While it’s an exciting and precious time in a new parent’s life to welcome a baby, it’s the “what-happens-next” part that can be so daunting. This is especially the case with first-time parents, and if you’re in this category, please remember that you’re not alone.
Fortunately, in Australia it’s common to be invited to join a parents group once you’ve welcomed your baby into the world. These groups offer so much more than just meeting new mums, dads and bubs. There are mental and physical health benefits too, and it’s great for your baby’s development.
Benefits of meeting other parents include:
- Becoming part of an instant support network,
- Learning from each other and discovering different ways of parenting,
- Taking time out from home life,
- Connecting and making new friends in your local area,
- Finding out about childcare options or activities for young ones,
- Being able to talk about your feelings and emotions as a new parent, and
- The opportunity to make life-long friends.
Many parents’ groups can appear like there is a lot of coffee-drinking and laughter happening. However, it really points to more important factors, including the above-mentioned benefits, and avoiding social isolation. Social isolation can be a risk factor for postnatal depression and anxiety. Though it may seem like a social outing, it really is helping new parents by strengthening their social bonds and reducing stress.
PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) reports that one of the most common challenges parents face after having a baby, is knowing what is “normal” and what is not. How it can be difficult to learn how to be a parent, and about the needs and behaviours of a new baby. Keeping connected to community and feeling supported emotionally can have a huge impact on a new parent’s well-being following pregnancy.
If you’d like to join a parents group, here are a few wonderful options:
There is also the option to get in touch with other Hatch mums and arrange a weekly meet up of your own. If this is something that may be of interest to you and you are happy for us to give your details to other Hatch mums, please speak to one of our lovely receptionists and share your details. If you can’t do this in person, please call (07) 3332 1950 or email [email protected].
To find out more about Parents Groups, or to see what might be the right fit for you, the Queensland Government has this useful resource: qld.gov.au/health/children/babies/help/mothers
There are also specialist support groups available such as:
- Australian Breastfeeding Association
- Australian Multiple Birth Association
- Post and Antenatal Depression Association (PANDA)
- Preterm Infants’ Parents’ Association (for parents of premature babies)