I'm just back from 12 weeks of maternity leave, and there's no doubt this bouncing baby boy has totally changed my world. So have all the other mothers that I've met via social media.
While I've often recommended to clients that they should get their brands in front of mom bloggers, online parenting communities, and mom-heavy social networks, I really hadn't totally understood the influence that these moms wield until becoming a mother myself.
Forget the hard-copy tomes from the “what to expect” series, or Drs. Spock, and Sears. Nowadays, new moms like me are getting instant gratification for our myriad new mom questions via Facebook, BabyCenter, Pinterest, mom blogs, and parenting apps that we've downloaded to our iPhones.
Case in point: a photo that I posted on Facebook of my baby with a pacifier in his mouth resulted in an informative discussion about infant self-soothing:
- Mom of 14-month-old: “I see he uses the Soothie pacifier. Check out a Wubba-nub. They're awesome…my son won't leave the house without his!
- Mom of five-year-old: “Glad you're using an Avent Soothie…it's what the hospital gave us in the hospital for our preemie.”
- Mom of two- and four-year-old: “Isn't he too young to be using a pacifier at only two-weeks-old?” (Ummmm, no. It makes him stop crying. That's the point).
How about when I was completely stir-crazy and looking for suggestions to do during maternity leave? Here's a list of 12 activities for you and your new baby, courtesy of AlphaMom.
- How to lose your baby weight? Thank you, iVillage.
- Baby feeding, sleeping, and diaper calculator? There's an app for that.
- Nursery decorating ideas? Hundreds of ideabooks live on Houzz.
- Stroller-friendly exercise options for subzero winter days? Minnesota moms have been tackling that for years.
And while some folks argue that social media is actually making us less social, there's something very reassuring during the first few bewildered weeks in having all these online moms to talk about the good, the bad, and the poopy. UrbanBaby lights up at night as newborns across the country get fed at 1 am, then 2:34 am, and again at 3:31 and 4:45.
Centuries of women have relied on their social communities to help raise their babies. My village just happens to be online.
Emily Buchanan is senior principal at Carmichael Lynch Spong.