Moms-to-be everywhere can rejoice, they're no longer alone. When they’re up late at night and can’t sleep because the baby won’t push pause on their karate kicks, they can connect with women in the same situation halfway around the world.
When heartburn gets the best of them or they can’t keep anything down, but they’re too afraid to take medication for the nausea, others who’ve been in their shoes can recommend alternatives and reassure them.
It’s a beautiful thing to have other people to share life’s milestones with. No one ever understands what we are going through better than someone else who is going through the same thing. When it’s time to make important choices for the little ones that we will give birth to, moms-to-be are sometimes anxious and unsure of where to turn. Can they trust their doctor? Is their way the only way?
Enter, Facebook groups. In the technological age, this is exactly how many parents are being introduced to the world of pregnancy and parenting choices. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s remember that Facebook isn’t a replacement for medical advice. That being said, it is the perfect place to make like-minded friends, share research and learn from others.
One day, after having done some legwork and researching their own decisions, those moms and dads who were once the newbies that needed advice find themselves being the experts who pass that same advice onward. It’s the cycle of life in a Facebook group.
Expectant parents who are looking for advice on anything from chemicals in diapers to baby led weaning now need look no further than their iPad. While browsing and liking on Facebook, check out these groups that have been real lifesavers for thousands upon thousands of parents.
15 Natural Birth Support Group
One of the largest birth groups on Facebook, this spot earns that title for good reason. As a forewarning, this is a female-only group due to the sensitive nature of the topics that are discussed there. Moms who are looking to experience a natural birth can learn practically all they need to know about it just by chatting with other pregos in this group! Talk about an easy way to educate oneself.
Per the guidelines laid out in the group, the view of a natural birth is a vaginal birth that uses no pain medication. Mothers who are shooting for an unmedicated birth can connect with others here who’ve already done it. They can brief moms on the real ins and outs of childbirth and what it’s going to feel like.
Mothers-to-be can learn about everything from Hypnobabies and midwives to why they should refuse cervical checks and the risks of using epidurals and IV medications.
The group also boasts one special feature: many midwives and doulas are members of this group and readily sharing their expert advice all the time. Does it get any better than that? While the Natural Birth Support Group admins acknowledge all women deserve this kind of group, this one is strictly for natural birth seekers, and it’s growing every single day.
14 Natural Parenting 101
As a disclaimer, I might be a little biased because I help to run this group, too. It started as a spinoff of the natural birth group and grew — rapidly. There is a steady influx of 20 to 30 members daily. This group aims to educate and adheres to one rule: research. Parents who enter it will find much of that being discussed. Thousands of members contribute to this group to keep the posts flowing daily.
For the parent that is interested in what they should keep on hand to treat common illnesses and ailments instead of mainstream medications like acetaminophen, this is the group for them. If they need to make a decision regarding circumcision or vaccines, they’ll find help with that here.
Looking for advice on how to filter fluoride from your water supply or why you might want to consider doing such? You’ll find that here, too. It’s a one-stop all-things-parenting group that will help you along the journey to becoming a more health-conscious parent. Natural Parenting 101 is open to both moms and dads!
13 MTHFR Kids
The majority of people who are expecting have no idea whether or not they are MTHFR positive. Most have never even heard of this terminology. MTHFR stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. It affects up to 60 percent of the population. More than that, it is a total game-changer.
If you’re positive for this single nucleotide polymorphism, it immediately dictates what you should — and shouldn’t — be eating, as well as supplements you need to take and interventions you need to avoid, like exposure to heavy metals and synthetic hormones.
MTHFR is hereditary. If Mom and/or Dad have it, baby could, too. If Mom or Dad have two copies of the SNP, it is unavoidable that baby will. In light of such revelation, parents need to go into pregnancy informed, because MTHFR is significantly linked to miscarriage. It is also a risk factor for injury following the Vitamin K injection, and increases the risk of blood clots in those affected.
Besides these things, MTHFR is tightly linked to midline defects and illnesses. Some of these include: cleft palate/lip, tongue and lip ties, sacral dimples, sugar bug vein presentation, spina bifida, hypospadias, autism, ADHD, mental health disorders, infertility, PCOS, and much more.
Parents can screen for this SNP via testing through their doctor or third party companies like 23andMe. If you are affected by MTHFR and need more information, joining MTHFR Kids is a great next step.
12 Fluff Love & CD Science
Off the bat, most parents wouldn’t think to look for this group. Most wouldn’t even know what it means. Cloth diapers, folks! Welcome to the world of fluff! Obviously, the inspiration comes from the floofy bottoms of cloth diapered babies. Is there anything cuter?
Once you open yourself up to the world of chemicals and endocrine disruptors that are in disposable diapers, it can be difficult to go back to them.
For couples who are exploring ways to save money when having a baby, diapers is a huge cost factor. Cloth diapers can help you save tremendously. Disposable diapers can cost an average of $1400 over 2.5 years, while a supply of cloth diapers for that time period may cost as little as $300.
Of course, how do you begin? Where can you go to find out how to buy cloth diapers, which kinds are the best, how many you’ll need, and how to care for them? Fluff Love & CD Science is the group to call on for all things cloth. Whether you’re totally new to it, just exploring options, or dead set on cloth diapering your fourteenth baby, this is the group, moms and dads.
11 Homebirth And Waterbirth
In a world where 353,000 babies are born every day, it stands to reason that every single one won’t be born the same way. Pregnancy makes different impressions upon different women from the very start. For some of those women, they will know even before conceiving that they want to birth a particular way in a particular place.
Often, that way is in the water and that place is in the comfort of their own home. But wait, you’ve never done this before. What if you can’t handle the pain? Is it really safer than a hospital birth? Well, if you’re looking for the statistics to support home birth and water birth, what better place than the Homebirth and Waterbirth group to get you there.
In this group, you won’t just learn that water is soothing to the pain of contractions and that interventions are needed less for home births. You’ll also learn about what supplies you’ll need to do it. The fabulous members of this group can point you to midwives that are local to you and help you connect with doulas and other forms of labor support.
10 Postpartum Support International
This is a group that 10 to 15 percent of moms may need to check into after the baby comes. Roughly 600,000 American women are living with postpartum depression each year. Others will experience postpartum anxiety, postpartum psychosis, or postpartum onset PMDD, too.
If you find yourself feeling uninterested in the baby or particularly tired, apathetic or depressed in the weeks following the birth of your baby, give it time.
Your body needs time to recover. Unless there is a risk that you will harm yourself or someone else, allow a couple weeks to pass to see if things improve. Up to 80 percent of women experience the baby blues postpartum, and it will pass for those women. The next step is demanding that your doctor test your hormones for imbalance.
If that checks out, it could be a postpartum mood disorder, and when that’s the case — Postpartum Support International is the group to run to.
9 The Informed Mommy
This group is for ladies only and aims to provide a safe place where mommies can discuss the issues that concern them most. Whether it’s removing environmental toxins, choosing a provider for your pregnancy, or weighing the pros and cons of infertility treatments, this group can help.
The name says it all. The Informed Mommy group is about keeping moms abreast of what research dictates is safe and unsafe for our little ones and ourselves. In this group, you might learn how to nurse a baby with a lip tie or find information that educates you on the safest essential oils to use around a new baby.
A day in this group might include discussions such as whether it’s safe to use marijuana during pregnancy, how to discipline children with gentle parenting methods, and what kind of milk is best for little ones who are weaning from the breast. While this group is predominantly anti-vaccine, they are open to helping people on both sides of the fence learn more about why they see vaccines in the light they do.
8 Milky Mommas
Breastfeeding? Here’s your first stop. There are a multitude of breastfeeding groups on Facebook, I know. So, what makes this one the cream of the crop? I’m not sure I can put my finger on that. You might have to try it out for yourself and compare, but as a mom who had some serious struggles nursing my third baby, this group became somewhat of a saving grace.
When my son was born, nursing was immediately painful. This didn’t make much sense to me given I had no issues nursing his brother and sister. It wasn’t until nine weeks, after his doctor initially misdiagnosed the situation, that a pediatric dentist confirmed we were dealing with both a tongue tie and a lip tie.
Around 10 percent of babies are affected by one or both of these conditions. A minor revision and nursing was suddenly improved, but my supply had been hit hard from having to pump those past eight to nine weeks.
I had many hiccups along the way to reach where we are today — 1 year old and still nursing. This was the only group that ever had what I was looking for — people who are awake 24/7 to answer your posts and evidence-based information mixed with experience instead of opinions from moms who didn’t know what to tell me. I hope Milky Mommas will help you, too.
7 Saving Our Sons
Medicine is a marvelous thing. It has changed so much throughout history. Staying on top of developments in research can be empowering and spare families from the heartache of regretting certain decisions they made when they didn’t know any better. This kind of regret often stems from decisions that can’t be undone. Circumcision is one of the them.
Many 'regret parents' have gone on to learn the ins and outs of why circumcision came to be a modern-day practice (a hopeful deterrent to masturbation) and that the foreskin actually has benefits. Most of the time, 'regret parents' are American, given that very few other nations perform circumcision as routinely as the US does.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has even concluded that there are no legitimate reasons to perform medical circumcision routinely on newborns.
For couples who are expecting a baby boy, they can seek help from circumcision research groups in deciding what the best avenue is for them that meets their personal beliefs, as well as accommodates religious practices. Many people are unaware that routine infant circumcision is a cosmetic surgery, not one with a medical need.
Once they find this out, they often want to know more. They can learn more by joining Savings Our Sons.
6 Local Groups
One of the best things a pregnant momma can do for herself is to network with other local moms. Jump on Facebook and start searching for pregnancy groups in your city or greater metropolitan area. Living in a small town and can’t find one? Create one! People will find your group and join it.
Parents who live their lives with specific factors in mind also often find that they want to join groups with others who are local to them and share their points of view. For instance, if you’re digging the idea of encapsulating your placenta and having a water birth, you might want to check for a crunchy moms group local to your region.
These groups are great because they help you make friends and set up playdates before your little one even arrives. In addition, they're a beneficial tools for connecting to other moms who may be able to recommend local services, such as doulas they’ve used during birth, midwives they prefer, and pediatricians who will respect your choices as a parent.
They can also be a great resource for trading maternity clothes and finding babysitters.
5 Gentle Informants
There are a lot of vaccine information groups on Facebook. A lot! Some are a little slanted toward the pro-vaccine point of view. Others are slanted in the anti-vax direction. Gentle Informants is a nice breath of fresh air in between. You won’t be chastised for asking questions in this group on either side of the fence. The members seem to share a common goal to inform and educate without judgement.
This group gets it, parents just want to make decisions they feel comfortable with for their kids. Both sides of this topic can look really scary, and Gentle Informants goes the extra mile to try to provide research and discuss it rather than debate it. They don’t entertain drama and won’t let others gang up on your if you don’t agree with their opinions.
Of all of the groups you could find that are solely dedicated to vaccine research, this is the calmest and easiest to belong to in my opinion.
You’ll find its members are an even mix of people on both sides, as well as some who are still sitting in the middle trying to figure out what they want to do. There’s even room for those who delay and space vaccines. There’s no clear cut wrong way to do it in this group. That’s what makes it perfect for parents who are just starting out in trying to make this important decision.
As a side note, this group is kept secret, so you won’t find it just by searching for it. That’s the trade-off and how they manage to keep it so drama-free. The best way to access it is to join one of its sister groups — Roots to Natural Enlightenment or The Breast Way Intuitive Love — first.
4 Due Date Groups
These are going to vary depending on when you’re due, so I can’t point you right to one. However, I will say that among all the groups I’ve been in during pregnancy, this is the one that really stuck for me. It’s the one I made real-life friends from. It’s the one I still frequent, even though my little one is not a year old. It’s pretty easy to find these groups.
If you’re due this coming November for example, you’ll want to search for November 2017 or Fall 2017 groups. Groups like the Natural Birth Support Group mentioned above are a great resource for finding due date groups, too. Often, you can just post asking if anyone knows of such and they’ll point you in the right direction. This is especially helpful when due date groups are kept secret.
3 Baby Led Weaning For Beginners
It might not be the first thing on most moms’ minds, but those first six to nine months are going to go by faster than any of us like. Then, you’ll find yourself thinking about what foods are best to start feeding your baby and when. The introduction of solid foods should be based not on age, though, but signs of readiness.
When the baby starts showing interest in food, check to see that they’re no longer thrusting their tongue toward food as a result of gag reflux. Are they sitting unassisted? Is the pincer grasp developing? Does baby open wide when offered food and has he or she doubled their birth weight yet?
In addition, are they imitating others at the table during dinnertime? If so, they may be ready to start trying solid foods after they are at least six months old.
Baby led weaning is definitely the most popular trend among feeding styles in the last decade. Having said that, it’s methods have existed for years before the official title came along. If you see moms in other groups referencing BLW, this is what they’re referring to.
This feeding method lets baby decide when it’s time to eat and provides foods that are appropriate for their stage of development, and the Baby Led Weaning For Beginners group can teach you everything you need to know about it.
2 Placenta Encapsulation
This group is huge and it’s very likely that you’ll find someone local to you if you join it. That can be helpful when trying to learn how to encapsulate your own placenta, because they can let you in on regulations of local hospitals and rules you may need to follow. In addition, you can often find doulas and other preparers here that will take charge of the task for you while you recover from birth.
You’ll find many of these professionals are group members who are more than willing to exchange tips with you and support you in your goals whether they are as small as encapsulating your own placenta or as large as becoming a professional encapsulator.
You can also learn other fabulous tricks of the trade in the group, like how to make a placenta print, where to buy supplies, what kind of sanitary process is involved, and how to make sure the hospital doesn’t give you a hard time when you say you’re taking your placenta home with you. Placenta Encapsulation is the premiere group to get all of this knowledge in one place.
1 Babywearing On A Budget
Hold on to your ring slings, mommas! This is most certainly one of the largest groups you’ll ever find on Facebook. Who would’ve thought baby wearing was this big of a deal, right? It’s not just the best place to stop and talk about baby wearing, grab fit checks and flaunt your favorite prints. It’s also the largest baby wearing BST group I have ever seen.
If you’re new to this, BST means Buy, Sell, Trade.
Yes, you can buy wraps, carriers and slings galore right from the comfort of Facebook. You can engage with other members who can tell you how their new wrap products are made, what their wash routines have been for used pieces, and what kind of discounts they’re willing to offer you if you buy more than one product.
Sometimes, it’s a wrap conversion that you just have to have. Other times, it’s an Ergo that you thought was discontinued. Whatever suits your fancy, you just might find it here. There are even mommas who are ready to make custom wraps just for you and your little one. If you’re planning on baby wearing, prepare to be addicted.
Hop on over to Babywearing on a Budget and immerse yourself in all you need to know about bidding, buying and baby wearing.