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Help is at hand for Canberra Mums part 2

Belladonna Took

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” ~ Rajneesh (Indian mystic, guru and spiritual teacher)

Becoming a mother is one of the most significant moments in a woman’s life. I gave birth to my first child—a boy—this year, and from that moment on (at 12.04pm on Wednesday 4 June to be precise!), it was as though time had begun anew. Nothing else existed before him. Nothing else mattered but him. Being a first-time mum is such an exhilarating, joyous, incredible and unforgettable experience—but, let’s face it, it can also be downright scary, nerve-wracking, frustrating, monotonous, incredibly lonely, utterly exhausting, and absolutely messy with the days and nights going by in a blur of wet nappies, vomit, and poo. As a first-time mum, there are many times when I feel like I have absolutely NO IDEA what I’m doing!

Fortunately here in Canberra, help is at hand with a wide range of fantastic services that support first-time mums (and dads), and second time/third time etc mums too! From breastfeeding support groups, baby swimming lessons and equipment hire services to paediatric first aid training sessions, playgroups, free ‘drop in’ clinics and organisations that support families with premature or sick babies…There’s a service out there that is sure to meet your precious baby’s needs as well as your own. We’ve wrapped up the best of them in a two-part series (catch up on the first part here), with the second instalment below so be sure to bookmark this little baby as it’s bound to come in handy.

Canberra and Region Multiple Birth Association (CARMBA)

CARMBA is a support network for parents and carers of twins, triplets, and more. Their services include breastfeeding support, children’s clothing swaps, equipment hire, expecting and new parents’ information sessions, a family support program, weekly playtime sessions, social functions, and support for young/single parents. To find out more, visit their website.

Miracle Babies Foundation Nurture Group Canberra

The Miracle Babies Foundation Nurture Group is a free play and support group for families who have experienced the birth of a premature or sick newborn. The Canberra group meets fortnightly on Thursdays during school terms at the North Belconnen Community Hall in Melba. If attending for the first time, please phone ahead to register. For more information on the Miracle Babies Foundation, call their Australia-wide 24 hour family support line on 1300 622 243 or (02) 9724 8999, or visit their website.

Life’s Little Treasures Foundation-Canberra Play/Support Group

The Life’s Little Treasures Foundation is Australia’s leading charity dedicated to providing support, friendship and information for families with children born premature or sick. The Foundation organises play/support groups at various venues across Australia offering a great opportunity for parents to have a cuppa, chat with and meet other parents in similar situations. The groups are free and siblings and grandparents are welcome to come along. The Canberra Play/Support group meets on the last Friday of the month (except school holidays and public holidays) from 10am to 11am at the Isabella Plains Neighbourhood House, Ellerston Avenue, Isabella Plains.

If you have a premature or sick baby and would like more information, contact the Foundation’s Australia-wide 24 hour hotline on 1300 697 736 or email them at [email protected]

YMCA Canberra

YMCA Canberra offers several fun physical activity programs for infants and their parents and carers. There’s Baby Play for 8-12 month olds which is a fun and stimulating program designed to enhance baby development and nurture the relationship between parent and child; Sensory Play designed for children with diverse abilities and is run by a qualified Early Learning Educator; and Physi-Kids for 1-5 year olds which is a play based program introducing children to a world of fun and fitness. All of these programs take place at the YMCA Early Learning Centre in Jamison. For more information phone (02) 6242 4040 or visit the website.


Another great way for mums to get back into shape and to meet other mums is Strollerobics, an innovative mix of exercises using your pram (with bub in it, of course!). In Canberra, there are Strollerobics classes at Parkes Place near Lake Burley Griffin, Holt, Kambah, and Gungahlin. Phone 0424 505 059 for class times and more information or visit their website here.

Swim schools

With summer fast approaching, now is the best time for your little one to learn how to swim. There are a number of swim schools across Canberra, all staffed by qualified swimming instructors. King Swim Schools are located in Deakin, Macgregor, Majura Park, and Calwell. Aquatots are specialists in infant and preschool aquatics and are located in Gold Creek, Black Mountain School, and Forde. Aqua Harmony is a quality swim school located in Kambah that teaches babies, preschoolers and children up to 14 years of age.


GymbaROO offers fun and exciting programs specifically designed to develop essential motor skills in children and to inform parents of the importance of early childhood development to health, learning and behaviour. The classes are led by professionally trained early childhood specialists (teachers or nurses) and use specialised equipment and activities designed to stimulate your child’s physical, psychological and social development. The classes are appropriate for children from 6 weeks old to 5 years. GymbaROO is located at Fairbairn. For more information visit GymbaROO online.


Snap up some preloved baby and kids clothes, toys, rockers, prams and other baby goods at the Baby and Kids Market at the Fitzroy Pavilion, Exhibition Park (EPIC). The next market will be held on 19 November from 9am to 12pm. Cost is $4 entry and cash only but parking is free. Buy preloved , handmade and new goods for babies and children at the Muddle Puddle Markets. The Muddle Puddle Markets will be held on Sunday 4 December at the Weston Creek Community Centre from 9am to 2pm.

KIDZAID First Aid Training for parents and carers

KIDZAID is a team of healthcare professionals who offer crucial paediatric first aid training. KIDZAID training sessions will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to be able to confidently recognise and manage a seriously ill or injured baby and child. KIDZAID run training sessions at the Southern Cross Club Woden. Sessions run for 3 hours and 15 minutes and cost $95 per person or $170 per couple. Phone 1300 543 924 or visit the KIDZAID website for more information.

Bridget and Sue’s Ironing Service

Now that there’s a new baby in the house, who has the time to iron? Who even has the energy to do the ironing? Well, two experienced Canberra mums have set up their own ironing business and would just love to do the job for you!

Bridget’s Ironing Service is located southside and caters for residents in the Tuggeranong Valley and Weston Creek areas, charging from $1.50 to $2.50 per item, with repeat customers charged less than a dollar. Bridget also offers discounts for bulk jobs. However, please supply your own hangers. Bridget is happy to pick up your items from your house and return them to you at an extra cost. To book phone Bridget on 0449 203 141 or find her on Facebook.

Sue’s Ironing Service covers Canberra’s northside (Belconnen/Gungahlin areas) with rates starting at $30 for a flat basket ($45-50 for fuller baskets), or $2.50 per business shirt. For northside customers, this price includes pick up and delivery. Sue is happy to take on City clients, but there is an additional $15 fee for City customers to cover travel. To book Sue’s services find her on Facebook or email [email protected].

Mums Groups

Connect with other first time and new mums through a range of Facebook and MeetUp groups including the Canberra Mums Babies and Toddlers Facebook group, the Canberra Older Mums Group, and Canberra Mums.

Fit 4 Two & Fitness 4 Dads

Fit 4 Two and Fitness 4 Dads provides fitness solutions for busy parent. Offering premium yet affordable options for personal training, post-natal group fitness classes with separate mums and dads classes, and fit couples personal training. All sessions are held in a private fitness studio and cater to mums and dads of all fitness levels.

Fit 4 Two specialises in pre and post natal fitness and offers personal training, day post-natal group fitness classes that include free childcare, an evening women’s group classes. Fitness 4 Dads also offers personal training along with evening and Saturday group fitness classes. For more information phone Rachel (0404 831 554) or Torsten (0478 037 731), or visit the Fit 4 Two website for more information.

Other useful contacts

Parentline ACT (9am to 9pm, Monday to Friday) 02 6287 3833

Healthdirect Australia (24 hours) 1800 022 222

Karitane Care Line (24 hours) 1300 227 464

Tresillian Parent Helpline 1300 272 736

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby Helpline 1800 882 436


Belladonna Took

Belladonna Took is a former Sydney girl, community development worker and primary school teacher who arrived in Canberra in 2010 to begin her newly married life and her dream job: writing. When she’s suffering writers’ block, she has plenty of things to keep her busy such as books, high teas, Downton Abbey, friends, family, the husband, fur babies, and coffee. Belladonna loves Canberra and has even begun to identify herself as a Canberran! More about the Author