It’s the best job you’ll ever have and the hardest job you’ll ever have. Our mission is to make your life easier (and maybe even more fun) with this handy guide of our readers’ top picks for nearly everything, from where to have your baby to the best Mommy and baby class. It’s all here in our Best for Moms and Babies 2013.
Best Place to Have a Baby In Collin County
Texas Health Presbyterian Plano
From a caring staff to state-of-the-art facilities, everything at Texas Health Presbyterian Plano is geared toward making sure Mom and baby are happy and healthy. Newborns are never taken from the room, giving parents and baby ample time to bond. The facility also offers a Level Three neonatal ICU; parents can rest assured that their baby is in good hands in the event that things don’t go as planned. Breastfeeding education is key at the hospital, which is recognized as a Baby-Friendly facility, and services are provided to encourage moms interested in natural childbirth.
Plano, 972/981-3788 texashealth.org/plano
Best Place to Have a Baby In Dallas County
Baylor Medical Center Dallas
The support doesn’t end the day you leave Baylor Medical Center Dallas to take baby home. In fact, after leaving, every parent gets a call at home from the hospital – just to check in. It’s that extra care and heightened level of support that make Baylor Medical Center Dallas a great place to have a baby. Facebook groups are available, and a Mommy and Me group meets weekly for continued support postpartum.
Dallas, 214/820-0111 baylorhealth.com
Best Place to Meet Other Moms
Whether it’s the local church-supported Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) chapter or just chatting by the nursery on Sunday morning, local churches offer ample opportunities for moms to meet other moms. Some churches have programs specifically designed for new moms and dads; for example, Watermark Community Church in Dallas provides a seven-week course called Square One for brand-new mommies as well as ongoing sessions for parents called The Nest, both great avenues to find friends and support.
Best Childbirth Class
In anticipation of meeting your child, consider meeting childbirth educators Linda Worzer and Sharon Mattes. Worzer has attended more than 500 births as a doula and owner of Natural Beginnings, and Mattes joined as a birth educator in 1995. Both are certified in The Bradley Method and lead courses for couples looking for a holistic understanding of a prenatal diet, toning exercises to prepare for the marathon labor process and comfort measures for pain management as well as breastfeeding, newborn care and postpartum adjustment.
Garland, 972/495-2805 naturalbeginningsonline.com
Best Birthing Center
Allen Birthing Center
All clients and staff are treated like family at the Allen Birthing Center. This comes as no surprise, considering the family-owned business cares for women throughout their entire lifespan. Everything from well-woman exams to pre-conception counseling is offered at the center, which staffs three certified nurse-midwives. The Allen Birthing Center also has a lactation consultant and a registered dietician on hand to provide moms-to-be with all the guidance they need.
Allen, 214/495-9911 allenbirthingcenter.com
Melissa Espey-Mueller, North Dallas Doula Associates
Melissa Espey-Mueller has more than 13 years of experience as a doula, attending hundreds of births and working with midwives and medical professionals. As the founder of North Dallas Doula Associates, she believes in the power of women supporting other women during childbirth and throughout the journey of motherhood. She seeks to help women find self-confidence and let go of fear during the unpredictability of the birthing experience. As an educator, she offers childbirth classes, yoga and private meditation for moms and moms-to-be.
Amy Giles, Allen Birthing Center
With the birth of her first child, Amy Giles fell in love not only with her son, now 14, but with her experience with a nurse-midwife. Giles has now been a certified nurse-midwife for 10 years, and eight years ago, she and husband Jeff opened the Allen Birthing Center in a historic home for natural births and water births. The center serves a maximum of 14 mothers a month, and Giles maintains hospital privileges at nearby Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Allen and at Baylor Medical Center in McKinney.
Best Spa Services for Pregnant Moms
La Bella Belly Pregnancy Spa
La Bella Belly offers massages, manicures and pedicures, facials and everything else you’d expect from a relaxing spa experience but tailored specifically to moms-to-be in need of a little “me” time. “A lot of women don’t treat themselves when they’re pregnant,” says a spa representative, and you know it’s true. So go ahead: Relax with the Perfect Pregnancy Massage or treat your toes and your taste buds to a Chocolate Fudge Delight Pedicure (complete with molten chocolate cake).
Rockwall, 972/772-7212 labellabellyspa.com
Best Place to Splurge on Baby Furniture
Cool moms agree: Baby Bliss is a one-stop shop for luxe baby gear uniting function and fashion. Whether on the hunt for that missing piece to your almost-perfect nursery or stocking up on onesies, Baby Bliss has you covered. The baby boutique stocks modern finds in all of your nursery must-haves. Check out their “Mom Stuff” for sophisticated maternity wear and diaper bags disguised as designer totes. For kids who’ve outgrown the toddler bed, stop in Baby Bliss’ big sister store next door; miniMe stocks unique finds for older kids.
Dallas, 469/232-9420 shopbabybliss.com
Best Place to Splurge on Baby Clothes
A Tiny Hiney Baby Boutique
With a diverse selection of quality clothes, including plenty of choices for your little man, A Tiny Hiney is your go-to place to get the look you want for your young one. Founder Jennifer Kitto searches for new and different brands you won’t find just anywhere and arranges them in a thoughtful, breathable layout. In addition to styles that range from trendy to traditional, the Dallas boutique offers rewards, complimentary gift wrap and on-site embroidery on any store merchandise.
Dallas, 972/818-2000 atinyhiney.com
Best One-Stop Shop for Baby Goods:
Your new bundle of joy requires a bundle of supplies, so after your gifts from the baby shower run out, save yourself the time and a headache by making only one stop for the majority of your needs. Stock up on supplies for clothing, diapering, bathing and feeding your little one, and find the big-ticket items such as strollers, car seats, cribs, furniture and bedding. Most stores offer layaway, and select stores offer monthly parenting seminars. Have older children too? Shop for all of their needs at Babies“R”Us/Toys“R”Us combination stores in the DFW area.
Multiple locations babiesrus.com
Best Childcare Center for Babies
Beginning at 6 weeks, your baby will be well looked-after in the infant classrooms at Primrose. A low teacher-infant ratio ensures that your child will receive the special attention, playtime and social interactions she needs to learn and grow with Primrose’s unique Balanced Learning curriculum. Activities include music, finger plays, art, story time, sign language and plenty of rolling, crawling and tummy time to promote learning through exploration. Primrose sends home daily reports so you know exactly how your little tyke is progressing.
Multiple locations primroseschools.com
Best Babysitting Source
Mom’s Best Friend
Mom’s Best Friend holds its caregivers to the highest standards, ensuring that your child is in only the most capable of hands. Candidates go through a stringent screening process and are placed with families based on experience and shared values. The personal service offered by Mom’s Best Friend sets this full-service agency apart from online counterparts. Service is membership-based with applicable annual fees. Mom’s Best Friend can help whether you’re looking for a new full-time nanny, a one-time sitter or a newborn care specialist.
Dallas, 972/446-0500 mbfagency.com
Best Prenatal Workout
Moms on the Move at the Tom Landry Fitness Center
The Tom Landry Fitness Center offers something a little different from your typical prenatal fitness class: an aquatic workout for moms-to-be that will make you feel weightless (doesn’t that sound nice?). For $15 a class, moms can drop by on Tuesday or Thursday evenings for a stretching workout in shallow 91-degree water or a cardio workout in deeper 82-degree temps. Whether you opt for warm or cool, you’re sure to get a relaxing break that’s just right.
Dallas, 214/820-8177 baylortomlandryfitnesscenter.com
Best Postpartum Workout
Baby Boot Camp
Bring yourself, your baby and your stroller to Baby Boot Camp, one of the few kid-friendly boot camps around. While the baby sleeps away (hopefully), you’ll be working off the baby weight with cardio and strength training. The 55-minute class incorporates typical boot camp moves such as squats, lunges and push-ups to whip you back into pre-baby form. Baby Boot Camp is open to all moms and moms-to-be; even women well into their pregnancies have participated.
Multiple locations, 941/953-5000 babybootcamp.com
Best Maternity Store
A Pea in the Pod
You may be saying goodbye to some of your favorite wardrobe pieces while you’re expecting, but your style doesn’t have to go anywhere thanks to the sophisticated and chic options at A Pea in the Pod, a company cofounded by Dallas entrepreneur and Number One/LE JUS co-owner Dana Card. Pamper yourself with tops, dresses, loungewear and stylish nursing clothes from designer labels such as BCBG, Heidi Klum and Elle Macpherson to get you through your trying trimesters. Stylists will help you find the right cut or fabric to complement your changing shape, while your family enjoys the children’s play area, flat-screen TV and free juice bar.
Dallas, Lincoln Park
Best Mommy & Baby Class
Gymboree Play and Music
From beach balls to maracas to those famous colorful parachutes, the array of learning tools in a Gymboree Play and Music class will keep baby excited and entertained as you guide your little one to play and explore. The play equipment is specially designed with babies – and safety – in mind. Each class level is age-specific, so babies can socialize with other babies that are on the same page developmentally (and parents can make friends too). Classes are 45 minutes, twice a week.
Multiple locations gymboreeclasses.com
Best Infant Swim Classes
Emler Swim School has evolved from a class of 16 students 38 years ago to a full-fledged swim program teaching 27,000 children a year in six year-round facilities in Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin. Infants as young as 2 months can begin their swim education with the help of capable instructors who have a passion for teaching kids to love swimming. The Bathtime Babies infant program is a free program and the perfect starting point for parents hoping to raise the next swim team star.
Multiple locations, 817/552-SWIM iswimemler.com
Best Resale Shop
Once Upon A Child
Looking to nab a snazzy stroller for less than retail price? Or maybe your toddler has graduated from all that infant gear. Whether you want to buy or sell (or both), stroll in to Once Upon A Child, a resale shop full of quality gently used goods for babies, toddlers and children. Their like-new merchandise undergoes a safety check, so you know you’re buying the best for your little bundle.
Multiple locations onceuponachild.com
Best Toy Store
Learning Express is the perfect stop for unique toys with an educational bent. The boutique store has something to satisfy every age and curiosity, and the knowledgeable staff are ready and willing to offer expert advice on choosing the perfect toy for every child and occasion. A birthday gift registry and free gift-wrapping make Learning Express a go-to for party planning and partygoing.
Multiple locations learningexpress.com