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Our Favourite Ways to Develop a New Parents Network

When you think about adding a new member to your family, the last thing you think about is being lonely


But when the first few weeks are over and one parent returns to work, the days can become long with only your little one to speak to.

Yes, you'll be enamored with the little miracle you've brought home with you, but a lack of contact with other adults will get to you eventually and you'll wish you had a network of other parents to call upon for advice, comfort and companionship.

While your friends will be happy to listen to your stories and gushing about how Billy wiggled his toes today, it's not the same as having a group of other parents that are going through similar things at the same time. Not only will they have advice to trade, but they'll also be able to help out with the odd hour of babysitting, or even provide your child with a ready-made group of friends before school starts in a few years, or just chill out over a cup of morning coffee, decaf of course!

Help and support for new parents

We know that making new friends can be a daunting process, but there are a lot of different options out there if you are looking to increase the size of your parent network. We've decided to let you in on a few of our favourite ways to start and expand your circle of friends.

Antenatal classes

Antenatal classes are a good place to meet other parents who are at the same stage of their baby experience as you. Take advantage of this ready introduction and move those relationships outside of classes whenever possible. Having a few cups of green tea outside of class and getting to know the mums and dads on a deeper level is a good use of your new connections. You can also find local events through the National Childbirth Trust. If you are a dad looking for a class, we've recently discovered the great groups run by Daddy Natal!

Online communities

Finding other people in a similar situation to you has never been easier. The Web has brought all of us closer together. Whether you are looking for advice, or to meet mums and dads who are local to you, there are websites to consult.

Most social networking sites have groups or communities of people who are discussing the trials and tribulations as well as the joys of parenting.

We even have our own, where we look at everything to consider when you are a working parent.

If you just want to feel like you're not alone, there are millions of bloggers out there. Tots100.co.uk has devised a list of 100 top parent bloggers if you need somewhere to start. Some people even find that becoming a blogger and becoming a parent go hand in hand, who knows, maybe you'll create your own online community!

If you want to find people to meet up with in your area, there are a few sites to try. Some of them are better than others for having a widespread reach of locations, but they are definitely a place to look! Try the networking and meet up functions on Netmums, Mums Meet Up and even Take A Break.

Reading mornings

Many local libraries will have activity sessions for under 5's on a regular basis. Check with your local council and see what's on in your local area; from music mornings to storytelling these activities encourage participation and they're a great time to encourage your youngster to start borrowing new books for story time at home!

Cinema mornings

If you like the movies and find you're not getting a chance to see the new releases now that you have a little one in tow, why not try a movie morning at the cinema? These screenings are made for mums and dads and you don't need to worry about your child being the only one making noise!

Different cinemas have different options, but check out the details for your local cinema. To make the networking happen, you might need to be a little more extroverted and speak to other parents before or after the film, but you already have a common interest!

For a head start, here's some of the bigger cinemas and what they have on offer: Odeon offers special screenings, while Cineworld are happy to welcome Babes in arms to morning and afternoon screenings of films with a U, P or 12A rating.

Ask the question

Building Parent Networks

Asking neighbours, other mums in your neighbourhood or your health visitor is another way to find out who else is a new parent in your area.

Don't be shy, ask questions and get yourself out there! Being shy isn't going to help you network!

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