When you feel ready to venture out with your baby and meet other mums, the choice of activities can seem overwhelming. From swimming lessons and music sessions to mum-and-baby yoga and local drop-in groups, how do you know what you and your baby will enjoy? Most classes that you need to pay for will offer a free trial session so you can get an idea what it's like, while drop-in stay-and-play sessions are usually held in church halls or children's centres - visit your local library for details. Many local libraries also offer free weekly baby and toddler singing and rhyme sessions.
'I first took Sam to Baby Sensory classes when he was 6 weeks old,' says Prima Baby's chief sub-editor, Danielle Woodward, 37. 'He cried for most of it, so I wasn't sure how much he was actually getting out of it! But it was great to meet other mums and I looked forward to going. I also tried TinyTalk signing classes. As Sam got older, he began to enjoy the sessions more - he loved the music and got involved in the activities.'
'I really enjoyed mum-and-baby yoga,' says Erica Pavlis, 35, from Leeds, mum to Corey, 1. 'I started going when Corey was 3 months old, and I thought it gave him enough different things to look at for stimulation, while giving me something to do that felt productive. Also, I loved the tea-and-chat session afterwards! I found some of the drop-in groups too manic for Corey as he wasn't yet crawling, and I tried a music class but it was really geared towards older children who could copy the dance moves.'
'Holly was 5 months old when I first took her to Aquatots swimming lessons,' says Becky Mooney, 28, from Beckenham, Kent. 'She loved it right away and still does. It's a lot of fun for both the babies and you. The instructors take time to explain why they're demonstrating various activities and are keen on safety too. I'd recommend it to anyone.'