bottle feeding

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on…. Baby Classes

The Honest Confessions of a NICU Mum on…. Baby Classes

 

So, it seems that once you’ve got the baby out of you then you have to then suddenly fill your calendar with sensory classes, baby massage and bounce and rhyme classes.

During my pregnancy with my eldest I can’t really remember on finding local baby classes, or planning to attend them. It was more than likely the fact others were doing it and me feeling like I should too!

I was quite fortunate to live a few minutes from a local children’s centre where they held most of the baby classes ion my town.

Even looking back now I remember baby classes with conflicting emotions.

Elijah had colic so someone had suggested baby massage and I did put our names down to see if it would help.

By this point we had endured a NICU stay, and were waiting for a surgery date. I began to decline mentally and certainly remember feeling panicky about attending the class.

Luckily my friend also attended with me, but I still feeling some afraid that people would pick out me as the NICU Mum, and I didn’t want their pity. I was going through a really bad time of accepting what we had been through, and also what we would have to go through and meeting other mums with their healthy babies was hard.

I briefly mentioned it to the teacher in case there was any sort of medical restriction and I saw the pity in her eyes.

I did what I do best, and deflected it, providing some distraction was also Elijah who had projectile vomited all over one of those brightly coloured matts.

As much as baby classes are great for getting you out of the house, for meeting other mums I think there is also a slightly darker side to them, well that’s my experience anyway.

I found I was always comparing myself to others, and my baby too, who was bigger, was was sleeping better, who was doing what.

There is also a fear of judgement when I whipped my Tommee Tippee out of the changing bag, I felt like I was failing.

This is likely just a representation of my mental state at the time, and I am even now, very socially awkward.

I did find it quite hard to go into a room full of parents I didn’t know and to me felt as though I was being put on trial.

I tended to feel comfortable with certain mum friends and would prefer just a house play date rather than sitting in a circle singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Over the first 18 months with Elijah we attended them sporadically, but I just don’t think we found the right fit for us. We also had a lot going on with NICU surgery, recovery etc they were just not on my top list of priorities.

I think there is a stigma surrounding baby classes too, I know of some wonderful ladies whom I have met who run their own classes and I am sure they would have certainly been better suited to us.

There are some great baby classes now on offer that are now offering something different from the norm that also help the parents out too (links below).

Greg always felt the odd one out as he tended to be the only dad and I just didn’t feel comfortable enough to keep going back.

I haven’t actually taken Harlow to a baby class and I do beat myself up he is missing out but truth is with two kids, and a trillion schedules to manage we just don’t have time. He is quite happy to play with Elijah and friends.

It has sadden me that many Children’s Centres are closing and this is where many baby classes are held, and despite me not using them much I know how important they are to others and having the access of them.

It is funny how we as parents put so much pressure on ourselves to sensor the hell out of our little ones believing it is what we should be doing at a detriment to ourselves.

I worry about this un necessary pressure on vulnerable new mums, and wish I could go back and tell that panicked mum it was all okay and it doesn’t matter because you are just doing your best.

Happy mum/dad, happy baby whether you go to baby class or not.

Yoga Babies

Baby Fit

Waterbabies

Beebops

Get Me Out the Four Walls

Vicki Cockerill is a Freelance Content Writer and NICU/CHD Mum to two boys, she authors The Honest Confessions Of A NICU Mum Blog and co-founded the @KnackeredandNorwich Social Club and campaigns for NICU and MMH issues. You can contact her via her blog or social media;

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If you love Vicki honest blog please read her other blogs here.

 

 


Baby event Norwich

Guest blogger Alex from The Parent and Baby Show tell us 'How to prepare for an event '

How to prepare for an event - Hi I’m Alex and I run The Parent and Baby Show. I live with my hubby, Tom, little 13 month old daughter, Elkie, and doggy, Frankel, in North Norfolk! I set up The Parent and Baby Show in 2017 whilst on maternity leave. The show was in response to a real need for top quality, aesthetically led and hugely interactive events in the area. Norfolk and East Anglia have some super pregnancy, baby and child businesses, and it was about time there was an event to truly showcase them in the best light.

 

baby show

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My experience is wholly in events and marketing. I love creating everything from a social gathering to large festivals and BABY SHOWS!  The biggest misconception in the event World is that events are easy to run. Even small events take a lot of time to create, and if the organiser knows what they are doing they will end up spending far more time marketing than they do on the actual event!

 

baby event

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: Pennycress Photograpy 

 

Booking into events can be daunting, So here are my top tips on how to design your stand, engage with customers and choose the right event for you:

 

  • Research the event and ask the organiser the following: How do they market the event, how many businesses will be attending, if they’ve run the show in the past what was their footfall, do they have any business testimonials *Notes: Some organisers will do anything to sell a stand so if you’re a little unsure perhaps find other businesses who have attended and ask them to verify the footfall and marketing.

 

  • So you’re booked into an event and you’re wondering if there’s anything you can do to help yourself … YES! You can promote the show to your followers and customers – send out a database email, create a facebook event for the day on your page, share the posts from the organiser!

 

  • Stand design. It obviously depends on what you’re selling, however a rule of thumb is to not create a barrier between you and your customer. Keep your stand OPEN and inviting! Create height, as customers naturally will look at anything in their eye-line first. If you’re selling services rather than products then why not do away with a trestle table, and instead create a comfy seating area with a few tub chairs and a coffee table, surrounded by a few pull up banners so customers can see what you do instantly!

 

  • Create a ‘floor’ … people enjoy feeling homely and comfortable. Think about your lounge – you have a nice fluffy rug which makes the room feel more inviting and cosy … apply that same theory to your stand! Lay down a small rug (something a bit more industrial than a fluffy rug so you aren’t constantly cleaning it) or even some fake grass which you can buy from B&Q.

 

  • Don’t hide! PLEASE don’t hide! By sitting behind your stand you are instantly making it hard for potential customers who want to invest in your creations. People buy into people, if you’re standing at the front of your stand and welcoming everyone into your little ‘shop’, encouraging customers to look at certain pieces or letting them know about your ‘show deal’ then you are instantly going to stand out and encourage them to ask questions and engage with you!
  • Lets talk show offers … these are a great way to entice on the day bookings or purchases! Lets not forget, a new customer can be turned into a loyal customer if you give great customer service and sell great products/services. So although you may be reducing your profit margins slightly on the day, the long-term benefits will significantly outweigh this (providing you can create a loyal customer!)

 

  • Competitions! These are a brilliant way to get data from potential clients. You may be looking for feedback on a certain product, so you could do a competition based on asking for feedback, or it may be that you simply want to increase your potential customer database. Make sure it is very clear to customers that their details will be used by yourself to contact them about future deals and events. They must be fully aware. Also inform them that their details wont be shared! Then keep each signup sheet in a folder so if you were ever questioned you can show proof of signup.
  • This leads me onto follow ups. If you have spoken to potential clients and said you would be in touch, then make this a priority. Customers like to know they are valued and prompt emails/phone calls tick this box! You never know, your potential customers may have also found another business they liked at the event. Getting in touch first will help make you stand out above your competition!

 

  • NETWORK! It’s always a great idea to chat and get to know other businesses at the event. They may know other popular events or have contacts and ideas for you. Just make sure you offer what you can back – networking is all about creating mutual respect and being able to offer others tips and tricks, just like they offer ideas to you!

 

  • Lastly…say thank you! Now I know you’ve paid to be at the event and the organisers have simply done their job. However, the very few people who do say thank you after events always stick in my mind. Organisers are only human and if there are particular businesses who actively appreciate your hard work you are naturally going to create a loyalty to these businesses. Be that businesses who creates loyalty with organisers you enjoy working with – you never know how it may help you in the future!

 

 

baby show Norfolk

 

 

 

 

 

Photocredit:  Pennycress Photography

Quite a few golden nuggets of advice and ideas in there! Most of which can be applied to any type of event and business! I really hope that helps you! Events are my passion and I truly believe face-to-face marketing and showcasing the person behind the business are great ways to build your business and customer database! I wish you all the luck at your upcoming events!

 

Alex’s next baby show – The Parent and Baby Show is on Saturday 14th April at the UEA Sportspark 10:30-3pm. The show is unlike any other baby show, with a focus on aesthetics and activities!

Think indoor tipis, rustic zones, vintage tearooms with hay bales and bean bags, amongst lots of fab features such as a photo-studio, baby sensory, massages galore, 16 talks and workshops – all complimentary, soft play, women’s health checks … the list goes on!

With tickets just £5 you’ve got yourself a real bargain! Suitable for bump – 5yrs old! For more info click here.

 

Alex :)

 

I have regular guest blogs so why not scroll back and find lots of useful blogs here, or if you wish to chat to me about booking a shoot then get in touch!

 

Jess