New mothers swap family for social network sites

Isolated new mums living far away from their family and friends are having to turn to social network sites for baby advice, according to reports

New mothers living a great distance from their family and friends are turning to social network sites such as Mumsnet, to alleviate their distress of the break down in traditional family support networks.

One in three new mums live 40 miles from their immediate family when having their first child and 25 per cent don’t know any other new parents who live nearby, according to new research.

‘Despite the support available online, there is no real substitute for face-to-face interaction with other parents who live near you,’ says Sally Horrox, director of communications at National Childbirth Trust Charity.

‘Many of the mums who took part in this research didn’t know where to go and who to meet up with in their local area in the first months after giving birth. This is incredibly worrying at such a crucial time in people’s lives.’

In order to get face-to-face support, many young mums have turned to Sure Start Children’s Centres, which provide new mums with classes, advice and all the support they need when becoming a mother.

Recently however, the Sure Start Children’s Centre has been threatened with closure, and a recent report carried out by the Daycare Trust and 4Children claimed 250 centres could be shut down this year.

‘When I first joined the Mothers Union I was feeling unsupported and I was home alone with two small children. Making contact with adults again was wonderful and lifted a weight off my shoulders,’ says Tyann Leonard, President of Mothers’ Union Wales.

‘It is absolutely vital that we maintain centres where new mums can meet and share their experience and support. It is wonderful to have internet forums to communicate and find advice but meeting up with others can be a real lifeline.’

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