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Mothers' groups keep on top with Facebook

By Julia Powell

Aucklander Jo Chalkey gets social interaction and advice from other mothers about baby Emma's progress. Photo / Supplied
Aucklander Jo Chalkey gets social interaction and advice from other mothers about baby Emma's progress. Photo / Supplied

Giving birth has turned some first-time mothers into Facebook fanatics as they turn to the social media website for support.

A United States study of 304 parents has found that 44 per cent of mothers increased their use of Facebook after they gave birth.

Mums on Top is a New Zealand Facebook group that reaches 600,000 Kiwis. Co-organiser Kylie Power says "Facebook provides a link to other mums, particularly for the rural mothers who find themselves isolated",

Jo Chalkey, mother to 9-month-old Emma, says her Facebook usage has increased hugely.

Previously a quick daily check was enough for the now stay-at-home mum."I find it so handy just keeping in touch with everybody throughout the day especially because I am quite a social person, and my daughter doesn't talk to me yet."

Smartphones with high data limits make it easy to stay connected on Facebook, Ms Chalkey says.

Her coffee group all have Facebook on their mobiles, making it easy to compare their recent 9-month Plunket visits and seek advice on such matters as formulas and teething sprays.

Most of her family live in South Africa, so Facebook is an easy way to show them Emma's progress. "Emma has just started crawling, so my sister asked me to post a video."

Chantal Pennington also finds it useful for her friends and family in Australia to see daughter Mikayla grow, as frequent travel is expensive.

Mums on Top provides a platform for mothers to express thoughts and encourages discussion about issues from depression to immunisation to planning birthday parties.

One mother returning to work narrowed down her choice of daycare to three, without having visited any, purely from the recommendations of fellow mothers on Facebook.

Another, concerned with her 13- year-old son wanting his own Facebook profile, posted online her concerns and asked for tips on the appropriate age and privacy settings.

Alex Larsen, 22, finds Facebook useful to connect and communicate with other first-time mothers. She researches questions on Google and checks with other Facebooking mothers.

- NZ Herald

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