Expectant & New Parent Classes & Resources: Bump, Birth, Baby

[Editor’s Note: Click HERE for our list of maternity & baby retailers who offer classes, and click HERE for our list of  organizations of doulas, lactation consultants, and baby nurses.] 

Expecting? New to parenting? One thing you will soon learn is that you need not go through the journey to parenthood alone. Beyond your OB-GYN, the city is rich in wonderful education, exercise, and support classes and groups. Here are some of our favorites!

92Y: The 92Y’s Parenting Center has been a supportive community for new parents and expecting families for over 30 years. Prenatal offerings include: Becoming Parents: A Primer for Parents-To-Be; Caring for a Newborn; Lamaze Complete Childbirth Preparation; Boot Camp for Dads; Prenatal Yoga. New family offerings include: Baby Toddler/CPR and Safety; New Parent Get-Togethers (newborn to 12 months); Breastfeeding Support Group; New Mother, New Baby (newborn to 5 months); Yoga for Mommy and Baby; Babies Together (5-9 months); Shape Up With Baby (6 weeks to 9 months); and Baby Massage (2-5 months). 92y.org

Babies “R” Us: While the Babies “R” Us Union Square flagship location is best known for selling baby and nursery goods, the one-stop shop has continued to provide customers with an extensive menu of classes for moms and moms-to-be. Through frequent “Baby Basics” classes, customers can receive expert advice and tips on how to take special care of their little one via topics such as feeding, bathing, diapering, cord care, and essential equipment needs. Beyond teaching essentials like those, they also offer separate classes in baby wearing, baby yoga, infant massage and infant CPR, among others. Class schedules are convenient, and on some days—especially during the weekend—multiple times are offered. Classes are taught by local experts and community vendors such as Karma Kids Yoga and Yogi Beans. babiesrus.com

Baby in the Family: Baby in the Family specializes in prenatal education and postpartum support. Founded by Andrea Syms-Brown in 2006, workshops are hosted at various locations in the city. Their Caring for a Newborn Baby workshop concentrates on practical care routines such as diapering and bathing, and is now available online. The How to Breastfeed workshop focuses on breastfeeding techniques and routines for newborns through their first 30 days. Syms-Brown, who also provides individual postpartum lactation support in NYC and the Tri-State area, has most recently served as both president and education director of the New York Lactation Consultant Association. bitfamseries.com

A childbirth education class with Birth Day Presence
A childbirth education class with Birth Day Presence. Photo by Bellamy Blue

Birth Day Presence: Founded in 2002, Birth Day Presence is a premier provider of childbirth classes and birth and postpartum doula care for expectant families in New York City. Led by Jada Shapiro and Anna Merrill, BDP combines the best of modern childbirth techniques and old-world practices to reduce the fear and anxiety around childbirth, while increasing the joy and pleasure of confidently becoming parents. BDP has assisted thousands of families in a nurturing, safe, and joyful way. Classes include Childbirth Preparation, Breastfeeding, Newborn Care and Infant CPR, plus new additions like Childbirth Express and overnight postpartum doulas (Birth Day Presence also has a new partner program with Rosie Pope Maternity). birthdaypresence.com

Carriage House Birth: At Carriage House Birth they have recreated “the Village” vibe for NYC families. Carriage House has woven a web of support by curating and mentoring a wonderful collective of birth and postpartum doulas. In their womb-like storefront, located in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, they continue on their dedicated path of support by offering classes like Childbirth Education, Twin Magic, Breastfeeding Support, Sleep Seminars, and more. They also host fantastic bodyworkers for the body and soul. All of these resources are born out of a true need to have a home away from home for expecting families and new parents alike. carriagehousebirth.com

City Births NYC: City Births NYC offers classes in Childbirth Preparation, Newborn Care and Breastfeeding, Infant CPR & Safety, Dad Bootcamp, New Moms Groups, and Breastfeeding Support. City Births’ goal is to enable parents to be fully informed of their choices in childbirth as well as infant care and breastfeeding. The instructors all have extensive training and bring hands-on experience as to what you can expect giving birth in New York City. They provide the most up-to-date information through access to lectures on the latest advancements in obstetrics as well as discussion groups on Childbirth Education, Infant Care, and CPR with both local NYC midwives and obstetricians. They provide new parents with the necessary tools to be happy, healthy, and confident. They are not affiliated with any hospital and provide unbiased information on the reality of birth. citybirths.com

Choices in Childbirth: Located in Midtown East, Choices in Childbirth is a non-profit organization aimed at providing parents-to-be with a wealth of information and educational resources as they make choices about the birth experience they want. Their goal is to educate, advocate, and shape policy to help families make informed decisions about where, how, and with whom to birth, and to increase access to childbirth services that support healthy birth outcomes. choicesinchildbirth.org

FitBump: FitBump was created to cut through the clutter, offering moms-to-be honest answers to their questions  before getting pregnant, during pregnancy, and after baby is born. Going beyond “what to expect,” it inspires, educates and supports with expert fitness advice, the latest workouts, nutrition news, healthful recipes, inspiring profiles and concrete health information—allowing a new generation of moms to learn, share, and shop (don’t miss FitBump’s line of high-performance, ingeniously designed workout wear) and to find solutions that make living a healthy life fun and fulfilling. fitbump360.com

Hospitals: It’s not surprising that the most common places where women give birth would have pre- and post-natal education and support classes, but many expectant parents don’t realize that hospitals generally have very good classes at affordable prices—and often they’re open to attendees intending to give birth elsewhere. Most of the city’s major hospitals and their class listings can be easily found online—or you can visit www.newyorkfamily.com for lists of our hospital and physician recommendations.

JCC Manhattan: JCC Manhattan is the Upper West Side’s premier location for pre- and post-natal support, education, and services. In addition to classes and seminars such as Caring for Your Newborn Baby and support groups like the Breast-Feeding Support Group, they offer socializing experiences through Tummy Time and Baby Play at the J! For the mother who is looking to stay fit during pregnancy or get back in shape after, The JCC’s Marti Ann Meyerson Center for Health and Wellness offers weekly classes such as Prenatal Water Workout, Prenatal Yoga, Mother & Baby Pilates, and Baby & Me Yoga. jccmanhattan.org

Karma Kids Yoga: Karma Kids Yoga believes that having a good support system is as important as being in good physical and mental shape during this time, striving to make your transition into motherhood as smooth as possible. Offerings cover a range of tools that include: Prenatal Yoga, Prenatal Pilates, Pre/Post-natal Yoga and Pilates, Childbirth Education, and Yoga for Delivery Workshops, as well as doula speed-dating events, baby-wearing clinics, and other support group services. Once the baby is born, they offer Mom & Baby Yoga, Dad & Baby Yoga, My Baby Fingers Infant Sign Language, free Yoga Story Time classes, and My First Birthday Parties. karmakidsyoga.com 

Lamaze International for Parents: One of the most popular and long-standing childbirth education organizations, Lamaze International is a non-profit that promotes safe and healthy pregnancy, birth, and parenting. Their practices—which serve to highlight what to expect and what options are on the table when it comes to pregnancy and birth—draw on the most up-to-date medical research in the field and involve working closely with families, healthcare professionals, and educators to help expectant moms achieve their personal childbirth choices. To locate Lamaze classes in NYC, use an online Lamaze finder. lamaze.org/FindALamazeChildbirthClass

Manhattan Twins Club: For over 25 years, the Manhattan Twins Club has been helping multiple birth families in and around NYC. This non-profit organization offers 24 hour-a-day phone support and online networking with (currently) almost a thousand twin parents in our area. With multiple birth-specific forum groups and a classified section filled with nannies, housekeepers, strollers, cribs and more, this group is specifically tailored to meet the needs of multiple birth families. Their $50 annual dues give you access to their forums, events and more. It’s the NYC must-have for multiple birth families. manhattantwinsclub.org

Metro Minis: Metro Minis carries hand-picked products related to baby-wearing and natural parenting, and offers plenty of educational resources through their website. They also offer baby-wearing clinics in several locations throughout NYC. They can even travel to your home for a private consultation. Have a bag of hand-me-down carriers? Need guidance with what carrier would be best for your lifestyle? Metro Minis can help! metrominisnyc.com

Mom Support: The founder of Mom Support, Jessica Shapley, has helped hundreds of parents care for their children and themselves through support groups, sleep consultations, and work with individuals and couples. Her weekly support groups enable new moms, seasoned moms, and moms of multiples to share the joys and address the challenges of parenthood by establishing support, combating isolation, and normalizing the experience of being a new parent. Rather than trying a one-size-fits-all approach to sleep, her sleep consultations are customized to each family based on their personal needs. Her individual sessions include work with pregnant and postpartum moms, and couples facing a variety of emotional and physical struggles. momsupport.org

Mommybites: When Mommybites co-founder Laura Deutsch was a new mom living in NYC, she was astonished at how lonely she felt in such a huge, happening city. Laura started Mommybites because she wanted to create an easy way for moms to meet other moms, feel supported, and learn from top parenting experts. Founded in 2006, Mommybites (originally Babybites) has become one of the largest social and educational communities in the New York City area, while expanding to other key cities and within its online community. Through their signature, free mom-generated nanny board, free online parenting classes, and parenting tips and articles, Mommybites connects moms to other moms, experts, and all the latest parenting education, products, resources, and support to help make their lives a bit easier. mommybites.com

The Moms Groups: Hosted in 20 locations around town in Manhattan and Brooklyn, The Moms Groups is the city’s leading organizer for Expectant, New Baby, and Moms of Older Babies Support Groups (including evening sessions for working moms). Founded in 2008 by Renee Sullivan, the organization specializes in weekly meetings connecting moms to each other and the best resources in NYC. Women can share experiences, engage in parenting discussions, ask questions, and gather valuable resources to make motherhood smoother, saner, easier and more enjoyable. The warm, informative, and friendly sessions will connect you to a great group of moms in your neighborhood and provide essential parenting resources for raising a baby in New York City. themomsgroups.com

MomPrep: Rosie Pope’s MomPrep program has recently partnered with Birth Day Presence (see page 50) to offer a core curriculum of prenatal and postpartum education at the Rosie Pope Maternity retail locations through classes, personalized concierge services, and digital education on Rosie Pope’s YouTube channel and blog. From infant CPR through childbirth education, the core curriculum is an essential foundation that also offers less traditional classes like getting the most out of your C-section. Rosie Pope and MomPrep + Birth Day Presence strive to serve customers with unprecedented access to expert information in a non-judgmental, supportive environment. rosiepope.com

Northeast Doulas: Led by a duo of certified doulas with a combined history of helping over 2,300 mothers on the path to parenthood, Northeast Doulas provides families in Greenwich and Fairfield, CT, and Westchester and New York City, NY, with highly-trained and experienced doulas to assist them from pregnancy to post-partum. Beginning with a complimentary pregnancy consultation, their experts are all about connecting families with the appropriate doula for them—and their staff of diverse doulas virtually insures a good match. The agency also focuses on providing high quality post-partum doulas who are available for shifts of 5-24 hours per day, as needed, providing new mothers with everything from housekeeping help to hands-on baby education. Other services include prenatal discussion groups, placenta encapsulation, pregnancy consultation, and sleep consultation. northeastdoulas.com

New Dad Bootcamp with the NYC Dads Group
New Dad Bootcamp with the NYC Dads Group

NYC Dads Group: Started in 2008 by Lance Somerfeld and Matt Schneider, the NYC Dads Group is a community of active and caring dads who are leading the way as what it means to be a good father in the 21st Century is redefined. Prenatal offerings include weekly New Dad Boot Camps at top parent education providers around the city. These workshops for dads, by dads give new and expecting fathers the opportunity to discuss parenting with veteran dads, who bring their babies along to give the rookies some hands-on experience holding, feeding, and calming real babies. The group also organizes weekly meet-ups for post-natal dads and their kids at parks, museums, parent-and-me classes, and living rooms, as well as parenting workshops and dads’ nights out. The NYC Dads Group is now the flagship for City Dads Group—a burgeoning organization of dads group communities in fifteen other major cities across the nation. nycdadsgroup.com & citydadsgroup.com

Peace, Love and Labor: Peace, Love and Labor was started because nothing like it existed in NYC. The founders wanted to create really fun prenatal classes where pregnant women could interact with each other. Community-building and bonding are the driving forces at Peace, Love and Labor. Classes include Dancing for Birth classes, HypnoBirthing, a childbirth education series, Rebozo workshops, childbirth education movie nights, essential oil gatherings, and more! peaceloveandlabor.com

Pregnancy & Parenting: Pregnancy & Parenting offers birth, baby, and breastfeeding classes to expectant parents in Brooklyn and Manhattan. An affiliate of Tribeca Pediatrics, this resource is open to anyone. The classes, designed by leading NYC birth educators and experts, help pregnant women and partners feel more confident about giving birth and caring for a new baby. The philosophy is open-minded and practical. Their certified teachers are extremely knowledgeable and their engaging classes are known to be fun and not overwhelming. Intensive classes can be taken in one or two days; weeknight classes are also offered in Brooklyn and Manhattan locations. pregnancyandparenting.com

The Pregnant New Yorker: The Pregnant New Yorker provides fun, alternative health events in NYC, educating the pregnant community on how to have an easy, healthy pregnancy. Janet Markovits, also the owner of Maternal Massage and More, founded this health-minded group in 2008 when her clients kept asking for advice and referrals and had questions related to everything pregnancy and baby. The Pregnant New Yorker brings the best guest speakers together to teach pregnant and postpartum moms, while providing an opportunity to learn something new about different services and products, and a chance to meet other pregnant women. thepregnantnewyorker.com 

The Prenatal Yoga Center: The Prenatal Yoga Center is the first and only yoga center in New York City to focus solely on expectant and new moms. Using a three-pronged approach to their teaching, their classes address the aches and pains of pregnancy so students feel better each day, they foster a supportive community of friendship, and they integrate childbirth education to help the mother be more prepared and empowered for labor, delivery, and motherhood. PYC also offers numerous childbirth preparation and breastfeeding workshops and events as well as a vast online presence with free yoga videos and an educational blog. prenatalyogacenter.com

Rhythm For Life: Rhythm For Life introduces women—before, during, and after pregnancy—to dance as a practice that supports and empowers women through life’s stages and changes, especially during pregnancy, with its signature program, Maternal Dance. The goal of this prenatal dance program is for women to have fun, stay fit, and feel fabulous while preparing mentally and physically for labor. Plus, their Prenatal Belly Dance Workout DVD has the perfect balance of yoga therapy and belly dance for moms-to-be and hot mamas, and it’s ideal for new moms as they ease their bodies back into their post-baby body—or better! rhythmforlifenyc.com

The Seleni Institute: The Seleni Institute treats individuals, not disorders, by providing a 360-degree approach to reproductive and maternal mental health issues, including depression and anxiety before, during and after pregnancy; infertility; miscarriage and loss; relationship/marital troubles; and parenting and motherhood concerns. From individual therapy and psychiatry, to acupuncture and massage, to weekly breastfeeding and moms groups, the breadth of services and unique, collaborative environment make the Seleni Institute the only center of its kind in New York City. Seleni believes that when women are supported, they are able to best care for themselves, their children, and their families. seleni.org

Stork and Cradle: Stork and Cradle gives mothers the real deal about labor and breastfeeding. Their services mentor families through pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding, empowering them to make choices that keep themselves and their babies safe and healthy. They’ve created a no-judgment zone where parents can discover what they need and want to have their ideal safe birth, eliminate regrets, and have a rewarding experience. In addition to free monthly healthy pregnancy classes and weekly breastfeeding support groups, offerings include: Comprehensive Childbirth, Breastfeeding, Baby Care and Safety, Infant CPR, Expectant Multiples, an online childbirth class, a 90-minute lactation consultation with breastfeeding specialist, and sibling and grandparent prep classes. storkandcradle.com

Natalie Diaz, of Twiniversity and the Manhattan Twins Club, with her twins.
Natalie Diaz, of Twiniversity and the Manhattan Twins Club, with her twins.

Twiniversity: Expecting twins? Since 2009, Natalie Diaz has taught thousands of Tri-State area families the tricks of the trade on all things twinnie. From baby gear to breastfeeding, to delivery day, and beyond, this best-selling author of What To Do When You’re Having Two will give you the inside information on what you really need to know. Diaz is a guru on twin parenting and is on a mission to make sure that families have their questions answered and the support they need on the bumpy road that is twin life! twiniversity.com/classes