Building a Support Network: Finding Friends as a New Mom
When my son was born, my husband and I were 3,000 miles away from our families and the first in our group of friends to become parents. Try as they may, no one could offer the type of support that I needed quite like another mother. If you are home with a new baby and are having a difficult time making connections, I hope some of these suggestions lead you to find a few new friendships.
Library Story Time
Call your library and ask if they have a library story time. Most libraries will offer "story hour" tailored to different age groups; the baby story time is a terrific place to meet new moms (and is an excuse to get out of the house). Look around and see if there is anyone you feel you might click with. When the story time wraps up, engage them in conversation and ask if they would like to walk down the street for a cup of coffee. I met one of my closest friends at a library story time. Don't be shy! Chances are they are feeling just as lonely as you are.
La Leche League
Visit the La Leche League website and find out if they have a meeting in your town. LLL is a great place to connect with other breastfeeding moms who are going through the same things that you are. Make sure that you get any breastfeeding concerns answered while you are there. LLL typically only meets once a month; so if you make a new friend, offer to host a play-date at your house next week!
Other Moms Groups
Ask around to see if there are any other moms groups in the area. Call the local hospital to see if they host a group for new moms; many do. The owner of your local toy store might be a good resource for finding the groups in the area. Search meetup.com for local groups; enter "natural parenting", "attachment parenting", or "breastfeeding" in the search field, if you feel this will help you find like-minded friends. Check to see if there is an Attachment Parenting International group near you. If there is no group near you then consider starting one!
Seek Out Individual Friends
If you are still having difficulty, or if there are no moms groups in your area. You might have to take matters into your own hands a little bit more. Don't be discouraged; there are other new moms in your area, you just have to find them.
Post an Ad on Craigslist
Put up an ad on your local Craigslist stating that you are looking to start a moms group. See what responses you get, you might be surprised!
Find Your Tribe
Get yourself a subscription to mothering.com so that you can gain access to their online community network. In their member forums, they have an area called "finding your tribe". Post a thread in your state area. Be honest; say that you are looking for friends and let everyone know what town you live in. At the very least, you have just joined an online network of truly amazing and supportive women.
Time to Talk to Strangers
The first time approaching a new mom is always the hardest. But, what do you have to lose? Strike up conversations
with new moms at the park, the library, even in the line at the grocery store. Tell them you are looking to start
a moms group and ask for their email. Email them later, let them know it was great to meet them, and ask when would
be a good day to have them over for breakfast/lunch/tea. Once you have made that first emotional leap and put yourself
out there, you will probably find yourself making friends with every new mom that you see.
Jacqui is a Postpartum Doula and Breastfeeding Counselor. She offers breastfeeding advice and information at The Breastfeeding Blog.