During the last 70 years the world around birth has definitely changed: mothers are encouraged to eat and drink during labour, fathers are allowed and even expected to attend the birth, mothers can breastfeed confidently in public, parents are advised to choose their birthplace carefully…
Thanks also to the campaigns, contri-butions and engagements by the National Childbirth Trust, better known under the name NCT, these facts are now established. Set up 1957, the charity counts today 5,000 volunteers and more than 100,000 members in 320 local branches.
NCT’s main idea: Support for new parents on your doorstep for the first 1,000 days – which means from conception to the second birthday of your child.
What does NCT offer in Oxford? Different courses and activities are set up by the local branch: ante-and postnatal courses, a group about home birth support, Baby cafés (Breastfeeding support), First Aid courses, Bumps & Babies group, Speed Bump and Coffee groups. NCT Oxford offers also a hire service for Valley Cushions (to help mothers who have difficulties to sit after giving birth).
What are Bumps & Babies, Speed Bumps and Coffee Morning groups? One of the main aims of NCT is to offer places where parents-to-be and young parents can meet one another. There is nothing worse than to stay alone with this new and often overwhelming experience of expecting or having a baby.
- Coffee Mornings come off twice a month at a volunteer’s home. It’s a friendly and informal meeting between parents! Drop in whenever you can make it with your baby from 10am to noon. Need to talk about bad nights, want to have some good advice about weaning or just happy to have a chat with other parents – this is the right place to be! There’re two Coffee Morning Groups in Oxford: one South/East Oxford, another in West Oxford.
Contact: email@example.com (Sarah)
- Bumps & Babies takes place every Tuesday from 10.30am until noon at Wesley Memorial Church (New Inn Hall Street – OX1 2DH). Pregnant or with a tiny one (up to walking age), you are more than welcome! In a pleasant atmosphere there’re some toys for the babies and refreshments for the adults!
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (Hannah)
- Speed Bumps is a social event for parents-to-be, in the spirit of “speed dating” but simply for couples who are expecting a baby. Keep your eyes and ears open, the local NCT Team do their best to set up the next one in the summer of this year!
Contact: email@example.com (Sarah)
Do I need to have a membership? No, you can attend all the activities without being a member of the NCT-charity. Bumps & Babies, Speed Bumps and the Coffee Mornings are free activities; donations for the charity are of course welcome. Be aware that NCT charges you for their ante- and postnatal courses, in order to pay the expenses of running the courses (read also Good to know!, about this topic).
Why become an NCT-member? First of all the membership donation (less than £4 a month, depending which option you choose: 12 months, 18 months etc) support directly the action of NCT towards families and parents in particular – for instance the NCT helpline.
As a member you will receive several benefits, such as the subscription to the parenting magazine NCT Matters, special offers on the NCT shops, access to the “House-swap-register” of the other NCT-members to plan your family holidays,… and priority entry at the Nearly New Sales.
What about Nearly New Sale? This very popular event takes place twice a year – in spring and autumn. The next one will be on the 5th of October 2014 from 1-3pm at St Gregory the Great School (East Oxford, close to Florence Park). The NCT-Oxford Team will open the doors at 12:45 for NCT members and heavily pregnant women! My advice from own experience : prepare a “shopping-list” in advance to know what you need, be one of the first in the queue, wear just a T-shirt (chasing bargains will warm you up!), have £1 in your hand to pay the entry… the volunteers will give you a big bag and then: good luck!
It’s really useful, especially when you have a Baby – there’re plenty of clothes, general in very good condition. Last time I struggled to find some dresses for my daughter, who is nearly five, there is less choice for older children. But then I found some nice maternity-clothes which I did not expect.
Joy, mother and mum-to-be
What about NCT-Leaflets? The local branch in Oxford also prints one leaflet compiling all the antenatal support in Oxford (blue) and another about the postnatal support in Oxford (pink). A good tool to find a phone number, an information about exercise classes, parents groups or advice points during pregnancy and afterwards.
When I arrived in Oxford my pregnancy was very advanced. My midwife gave me the blue (antenatal) and pink (postnatal) leaflets produced by the NCT Oxford branch! I found very quickly a yoga class and was so glad not to search for it and get probably lost on the internet!
Andrée, French mother
Good to know! NCT wants to support every parent. If you can’t afford the price for an ante- or postnatal course, please contact the course organiser to know more about reduced price options; depending on your income or your benefits the reduction can be up to 90% off the full price. And you can also pay for your course in instalments!
What about other cities than Oxford? Oxfordshire is particularly fortunate with numerous local branches, for instance in Bicester, Witney, Abingdon… Find here your closest local branch: https://www.nct.org.uk/branches
Want to know more? www.nct.org.uk and NCT Helpline: 0300 330 0700
Thanks a lot to NCT for the nice pics!