I don’t know why I haven’t written much about being a mom on this blog. As a single mom of a 19-month-old (who I’m home with all day unless he’s at his dad’s), I guess I could argue that I don’t have much time. But I think I’ve held off on writing about motherhood as much because I still find myself lost for words when I try to describe it; I don’t know how to describe the amount of love and joy I feel as a mother. The phrase “there are no words” comes to mind, but I hope that one day soon, I’ll be able to write more about my journey into being a mom (and a single mom from the start at that). One thing I know for sure? My early days of being a mom would have looked a lot different had I not found some incredible mom groups in Winnipeg.
Before my son was born, I researched “mommy and me” groups in Winnipeg and found many outdated links; the pandemic sadly forced quite a few groups to shut down, and many haven’t seemed to recover yet. Giving up on my online search, I discovered that word of mouth was the best way to find out about groups for parents in Winnipeg.
But I didn’t want other new moms to have that same experience, to not know where to look. Because so many other websites that list Winnipeg mom groups are so outdated, I wanted to collate as many as possible so that other new moms could find these groups much easier.
So what is a mom group? For the sake of this article, it’s everything from a playgroup to a music class to a postpartum workout. It’s a place to meet other new parents and spend time with your baby in a fun environment. Whatever you’re comfortable with, I believe there’s a mom group in Winnipeg for you.
As a social person, I thrived in these mom groups. But even if you’re a shy person, I think that just being around other parents and babies is so good for us, especially in those early days; we’re constantly told to find our “village” as new moms, and yet so many of us end up going through motherhood almost completely on our own (single moms or not). I also think that it’s important to try to get out of the house from time to time, and these groups were a fantastic way to motivate me to do so.
I have spent more than 90% of these past 19 months on my own with my son, with very little physical help. These groups? They were a lifesaver for me, helping me socialize, get out of the house, chat about baby stuff with other parents, and feel a lot more confident that I was (and am) a good mom. I started with Fit Together, my personal favourite for meeting new moms, when I was only five weeks postpartum, and I’m still involved in many activities around Winnipeg.
What I love most about these mom groups in Winnipeg, at least the ones I’ve tried? Just how welcoming they all are. I won’t sugarcoat it: that first year of being a single mom was incredibly tough on me, and I always felt as though I had a safe space where I could talk, laugh, cry, whatever I needed. And I loved that nobody batted an eye when you had to do a diaper change, breastfeed/feed your child, or even leave for a bit in order to soothe your baby.
Finally, I’m saying “mom groups” because that’s what people tend to search for online, but these groups are for anyone of any gender! All parents and guardians are welcome.
“Mommy and Me” Groups in Winnipeg
I only recently found out about the Peanut App through Instagram ads. I’ve seen it described as “Tinder for moms”; essentially, you create a profile and can match with moms in your area whom you’d like to connect with for playdates, coffee, etc. With over three million women using the app worldwide, it’s been a great way for people to connect at all stages of motherhood: fertility, pregnancy, newborns, toddlers, and so on. While I haven’t personally used it, it’s apparently working very well in Winnipeg, and I would consider using it in the future.
As mentioned above, motherhood can be incredibly lonely, and this is a fantastic way to connect with other moms in your neighbourhood.
As I said in the intro, Fit Together was my favourite mom group in Winnipeg for meeting people. Not only did I meet many other moms whom I’m still friends with today, I got to work out at a very comfortable level in my first year postpartum. Over the course of a year, I tried numerous outdoor and indoor fitness stroller classes, a baby-wearing dance class, and an adventure club where we explored different city parks every week with our babies. Fit Together offers both pre and postnatal classes; there’s a massive variety, so you’re sure to find one that suits you.
With super friendly instructors and the chance to go as light or as hard as you’d like with the workouts, I highly recommend Fit Together for new moms in Winnipeg.
Lullaland, a program offering sensory classes for little ones, is extremely popular in Winnipeg, and sessions fill up quickly. There are classes for newborns, babies, and toddlers, and each class is full of fun sensory activities for you to enjoy with your little one. I attended the newborn class with my son, and it was a good chance to get out of the house and be around some other parents. It was also really neat to see my son’s face light up in class; I found my Lullaland instructor to be one of the most engaging people I experienced in all of my “mommy and me” classes in Winnipeg.
With the newborn class, I did find that we all packed up rather quickly – time out of the house is short but sweet when it comes to that age! – but I imagine there would be more room for chatting in the other classes.
Momalong was one of my most unexpected mom groups in Winnipeg, in that I had no idea a group like this existed until another mom friend mentioned it to me. It turns out that it was one of my most beloved groups in my time as a new mom! Momalong is a virtual writing group hosted by the amazing Libby; I credit Momalong for wanting to start being creative again after giving birth because it reminded me how cathartic and helpful writing can be. And don’t worry, you can have your little one with you… it was very common for one of us to have to step away to feed our baby during the class! Even if you’re not a writer, I would highly recommend this program for something creative to do postpartum… I am so thankful for the words I wrote in those early days.
Public Library Programs
There are tons of great programs through the public libraries of Winnipeg, and best of all, they’re free! I’m a big fan of Rhyme Time, but there’s also Family Story Time, Toddler Time, and much more. The only tricky thing about these programs is ensuring you sign up quickly; there are a limited number of spots per session, and they fill up fast.
Rhyme Time is an extremely popular activity for babies in Winnipeg and a great way to meet other parents; it consists of songs, some reading, and some free play time. I took my son consistently to Rhyme Time from the ages of three months to 14 months and met lots of wonderful people. I also learned a lot of fun songs we still sing around the house today! I plan on taking him to Toddler Time in the next available session.
Found at 1199 Rothesay Street, Scout is your one-stop shop for all things parent and baby. Part café, part retail store, part hang-out spot for meet-ups and classes, Scout aims to be a community hub for families. The Scout Social Club takes place every Tuesday morning and is designed for parents with babies under the age of one year; every session has an activity planned or an expert guest to chat about something relevant. Sessions include topics such as newborn massage, core and pelvic floor recovery, infant oral health, and infant sleep, to name a few examples. There’s also a babywearing support group on the first and third Mondays of every month.
It is incredibly important to me that my son grows up in a musical household. As someone who plays a few instruments, has a minor in music history, and has music on almost nonstop in the house, I’m hoping he follows in my footsteps and loves music as well! Thankfully, Prelude Music in River Heights offers classes for all ages. Their “Melodies and ABCs” program has classes geared toward children 6-12 months, 12-17 months, 18-23 months, 2 years, 3 years, and 4-5 years. My son and I tried the 12-17 month class, and he loved it; it was very interactive, and the small class size meant that he could get individual attention. The small size meant that I also had a chance to chat with the other parents.
Mommy Connections is a “mommy and me” group in Winnipeg that aims to help you “find joy amid the chaos of early parenthood and a supportive community to rely on when the going gets tough.” With tons of classes, workshops, and events, it’s a great resource for new moms in Winnipeg. Popular classes include Mom to Be, Mom and Baby, and Parent and Tot (where you’ll go on adventures around the city with your little one). I can imagine it’s a fantastic way to meet other moms!
Healthy Start is perfect for parents of babies aged 0-1. These free drop-in groups are meant to foster conversation and help you with any questions you might have (because let’s face it, none of us truly know what it’s like to raise a tiny human until we’re actually holding one in our arms!). Topics include feeding your baby, ways to strengthen the bond between yourself and your baby, baby development, health and safety, and ways to cope as a new parent; you’ll hear from dieticians, outreach workers and public health nurses, as well as chat with other parents and guardians. Best of all, there are numerous locations all around the city.
Found in South Winnipeg on Kenaston Boulevard, Gymboree is a well-known chain across the world. The Play and Music classes are catered for all ages, including newborns, babies, toddlers, all the way to five years of age. With music, art, dance, and a variety of other skills for your child to learn, the classes are a fantastic way to engage with your child as well as meet new mom friends.
Ride and Play
Ride and Play is extremely popular in Central Winnipeg, and for good reason: kids love it just as much as the parents! This playgroup for children ages five and under is found on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at Earl Grey Community Centre. While it costs $4 per visit per child, it’s worth it for the sheer size of the space as well as the variety of toys to play with. Many parents bring snacks and/or lunch for their children as there are tables and high chairs available. In my experience, you tend to see the same people at the playgroup, so it’s easy to make connections.
Kids Physio Group
Location: 1020 Lorimer Blvd #210
Kids Physio Group is a fantastic spot that provides “specialized equipment and treatments focused on improving mobility, strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, endurance, gross motor skills, cognition, motor planning, confidence, motivation, and more”. Not only catering to the pediatric physiotherapy needs of children from birth onwards, there are also monthly playgroups for babies and toddlers where families can connect and parents/guardians can learn about developmental milestones. Their motto? Make physio fun!
Peg Family Fitness
I’ve never taken a Peg Family Fitness class, so I cannot speak on their behalf, but they are extremely popular in Winnipeg! Including prenatal, postpartum, and family fitness and yoga classes, classes are offered in St. Boniface, St. Vital, North Kildonan, East Kildonan, Transcona, Windsor Park, Selkirk, and on Zoom. Formally called Fit 4 Two Winnipeg East, you can expect stroller fitness, “baby and me” yoga, and so much more from Peg Family Fitness.
I have not been to The Fitual, but I’ve heard fantastic things about their workout programs for new moms. Found in River Heights, they have classes under the umbrella of “The Fitual Mama” that include classes for new moms, some of which you can bring your baby to. There’s also the “Mega Mama” that focuses on rebuilding your pelvic floor. It’s one of the pricier options on this list, but as I said, it comes highly recommended.
The Play Pen
The Play Pen is an indoor soft play gym found in East Kildonan. What I like about the Play Pen is that it is more baby and toddler-friendly than some of the other indoor play centres in Winnipeg (such as Hide n Seek, Kid City, or My Fun Land). As far as I know, it’s also the smallest, which means that it’s easy for babies to play together. When I visited, all of the other parents knew each other; it is obviously a regular meet-up for them, so it’s a nice way to meet other parents.
The Play Pen is a little far from my house, but if you live in that part of the city, it’s definitely worth a shot! I’d recommend this for babies who are crawling/walking and toddlers. There are also specific “toddler times” on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for children aged 0-3.
Families Forward is a great program with tons of valuable resources for families in the Fort Rouge and River Heights areas. They have a variety of programs that change seasonally, so you can find anything from indoor playgrounds to “Rhyme and Storytime.” I have been to a few of the playgroups (currently, there’s a free one on Wednesday mornings at the Corydon Community Centre, River Heights Site), and it’s always nice to see my son interacting with other toddlers and playing with new toys. It’s also nice for me to chat with a few other parents/grandparents/guardians/etc!
I’ve yet to visit the Rhyme and Storytime at Harrow United Church on Friday mornings, but I’ve heard it’s fantastic. I would recommend these programs for little ones who are at least crawling; they’re more geared toward the toddler age.
Bright Start Inkster
Bright Start Inkster is supported by Manitoba Child and Youth Services and has a range of free programs available to the community. With locations around North Winnipeg, there’s everything from family play programs to open play gyms and more. With a goal to “provide free caregiver/child-centred activities and resources for families with children 0-6 years old”, the focus is on nutrition, physical health, literacy and learning, positive parenting, and community building.
I have not been to My Gym so cannot write from personal experience, but it’s definitely something I would consider checking out with my son! Found in St. Vital and Rossmere, there are interactive classes for all ages, from newborns through to toddlers. Meant to introduce music and movement in a variety of fun ways to help your child’s natural development, I am considering signing my son up for the “Gymsters” classes.
What else would you add to the list?