Winter in New England can feel endless, and never more so than when you are home with a newborn. I have assembled a list of my favorite ways for new moms to break free from the house without feeling like they need to have their shit together. These are all activities that you can do with a baby in a stroller, and do not require you to commit to a certain amount of time – it’s easy to stop and take a break anytime to nurse, or cut the visit short if baby is fussy or you wear yourself out. Try a couple, you can wear your stretchy pants and no one will care if you have spit up on your shirt. Getting out for a couple of hours can change your whole perspective.
Walk the Mall
Head over to Fox Run Mall with baby in the stroller or a carrier and walk from end to end. There are lots of benches to stop and take a break, and you can even get a junk food fix in the food court. There aren’t a ton of shops in there anymore, but the walking is as great as ever. Something about those floor tiles rhythmically bumping the stroller wheels can calm even the grouchiest baby. Tired of walking? Sit in the food court and people watch for a while.
Visit a Museum
Treat yourself to a little stroller friendly culture!
Currier Gallery of Art in Manchester has a really impressive collection that’s closer to home than the Boston MFA; and less of a commitment for a visit with baby that may not go as flawlessly as you hope.
Portland Museum of Art might be more your style if you are on the Maine side of the seacoast.
If you have siblings in tow, check out the Children’s Museum of NH in Dover. You wont feel as personally fulfilled, but sometimes you just need to sit in the corner and do nothing while your older kids entertain themselves
Go to the Library
Pack up your baby and head into the stacks, If baby is calm you can peruse the cases to find a perfect trashy romance, a parenting book that addresses your current struggle, or even just sit down and read the local newspaper. if baby is not as calm head to the children’s room where a little fuss and bother is not shushed or judged. You can spread baby out on the floor to roll and play while you dive into that novel you found.
Remember – you don’t have to go to you own local library – step out of the box and discover some of the other libraries in the area. You can wonder at their beauty or even join up. In many towns you can get a nonresident library card that is good for the whole year for less than the cost of a meal out. (Except Dover which for some reason charges a ridiculous $200 a year for a nonresident card. )
Some lovely Local libraries to explore
Create Something Beautiful
Paint For Fun in Dover is a great place to bring your new baby and hang out painting a gift for yourself or a loved one. It’s very low key, especially during the week. You can walk in anytime and for the price of a canvas or ceramic piece you can have a great mental break. You can sit and nurse in one of their comfy arm chairs when baby needs attention, then dip baby’s hand or foot into some paint to make a family keepsake, or tuck him in to sleep while you put your heart on a canvas. No time limits, no pressure, just let your muse out and don’t worry about the mess.
Attend a Parenting Group
There are a lot to choose from in the area, so you are sure to find one or more that fit your needs and schedule. Try a few different ones to find the one that feels best for you – you may find your best new mom friend sitting right beside you!
Meet other new parents and discuss topics of concern to you. Facilitated by lactation consultants and child life specialists. No registration necessary for this class and there is no fee. It is not necessary to have delivered here to attend.
Becoming a mother, again or for the first time, can be joyful and challenging. If you’re not feeling quite yourself or it’s not what you expected, you’re not alone. Many women feel overwhelmed, isolated or scared at times. Talking with other moms who are experiencing the same feelings can help. Join us for our free mothers support group where you can be real, valued and understood. – Babies are welcome.
Families First, Porstmouth, NH offers support to mothers during their baby’s first year, when postpartum depression and anxiety are common. Come be with other mothers who know what it’s like.
Mother to mother Breast Feeding Support with leadership from Lactation trained moms like you.
The Free Breastfeeding Support Group will be held weekly on Tuesdays.
First Group: 2 months old and older will be held at 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Second Group: Newborn up to 2 months old will be held at 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The Family Center’s Parent and Baby Group meet every Wednesday from 11:00 AM –12:15 PM in the Family Center Conference Room. The groups are FREE. No registration is necessary. Babies from birth to 12 months are welcome to attend.
The Family Center’s Parent and Crawler/Toddler Group meets every Monday of every month from 9:30 AM– 10:45 AM. The groups are FREE and no registration is necessary. Children from 9 months to 30 months are welcome to attend.
You’re welcome to join our breastfeeding support group, a group of new moms and trained lactation consultants and counselors that meets every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon in the Maternity Family Waiting Room. Stop by for a brief period or the whole time—it’s a great opportunity to relax and learn with other moms and babies!
Our goal is to provide continuing support, encouragement and advice to new parents of newborn babies (up to 8 months of age). A board certified lactation consultant/RN is present to answer your questions. Discussion topics include breastfeeding problems/concerns, newborn care, coping strategies and more. Pregnant moms are invited to attend. Parents with toddlers are encouraged to bring quiet toys/books for their child’s entertainment. Guest speakers include pediatricians, dietitians, dental hygienist, experienced moms and more. Free.
Do you have other favorites that should be on this list? Drop me a note, I’ll be happy to add them!