How to make friends when you’re a new mum

2nd Jul 19 | Lifestyle

Jenny Stallard asks the experts how to navigate the minefield that is ‘new mum friendships’.

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It’s been almost two months since the Duchess of Sussex gave birth to her first child, Archie, and on Saturday July 6, his christening will take place – an event Meghan and Harry are expected to keep private.

For many new mums, this is the time when they feel like they’re through the most tiring and emotional postpartum period, feel ready to leave the house more and possibly craving a bit more social interaction.

While it’s unlikely Meghan will be off to her local NCT class or ‘baby rhyme time’ at the leisure centre in Windsor, this is one thing she might have in common with other new mums – because as much as cooing and baby talk is cute, sometimes you just need an adult conversation with like-minded mates in the same position as you are.

Many new mums also suddenly find themselves isolated or wondering who else is around while they’re on maternity leave. A survey of more than 2,000 mums by networking group Channel Mum found that 90% of mothers feel lonely since having children and 54% felt “friendless” after giving birth.

We asked some mums how they went about making new mates.

Treat it like dating

Going on dates probably feels like a lifetime ago if you’ve got a newborn, but making new mates is quite similar, says Hester Grainger, who founded Mumala Club – which supports mums who have also set up their own business.

Mum to India, 9, and Hudson, 7, Grainger says: “Ask yourself, ‘Would I be their friend if I didn’t have a baby?’

“Remember everyone is nervous when they meet for the first time – like your first gym class.”

Join a Facebook group

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Rachel Bradley runs Gossip Girl PR and set up a Facebook group when she found herself lonely as a new mum. “I didn’t know anyone and didn’t know where to go with my kids on a rainy day, or where I could get the best coffee in town. So I just did it. A bit recklessly really, I clicked a few buttons and, hey presto, I was the admin of a Facebook group.

“Setting it up made me realise how many other mums were at home with babies and little ones. There’s are a lot of lonely women out there. So yes, I would definitely recommend first-time mums seek out a Facebook group in their local area and if there isn’t one, set one up.”

If you’re not keen on social media, Mush is an app which lets you meet mothers near you – a bit like Tinder for mums!

Try a fun activity that you’re into

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She rarely cries but when she does the only certain thing that will settle Ava from crying to calm and from calm to sleep is Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. Within a few notes she's calm, even from hysteria. Within a few lines she's asleep. It's incredible to witness. On Thursday it felt only right that I took her for her first cinema trip to see Bohemian Rhapsody. She danced standing on my lap, kicked her legs to the music whilst sitting on me, she giggled, she stared at the screen mesmerised, she fed, she napped for 20 minutes (it's OK, I caught her up on what she missed) and we both thoroughly enjoyed it! Baby cinema is amazing! ✨🎟️🎦🎼🎬 #babycinema #cinema #bohemianrhapsody #Queen #FreddieMercury #worldsyoungestqueenfan #coparentingwithfreddiemercury #babygirl #firstcinematrip #AvaJosephine #ourlittlebird #mybeautifulgirl #cutiepatootie #shesafunnyone #mylittleadventurebuddy

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Not enamoured with baby massage or music class, and feeling like your interests are taking a back seat? Then you might find some like-minded mums at comedy or the cinema and even baby raves (yep, really). “Google what you like to do,” says Grainger. “There’s so much pressure to be doing the right thing. But if you don’t like it, don’t go back.”

Give it time

If you choose a new activity or group, make that the only one you go to that day. That way, if you do love it and get on with some of the other mums, when you’re invited to join for lunch or a coffee afterwards, you’ll have time to say yes. “Be available,” says Grainger. “Give yourself space in case you want to hang out with them.”

© Press Association 2019