Are you looking for a new moms group but don’t want to be sucked into online social media drama? Searching for genuine support and real life mom friends? Discover seven alternative options that can help you navigate motherhood and find your tribe.
Not all new moms groups are equal.
I’ve made some incredible friends and worked my way through some pretty rough moments as a new parent by joining the right support groups.
At the same time, I’ve been shamed, ridiculed, and made to feel like a failure. Mostly by the mommy police, lurking behind their computer screens in those Facebook mom groups.
When desperate for guidance, I fell down the rabbit hole of online critics and mom shamers.
I’ve been told to let my child cry it out, to co-sleep, that cosleeping is dangerous, that I’m causing my child trauma by night weaning, that my car seat should be in the middle seat, it should be behind the passenger seat, to only use a carseat on the plane, to rent carseats at our destination, that I’m wearing my baby wrong, my laundry detergent is wrong, my son’s shoes don’t fit, his pediatrician is no good… I’m exhausted and need a glass of wine…don’t tell my facebook mom group.
We wonder why mothers feel like they can’t win. Why they feel isolated.
Online communities are at our fingertips. They should be so useful, but instead they end up making us feel like sh*t.
Of course I’ll share the absolute worst, but this post would be endless if I included all of my online mommy group horror stories.
Instead, I want let you know where I found actual support! There are legitimate groups and organizations out there, ready and willing to provide what new moms need.
So, Should You Join a New Moms Group on Social Media or Skip It?
I’m not saying that all online parenting forums are bad. But armchair critics love to prey on inexperienced and vulnerable new moms.
There are some pretty unhelpful, self-serving, and down right vile moms groups on Facebook. THERE, I SAID IT.
Most of the time, they won’t serve you.
Especially ones with the word natural. … or holistic, crunchy, granola etc. You get it.
Okay, so before you think I do horrible things like vaccinate my kids and feed them chicken nuggets, let me explain.
Also, I’m kidding. My kids have their shots…but we’ll get to that.
I always joke that I’m half granola mom, half wine mom. Sure, I kick back with my glass of wine every night, but I also make my own baby food, breastfeed, babywear, and practice mindfulness with my kids. You know, balance.
Joining a Facebook group for new, holistically minded moms sounded like it would be a great resource.
On my second day as an online group member, someone inquired about a local pediatrician who was okay with spacing out vaccines. Since we always give only one vaccine per visit and adore our pediatrician in New York, I recommended the practice.
I clarified (when asked) that we gave the TDAP shot on schedule to protect our kids from pertussis (which actually was resurfacing in our school district!)
I kid you not, I was slammed for “believing the shot actually protects against whooping cough.” Slews of Young Living reps came forward with their own essential oil remedies, should anyone’s child come down with pertussis.
And, you guessed it, the crunchiest of crunchy moms cited Web MD as their source. Ohhh the librarian in me…
Anyway, definitely don’t discuss vaccines on a Facebook mommy group.
Facebook, however, can be a great starting point for connection. Many of the resources listed below have social media pages for their local chapters.
There’s nothing wrong with joining a social media page to see what a group is all about. It’s also an accessible source should you need quick advice or guidance.
They’re not the be all, end all, though.
Positive and supportive mom friends are out there, online and in person. Read on for my favorite new moms groups and parent resources that you might not have considered.
7 Uplifting Options if You’re Looking To Join a New Moms Group
Visit Your Local Library
As a librarian who ran children’s groups and family programs for nine years, I can promise you that your library is an untapped mommy resource.
Obviously your public library is a haven of information. Behavior manuals, potty training guides, baby food recipe books…
But did you know that your library also has the social interaction you’ve been looking for as a new mom?
For years, I ran storytimes and play groups while watching shy, new moms slowly start to open up and become friendly. When you see the same faces in toddler time every week, you naturally start making friends.
You know what’s not natural? Making fake mom friends in click-y online groups.
Parents that have met in my baby groups are still meeting weekly for playdates well into elementary school. Their friendships and their childrens’ are real.
I made my first friend in Texas at my public library. We get together at least twice a week with our two kids.
Join a Local Nursing Group
If it weren’t for my nursing group, our breastfeeding journey would have ended before we made it home from the hospital.
To this day, I go back to the advice I was given in that group from a bunch of struggling, vulnerable women and one seriously awesome nurse / lactation consultant.
There’s two reasons that I love nursing groups.
One, we’re all struggling with the same thing. There’s this base line of understanding and support just by being in the room with other women needing the same thing as you.
Two, an actual professional is providing service, usually free of charge.
Before I severed ties with my natural mommy Facebook group, I made the mistake of engaging in a conversation about sleep regression and night nursing.
I shared that my son’s sleep regression seemed to start when he reached the milestone in which children learn to manipulate and control their surroundings to see what they can get away with. Basically, if I cry, mommy will let me sleep with her and go back to night nursing. #nothanks
Babies aren’t boyfriends and they don’t manipulate said the Facebook mommy police. Funny though that my baby went back to sleeping through the night in just three days by daddy being the one to sooth rather than mommy’s body.
I stuck to professional advice and quickly left the group. To this day I wonder if these women are nursing six year olds over night instead of seeing an actual trained professional for their struggles.
There are absolutely going to be nursing groups that aren’t right for you or lactation consultants that pearl clutch at the idea of formula.
But local, professionally run nursing groups are a phenomenal resource for new moms struggling with feeding and want like-minded mom friends.
Where Can You Find a Local Nursing Group?
- Find your local La Leche League chapter here
- Ask your OBGYN or child’s pediatrician – many have lactation consultants on site
- Search local hospitals for events and meetings – you often don’t need to deliver at the hospital to use the service, either
- Call your insurance company to see if they cover personal lactation and for a list of resources
Wear All the Babies in a Babywearing Group
You know how I feel about babywearing. It literally saves my life and gives me the ability to be hands free to cook, clean, and get stuff done for my older son while keeping my baby close.
Babywearing takes getting used to though. Local groups and chapters of international organizations are a great resource if you want to get the hang of ring slings, wraps, and soft structured carriers.
You’ll also meet a ton of other cool, bas-ass, babywearing mamas at in-person meet-ups and online. A quick search will yield results for community based and carrier/manufacturer specific groups.
Surprisingly, you might also find fun meet-ups like babywearing fitness classes.
Where Can You Find a Babywearing Group?
- Ergobaby has a great list of groups by state here
- Babywearing International is a go-to resource with 80+ local divisions
Join a Group Exercise or Yoga Class for New Moms
You know who loves to attend 10a.m. gym classes? Moms who utilize the gym sponsored daycare.
Drop the littles at the play spot and get in a quick sweat. There’s bound to be at least one other new mom desperate to squeeze in a little time for herself.
She’ll also be wearing spit up covered black leggings and nursing tanks instead of dry-fit exercise gear. Is that just me?
Most yoga studios and many gyms offer pre-natal, post-natal, and baby and me yoga classes, as well. Yoga is an incredible way to reconnect to your own body before or after giving birth while baby and me classes gently incorporate simple exercise moves you can replicate at home with your baby.
If you’re an avid exerciser, consider finding a mom friendly class and hooking up with your fellow yogis.
Alternatively, exercise classes specifically for moms with their babies exist, too. Brands like Fit4Mom and Baby Boot Camp coordinate and lead group runs, pilates, and total body workouts all while your baby rests in her stroller. Prenatal body workouts and post-partum resets are part of their repertoire, as well.
Where Can You Find Mommy and Me Exercise Classes
- Fit4Mom’s trademarked stroller based workouts, like StrollerStrides and StrollerBarre, along with an eight week post partum reset and prenatal courses can be found by location here
- Baby Boot Camp’s core based workouts (including diastasis repair), running club, nutrition programs, and annual challenge can be found by location here
- Check out local yoga studios, gyms, and even public libraries to find baby friendly fitness classes
If You Have Twins/Multiples, Join Multiples of America
Multiples of America, also called The National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs, offers support specifically for parents of twins and multiples.
Navigating parenthood with one new baby is hard enough. I couldn’t imagine being a new mom of twins or triples without a genuine, supportive moms group.
This non-profit supports parents of multiples across the country with their thriving local chapters. Multiples of America also works with leading researchers involved in multiple-related studies.
Where Can You Join Multiples of America?
- You can search by zip code and find a local club here
Find a Local MOPs International Group
MOPs’ mission is simple: gather and support moms. Though the acronym is short for Mothers of Preschoolers, groups are available for expecting mothers, mothers of infants, preschoolers, and even school aged children.
Recognizing that seven in ten mothers feel isolated, MOPs creates intentional spaces to connect. By uniting church spaces, group leaders, and mothers, MOPs takes care of everything so you can find the support you need.
You simply need to show up.
But if you’re looking to start your own moms groups, MOPs is there to hold your hand through the launch process. They provide training, resources, and coaching to help new group leaders engage mothers and their community.
*There is typically a joining fee $31.95. Some groups may also provide childcare, which can incur additional fees.
Where Can You Find a MOPS International Group Near You?
Become a Member of Your Local Church
Your community church might have more than you realize for families.
Since I’m not the most religious person on the planet, I often overlook the benefits of joining a church. Living in Texas – which is more religiously oriented – has reminded me of the many services local churches can offer.
For one, a church is set up to be a community of support. In addition to attending worship services, your church leaders want you to get involved and make friends.
Many churches will provide free childcare during church service or for community meetings, like bible studies or volunteer opportunities.
You may be able to join a group specifically for new moms or find a women’s support group with other mothers.
What would you add to this list? Let me know your favorite resources in the comments. I’d love to add your suggestion and keep this group list growing for new moms!
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