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A handy guide for new parents in Southend or parents new to the area

Published:

Last updated: May 2023

As a new/expectant parent, (or perhaps just a parent new to Southend), it can initially be very daunting being out and about. Babies, toddlers and sometimes children of any age can be very unpredictable and you never quite know how each day will go. Knowing your area and what’s around for parents can make these early trips, and generally new parent life a lot easier! 

You may have lived within the Southend borough all your life and think you know it well however that all changes when you become a parent. There are things to think about that would never have previously crossed your mind. Speaking from experience, I found it very overwhelming when trying to find out about facilities and services within the area – So here is your 'Mums Guide to Southend' new parent guide. 

Antenatal

Here you can view all the local antenatal support groups and classes in the area.  These range from free classes with local family support services to hypnobirthing and private 1-1 classes. There are plenty of classes around to ensure you feel prepared for birth and the arrival of your baby. Why not take a pregnancy yoga class with My Yogi Tribe for some well-earned 'me' time and meet some other expectant mums in the area? Or you could pop into DILAM to find out what they have going on each week.

If you want to get even more prepared, why not do a first aid course with Daisy First Aid or browse through our fertility, pregnancy and postnatal section to see what support is available in the area.

Postnatal

It is handy to know where all the local family centres are as these will be where you can get your baby weighed and see a health visitor face to face. Each family centre offers opportunities for drop-in support sessions and also run stay and play sessions as well as various events and classes throughout the holidays.

The local weigh in clinics at Southend Family Centres are now back to appointment only. Here is a list of all the centres contact information, sessions and appointment times - Southend Family Centres

You can find all the contact details for the local Health Visitor team here and we also have some useful contacts in our New Mum's fitness and wellbeing category.

Local support

If you are looking for any type of support, whether you are a new parent or have older children, you are guaranteed to find somebody on the website who can help.

A Better Start Southend work with local people to give every child who lives here the best possible start in life. They offer free classes and activities locally as well as ante-natal and postnatal support for mothers, 1-1 breastfeeding support, creche services, work skills and much more. You can find out here if you live in a better start Southend postcode. 

Cake Club is a local charity offering parental support in the form of feeding support and slings as well as parent solidarity and a place to meet other parents.They run sessions every day of the week so you always have a place to go if you need support. Cake Club also works closely with The Milk Hub offering infant feeding support and slings on sea. 

Other useful services in the area is The Early Years Dietitian for all your weaning and fussy eating questions and Little life steps who can offer support in toilet training and sleep.

Family health

You will need to register your child with a local doctors and dentist surgery. You can use our listings guide to search for your local surgery. We also have a useful list of chemists and Out of hours pharmacies .

Childcare options

If you are planning on returning to work, do be mindful that most childcare providers in the area currently have long waiting lists so you can never be too early to put your child's name down (even if they don’t yet have a name!!) Here is our list of local day nurseries and childminders in the area, as well as preschools and nursery schools for when the time comes.

Depending on your personal circumstances, you may be entitled to help for childcare costs from the government as well as tax-free childcare. 

If you receive any benefits, you may be eligible for 15 hours free funding each week when your child turns 2. All children are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare when they turn 3 however depending on your employment and income situation, you could be entitled to 30 hours funding. These hours are usually taken during term time and will be up to each individual provider if they accept the funding. From 2024, the funding will be amended and you can find all the updates here

Groups and classes

When you are ready to venture out, you may want to try a baby class which is a great way to bond with your baby and also meet other new parents locally. There are all types of baby groups including sensory and music classes which you can find in our Under 5's section and postnatal groups such as baby massage and mum and baby yoga or Pilates. 

Local parent and baby/toddler groups are usually arranged by local churches and are often free or a few pounds to attend. These groups are usually very relaxed and informal so although there is no set structure to the group, they are a way to get out of the house, meet new people and keep your new baby or children entertained. 

Did you know that each library in Southend offer free, weekly 30 minute rhyme time sessions for 0-5 year olds? These include a mixture of stories, rhymes, singing and musical instruments. You can find a list of local libraries below. You will also find these listed in our Under 5's section. It is recommended to book these sessions before attending.

If you don't fancy baby classes or want another way of meeting local parents, The Mum Club South Essex offer a monthly brunch club in Leigh, where you can enjoy brunch with other mums, have somebody on hand to hold and play with your baby and walk away with some new mum friends!

Out and about

There are 14 public toilets around Southend with nappy changing facilities.

If you are in Southend City Centre, The Royals shopping centre have separate baby changing rooms, located on the ground floor near TK Maxxby the Pier Hill entrance.  They also have a dedicated baby feed area available too, for parents and guardians to feed babies and toddlers within a safe and comfortable environment.

The Victoria Centre also has separate baby changing rooms and a feeding room for mothers and babies with comfortable chairs and subdued lighting. You will find the location clearly signed within the mall.

The local supermarket petrol stations such as Tesco Extra on Prince Avenue, Asda on North Road Shoebury and Sainsbury's at Rayleigh Weir and have pay at pump so you won't need to worry about leaving your baby in the car.

Whilst on the topic of being out and about, In Car Safety Centre, based in Rayleigh, offer an appointment only service with their fully trained advisors who will give advice, demonstrate and fit your car seat to ensure it is suitable before purchase. Giving you full confidence that your child is safe, whatever their age!

If it's child related shops you're looking for, why not shop local and pop into Hoboken kids or Argosy toys for your babies first toys? When your little one comes along, make sure you give Other kids a visit for their handy shoe measuring service and gorgeous shoes! You can see our full list of shops here.

Keeping together scheme

The keeping together scheme offers your children and vulnerable adults a free water-proof and tear-proof wristband that you can write your contact details on, should they become separated from you, whilst out and about in Southend. You can find a list of the points and retailers that you can collect them from here

If you have found this article useful, please share with other local expectant parents or parents new in the area. If you have anything we can add to this article that would be useful to other local parents, please do get in touch.


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