Sitting amongst stacks of chairs in a dark empty bar, breastfeeding my two-month-old, wasn't exactly what I had hoped baby sensory would be.

 

Every week it was the same. I allowed two hours to get out the door. Pack the bag and dress the baby in an adorable little outfit. Change a nappy. Poop up the back; change the outfit. The baby wants to feed again. Another nappy change. Spit up on me, my turn to change. The saga goes on a loop. Throw in the occasional explosive poop and two hours goes quickly. But you get there. 

 

Baby classes. Sensory, massage, swimming, music, dance... yes, I did them all with baby number one.

 

Living in London, it was all very much part of the 'new mom' scene. Mothers would turn up to class in varying degrees of exhaustion and dishevelment. Some would be instantly greeted by their NCT mom friends; lots of questions and cooing over each other's babies.

 

Some would recognise you from one of the other classes and polite talk would be shared. Others would try to make eye contact with anyone, hoping to have an adult conversation with someone. And then there was always one poor exhausted mom with the crying baby who just wanted to get out of the house. They didn't really know which class they were at but it didn't matter. They were out. 

 

My son hated baby sensory, but I only realised this after I had paid up front for the 8-week term.

 

I kept thinking he might be better next week, but each week was the same. After ten minutes he would be screaming, so out we would quickly exit. Leaving behind the babies smiling at feathers and silk blankets to sit in the closed bar filled with strollers and car seats.

 

Within a few minutes, another mom would appear. It was always the same babies who didn't enjoy the class. But we kept going. Because we had paid for it. Because it gave us some structure to our day and most of all because we went for a coffee afterwards. 

 

If you are currently in this stage of motherhood, look out for those tired moms with the crying babies and ask them to join you for a coffee. It might help them in more ways than you'll ever know. 

Michelle Greaves: mum of two boys, writer, photographer, traveller, secondary school teacher.

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