how to make new friends when you have just had a baby
When you are a new parent it's hard not to feel isolated, I didn't have any friends or family close by that had children and my husband went back to work after 2 weeks so I quickly found myself alone. We lived in the middle of what felt like no where and as my hubby used the car for work I had to walk or get the bus anywhere. It was also hard because I was breastfeeding I was still learning the ropes and didn't want to go out in public just yet. So for about the first 3 months I hardy went out and it was harder than it had to be. Just getting dressed and going out for a short walk lightens up you day, just a reason to brush your hair and put make up on instantly makes you feel like a whole new person in that sleep derived cloud of doom back then.
It wasn't until my breastfeeding peer supporter suggested that I got into town and attend the weekly breastfeeding group, I was nervous at the idea as I wouldn't know anyone but she offered to go with me the first time so I would at least know her. I went and the rest is history, nearly everyone there was in the same boat as me as a new mum just wanting to make some new friends and share stories of our new sleep deprived lives. From that group and word of mouth I found other groups to attend.
These groups have been a lifeline for me and I have made some great friends who I'm sure will be friends for life. Our children are the same age and are friends and they will attend the same schools etc. It is very nerve-wracking going on your own when you don't know people and some places aren't as welcoming with their own little clicks but now I just go regardless. Most other parents are there alone and 'm happy to talk to anyone. As Sophia is an only child I've found that she loves these playgroups so much and she learns a lot and enjoys the interaction with other children such as how to share something that she wouldn't necessarily learn at home. What groups are there
- Antenatal Group, I didn't necessary make friends here as everyone was there with a partner but it was good for later on such as in hospital if you recognise a familiar face. I met my best mum friend on the hospital tour. We briefly chatted but then bumped into each other a few months later in Primark, our children where born about a week a part and they are great friends as well.
- Baby Groups, this is the biggie. there are a lot of baby groups such as massage classes, sensory etc etc and I didn't go to them all I just kept it simple I went to a weekly breastfeeding support group which was free (some of these groups can be pricey and add up throughout the month). I also attend a coffee morning which is only £1 and I look forward to it. Our favourite is called Gym Tots which is basically one huge room with all soft floor mats an a trampoline with lots of toys out. It's suitable for newborn upwards. When my daughter was tiny I prefered it a term time because there would only be kids up to 3 there as sometimes the older ones can be a bit too boisterous around babies. this group has been my saviour and I attend 3 times a week (when it's on, I would go everyday haha). I've made lots of really great friends and so has Sophia, she is even attending her first birthday party this month. To find these groups look for you local Sure Start centre and churches as they normally have lots of groups on.
- Softplay, love it or loath it but you are going to end up here at some point. It's expensive and doesn't smell very nice but your child will love it and you can have a warm brew. Soft play is better if you can go with someone that you know and pass the time with a good chat or that 2 hour time slot that you just got might just feel like 10.
- Facebook Groups - I know that there is a mums meet up group for my local town on Facebook. It's all local mums looking to meet up for picnics or attend play areas and generally just looking for new mum friends and new friends for their children too. So it's worth a look as there might be one in your area too.
- App - yes there is an app for everything these days and the app is called Mush and it's just for making new mum friends yay! I haven't used it but I have read good reviews about it. I think it was even in Gurgle magazine.
- Instagram friends + Mothers Meet ups - I've made quite a few virtual friends on Instagram as everyone loves sharing their baby spam and real life parenting. Everyone can relate to a tantrumming toddler and there are now groups which offer meet ups just for mums and they usually have a cool mum guest speaker! My local one is called Mamas Collective Manchester and I went and met Mother Pukka. It was child friendly and not too expensive at £7.50 per ticket. It was great to meet some other local mums. There is also Mothers Meeting and The Mama Squad Assemble which are both based in London.
Sometimes you don't feel like being social and just want to rest your voice for a bit or your too tired to function and that's fine, get to that baby group and let your toddler loose and have a warm brew. All mums understand and you don't have to socialize and make conversation all of the time. I've had days where I wanted to sit there with my coat over my head and have a snooze but I didn't, there is always mum who can relate to your zombie state and make your laugh. It is very daunting going to a new group on your own, you worry that everyone has already formed bonds without you and some have, but most ladies are very welcoming. It isn't just mums, sometimes there are more Grandparents, Dads or child minders at these groups, so it's good to get your partner involved to if they want to.- Jodie x www.wiganmum.com