Something people don’t tell you about having a baby is that the first few weeks (even months) with your newborn can be quite isolating. Whether it’s because you’re stuck at home in recovery mode, or you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything being a totally new experience – the thought of being sociable probably isn’t at the forefront of your mind.
Here’s the good news – there are hundreds (thousands, even millions!) of other mums out there who are totally familiar with these feelings.
Sure, you might have your partner to rant with about how baby was super clingy that day, or maybe you tell your parents about that dramatic public blowout. But believe me, it’s not quite the same as chatting with other new mums who are experiencing the same things right now as well! Having a network of support can make a world of difference, even if it’s just to let you feel reassured that cluster feeding is normal and it’s okay that your little one isn’t rolling yet.
But where to find these other mums? (Without the awkwardness of having to say “please be my mama friend!”)
Read on for 10 different places you can hunt down some other new mums to talk to or hang out with!
1. Hospital/antenatal class network
If you attended a set of antenatal classes, there’s usually a swap of names and phone numbers with the other couples at the end, so that you can all keep in touch after your babies are born. Similarly, the hospital that you give birth at often organises local groups with other mums who had their baby around the same time. The great thing about these groups is that your babies are often very close in age, making all your experiences much more relatable to one another as you’re going through the postpartum motions at the same time!
2. Local library
It’s really common for local libraries and councils to organise activities for mums and their babies – such as “story time” or “baby rhyme time”. These are free to attend, and are no obligation so don’t feel tied down to turning up every week if you don’t want to. Enquire at your local library to find out details of these programs.
3. Baby classes
There are heaps of these, some by bigger organisations with franchises across the country and others with smaller local groups. These are often related to music, fitness, sensory play or development. Since they’re usually divided by age group (non-mobile crawlers, toddlers, etc.) you end up with other parents with little ones the same age as yours. Generally they aren’t free and you need to sign up for a term, but just search Google for baby classes and browse through the results to find something that interests you.
4. Mum and bub classes
I’d say these differ from baby classes because the focus is more on the mothers instead. They’re mostly fitness and health related, such as mum and bub yoga classes and pram jogging. Check Google for suggestions in your local area.
5. Local church
There’s almost always a playgroup at your local church hall run by mums. The age ranges of the babies/toddlers there can vary from little newborns to preschool-aged kids. Usually there’s also a whole heap of donated toys for the little ones to play with, keeping them all entertained while the mums have a coffee and chat!
6. Baby movie sessions
Special sessions are hosted by cinemas exclusively for parents bringing their babies. The lights are dimmed (rather than off like a regular movie session), and you’re allowed to your pram in, walk around if necessary and of course feel free to breastfeed. It’s totally expected for everyone to not be completely quiet so don’t feel hugely self-conscious if your baby starts to fuss. After the movie is a great opportunity to hang out with the other mums and babies for a while, already on common ground with the movie you just watched!
7. Local park
Head over to your local park on a sunny weekday, and it’s guaranteed that you’ll find at least one other mum there! Even if your baby isn’t old enough to go on the playground, you can still bring a picnic blanket along and chill out on the grass. Some easy conversation starters: “How old is your little one?” or “Are you from around the area?” or “How’s your day going?”
8. Facebook groups
Facebook groups set up based on when your little one was born are a fantastic way of networking with other mums, sometimes even across the world! People post about anything and everything (but be careful of the more sensitive topics like when to start solids or vaccinations because there are always a handful of really opinionated people). There are too many times to count that posts from other mums in the Facebook groups I’ve joined have given me a good laugh, or left me feeling relieved that my baby isn’t the only one doing (or not doing) something. And who doesn’t love adorable smiling babies throughout their Facebook newsfeeds?
9. Online forums
This can be a more anonymous way of asking questions or sharing experiences – it’s easy to browse through and find relevant topics that you’re interested in. Whether you participate in conversations or just read along, it’s totally up to you. For example, check out the What To Expect forums and the Baby Center community.
10. Mush app
Mush is kind of like Tinder for mums. By setting up your personal profile (complete with details about your baby’s age too), specifying things like interests, age, location, etc. it’ll then allow you to see the profiles of other mums with things in common.
No-awkwardness tips (and making mama meetings a success)
- Use a diary or organiser to pencil in upcoming activities that you may want to attend. Perhaps on the day your little one may not be in the mood, and that’s okay, but at least you’ll know in advance what’s possibly coming up.
- Try out as many different groups/classes/venues as possible, to find the one that you feel most comfortable with.
- Persevere beyond the first visit! Week 1 is always the toughest because you’re the new face there, but by weeks 3 and 4 you’ll be an old-timer. Going regularly helps keep up any new friendships as well.
- Help out with the groups. Whether it’s offering to lock up the hall after a visit, or tidying up toys, or shouting a round of coffees – it all helps you feel more actively involved, rather than just tagging along.
- Don’t be afraid to make the first move in saying hi to another lone mum, whether it’s at your local park or a coffee shop. This sounds like dating all over again. But there’s really nothing on the line, because really, what’s the worst that can happen? Besides, chances are they’re probably eyeing you and craving that adult conversation you’re wanting too.
- Need a conversation starter? Baby gear-related icebreakers always work! (“What brand is that baby carrier? It looks super comfy!” or “Which pram is that? I love the colour!”)
- Seal the deal – if you meet another mum you feel like you really get along with, grab their phone number or contact details and arrange to meet up again. That way, you’re not just parting ways possibly never to see one another again. Simply ask, “Do you want to get together for a playdate sometime?” It’s as easy as that. It’s also worth noting that for parents of babies, “playdate” is actually just another term for “catch up while our babies feed or sleep”!
These different ways of meeting other mums isn’t exclusive to new parents either – if you’re a second or third time mum, or a mum with older children, then all of the above is still relevant to you. You’ll probably be asked to impart your wisdom and experience onto the new ones!
Do you have any tips for meeting new mums? Share in the comments below!