Are you pregnant, or a new parent, and living in Oxford or Oxfordshire? Congratulations! You're in one of the best places to be in the UK. There's lots of antenatal and postanatal help available here, several midwife-led maternity units and good support for those opting for homebirth. Once baby arrives, there are baby and child-focussed activities galore, from yoga and swimming to baby signing (visit our Oxford Family Events listings page for a sample) - and many good nurseries and schools. Browse this page (or press CTRL & F to search for keywords) or use the index above to find out what's on offer. If you know of something missing, let us know and we'll add it. Good luck, and happy parenting!
Pregnancy, baby and toddler health information, with a very useful pregnancy smartphone app showing week-on-week foetal development, exercise and diet recommendations for mum, medical advice, a community forum and much more.
Homebirth Reference Site
If you've never considered the possibility of giving birth at home instead of in a hospital, this site will tell you the pros and cons. The 'pro' side is based on the idea that the optimum conditions for the least stressful birth scenario for humans, just like other mammals, doesn't involve a last-minute car journey followed by installation in a noisy, brightly-lit environment where lots of different people will be observing you. Read birth stories, research evidence, psychological/physiological theories and get practical advice here.
A comprehensive online guide for parents (& parents-to-be) of the very young. Shopping, discussion forums, advice, product tests, competitions & much more.
Baby About Town
A delightful and extremely practical blog describing what it's like to visit various Oxford cafes, restaurants and so on with a tiny person in tow. Do staff rush to get you a highchair? Are there changing facilities? Is there baby-friendly food? etc.
Along similar lines as Baby About Town, this blog is written by a Canadian mum who rates Oxford locations for various aspects of baby-friendliness including changing facilities, how welcoming the place is and how many menu items there are that can be eaten one-handed! Nicely written, with wit and good sense.
Support for Adoptive Families
- Nurture & Learning provides advice, support and activities for adoptive families. The programme includes a weekly creative learning project, for children under 11 and their parent/s, to support attachment building. Based in Oxfordshire, they also offer a 6 week adult therapeutic group for adoptive parents.
National Childbirth Trust
Oxford NCT offers local support for expectant and new parents. They run a bumps and babies group as well as local coffee groups, as well as fantastic Nearly New Sales to get everything you need for your baby and much more. You can follow them on Facebook. NCT also offers Antenatal Classes and Postnatal Groups. For more information or to book, see the contact information on their website.
La Leche League Oxford
International non-profit, nonsectarian organisation dedicated to helping women who want to breastfeed. Mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information and education plus monthly baby and toddler meetings, social events and lending library. Also telephone help.
- Baby Café
National and international breastfeeding drop-in centres supporting breastfeeding mothers and providing info to pregnant women. Run by healthcare practitioners. Use the postcode search to find your nearest centre (which might be on a bus!)
Oxford Sling Meet and Sling Library
Workshops and social meetups for 'babywearers' and those considering using sling-style baby carriers. Also sling lending facility.
Some Private Help Services
Massage for pregnancy and labour, holistic birth preparation, maya abdominal massage, baby massage class, doula service and birth pool hire. 01865 515025
Annabel James is an experienced, Botley-based chiropractic practitioner with a special interest in treating babies and children. Home visits offered. For more information, call 07970 967774 or email email@example.com.
Anna offers Reiki & Ayurvedic nutrition & lifestyle advice sessions to women throughout pregnancy and post-natally. 07913 782684.
Former JR midwife offers antenatal home visits, support during labour and postnatal visit to help with any problems - first baby bath, breast feeding advice etc. Call 01865 513984 to discuss your requirements. References available. Find out about doulas in general here.
Specialists in 1-to-1 personal fitness training for pre and post natal women. Feel confident and positive throughout your pregnancy and beyond. For a free consultation, please call Angela Lockwood on 07966 297430.
Rose Doula Services
A birth and postnatal doula covering Oxford, Abingdon, Wallingford, Didcot, Wantage, and the villages in between. See www.rosedoulaservices.com for more information, including prices and services offered, or call Kristal on 07507 649998 to discuss your needs.
Wellbeing From Birth
FEDANT-approved complementary practitioner and antenatal educator in Oxford and Wallingford, with holistic therapies for all trimesters, including massage, reflexology, reiki, lymphatic drainage, birth meditation, plus Well Mother tips for a beautiful birth including positions, moves, breathwork, partner massage, shiatsu points for calming, pain relieving and naturally inducing. Continuity of care when baby born with baby massage, baby yoga, baby reflexology and postnatal massage and wellbeing advice. Call 07799411994 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. See http://www.holisticaholics.co.uk/ for more information.
Nappy Laundry Services
Have you ever really thought about nappies? If not, then do! Sure, disposables are easy (and very heavily marketed), but they are expensive - both to the parent and to the environment. A horrifying 10% of Oxfordshire's annual buried rubbish quota consists of disposable nappies, and the total cost of disposables for one child over its nappy-wearing lifespan averages over £1000. 'Real', re-usable cloth nappies have come a long way since scratchy Terry towelling (they're now available in organic cotton, microfibre and a fabulously soft new bamboo fabric) - and will save you 50% on one child's usage compared to standard disposables. What's more - parents have reviewed the best of them as better than disposables in many respects (leakage, softness, bulkiness). Here are some links to info about 'real' nappies - as well as suppliers of eco-friendly, biodegradable disposables - and nappy laundry services. Good luck!
Oxfordshire County Council's Waste & Recycling section has the following page on real nappies, full of useful info and local sevice links.
The real nappy information service. Find out what the fuss is all about, find real nappies near you, ask questions in the forum.
Family-run business offering real nappy kits with everything you need to get started - from nappies, wraps and liners to a lidded bucket and freshening tea tree oil. Choose your size (newborn to toddler), your fabric (microfibre, cotton, bamboo, etc.) and the whole lot is delivered to your door with full instructions. If you want to try before committing to a full kit, there's a slimmed-down 4 nappy trial set with extras for an extremely reasonable £40 (in 2012).
London and south-of-England nappy laundry service. Website hard to navigate and needs some updating but worth a go. A laundry service is still a financially competitive alternative to disposables, and less messy/time consuming than washing your own - as well as being more ecologically sound. Charges are £9.50-11.50 per week for collection and delivery of around 50 nappies. The price and the number of nappies depends on the style of nappy you go for (square or fitted, respectively). This is payable per month, by cheque or bank transfer. They recommend getting in touch with them at least a month before you want to start using the service. They can come and visit you and discuss your needs either before or after the birth, and can also let you purchase a subscription as a gift for expectant friends. Tel. 07951 687730 or 0203 051 5616 or email infonappytales [AT] yahoo.co.uk
There is another option: no nappies at all! Yes - really. Parents develop 'elimination communication' with their child from birth (or soon after) in order to work with the child's natural instinct not to soil itself. This obviously requires dedication - and time, a luxury not afforded to many modern parents. But if you've got it - why not try it? The financial and ecological savings here are the best they could possibly be - with the additional benefit of an extra communication channel between parent and child.
When announcing that a baby's on the way, chances are there will be no shortage of friends with children rushing to bring you their loft full of parenting essentials. If that doesn't complete your equipment checklist, have a look at our Children's Things page for bargainous second-hand and nearly new items and search in Festivals, Fairs & Markets for local nearly new sales and bring-and-buys. For the rest, try the following (we admit, eco-biased) sources:
JoJo Maman Bébé
A shop in Summertown, which opened in 2012, where you can find maternity and baby clothes, toys and other bits.
Comprehensive selection of maternity and nursing bras, lingerie, belts, swimwear, tights and clothes. Free delivery.
Natural and organic baby products from Totnes, including: biodegradable nappies, organic cotton clothes, organic baby wipes and toiletries, biodegradable nappy sacks and even organic bedding. Delivery is next day and free if over £60, bulk buy offers are available (along with free samples) and they have a 'no quibble' returns guarantee if you're not satisfied.
Cotton nappies, biodegradable liners & outer wraps, home laundry kits (and a fabulous-looking laundry service sadly not available in Oxon).
From sexy maternity lingerie and sleepwear to hospital bags, real nappies, slings, baby baths and highchairs
Perfect for serious fitness fiends aiming to keep up their running regime after baby's arrival, the three-wheeled Baby Jogger Performance pushchair - with 21" pneumatic wheels and shock absorbers - comes recommended by Runners' World. Not so much a 'stroller' as a 'galloper', it'll set you back around £380.00 (2012) and may require pre-order. Stockists findable via the Baby Jogger website.
An Oxford based company selling affordable 3 in 1 travel systems for new or seasoned parents. The travel systems are very versatile and include a car seat, carry cot and child seat. The package also comes with a raincover, mosquito net, cosy toes, sleeping bag and changing bag. Email email@example.com for more information.
Individually designed and hand-made baby bandana bibs for babies made from the highest quality cotton with a super absorbent fleece lining and nickel-free, adjustable press-studs. Bibs made in Nottingham, order online.
In the holidays, keep an eye on our Family/Kids' Events page for children's activities at Oxford's museums, galleries and beyond. There may also be useful nuggets in other of our What's On sections, so it's worth a trawl.
Weekly parent and baby development classes. Gain an insight into your baby’s development whilst enjoying a fun and active class. Classes include music, signing and much more. Contact Bea or Donna for details on 01865 436920 or 01865 421879.
Baby Lab (Oxford University)
Take part in fun research on how children learn. Part of Oxford Centre for Developmental Science (part of Oxford Uni), this unit researches small children's cognitive development including early word learning and understanding the visual environment. It's well equipped - eye trackers etc but brightly coloured and good for smalls. Details of current research projects is updated on the website, and applications to take part are through a form on the website too. Most research is for babies aged 0 - 30 months, though a related group also need older participants. If English is not the first/only language spoken at home that's useful to the research too.
Baby Lab (Oxford Brookes University)
As above, but at Brookes. Run by the Brookes University Psychology Dept, this is a centre for learning about how small children learn about the world around them. They're always looking for parents and children to sign up, and it looks a friendly comfy place, not a surgical white lab full of Dr Frankensteins. Your child could help the next wave of cutting-edge research. It might even encourage them to become a scientist in their turn. Most research is for babies and toddlers aged 0-48 months, but older children might be needed for other related studies. Phone 01865 483676, email - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Outdoor fitness classes for mums. Sessions are tailored to your needs and include cardio work, strength and toning exercises taught by a pre and post natal specialist. Contact Anne Ridgway on 07814 066925.
Musical fun for the under fives.
Though dating from 1995, this site still features a lot of useful info for parents looking to keep young children occupied in the city. It was compiled by visiting Canadian parent Lynne Siemens - to whom, many thanks!
Partyman World of Play
Formerly known as Jambinos and iKidz, at Grenoble Road, Ozone Leisure Park, OX4 4XP (next to Vue Cinema and Kassam Stadium). Interactive play area with slides, structures and a safe, designated area for under threes.
A Loving Touch
Baby massage & baby yoga instruction classes, teaching mothers & fathers about their techniques & benefits. For all enquiries, including to book onto a course, please call Nikki on 01869 357145 or email email@example.com.
Weekly music classes for pre-schoolers (from babies to 6). Fun, stimulating educational classes available every day, in age appropriate groups, to learn and explore action/signing songs, developmental games, musical movement and percussion. Small friendly groups. First class free.
The Owl Speech Centre
Private speech and language therapy clinic for children aged 0 - 16 based on Park End Street, central Oxford, staffed by highly qualified, experienced NHS therapists. Assessments and therapy available either in-house or through outreach (e.g. home and school) visits throughout Oxfordshire.
The Story Museum
Exhibitions, activities and projects designed for all ages. Opened in April 2014 in central Oxford.
Sunflowers Toddler Group
Toddler group for parents/carers and pre-school children. Meets Tuesday 10-12am (term times), with music time at 11.00am, at Magdalen Road church, 41a Magdalen Road, East Oxford. 'Lots of great toys, refreshments, comfy sofas and friendly people'. More info: Nic Carpenter - 07837 128873.
Saturday Films Kids Club @ The Ultimate Picture Palace
...for 3-12-year-olds, every Sat at 2pm. A £25 annual fee is payable, gaining each member free entry to the 36+ annual films. Members can bring an accompanying adult for free. Under 3s might like the cinema's Thursday lunchtime Baby Club screenings (also available at Oxford's other cinemas on Saturdays), for which they need not pay, but their necessary accompanying adults must pay £5. No unaccompanied adults allowed.
Progressive, structured swimming courses for babies and toddlers in pools all over Oxfordshire - winner of 3 National Awards. Swimming with your baby is great for physical, mental, emotional and social development. Use the location search to find your nearest session.
Antenatal Yoga and Baby Massage classes are held by YogaBellies weekly, by representatives across the county. Providing birth preparation and gentle exercise for pregnancy, and mum and baby yoga and relaxing baby massage classes after the baby has arrived. Every class includes a free Yogabellies bag, handout and CD. Find your nearest class on their website.
Fun, 'interactive story-style adventures' for children aged 2.5 - 7 years with yoga postures, breathing and relaxation techniques woven in. Children increase their fitness, use their imagination and build their confidence by being the hero of the story and learning positive affirmations. Use the postcode search to find your nearest class (NB: use the 20m search distance to widen your net).
Pre and postnatal yoga courses. 6-week prenatal courses help you prepare both your body and mind for pregnancy and birth, and are held on Mondays from 4-5.30pm. Postnatal classes are one hour long and held on Monday afternoons from 2-3pm. Suitable from 6 weeks after giving birth, they help to realign the body after its amazing journey into motherhood. Booking is essential for courses - call the studio for more details on 01865 245754.
Do you know of a group meeting or family-friendly activity not listed here?
Tell Oxford about it (free) by adding your event on Daily Info!
Note that if you can get your employer to pay crêche fees, and s/he is also prepared to provide this service for all his employees, the fees count as a tax-free expense.
Oxford University childcare (follow the link for full details) is subsidised for staff and students and provided by a number of private partners. All are OFSTED inspected. In addition, three colleges have nurseries open to all: Somerville, Balliol and Wolfson. Follow the links for full details.
Rainbow House, by the Wesley Memorial Hall (New Inn Hall Street, tel 243216), welcomes mothers with babies or small children between 10:30 and 14:00 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday during school termtime. It's open to anyone with a small child, up to age five, to drop in and meet friends, buy refreshments and let children play etc.
Debenham's (Magdalen Street) has a Mother and Baby room on the 2nd floor: ask an assistant for the key.
Hospital staff & visitors:
Julia Durbin Day Nursery
c/o Churchill Hospital, Old Rd, Headington
Tel 01865 744448
Pippins Day Nursery
Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Old Rd, Headington
Tel 01865 227872
Blackbird Leys Leisure Centre Crêche
Pegasus Road, Blackbird Leys
Tel 01865 467020
A place to leave your children whilst at the centre's sports classes. 9:45-11:45 Mon-Wed, 9:45-11:30 Fri. Under 5s only.
Cumnor Baby and Toddler Group
Tel Sarah: 01865 864964 or Vanessa: 861721
Meets every Monday from 13:30 - 15:30pm in the United Reform Church Hall, Leys Road, Cumnor.
Hunsdon House Nursery School
12 Osler Road, Headington
Tel 01865 762704
School terms, Monday to Friday 9:00 to 12:00. Ages 2.5-5 yrs. Special school preparation sessions for ages 4 and up, Tuesday and Thursday, 12-2.30pm.
Jericho Community Centre, 33A Canal St.
Tel. Louise: 01865 429625
School terms only, Monday - Friday 9:00-11:30. Ages 2-5 yrs. Ofsted-registered, parent-run cooperative. Jericho Community Centre also has a babies and toddlers group, childminder drop-in and more. Details here.
Polstead Playgroup Oxford
St Margaret's Institute, Polstead Road OX2 6TN
Tel: 01865 428586
Monday - Friday 9:00-12:00 during school term times. Ofsted-registered, parent-run community playgroup in North Oxford. A few places available from Sept 2012.
Sunflower Room, Littlemore Community Centre, Giles Road, OX4 4NL
Tel: 01865 396449
Squirrel School Nursery
90 Woodstock Road
Tel 01865 558279
School terms, 8:30 to 12:30 Mon-Fri. Fees on request.
The numerous other small private nurseries around the city include the following:
A B C Nursery
11 Sandfield Rd, Headington, Oxford OX3 7RG
Tel. 01865 439051
Rye St Antony Nursery School
Pullens Lane, Headington, Oxford OX3 0BY
Tel 01865 229215
Part of Rye St Antony (catholic boarding) School.
Dinky Doo Nursery
In the grounds of the Dragon School, Bardwell Road, OX2 6SS
Tel 01865 552601
Townsend Square, Oxford OX4 4BB
Tel. 07517 955554
Little Troopers Day Nursery Ltd
13 Stanley Rd, Oxford OX4 1QY
Tel. 01865 793322
Oxford Montessori Schools
Nurseries in Iffley and north Oxford
Stepping Stones Childrens Day Nursery
55 Glanville Road, Oxford OX4 2DD
Tel. 01865 717139
Willow Cottage Nursery
Two schools, both west of the city, at Farmoor and Eynsham. 'Second to Mum' award-winning nursery childcare services with an emphasis on healthy eating and cooking.
Tel. 01865 864604
Little Treasure Day Nursery Ltd
49 Oxford Road, Old Christian Life Centre, Oxford, OX4 2ER.
Caring for children ages 2 - 5. Open 8.30am - 5.30pm, 5 days per week. Reasonable prices, qualified staff, lovely facilities.
Tel: 01865 777905
Please email full details to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll fix it!