stay with me here…), soft play sessions (lots of soft play sessions…)… and, believe it or not, baby yoga… Well, yoga with a baby, strictly.

Nine months in – and it’s true what everyone (and I mean everyone) tells you: time does fly – planning our treasured days together as mum and daughter is as key for my well-being, as I am hoping it is for hers.

So, any baby orientated club gets a huge thumbs-up from me. And the Mini & Me Club at Meadowhall is just that. It offers parents and guardians a venue to take children (babies and toddlers) for a few hours, free of charge, while we can enjoy a natter (‘when do you stop breastfeeding?’, ‘how often do you feed in the night’, ‘what stage do you drop the afternoon nap’…. ) and, most importantly…stop press for this one…. have a brew. Yep. A whole, hot cup of builder’s tea. My expectations in life, it’s fair to say, have changed significantly since I obtained the parent badge, and the luxury of having a cup of hot steaming stuff all to myself, and all on my own for a few minutes, is about as good as it gets.

Based in a pram-friendly shopping centre (with a host of fabulous new stores and family friendly places to eat, by the way) offering free parking and exclusive store offers for Mini & Me Club members too… There’s not much not to like.

To give a bit more detail, each month the Meadowhall Mini & Me team arrange a specific activity or talk aimed at parents or the babes and toddlers, with sessions to date including Rhythm and Rhyme; Sing and Sign; baby first aid and interactive play.

My first session was the last April gathering. Hosted on the first Friday of every month, this month Lucy Atkinson, a life and family coach, gave a talk about sibling relationships, while Martha and her ‘co Minis’ were in their elements, and under the very watchful eye of Monique and the team from Tumble Tots.

While the youngsters, played, slept, and in Martha’s case, crawled about poking and prodding all other attendees (anyone else’s nine month as brazen?… eekkk…. can’t think where she gets it from….), Lucy offered her own experiences, insight and strategies into sibling relationships. As a sister as well as a mum it was an interesting, interactive and really informative session.

Hosted by Ollie and Becky Hayes, you know, ‘them two from the Hallam FM radio station’ the Mini & Me sessions guarantee an hour or two of sanctuary in what otherwise is the hectic and at times very over whelming world of parenting… so thanks Meadowhall and you’ll certainly be seeing us again next month.