My husband and I do not live near any family. In fact, most of our family isn’t even a drive a way. Most of our family lives on the opposite coast so it’s a full day of car rides and plane flights. Due to jobs and loving where we live, moving close to family isn’t feasible for us. However, once we had L, we needed to find a way to have that support system you get from having family live nearby, without having family nearby. Even if you have family, a great support network of friends is still a must. Grandmas are great, but let’s be honest, they did this whole baby thing at least 20 years ago. Between when they were raising babies and when we are, there is a lot of new information and research. You will want friends who are also new mothers. I have found over time that there are a few easy and great ways to make new mom friends with whom I love to get together, get advice from, complain to and in a pinch, can watch L for me.
When you have a kid, your friends change…
Before having a baby, I was told all your friends will change once you have a baby. While this might not be 100% true, it is true to a certain degree. You will want to find new friends who have kids around the same age because those parents are going through the same life steps at the same time as you. It is important to have other people who you can relate to and who keep the same type of schedule so you can maintain a social life. If you have a 6 month old, your day will look very different than your friends that still don’t have kids or even friends who have a 5 year old. Additionally, as your kids get older, having friends with kids the same age means the kids can play and entertain each other while the parents can socialize and get a much needed break.
Why mom friends are so important and how to make them:
The transition to motherhood comes with a steep learning curve. Additionally, no one will quite understand or be able to help you or really support you besides other moms who are also going through it at the exact same time. This is especially true when you are having a tough time with baby. It’s crucial to have the ability to reach out and meet up with other moms. To make friends, the first step is to start finding places in town where you might find expecting mothers or mothers with babies. To start, I list ways I have found to be successful below. The second step is to connect with another mom. This is actually simple, because all you need to do is talk about what you both have in common, which is pregnancy, birth, and baby. If you meet another mom and want to hang out again, at the end just ask if they would be interested in getting together to do a play date and exchange numbers.
As you try to make a new friend who you don’t know well, one simple way to make it easier is to remember three things from your last conversation and then ask them about it when you see them again. For example, maybe they told you that they were going on a hike over the weekend or their baby was starting to teethe. Next time ask, how was that hike? Or how is baby? I remember you mentioned they were teething. Is it affecting sleep? You goal is to get to know the other person, which takes a while so try at least a few play dates. Once, you start making mom friends, these women will not only be your friend but also can turn into lifelong friends which you can count on again and again. Those type of friends will be the support system you need not only for when you have a baby but throughout the process of raising kids.
If you are expecting, start by finding places where you can meet new moms
To start, if you know any moms who have kids under 10, ask them where would be great places, or free activities, to take your baby. They will know all the good spots, I promise. Before you had a little one, it was probably so easy to get up and go. Now, everything must be scheduled around naps, errands, meal times and the outing must be baby friendly, meaning that to make friends you need to know where these moms go in your town and when. Here is a starting list of how I went from knowing no other moms with babies the same age as L to having a very social baby calendar chalk full of play dates.
This website is amazing! Find your town and then go to the events page. On the calendar is a list of a lot of the FREE events going on in your town for little ones. The best case is you meet a lot of moms who you click with at these events. The worst case is you now know of all the fun events and places to take your baby who will soon be a toddler who wants to explore so unless you want your house torn apart on a daily basis, these types of events are crucial.
Most libraries are a variety of events for all ages. Search for story times (usually for preschoolers) or sing with baby events. In the kid’s section of libraries, there is usually kid toys like a train table which is great place to hang out on a morning. Libraries are also a great way to get board books for baby. If you haven’t started reading to your baby, start NOW. (Related post: Ensure Your Baby is Not Behind with One Simple Activity)
On this note, make some DIY toddler friendly bookshelves for effective playroom storage and fill them with inexpensive board books.
3. Breastfeeding Support groups
Start by searching for your local chapter in LaLeche. They have monthly meetings to support nursing moms and are a terrific way to make mom friends because it is mostly first-time moms who have a baby under one. Also check google for other support groups that meet regularly. There are also expectant mothers’ groups and expectant mothers’ breastfeeding groups.
If you are having any trouble at all with breastfeeding a colic baby or just in general. I recommend reading about the nutritional tips that allowed me to breastfeed a colic baby exclusively for 6 months and then continue breastfeeding past 1 year. L would pull off after about 3-5 mins of nursing and immediately start crying, if this is your baby you need to read this. I also found a trick to attaching baby from a lactation consultant that I can’t believe isn’t everywhere.
4. Local Museums
Try out some local kid museums. Chances are there will be at least one parent, if not more, that has a baby around your age. Allow baby to take a nap on you in a carrier while you look around as a way to get out of the house or if baby is awake, museums are great stimulation so again you can only win.
5. Sign up for baby swim lessons.
First, check to see if there are free classes in your area. Family Centers, Parent Centers and libraries are all great places to check. If not, check your local YMCA or gym for baby swim lessons. These are great because it’s a small group, you meet every week and therefore see the same parents. You can start them at 6 months AND it’s by baby age so you will be in a class with moms (and dads) who have babies the same age. What’s more perfect than that?
Where do you find mom friends?
If you have had any success finding mom friends, please share your tips and advice in comments below. Hey, maybe you might even make a friend or two in the comment section. ????
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Dr. Trina Fitzpatrick is a wife, mom, blogger, and a breastfeeding advocate. She is the co-author of the Week-by-Week Bump Smart Course, the Nesting Planner and the Breastfeeding Handbook. She attributes her success at breastfeeding her own children into toddlerhood with working with lactation consultants in the hospital in the early stages and on a weekly basis afterwards. By writing at MomSmartNotHard, she educates mamas-to-be on all things pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. Read more about Trina.