Background Respondent driven sampling (RDS) is employed to recruit populations that are hard-to-reach, "hidden," or without a sampling frame. For new mothers (those with infants Objective To assess the feasibility of RDS to recruit new mothers. Methods In the initial study, we recruited 30 new mothers ("seeds") from a single birth hospital; each was given 3 referral coupons to give to other mothers ("referrals"). When our sample did not self-perpetuate with referrals, additional seeds were recruited. Demographics of seeds and referrals were compared. A subset of mothers participated in focus groups and were asked about their experience with RDS. We also conducted a second survey of new mothers to further assess feasibility of RDS in this population. Results Of the 402 mothers recruited in the initial study, 305 were seeds and only 97 were referrals. Referrals were more likely to be White, highly educated, older, and privately insured (all p[less than or equal to]0.001). Focus group participants indicated that the time required to meet other mothers was an important barrier. In the second survey we recruited 201 mothers; only 53.7% knew [greater than or equal to]1 mother whom they could invite to the study. Conclusions New mothers are not easily recruited using RDS because they have a limited number of contacts who are also new mothers. Those recruited through RDS are more likely to be older, Caucasian and of high socioeconomic status, indicating it is not an effective way to recruit a representative sample of new mothers.