It takes a village, and that’s why you need to make mommy friends. Like, right now. You can still hang with your girls now that you’re a mom, but you’ll also need a tribe of other parents for friendship, support and more. Check out why making mommy friends should be moved to the top of your must-do list (okay, maybe you can put it behind buying all of those adorable little onesies!).

Three mothers and babies in strollers walking on beach

1. They understand you. Christa Terry, co-founder of the online mom-meet-mom community Hello Mamas, says, “You’re sleep deprived. If you’re breastfeeding, you are solely responsible for keeping a new human being alive. You may have had a traumatic delivery or be questioning your life choices in the context of your new role. It’s an amazing and terrifying experience like no other!” She goes on to add, “While anyone who cares about you will do their best to support you, only other moms understand the depth of what you’re experiencing — both the highs and the lows — because they’ve been there. Mom friends just get it… the exhaustion, the love, the amazement, the confusion, everything.”

2. The books don’t tell you everything. You’ve read every parenting book and blog out there, and you’re 100 percent sure that you’re clued in on everything that being a mommy means. Or at least 93 percent sure. Your mommy friends will give you the inside scoop on this whole baby thing. They’ll tell you what it’s really like to breastfeed, when the best times to nap are (we’re talking a mom nap, not a baby nap) and give you the inside track on the best mommy and me classes in your area.

3. They’ll give you the truth and nothing but the truth. Your mommy friends won’t candy-coat anything. While your non-mom friends wistfully look at your growing baby bump, smile and serenely say, “Pregnancy is the most beautiful time of a woman’s life. You must feel so magical! So empowered! So perfect,” your mommy tribe will agree that it’s not all rainbows, butterflies and unicorns frolicking in a bed of glitter.

Mothers nursing babies

4. You need empathy, in a really real way. “Aw, I feel so bad for you. Those sleepless nights must suck,” said the childless friend who still gets to sleep in until noon on the weekends. Not much of a mood-booster. Never fear, your mommy friends are here. Terry notes, “When it comes to emotional support, empathy beats sympathy. Someone who has been in your shoes will instinctively know how best to help you — they’ll offer to hold the baby because they know you need a break. And mom friends know because once upon a time they needed that break more than anything.” They’re here to give you that all-knowing look of empathy that you need right now. They’ll tell you their war stories and let you know how they made it through to see the other side.

5. Sometimes the sitter quits (or at least, doesn’t show up). You’ve been waiting all week for date night. You actually waxed, you might have even put on mascara and you’re ready for a meal that doesn’t come with a pack of crayons. And then, it happens. The sitter calls to say that her car broke down, she has pink eye, she’s still at her other job or she just can’t make it. What now? Call your mommy friends. At least one of them will feel your pain and offer to take your little one for the evening.

6. You’re in all-baby mode 24/7. Breast pumps, binkies, bottles and baby, baby, baby are the only things on your mind all day every day. While your childless friends might smile politely, nod and listen to your 45-minute story about choosing the “just-right” jog stroller without rolling their eyes more than once, your mommy friends know what’s going on. “New moms can find themselves moving completely into the role of motherhood and may feel like they’re losing part of themselves in the process. The best thing a mom friend can do is listen to figure out what the new mom needs in any given moment,” says Terry. They know that you’re now totally into your own baby immersion program and aren’t likely to talk about anything else for — well, the next 18 years. They get it, and they don’t care if you go on, and on, and on, and on about your new baby.

7. They have all the gear to give. Your BMFF (that’s best mommy friend forever) has a super-stylish stroller, a crazy-cool car seat cover and a closet filled with some of the most adorable newborn clothes you’ve ever seen. And bonus, none of it fits her now-toddler. Ah, the glory of the well-cared-for hand me down. The gear is top notch, and it’s yours — for free!

How do you help your mommy friends out? Share your ideas and tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)