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 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, First Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth offers a fellowship and Bible study group called MOMS for mothers of young children, and First Baptist Grapevine hosts Moms in Action, both great avenues to find friends and support.
Best Place to Have a Baby
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital
Moms have traveled from Oklahoma to deliver at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth, a hospital designated Baby-Friendly through the World Health Organization. The experienced staff are passionate about what they do and make patient safety top priority while offering freedom of choice for moms-to-be. Breastfeeding education is key at THHMH, and Mom and baby are kept close from the moment of birth to promote bonding and ensure Mom feels confident when the time comes to take baby home.
Fort Worth, 817/250-2000 texashealth.org/fortworth
Best Birthing Center
Gentle Beginnings Birth and Wellness Center
With more than 60 years of combined experience, the staff midwives at Gentle Beginnings Birth and Wellness Center know a thing or two about childbirth. In addition to health of Mom and baby, the team focuses on sensitive family-centered care and intervention-free childbirth. The environment at Gentle Beginnings is designed with a quaint bed-and-breakfast feel to make your baby’s entrance into the world as peaceful as possible.
Hurst, 817/479-0124 gentlebeginnings.com
Kathleen Donaldson, UNT Nurse-Midwife
As service director and one of seven UNT Health Nurse-Midwives, a practice within the department of UNT Health Obstetrics & Gynecology, Kathleen Donaldson has attended thousands of births and has three children of her own, including twin girls. The midwifery group offers full-scale prenatal, birth and postpartum care; promotes natural and medicated births, hydrotherapy and water births; and supports the right for patients to choose the birth plan that is right for them.
Deborah Van Campen, Joy of Life Birth Services
A mother of three, Deborah Van Campen is passionate about helping other moms make knowledgeable decisions about their childbirth experiences. “Through my personal experiences of giving birth, I discovered a deep inner wisdom about motherhood, and I’m happy to be able to bring that with me in my role as a doula,” she says. Van Campen provides physical and emotional support as an antepartum doula, labor doula and postpartum doula and will soon be offering Christian childbirth education classes to help her clients gain self-confidence on their journey of motherhood.
Best Childbirth Classes
Birth Boot Camp
Donna Ryan had dads in mind when she created Birth Boot Camp, a 10-week army-themed course for couples who desire a natural childbirth. Expectant parents attend live classes taught by certified instructors, many of them in Tarrant County – or watch documentary-style classes online – to learn about labor, breastfeeding and the adjustment period after the baby is born. All couples get a field manual, a.k.a. workbook, as well as a breastfeeding class on DVD and perform weekly assignments to prepare them for life as a “new recruit.”
Best Postpartum Workout
Grab your jogging stroller and get ready for a Mommy and Me workout that will melt away the pregnancy pounds. Each local Stroller Strides group meets at a park, mall or other versatile space for a one-hour interval-based strength and cardio workout. In addition to power walking, resistance bands and stroller lunges, the Stroller Strides experience provides built-in accountability and support from other moms. The first class is free; after that, moms can opt for the 10-class pass or the unlimited option to enjoy a social workout whenever they want.
Multiple locations strollerstrides.com
Best Place to Splurge on Baby Furniture
Finding the perfect crib and complementary changing table is a snap at Baby Depot. The huge selection coupled with affordable prices and frequent sales make this baby goods hot spot a popular destination for budget-conscious parents-to-be. Expect to walk in for a crib and leave with much more, because Baby Depot carries just about everything but the baby.
Multiple locations burlingtoncoatfactory.com
Best Place to Splurge on Baby Clothes
Zoe + Jack
Zoe + Jack is the most fashionable baby boutique in Fort Worth. Specializing in layette, Zoe + Jack carries a mix of traditional and fashion-forward frocks for your tot. With fresh brands, extensive offerings and excellent customer service, you’ll have no problem finding something unique and adorable every time you shop at this quaint yellow bungalow – the hard part will be choosing which look you want.
Fort Worth, 817/989-2200
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
The qualified teachers at Children’s Courtyard will craft a unique, research-based learning plan for your child built around your child’s natural interests and development. Infants as young as 6 weeks will thrive in a safe, home-like environment of nurturing and exploration. Individualized lesson plans include motor skill enhancement, singing, physical exploration, using sign language and, of course, plenty of cuddling with a caring teacher – just what baby needs to learn and grow.
Multiple locations childrenscourtyard.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.
Fort Worth, 817/226-2669 mbfagency.com
Best Maternity Store
Reject the idea that maternity clothes can’t be flattering. Your style can stay intact throughout your pregnancy thanks to the fashionable and affordable pieces for new and expectant moms at Motherhood Maternity. Whether you’re scouting for outfits for the office and date night or loungewear for home, stylists will help you find the right cut or fabric in blouses, dresses, jeans and leggings, with collections by Heidi Klum and Jessica Simpson as well as a nursingwear line and plus sizes, all made to compliment your changing shape.
Multiple locations motherhood.com
Best Mommy & Baby Class
The Little Gym
Mommy and baby classes at the Little Gym enable children to develop essential skills and confidence while building that special bond between mother and child. Classes for babies beginning at 4 months work on every part of the child’s development, from motor skills to hand-eye coordination to socialization. Lesson plans and equipment setups change from week to week to keep baby on his tiny toes.
Multiple locations thelittlegym.com
Best Infant Swim Class
Emler Swim School
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.
Arlington at Maverick Athletic Club, 817/552-SWIM
Southlake, 817/552-SWIM iswimemler.com
Best Resale Shop
Kid to Kid
If you’ve got an empty closet that needs filling or a full closet that needs emptying (and then refilling), then Kid to Kid is your one-stop shop to buy and sell all things baby. This resale shop stocks only quality, like-new baby goods and fashions in the most organized layout you’ll find – sized, genderized and even colorized. Trade in your own goods, including maternity wear, for cash up front or 20 percent more in store credit.
Multiple locations kidtokid.com
Best Toy Store
Mattel Toy Store
The Mattel Toy Store offers the name-brand toys kids love in a fun, bright environment with a homegrown roots feel. The 1,500-square-foot store is packed with the Barbies and Hot Wheels Mattel is known for but also offers a wide selection of Fisher Price gear ideal for baby. New and expecting moms stop in for the baby gear they need and keep coming back for the friendly staff they love.
Fort Worth, 817/302-3360 matteltoystore.com