by Rhiane Kirkby
Talk to mums in and around Chiswick and most of them will have heard of Caroline Barber. If you’ve got a baby/toddler-related issue, she’s pretty much got it covered. Baby wearing, massage, yoga, first aid—there’s little she doesn’t know and, as a recognised doula, she’s made helping new and old mums her mission.
For almost a year now, she’s been running ‘Bub Hubs’ from her home in Chiswick with her friend and business partner, Claire Maguire. The idea is that new mums come together to discuss issues they’re having with a group of professionals who are all in the same room. On hand they have an osteopath, lactation consultant, postnatal practitioner and massage therapist “for some intensive head, neck and shoulder work!” They also invite a select group of guests, including a reflexologist, life coach, physio/pilates instructor and a manicurist. “We want to create a calm, relaxed and nourishing environment,” says Caroline, “a place where mums can meet each other and get a much-needed boost, and a place where they can have all their questions answered in just one session.”
Having recently been to a Bub Hub along with nine other ‘mums of more than one’, I can personally vouch for the fact that they achieve all that and more. There was a healthy breakfast—along with some much-needed caffeine—and everyone was made to feel really, really welcome. Despite the presence of several babies, it was calm and relaxing; as we all had something in common (being mum to a baby and a toddler) it was easy to chat, share our experiences and reassure each other.
So how and why did Caroline and Claire come up with the idea? According to Caroline, the seeds were sown several years ago when they were both new parents themselves. “I clearly remember being given conflicting advice from professionals when my kids were babies, which made me feel upset, confused and guilty,” she says. “And there’s still a big gap in support for new parents. We came up with a model of exactly what we would have wished for and then tried to make that a reality.”
It didn’t happen overnight, and it took a while for them to plan exactly how it would work, but thankfully they seem to have come up with a winning formula that is making the lives of mums in Chiswick and beyond just a little bit easier.
Bub Hub sessions are held every few weeks and are for anyone with a baby under one. There are several themes to choose from, including Feel Good, Sleep and Settle and Mums of more than one. You’ll find more information, including how to book, at chiswickbubhub.co.uk.