It's no secret that you'll have a little less time to socialize after you've had a baby — but while you may have to significantly cut down your girls nights out, that so doesn't mean your friendships have to suffer!

We won't lie, maintaining strong friendships can be more challenging after you become a mom. If your friends don't have kids themselves, you may find they're simply on different schedules than you — and you may even discover that your friends who are also moms can be a bit trickier to stay in touch with too, as you'll both just have so much going on at home.

The good news? If you put in a little more effort, get creative, and learn to reevaluate the idea of hanging out with your nearest and dearest, those friendships will remain. And they may even get deeper...because nothing makes you appreciate your tribe more than seeing them love on your little one.

Figuring out the exact art of maintaining friendships post-baby is personal, but these five tips may help you get a great start.

Encourage them to be in your baby's life

Your friends may be hesitant about inviting themselves over or asking to hold your newborn — so don't be offended if they don't seem as interested in meeting your little as you'd hoped! Instead, invite them into your baby's life. Tell them you'd love to see them, encourage them to hold the babe early and often, and don't be afraid to text the occasional photo of your baby. Your real friends will want to be part of it all — it's up to you to let them.

Take initiative

You may start to notice that your friends aren't inviting you out as often as they used to — but chances are, they're doing that because they don't think you have the bandwidth. That's why we encourage you to make plans well in advance: It lets them know you're still willing to make time for them, and if you have ample time to prepare for some time away from baby, you're more likely to make it happen. This will also make it easier for other friends who have kids, too! Have your partner or a family member commit to babysitting well in advance and go have that fun dinner out — you deserve it!

Embrace the imperfections

Don't feel like your house (or your hair) needs to be perfectly clean before your friends stop by...because that'll just make things harder and more stressful for you. Realize that your close friends won't judge you for having dishes in the sink or spit up on your clothes. And if your friends offer to help you tidy up when they come by for visits? Well, that's never a bad thing...

Focus on what you still share

This is especially true for your friends who don't have children. It goes without saying that your life and priorities change when you become a mom. Some people in your life won't have experienced that, and that's ok! It's perfectly natural to have these thoughts, but comments like 'you'll understand when you have kids' can get old fast...and they may just make your friend feel like you've stopped relating to her. Instead, focus on your common ground. Talk about the shows you both love, bring up your old inside jokes, and show interest in what's happening in her life too. Of course, you're bound to have conversations about motherhood and your baby, but it's important to remember that just because your friend can't relate to your experience as a mom, that doesn't mean she can't relate to you.

Trust that your friends want to hang out with you no matter what

The truth is, real friendships aren't about fancy dinners and late nights out (you know, the things that may be hard to schedule when you're a mom). Your true friends will love spending time holding your babe while you pump just as much as they'll love dragging you out for a much-needed pedicure. Craving some time with friends but stuck at home with the baby? Invite people over for wine night. Maybe you can't hang out in the same way you used to, but that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice time with your friends altogether.

What are your top tips to maintaining friendships after you've had a baby? We want to hear 'em!