One new tradition we are starting with our kids is sending Letters to Santa. This is actually one tradition I did not do as a child. I don’t actually ever remember believing in Santa Claus, I think I always assumed my mom bought the gifts and we just got an extra one from Santa sometimes. Kinda takes the fun out of some of it I guess.
Finding mom friends or a tribe of women to connect with is essential for surviving the chaotic early years with kids. To make true mom friends that you can call on during the tough days of motherhood, follow a few essential steps.
I was the new girl in town, with a baby on the way. No friends nearby to call on for support.
Baby number one would be arriving in just a couple of months and the hairdresser assured me that once you have kids it’s so much easier to meet people and make friends.
You go to mommy groups, join the PTA and then life-long friendships develop. She reassured me it would come when kids arrive.
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But I was worried. As a shy mom, opening up to people requires trust…and time. We also weren’t so new to the area, having lived there for over a year and I didn’t know any other expectant moms or married couples growing a family. The coworkers I had befriended were in another stage of life or more like acquaintances at the time.
So her words brought excitement — I couldn’t wait to form real connections with other new moms like me.
The Reality of Making Mom Friends When You Have Small Children
Fast-forward 5 years later with three little boys of my own. I see how making mom friends actually doesn’t always happen easily. Because when you are an overwhelmed mom to small children there are a whole slew of new obstacles that emerge.
And for many moms, it makes forming connections and keeping in touch far too difficult.
Where I met my first mom friends
My first few months with a new baby were filled with all the typical ways new moms try to meet other moms:
- I joined a new mother’s group (despite fears of driving an hour away with a newborn)
- I enrolled in a baby yoga class
- I attended baby music classes
- I signed my little one up for a gym class
- I even pulled myself out of bed early mornings to get myself into the p
ool for baby swim classes
I had ample opportunities to meet other moms and form connections.
Read more: Mommy and New Baby Summer Activities
And at first, I did. I was polite, smiled at other moms, made conversation, admired their little ones and even exchanged emails with a few to set up playdates.
Why some mom friends won’t last
But sadly, almost all of those friendships never flourished for one reason or another.
- The relationship wasn’t nurtured early on.
- People flaked out, couldn’t make schedules work, got busy.
- The relationship didn’t go deeper than small talk.
- Or some – get this – just didn’t seem to want their kid around my kid.
All sorts of reasons tend to come up when you’re tied to a little one’s schedule and going through the ups and downs of new motherhood.
But silver lining of not making friends within your mommy circles the first time around, is that you get a do-over if you have more children. Yes, even if you failed to hit it off during round one, round two is another fresh start you get. Similar to being that newbie in town.
With another child, you get to learn from what worked and what didn’t and make changes accordingly.
How to find your true mom friends
Build a connection early on
The key to finding long-lasting mom friends is to seek out moms who you build a connection with. Sometimes it doesn’t always happen instantly. Sometimes it does.
To know if things “click” just be yourself. Talk to her like you would talk to a dear friend. If she seems engaged and genuinely interested in listening to what you are saying than that’s a great start. You want someone to just get you and what you are going through, not someone who you put up a facade around for fear of being judged.
Follow-up shortly after
Another equally important step in the friendship process is to keep that connection alive by following-up shortly after meeting.
Oftentimes we hit it off with people, but then wait too long to reconnect. By the time we do, that same spark is not there or is quickly dying.
Nurturing a relationship keeps you on someone’s radar so they don’t forget who you are.
Make it work
While life can get crazy and you are probably working around baby’s schedule to manage your time, make an effort. Yes, you might be late a few times or have to cancel here and there. But don’t make it a habit.
If you keep flaking out it sends a message of not wanting to grow that friendship.
The great thing about having a mom friend with the same age kids is that she totally gets it.
Show her you value that friendship by making it work.
The small talk will only get you so far. Sometimes you have to show more emotion and depth to find the right mom friends for you.
So while complimenting her baby’s outfit is nice, make sure you go deeper and cover the things that will give you more insight into her life and personality.
Choose moms with similar interest
While at first it may seem that everyone with a new baby has similar interests: get some sleep and calm a fussy baby, try to connect with moms that share a similar interest with you. That doesn’t mean to simply befriend moms who look and think like you, in fact having a more diverse group of friends is one of the best things you can look for. But try to look for moms with similar values or approaches to parenting, whether that be supporting breastfeeding moms (even if she doesn’t breastfeed), positive parenting or simply a mom that doesn’t instantly judge you or freak out if your kid won’t share with hers.
Where to look as you build a mom tribe
As I mentioned above, you can find your mom tribe (or group of supportive mom friends) in a plethora of places you take your kids to play and learn like yoga classes, music classes and mother’s groups.
But if you are looking beyond that here are some good options:
If you go to church frequently and it is a part of your life, that is a wonderful place to seek out mom groups. You may not be at a point where you actually attend church regularly, but oftentimes they can direct you to weekly or monthly mommy playdates for parents in the same boat.
Wherever you give birth, there is likely to be a new mom’s group. Check with your hospital or pediatrician to get a list of local groups to meet moms. You can even get hyperlocal and find groups that share specific interests or struggles like La Leche League for breastfeeding moms or moms of preemies and multiples. Ask you doctor if you need a specific group.
Just like the baby classes you attend because they may interest baby, seek out classes that interest YOU. For example, if you are an avid reader or film enthusiasts look for kid-friendly groups in that niche, like book clubs or movie screenings for families. While you might not always get to talk about a book and watch the whole movie, you will get to chat with other moms who have very similar interests, which again is key to building enduring friendships.
MOPS is an organization for moms of preschoolers through kindergarten who plan playdates and monthly events. Every town has their own division.
I actually had no clue this group existed before I stumbled upon it in my research.
Talk about an awesome way to build connections locally!
This is one of easiest and most convenient ways to find a mom tribe online or virtual support from moms facing similar struggles.
You can do a quick Google search with the [Insert activity here] + mommy group + your town or go straight to the the mother of groups, Facebook for a local tribe. There you can just search for “[Insert name of town] Moms“. Trust me you’ll have plenty of options.
Need a general tribe of supportive moms facing a particular issue? Type it and choose the best fit.
NOTE: We have a NEW intimate tribe for breastfeeding mothers to get support and answers as well as another recently started for moms of babies and toddlers looking to survive the craziness – would love to have you and see what has worked for you!
While many of these won’t be local groups, they do consist of hundreds or even thousands of supportive moms that can help answer questions and share tips virtually. Sometimes that is just what we need as we try to survive this early motherhood journey.
More on Motherhood…
Inside: When it’s baby’s first winter it’s important to take necessary precautions to ensure a safe and healthy baby. Get tips to prepare your baby and prevent serious illnesses like RSV that comes with the change of seasons.
This post was sponsored as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Tips for Surviving Baby’s First Winter
Protecting against sickness and germs
When it comes to getting baby ready for winter, one of the biggest concerns parents have is protecting their child from all the germs and illnesses that tend to be signature of this time of year.
Cold and flu viruses are in full swing. And babies under the age of two are still building up their immunities to fight off these infections. So getting a little cold can turn into a BIG deal.
In fact, if your child hasn’t been affected yet, you’ll soon discover a friend or family member who has been. Because the rate of infection is high for the common cold; and it can pose serious health issues like respiratory syncytial or RSV for premature babies.
What is RSV?
Although it is common, RSV is also a very contagious seasonal virus that affects approximately 100% of babies by the age of two. It runs rampant from November through March.
If you have kids, you will notice that it’s almost impossible to keep them from avoiding the common cold. Kids touch things, often dirty things, and can spread germs quite easily. So it’s no surprise virtually all will contract a form of RSV. Usually it’s a mild respiratory infection that presents itself as the cold or flu. However, for premature babies or babies more susceptible to infection the virus can develop into a much more serious infection.
Top symptoms include coughing, incessant wheezing, fast and troubled breathing, lethargy, and even a bluish color or high fever (for infants under the age of 3 months fever over 100.4 is serious).
Trust me, no parent wants to see their baby get to this level especially since there are no current treatment options available for the virus. Once it’s contracted you just have to let it take it’s course.
That’s why prevention is of utmost importance.
Last winter, my youngest was breathing heavily and wheezing a bit so I took him to the doctor for what I thought would just be a routine checkup for a cough. To my surprise, I was told to head over to the ER where they could better monitor his breathing with a nebulizer, because he was suffering from RSV.
It was so heart-wrenching to hear him struggle to breath each night, I had to monitor him closely for several weeks.
Tips for preventing RSV
To prevent your babies from getting RSV here are some recommended tips:
- Ask guests to wash their hands when interacting with baby
- Wash sheets, blankets and toys frequently
- Keep baby away from people who are sick and away from large crowds
If you believe your child is at high-risk for RSV due to being born premature or suffering from other illnesses that could exacerbate the situation, check with you pediatrician early. Because prevention is KEY.
Learn more about preventing RSV HERE.
Below I’ve highlighted some additional ways parents can survive the winter with a baby in the house once health is covered!
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As I mentioned, preventing sicknesses (such as severe RSV) and keeping baby healthy is the goal. But when baby does get sick, having a few essentials handy can help you get through a little quicker.
Prepare a “winter ready” basket in baby’s room so you know exactly where to look when baby does come down with something. Your basket should include things to clear nasal passages, like a baby aspirator, saline drops and even some baby-safe vapor rub. I’ve used this one for my kids and also always had a warm-mist humidifier ready to go when they came down with croups cough. Trust me, you need to have things in house when the time comes because running to the nearest convenience store isn’t very convenient when you have a sick kid!
Staying warm outdoors
After a healthy baby, the first thing that tends to come to mind when preparing for winter is the obvious cold weather that starts November through March. We want our little bundles of joy to be cozy and warm, whether out for a quick errand or during longer outdoor play times.
To ensure baby is properly dressed for comfort, think in terms of layers. My pediatrician would always recommend we dress baby in one more layer then what I was wearing.
But you can modify that as needed for the specific day. For example, if it’s windy or snowing outdoors make sure baby has a warm coat on, cover over his head and mittens if needed.
I remember countless times as a new mom, forgetting to cover baby’s little head or using a coat with hood that seemed sufficient at first…but wouldn’t stay put. Using a knit hat or cap under the hood is a MUCH better and sanity-saving solution.
Staying warm in the crib
When it’s cold indoors at bedtime, it’s important to find a safe way to keep baby warm in the crib. For babies one and under, blankets are not typically recommended due to the risk of suffocation. If you’ve ever had that heart-dropping feeling when finding a blanket over your baby’s face, you’ll know to play it safe.
Some better alternatives I’ve found with my children include:
Fleece one-piece pajamas
Dressing in layers
Turning the heat up
Staying warm in the car
This is another major issue first-time parents face come winter: how to keep their baby warm in the car without jeopardizing their safety. Most of us transfer baby from house to car in a winter coat, but when we buckle them in that same coat, we put baby at risk because a puffy jacket under a car seat buckle can interfere with harness effectiveness. The best alternative to this is transferring baby with a blanket or simply removing the coat once in the car. You can learn more about that here.
Addressing skin concerns
Parents may also want to keep an eye on baby’s delicate skin during the harsh winter weather. My kids were always prone to eczema and dry skin during the winter months. This was especially true if they were bathed frequently. Moisturizing their sensitive skin with all natural baby lotions and creams was essential to provide more softness and supple texture. This has been my go-to baby ointment for years!
Remember, as you prepare for the normal things like keeping your baby warm and protecting their delicate skin during the cold winter months, make it a priority to prevent RSV and protect those little lungs.
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Finding the perfect Halloween costume when you’re pregnant can be quite the endeavor, depending on how far along you are. Early on in pregnancy you don’t always want to spill the beans too soon; and then when you are pushing 8-9 months it can be quite the challenge to fit into anything. This is where a little creativity goes a long way!
Today, I’m sharing some of the best and most creative Halloween costumes mom-to-be can rock, regardless of the trimester!
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Costume Ideas for the First Trimester
Celebrating Halloween while in your first trimester of pregnancy can be tricky. You’re newly pregnant and going through some of the toughest moments but your baby bump isn’t quite that noticeable. Some women may want to shout in from the rooftops, while others may want to wait a bit before sharing the news with the whole world.
In my experience, most women don’t want to announce their pregnancy until they know for sure it is a viable pregnancy and everything is looking good in terms of of pregnancy progression and development. This usually is around the third or fourth month.
So if you’re belly hasn’t quite “popped” yet, and you are ready to share the news in a fun and clever way, the easiest route to make it obvious is to go with Halloween pregnancy t-shirts. They ensure no one is questioning whether that’s a beer belly or a baby bump! Check out some of my favorite ideas:
If you’re feeling a little extra creative and want to add a few accessories to those t-shirts to really customize your look, here are some additional ideas:
- Get the Thing 1, Thing 2 t-shirt and add a blue wig tutu and accessories.
- Go as a team: your partner can dress the technician role, while mom-to-be dresses the part with this X-Ray Skeleton mom and baby t-shirt.
- Keep it simple with the Bun in the Oven t-shirt that says it all.
- Go the classic route with this adorable Pumpkin Pregnancy T-Shirt – you can add a little accessory to dress it up too.
- Tell the world who’s a mommy-to-be with this cute Mummy to Be T-Shirt.
Costume Ideas for the Second & Third Trimester
Once you’re belly has officially “popped” and there’s no question about it, work that bump into your costume any way you choose.
These creative DIY costumes will keep all eyes on that bump!
Grab some pompoms and make yourself into a Gum Ball Machine!
Layer a few pieces and add accessories to create this adorable Monster’s Inc bump.
Superhero fan (who’s not?!)? Show everyone the awesome Wonder Woman you are with this adorable WonderBaby costume!
Have your partner join you with a bowling ball theme, ball and pin costume.
Looking to keep it creative, yet still easy enough to do?
- Wear black and make that bump into a Magic 8 Ball.
- Grab some paper and show off you’re a Mummy-to-be.
- Grab a green t-shirt and turn it into your favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle!
Enjoyed this post? Share it with an expectant mom by pinning this image:
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It’s easy to become overwhelmed those first few weeks as a new mom taking care of baby’s every need. To keep track of diaper changes, baby’s mood, and feedings (especially as a breastfeeding mom), this simple tool will help banish mom brain and help you keep it together!
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The blur of the first few days with a new baby were sprinkled with sleep exhaustion and pain meds. Nurses waking me up every 2-4 hours to check vitals, administer medication and bring baby back and forth to the nursery.
I drifted in and out of sleep, wondering how I was going to survive those first few weeks once alone at home without the assistance of the hospital staff.
Groggy and slow to move, I pressed the bed remote so I could sit up and adjust the pillows behind me. My wounds were fresh and the healing process would take time. But the moment the nurse wheeled in my new baby, the endorphins kicked in. Nothing mattered, except the new creature beside me.
Motherhood at it’s best.
I read back baby’s id numbers to the nurse and then came the questions – simple questions – but it took a minute for me to catch on. My brain had so much to process. There was a lot on my mind with a new baby entering the world.
When Mommy Brain Kicks In
If you feel like the pregnancy-brain you experienced over the past 9 months hasn’t disappeared, you’re not alone. Many experts argue that the upheaval of hormones after birth and sleep-deprivation contribute to the forgetfulness that often accompanies the early years of motherhood. Then it’s just called mom brain.
After being sent home, new moms have a very big learning curve of taking care of a newborn and providing for their every need: alleviate baby’s incessant cries, feed baby around the clock, change baby often, keep baby safe and alive. It tends to deplete your brain cells sometimes.
And boy was I feeling that pretty early on in motherhood.
How to Keep Track of Baby’s Feedings
I remember the nurse placing a sheet of paper on my tray so I could log all baby’s diapers and feeding intervals.
Start time. End time. Which breast I nursed on last. Stool counts. Increasing diapers each day.
Ensuring baby was meeting daily wet and soiled diaper goals was a good indicator of how much food he was taking in. Diaper counts and body weight are a few things that the hospital team uses to determine if baby is getting enough milk and taking in vital nutrients so he could work on getting back to that birth weight.
Although filling in the info was something I didn’t always think was important, it helped tremendously to avoid that new mom overwhelm or “mommy brain” that happens to many of us.
In fact, I didn’t realize how much keeping a track like this could be my sanity saver!
Benefits of a Baby Log or Journal
Jotting down diaper counts or the total number of ounces baby consumes each day is a great way to free up space in your mind to ease the mental overload that happens when you keep everything in your head. Once you get things out of your head and onto paper, you can focus on more important things like, skin-to-skin contact and bonding with baby.
Another huge benefit of tracking baby’s feedings, is that it makes patient-to-doctor communication much easier. You’ll be meeting with pediatricians quite often for the first couple of months. When examining baby, they’ll be sure to ask how much baby is eating and pooping. It’ll make life a lot easier, if you can quickly refer to your notes to make sure you have all the details correct.
I remember vividly, how my conversations with the doctor would go.
How much is he eating a day?
Um I think…well it feels like he’s nursing all day…but I guess…
On average every two hours? Every three?
Yeah. I think so.
How many diapers? What color?
Hmm. Like every couple hours, I think.
Yes, mommy brain striking hard!
Let’s just say I would have helped me answer a bit more confidently if I kept better track early on!
These little details will give the doctor a better idea of how often baby is feeding, if he is getting enough milk and whether or not he needs to be examined for any ailments or deficiencies.
Trust me, you don’t want to be running any unnecessary tests on your precious newborn!
The Simple Breastfeeding Tracker Tool
After my first few mishaps as a first-time mom, I knew I needed to create something similar to what I was given in that hospital stay. Something simple enough for moms to reference on a daily basis, that they could easily access to record quick baby notes like what time baby fed at, which breast baby last nursed on and whether baby was fussy or happy after a feeding.
This breastfeeding tracker was the simple answer. It’s a one-sheeter that mom can hang in the nursery or bedroom and quickly use to record everything about baby’s feeding without having to rummage through notebooks or navigate to a specific app, wait for it to load, and search for the appropriate notes area.
This simple solution will lead to a less overwhelmed mom and a little more organization.
And then of course, you can start bidding adieu to mommy brain a little more each day!!