New Moms Groups - Advice, anxieties, and anecdotes

Written by: Sarah Cobb

When my daughter was born I was more than a little freaked out.  She was a January baby.  Every season has its challenges from crazy heat to icy snowstorms.  For me, a winter baby seemed like the absolute worst – total isolation!  But now I know better – all new parents feel a bit trapped and clueless – you quickly learn you need to meet other new parents ASAP.  New parent groups are critical to survival.

As I get ready to host a New Moms Group tomorrow, I think back to my own NMG experiences and how all of this got started back in 1980.  If you haven’t experienced NPN NMG’s – here is how it breaks down:

  • ~10 new moms at an NPN member’s house for three weekly get-togethers with babies 2-6 months old
  • 1st week is a bit new and awkward – all you have in common is a new baby who eats, sleeps, snuggles, cries a lot, and spits up a lot in my case!
  • 2nd week, more chit chat, bonding, and some fun new discoveries
  • 3rd week, ready to plan your own playgroup!

1980…

I recently got to speak to one of NPN’s founding members, Nancy Shankerman, who started the first NPN NMG’s at her house!  Nancy recruited brand new moms from Lamaze classes, coffee shops, a parents phone help line, and bulletin board listing , bringing everyone together for the 1st NMG.   Her “baby” just turned 30, and they recently went to her BFF’s wedding – another member of her first NMG! She was tickled pink that the NPN’s NMG’s were still going strong, following the model she created.  Despite all the new products and resources out there for parents, the same questions and anxieties remain – and NMG is still such a fabulous way to navigate those early months as a new mom.

Spring 2007…

I joined a NMG when my daughter was 3 months old. I was very unsure about this group of strangers sitting around a blanket with lots of babies sleeping, nursing, bottle feeding, and completely clueless about where they were.  It started with some birth stories, gripes about partners working too late, and worries about going back to work.  Flash forward 4 years – several of us still meet for playgroup and most of us keep in touch on Facebook. 

Summer 2010…

I hosted my first New Moms Group hoping to help a new set of mommies find their way, just like I did. Conversations went from a timid start to fast and furious with everyone being so excited to meet other new moms going through so many similar situations. 

* Here are just a few of our hot topics:

  • Going back to work – What to do, when to do it, and how to survive – is there a perfect part-time job out there!??! No perfect answers, just a lot of questions and support
  • Dealing with a no-dairy diet while nursing – Sadly, family trips to Dairy Queen are no longer fun
  • Sleep, sleep, and more sleep! – Try this tip from Swellbeing’s Sleep Seminars – when laying your baby down to sleep put her feet down first (not head) to avoid startling the baby awake.  Also check out NPN Upcoming Sleep Seminar.
  • Why are we so anxious about everything? Even once babies start sleeping more, it is so hard for moms to just turn off their brains and go to sleep.  Try no tv before bed, reading (get a book light), sodoku, keep a paper & pen handy to get things written down and off your mind!
  • Getting baby on any kind of schedule- Is there any way to coax your little one to follow a schedule that works for mom AND baby?
  • Need recommendations for babysitters with newborn experience – Parents are ready for a break!
  • To swaddle or not to swaddle? If you baby no longer wants to be swaddled but seems to startle awake, one mom recommended the woombie.

* Everyone was also eager to learn tips to make transitioning to motherhood easier!

* Places to meet other new parents (in addition to the NPN NMG of course!): Prentice and Illinois Masonic New Parents Groups – especially if you are dealing with post partum depression and need help from the experts!  One mom said they have great nurses and therapists on staff ready to help.

As a new mom, finding the support of other new moms is priceless - no matter where you find it!  If you are interested in learning more about an upcoming New Moms Group or want to host one in your home, please email beth@npnparents.org

Posted on May 08, 2011 at 6:18 PM