Any new parent knows how life can radically change by the arrival of a new family member and to be honest, we both felt ready for birth, but less ready for actual parenthood! This sounds so silly now as the early days feel like a blur, as both our little boys have just turned one, but without a local network of other new parents we believe our experience may have not been so positive. Who would of thought we would be scared to catch the train with a buggy, not know how to sterilize a bottle or swaddle a baby! Thank goodness for the other new mums that sat with us in coffee shops whilst we hid under our breastfeeding bids trying to work out what we were doing and shared late night Facebook conversations with us about how best to wind a baby and if our feet would return to their normal size when everyone else was a sleep!

That’s where the idea for Welcome to Parenthood was born! Lets not just get parents ready for childbirth, lets get them ready for bringing their new family member home.

Welcome to Parenthood aims to:

  • Connect Parents
  • Provide Hands-on Learning & Sharing of Parenthood Essentials
  • Provide Information & Tasters of Parent Recommended Products & Local Services

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Over the last 6 weeks we have been busy prototyping the Welcome to Parenthood service across Southwark and Lambeth. We designed, built and ran a pop-up-shop that brought to life our idea and used it as a way of engaging people and gaining useful insights and feedback on our idea.

We visited Brixton Market, Dulwich Library, Coin Street Children’s Centre and Gabriel’s Wharf.

We spoke to a range of people including parents-to-be, new parents, grandparents and people trying for a baby. Everyone quickly understood the concept and could see the need for something that was more indigenous and hands-on, which was a relief, we aren’t crazy new mums!

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The top 10 things we discovered

  1. People felt there was a gap for a service like Welcome to Parenthood
  2. Lots of people want to help run Welcome to Parenthood events
  3. The format of the pop-up shop worked really well to engage people
  4. We spoke to lots of second time parents that were looking for a local support network
  5. People really wanted to share their experience of becoming a parent
  6. We met loads of dads that wanted to be involved and help us
  7. We spoke to quite a few grandparents looking to meet other grandparents and discover things to do with their grandchildren
  8. People liked the idea of trying out baby products and services to discover what was out there
  9. Quite a few people said they would pay to attend a Welcome to Parenthood events
  10. It’s VERY hard to ask someone if they are pregnant!

Bye for now, from Deborah and Dawn at Welcome to Parenthood HQ
(AKA the kitchen table)