Making Friends as a New Parent
Becoming a new parent is an overwhelming experience. Welcoming a new baby into the family brings with it so much joy, but at the same time, it can also be an isolating experience and having a solid support network can make a huge difference. Adjusting to the lack of sleep and schedule changes can be challenging, even more so if you're the first of your friendship group to have children.
If you don't have any other new parents in your social circles, there are other options! There are plenty of ways to find other young families and create those connections with people who are going through the same experiences. It might seem daunting, but with local groups and international forums, you'll have no trouble building a support network!
Antenatal classes support you through the last few months of your pregnancy and prepare you for the birth of your first child. Not only are they informative, but they are a brilliant way to meet other new parents who are due around the same time as you, providing you with a support network before you've even given birth! If you are UK-based, antenatal classes are free on the National Heath Sevice - NHS.
Discover classes in your area.
Local Baby Groups
These might be in the form of a local coffee morning or an activity group such as postnatal pilates, sensory activities, and musical clubs. These can be a fantastic way to learn and bond with your baby, and it's also a great way to meet local parents with the same interests as you.
If you are UK-based, databases such as Happity can help you find local groups.
Parenting groups on social media can be a brilliant way to find like-minded parents in your local area and more widely. If your baby has particular needs, for example, requirements related to disabilities or severe allergies, social media can be a remarkably beneficial tool when looking for support networks. Furthermore, if any part of your lifestyle or parenting style is unconventional, social media can be a great way to find people who share your experiences.
In the age of zoom calls and working from home, it can feel more challenging to meet people in person. Much like social media, online forums and apps can help you discover a broad network of other new parents. There are a plethora of apps from which to choose,Peanutand Mushbeing the most notable. Peanut launched in 2017, and it was specifically created to tackle the new-mum-loneliness that so many new parents feel. Mush, similar to Peanut, is partnered with the NHS with the ultimate goal of improving maternal mental health. Both are available on the App Store and Google Play.
Maybe searching for strangers doesn't appeal to you, so looking for friends-of-friends might be a more manageable middle ground. Perhaps your friends don't have children themselves, but some of their friends might, and they could be in the same position. Ask around - having a mutual contact can help ease some anxiety you have about connecting with a new person, and you can even ask your friend to introduce you face-to-face.
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