Melissa, here from CloudMom.com, guest posting today on a very important topic for new moms – making friends after a baby! A new baby changes everything: your time is limited and dashing out to a movie or the mall is no longer in the cards. So you’re stuck at home with no free time, struggling to handle a newborn, and yet a community of supportive friends is crucial. Having gone through this five times, here are some things that helped me.
1. Get involved in the community before the baby – One of the best things you can do for yourself even before the baby arrives is to get involved in a parenting community! I know, you might be thinking that there are a million things to do to prepare for the big day at the hospital, but participating in a prenatal yoga class or birthing course can ease that anxiety. Also, you’ll be surrounded by women going through the exact same stresses! After class, you’ll be able to compare notes on breastfeeding tools, strollers, and the latest diaper trends. And once the babies are born, you’ll have a great group of gals to turn to during your inevitable mommy mishaps! Who knows, your babies could end up becoming great friends, too.
2. Get out of the house with your baby – This is certainly the first step to take when wanting to make acquaintances. You’re probably going to feel like the shy new kid at school again, but I assure you, all moms feel the same way when it comes to making new friends! Take your baby out in their stroller or baby sling and run your daily errands. You’ll be surprised at how many young moms you’ll see along the way. A baby in a stroller certainly makes a great conversation starter. If you notice another child around the same age as yours, this could be a great opportunity to make a new connection!
3. Make the first move – This is akin to dating! Don’t wait around for moms to come to you. We are all in the same nervous parenting boat and most people are happy to make new friends, especially when they’ve just had a baby. And if you need an icebreaker, compliment her! Comment on her stylish diaper bag or eye-catching stroller! Another amazing icebreaker is to get the kids playing together first. Bring extra toys to the park and you’ll inevitably attract more children to your area, and with children come their parents! Start with small talk and build on that by talking about more important issues facing you or your child. Don’t forget to ask about future play dates and get their contact info, too! I even once met a mom who handed out a Mommy business card – it seemed a little over the top to me at the time, but I know her maternity leave was less lonely than mine.
4. Plant Yourself on the Sidelines – Kids classes and events are an amazing way to meet new moms. A book talk at the local library, a concert for kids at your local church, or a science or Earth Day fair – no matter what the timing, get yourself over there. You’ll be surrounded by a huge pool of potential new friends. And you’ll automatically have a conversational item since you can talk about how you liked the event or performance! This type of friendship making continues as your kids grow up, since you’ll be hanging around watching soccer, basketball and ballet and have time for adult conversation.
5. Remain flexible with your baby’s nap schedule. Your baby will need to eat on schedule whether she is home or out, but many moms get weighed down by the nap schedule, insisting that their baby only nap in the crib at home. Although I am a huge fan of schedules for feeding and sleeping, keeping all of this flexible is key because when a lunch or play date is being planned and you are invited, you should go! Babies are more flexible than we moms are! Go and either your baby will nap there in his stroller or carrier, or he will catch up on sleep at the next nap or bedtime.
Melissa Lawrence, Founder of CloudMom, lives in New York City with her husband and 5 young children. With more than a few parenting tricks up her sleeve, Melissa posts how-to videos and blogs for moms just like you!
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