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  • Hang On to Your BFFs, Moms! Science Says Your Friendships Are Good for Your Baby's Brain

    Having a support group can do wonders on your child’s cognitive skills.
    by Kitty Elicay .
Hang On to Your BFFs, Moms! Science Says Your Friendships Are Good for Your Baby's Brain
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Many new moms quickly discover that once their baby arrives, their life is inevitably put on hold. Their newborns need them 24/7 and though they can get a few moments of relief with the help of their partners or yaya, a lot of their time is still spent caring for their little one. (Of course, we doubt the moms would have it any other way.)

    With so little time to spend on themselves, even their friendships need to take a backseat. But before you cancel that date with your BFF, read this first: According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, having a circle of friends is beneficial for baby’s brain development

    Researchers studied 1,082 mother-child pairs in the U.S. and questioned them about their family structure, friendships, and relationships in their communities. They also studied their toddler’s cognitive assessments which were done when the kids were 2 years old.

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    They found that those who have a supportive group of friends — around three to four people outside their family whom they can rely on for help — also have toddlers who do better in cognitive tests. When moms have more people whom they could turn to for support, their toddler’s cognitive test scores would change and even go higher.

    “Outside the family context, mothers with larger social networks may be able to draw on resources from those networks that alleviate some of the burdens associated with parenting,” Kaja LeWinn, a psychiatry researcher at the University of California in San Francisco and one of the study’s authors, told Reuters.

    That includes emotional support and tangible support, says LeWinn. When moms have friends who can help them babysit, do errands, or even just inform them of nearby daycare options and schools, it might “reduce parenting stress and improve maternal health, both of which are positively associated with child cognitive development,” adds LeWinn.

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    Where moms can find support

    It’s true that motherhood can take a toll on mom’s well-being. It’s why SmartParenting.com.ph encourages moms to remember to take time for self-care. We also try and provide an avenue for moms to share their innermost thoughts — anonymously if need be — through #SPConfessions and Mom Unfiltered.

    If you think that you need to widen your social network, there are other avenues you can explore:

    1. Join an online group.

    The beauty of social media is it’s provided a platform where moms can connect and motivate each other virtually. There are various groups, from breastfeeding to parenting, where you can ask for recommendations or just share your daily learnings as you navigate motherhood. Don’t know where to go? Start with our Facebook group Smart Parenting Village where we strive to be a comfort zone of parents — and a community free of judgment.

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    2. Attend meet-ups and workshops.

    Some online groups would often hold meet-ups, seminars, or workshops where parents can gather and spend the day with each other. It’s a great place to network and make new friends! Watch out for our Smart Parenting baby showers and even our Smart Parenting Convention — not only will you get insights on parenting, but you’ll also be able to meet other moms and shop for your little one’s needs. Win-win!

    3. Pursue your interests.

    It doesn’t have to be a parenting workshop. You can also find new activities based on your passions! You may just find a like-minded individual when you make an effort to get out of the house.

    When mom is happy, the baby can feel it, too. So, find your support system and let them cheer you on!

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