The 5 Friends All Moms Need

Every new mom needs a cozy rocking chair, a sturdy stroller, and as many naps as she can get. Another must-have to put on the list? A group of supportive buddies to help you through the tough spots and celebrate the triumphs with you.

The First 12 Months

As a mom of three, I honestly don't think I could have made it through the long nights, never-ending diapers, and countless trips to the pediatrician's office without the pals I've met along the way. Here are the mom friends I couldn't live without -- and why you need them too.

The Role Model

This is the absolute first mom friend you need -- a buddy with some mothering miles under her belt. Her kids are a few years older than yours, so she's the go-to person for questions about teething, getting rid of the pacifier, or finding a reliable sitter. My sister-in-law Janet turned out to be my mommy mentor. A full five years older than me, she was already the mother of three by the time I had my first baby. I looked to her for guidance and reassurance -- and thankfully, she found no question too idiotic: Will the weird infant acne go away on its own? What exactly should an umbilical stump look like? Does a baby have to wear a T-shirt under every outfit? I knew I could call her at 2 a.m. with a screaming infant on my shoulder -- and she would calm me down and promise me that motherhood would get better.

Especially during those first crazy weeks with a newborn, it's nice to look up from your sleep-deprived haze and see a mom who's been through it and survived. Not only does she give you hope -- she's so relaxed and competent -- but she'll praise you, tell you that you're doing fine, and assure you that life will be okay very soon. Someday, you may outgrow the friendship, or it will morph into a relationship of equals. But for now, it's incredibly comforting to have someone strong and wise holding your hand.

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