Feeling lonely? You’re not the only one. Newy with Kids gets loads of emails and messages asking for tips from new mums on how to make friends in Newcastle. It can be a challenge to find new friends when on maternity leave or a stay-at-home mum but here’s eight tips to make mum friends.
1. Get friendly at antenatal classes at hospital or new parent group after birth.
Even before your baby comes, you can make friends in your antenatal classes. While you’re learning about birth, breastfeeding and babies, also scope out the room for new friends. Bonus – you’ll have babies the same age. Ditto for the new parent group organised by Child and Family Health Nursing Centres. (That’s how I met my group of mum friends).
2. Hang out at your local playground
Playground exist for a reason – for you to get out of your messy house, enjoy some fresh air and let your kids play. It’s also a great place to meet local parents. Smile, be friendly and most people will respond in a positive manner.
3. Join your local playgroup
There are tons of local playgroups through the Newcastle region. Go to your local playgroup, many of whom are looking for new members. It’s a win for both you and your kids. Both of you get to get make new friends. Check out the Newy with Kids playgroup guide for a list of local playgroups.
4. Attend baby classes
Want to meet mums with babies, go to a baby class. They’re full of mums escaping the house to do something fun with their kid. Just pick something that you’re interested in like baby swimming classes, mums and bubs yoga or a baby music class.
5. Go to a “baby-friendly session” at the movies
Get out of the house and go to the movies and bring that squirming, gurgling, fidgeting, bawling bundle of joy to meet new friends. Each Wednesday morning, Reading Cinemas at Charlestown Square presents Spit the Dummy sessions for parents and babies. Event Cinemas in Glendale and Kotara offer Bring Your Baby sessions weekly on Mondays at 10:30am, Wednesdays at 12:30pm & Fridays at 10:30am. Make an effort to chat with other mums while you’re there. At least afterwards, you can strike up a conversation about the movie.
6. Visit your local library
All of the local libraries offer special sessions for babies and kids that run over a number of weeks. This gives you an opportunity to see the same mum week after week and develop friendships. Newcastle Region Library offers Baby Book Time. Designed for parents with babies under 12 months, the program uses stories, songs, rhymes and music to develop early literacy skills. The Baby Book Time program is a 4 week program consisting of 30 minute sessions. Lake Macquarie City Library offers a 6 week program called Babies into Books which helps develop your baby’s language and pre-reading skills for parents and babies under one year. Enjoy and learn songs, finger plays and rhymes you can continue to share together at home. If you’re kids are older, there’s sessions for toddlers and preschoolers as well. Newcastle Region Library offer Rock n Rhyme Time (0 – 3 years) and Storytime (3 – 5 years) while Lake Macquarie City Library offer Read and Rhyme Time (1-3 years) and Storytime (3-5 years)
7. Attend a mums meet up group
Get out of the house and go to a mums meet up group. Mums & Bubs organise monthly meetup sessions for mums to connect and make new friends. Invitations are open to all mums and mums-to-be as well as dads and other caregivers to young children. The group’s mantra is ‘We Pay It Forward’ as they donate to local charities and organisations each month. They will soon have three chapters around the Newcastle & Hunter area: Mum & Bubs Maitland organises monthly picnics in Maitland Park. Visit their Facebook group. There’s also Mums & Bubs Pokolbin and Mums & Bubs Newcastle
The Australian Breastfeeding Association also has regular meetings and covers include topics relating to breastfeeding and general parenting as well as social get-togethers. Their meetings are very casual and relaxed and allow mums the opportunity to share their experiences, suggestions, ideas and what’s worked for them. Everyone is welcome to come along regardless of how you feed your baby. They welcome women who are pregnant, have a new baby and toddlers. There’s a few chapters around the region including the Newcastle ABA chapter, Lake Macquarie ABA chapter, Lower Hunter ABA chapter and Upper Hunter ABA chapter.
8. Friend of friends
Ask around and see if any of your friends or family members know of any expecting or new mums. (That’s how our mum’s group adopted Jess into our group). Next time, your friend or family member mention someone they know is pregnant or has a kid the same age as yours, ask for an introduction.
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In 2012, Reena founded Newy with Kids to share information about family-friendly Newcastle. Originally from Canada, she had no idea about what to do with her toddler and after searching unsuccessfully for a family guide, decided to start her own. Since that time, both the toddler and Newy with Kids have grown keeping Reena busy. If you see her out and about, say hi.