Expectant parents bond over balls of wool

As a regular reader of West Hampstead Life, I’ve become a big fan of it. And one of the things I find most interesting and impressive is its ability to bring people together, in person.

The legendary whampgathers are so popular they sell out within hours. But these ‘not geeky, not cliquey’ nights out aren’t just testament to the website, they’re a great example of how people really want to hang out with their neighbours, and feel part of a community. We may be told that social networking is taking over our social lives, but here in West Hampstead, old school face-to-face interaction is winning out.

My company, Bump and Baby Club, provides antenatal classes, and I’ve noticed it’s with this community spirit that people come to us. Life events don’t often get much bigger than having a baby, and expectant parents, especially women, want their neighbours with them as they embark on the journey.


I am always looking for new and interesting ways to bring together local parents-to-be, so recently jumped at the chance to team up with the unique and wonderful Village Haberdashery on Mill Lane, to offer a special event exclusively for pregnant ladies. In March we’ll be holding a morning of knitting for beginners (and all levels), where everyone will learn to make, and leave with, an extremely cute baby hat for their little one. (Full details below).


Over the coming year I plan to introduce events for new parents – nights out, weaning workshops and baby massage classes, so watch this space!

Meanwhile, here’s to the future of real-life socialising with our neighbours, group hangovers, group sleep deprivation, our babies becoming buddies, and many good times ahead!

Event: Knit a Baby Hat
Experienced knitting teacher, pattern designer and mum, Camilla Miller, will teach beginners how to knit by making an adorable roll-brim baby hat. Learn all the knitting basics, including how to cast on and off, how to knit in the round and how to decrease.
Venue: The Village Haberdashery, 47 Mill Lane, NW6 1NB
Date and time: Saturday 22nd March, 10am-1pm
Price: £50 (£40 if you’ve taken or signed up to Bump and Baby Club’s antenatal course)
Book here:

No previous knitting experience necessary. Yarn and knitting needles provided. Receive a 10% discount on any purchases you make in the shop on the day.

For information on West Hampstead antenatal classes, please see

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Connecting parents-to-be at JW3

by Alex Kohansky

I have never appreciated my local community more than during the few months following the birth of my first baby. At a time when it’s a struggle to leave the house, and often the biggest adventure of the day is a walk down the road, it really matters where you live, and who lives near you.

My husband and I had met eight other couples at antenatal classes – we all lived locally, our babies arrived within a few weeks of each other and, as our worlds were completely changing, we connected.

While this support network was invaluable (as well as a lot of fun), we were pretty much all in agreement about the shortcomings of the antenatal course we had taken. We felt we weren’t well prepared for all the different possibilities of labour and birth or how to look after a newborn, and some of us thought we hadn’t learnt anything that we didn’t already know. And it wasn’t just us; we all knew people who’d had similar experiences with other antenatal courses.

So last year I decided to go on a mission to create a course with content as valuable as the friendships made. I hunted down the most popular antenatal experts in North London and we put together classes that gave people the information they really needed in a non-judgemental, unbiased and engaging way, without forgetting one of the main reasons they choose to attend – to meet other people.

We started running our course in Highgate and Muswell Hill and are now very excited to be expanding to my home-turf, West Hampstead, as we’ve been chosen by JW3 to provide their signature antenatal course.

Unlike most other antenatal courses, ours includes baby first aid training. We also include an indulgent afternoon tea for the girls (on a date after the course has finished), a beer for the boys (while the girls are learning about breastfeeding), and a reunion once all the babies have joined the party!

In addition, women signed up to our antenatal course receive free monthly pregnancy yoga classes with West Hampstead’s number one pregnancy yoga instructor, Bec Minor.

This Sunday we’ll be at JW3’s Baby Fair (24th November, 10am-4pm). So if you’re interested in what we do, have a look out for Bump and Baby Club and come and say hi! Otherwise, you can find us at

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