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. The JR is also the home of the Silver Star team specialising in pregnancies with an additional underlying health condition, such as epilepsy or diabetes. Consequently there's a wealth of expertise on offer.
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.
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.
A bilingual blog by a French mum living in Oxford. Articles on Oxford from a parent's point of view, and on raising bilingual children.
Keeping your house safe for children
A really useful guide to household chemicals and hazards, and how to keep your kids away from them.
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, plus 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.
Oxford Safer Pregnancy Alliance
A team of doctors, scientists, researchers, midwives, nurses and support staff who are working with families to carry out research into health in the areas of reproduction, obstetrics and gynaecology. Information on current and past studies is available on their website. For more information, call 01865 221107 or email email@example.com.
Drop-in breastfeeding support, for every stage from pregnancy to the end of breastfeeding. Nine weekly sessions in and around Oxford. Come for skilled breastfeeding help and to meet other breastfeeding families. Also monthly daytime antenatal sessions for pregnant women/couples.
La Leche League Oxford
International non-profit, non-sectarian organisation dedicated to helping women who want to breastfeed. Mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information and education. Monthly meetings in Oxford, Thame, West Oxfordshire and North Oxfordshire. Toddler meetings for those breastfeeding beyond a year. Free evening antenatal sessions for couples. Lending library of parenting books and Maternity Clothes Library. Telephone help from local accredited breastfeeding counsellors.
OXPIP - Oxford Parent Infant Project
At OXPIP we help parents and their babies build close and loving relationships from the start of life. For over fifteen years we have provided short term intensive therapeutic support to parents and babies from conception to 2 year old as well as training professionals.
Particularly useful for mothers with post-natal depression, but all parents welcome. Services in Children's Centres are free; for others donations are requested, but no-one is turned away through lack of funds. You can be referred via a GP, health visitor etc or you can refer yourself. More info via referral line: 07904 538774 or from the website.
A weekly meet up for mums, bumps and newborns with an experienced midwife, offering an opportunity to ask the questions you might not ask at the clinic. Club BUMP follows Zumba 4BUMP, a dance class especially for pregnant and new mums. Every Monday 10-11.30am, Step by Step Dance Studio.
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
Birth Baby Balance
Sarah and Charlotte are experienced birth and postnatal doulas, covering Oxford and surrounding towns and villages. Antenatal classes, including Bumps, Balls and Breathing, also available. Sarah: 07909 545484 or Charlotte: 07920 774705.
Massage for pregnancy and labour, holistic birth preparation, maya abdominal massage, baby massage class, doula service and birth pool hire. 01865 515025
Accredited Clinical Hypnotherapist and Life Coach Louise Nonweiler, working from Therapy Centres in Headington & Abingdon, sees many women for pregnancy and birth relaxation. They find that hypnotherapy can be extremely effective and relaxing, as well as safe and natural.
One-day mindful hypnobirthing antenatal class for couples. Monthly on Saturdays at Peace House, central Oxford. Call 01865 770434 or email for details and to book.
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.
Post Natal Personal Trainer
Sophie Carter is a personal trainer who also runs post natal exercise classes in Woodstock. Email Sophie
Psychotherapeutic Counsellor: Wendy Isobel McLaughlin (known as Dolly)
Dolly specialises in humanistic, mindfulness-based counselling for children, adolescents, parents and university students. She is UKCP Registered and has a full DBS check. First session free, £55 ph thereafter. Marston. www.oxfordcounsellingservices.co.uk / 07919 004822 / email Dolly
Rose Doula Services
A birth and postnatal doula covering Oxford, Abingdon, Wallingford, Didcot, Wantage, and the villages in between. See 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.
Private Ultrasound Scans at the Beard Mill Clinic
A variety of different ultrasound scans are available for people at different stages of pregnancy.
Reusable Nappy Suppliers and 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 service links.
The real nappy information service. Find out what the fuss is all about, find real nappies near you, ask questions in the forum.
- Daizy Babies
Daizy Babies is a small web shop which supplies bamboo reusable shaped nappies, waterproof wraps, slings and other things. Starter packs are available, as well as larger orders. For more info visit www.daizybabies.com or email email@example.com.
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.
A small business selling reusable cloth nappies in Marston Oxford. They give free cloth nappy demonstrations and have trial kits for people to borrow. There is also newborn and prem baby nappy hire.
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 our Markets page 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 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.
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'. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 at the 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 - and brightly coloured and good for smalls. Details of current research projects are 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 or email email@example.com.
Birth Baby Balance
Regular 6 week courses in Baby Massage - a lovely way to bond with your baby and a fun thing to do together, and Baby and Mama Relax - a gentle reintroduction to exercise, especially focussing on the pelvic floor and core muscles. Small groups, with time for a cuppa and a chat at the end. Sarah: 07909 545484.
Weekly music session for babies and pre-schoolers in age-appropriate groups. 07528 146891 / firstname.lastname@example.org. Free trial.
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.
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.
Rattle & Hum - Choir for Mums
Regular group 10-11am on Friday mornings, at Pegasus Theatre Studio. Singing is a great way to connect with others and promotes wellbeing for you and your baby. Contact Emily 07969 522368.
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 10am-12pm (term times), with music time at 11am, 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.
Tac-au-Tac Dance Theatre
Weekly contemporary dance classes for children from the age of 3 years. Tac-au-Tac is a French expression which implies a quick response to a stimulus. Dancers are encouraged to respond to music, stories, adventures, emotions but predominantly to their imagination. They develop a movement repertoire and learn how to structure movement phrases into choreographic works, which they perform at regular intervals with the support of a team of experienced dancers, musicians and artists. Contact Joelle: 01865 251643 or email email@example.com.
Tatty Bumpkin and Baby Bumpkin
Fun, active, yoga-inspired movement classes for babies and children across Oxford. Also parties. Contact Zoe on 07929 288964 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Pregnancy Yoga with Active Birth
Active Birth offers a variety of different support services during pregnancy, including pregnancy yoga.
Hands-On Family Health
Hands-On Family Health offers pregnancy yoga, as well as baby yoga classes.
Satya Yoga runs pregnancy yoga classes.
Ashtanga Yoga Oxford
Ashtanga Yoga Oxford runs pregnancy and postnatal yoga classes.
Pre- and post-natal Pilates classes.
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).
Yoga with Jacqueline
Mum and Baby Yoga at Dean Court Community Centre, Botley. Fun, friendly relaxed classes, suitable for babies from six weeks to pre crawling. £45 for 6 week course. Email email@example.com or book online
- Alliance Française d'Oxford
French classes for toddlers, including singing, dancing and crafts.
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 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, two colleges have nurseries open to all: 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 Baby & Toddler Group
Jericho Community Centre, 33A Canal St.
Thursday 3.30 to 5.00pm, in and outside term time. A place for babies and toddlers (up to age 5) to play while carers chat and have a cup of coffee or tea. Story time, singing and snacks for the children. £1 suggested donation.
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.
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
Oxford Multilingual Montessori
A pioneering multilingual Montessori setting for children aged 2 - 5 years old, based in Jericho. Term time only, from 8.30am to 3.30pm.
Tel: 07759 856 126
St Clement's Church Preschool
St Clement's Centre, Cross Street, OX4 1DA
A small family orientated pre-school promoting learning and development for 3 to 5 year olds through play in a safe, stimulating and happy environment.
Tel: 01865 202512
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
49 Oxford Road, Old Christian Life Centre, Oxford, OX4 2ER.
Caring for children ages 1 - 5. Open 8.30am - 5.30pm, 5 days per week. Reasonable prices, qualified staff, lovely facilities. Holiday club in school holidays for ages 5 - 12.
Tel: 01865 236840
Please email full details to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll fix it!