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Monday morning at Castle Rock Brewery’s Bread and Bitter pub on Mapperley Top is not a time for the quiet contemplation of a well earned ale. Monday morning is when the garden room hosts the weekly meeting of the pub’s own bumps to babies club. As many as 40 babies attend and there is room for more.

Since September 2009, a rising number of new mothers, fathers and mums-to-be have joined manager and father of two, James Halfpenny, for an informal get-together over coffee and pastries. Organiser, Paula Ketteridge, a QMC midwife and herself a mother of three, says the idea is simple, “For a couple of hours we let young mothers, many with their first child, chat about their own experiences, learn from the experts we bring along, and, most of all, relax a bit.”

(l-r) Mums and mums-to-be at the Bread and Bitter with (centre from left) Simon Cooper and pub manager, James Halfpenny with son Ruairi, and club organiser, Paula Ketteridge and the bumps and babies at play.

Manager, James Halfpenny, believes the English pub can play a vital part in the neighbourhood and should be as useful as possible to everyone in the local community. “The bumps and babies club began as an idea from Paula and me. We thought the pub would be the perfect and relaxed ‘grown up’ environment for mums to get together with their babies. The garden room is always popular with families, but come Monday morning we take it one step further with one corner changing into a baby play area with soft mats and lots of toys,” says James.

“And like the babies we bring together, the club has just got bigger.”

The Bread and Bitter bumps to babies club meets every Monday at 10am (except Bank Holidays). The sessions are open to all mums to be, mums and dads of babies under one year and includes tea, coffee, juice with a Danish pastry for £1.50.