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  • Great Expectations: The City Best Pre- And Post-Natal Classes

    The Best Pre-Natal And Post-Natal Education, Exercise, And Support Classes In The City

    By Eric Messinger
    The Moms Group

    The Moms Group. Photo by Emily DeWan.

    Editor’s Note: Click HERE for a list of great OB-GYNs, doulas, and lactation experts; and click HERE for a list of baby and breastfeeding boutiques that host classes.

    The old saying that “it takes a village” to raise a child still rings true—and New York City is just about the most well-stocked village there is when it comes to support and resources for expectant and new parents. Of course your (or your partner’s) OB-GYN is always a terrific starting point for knowledge gathering, but beyond their office, the city is rich in wonderful education, exercise, and support classes and groups. Here are some of our favorites!

    92Y: 92Y’s Parenting Center has been a supportive community for new parents and expecting families for over 35 years. Prenatal offerings include: Becoming Parents: A Primer for Parents-To-Be, Caring for a Newborn, Lamaze Complete Childbirth Preparation, Boot Camp for Dads, and Prenatal Yoga. For families of newborns, weekly drop-in sessions include: New Parent Get-Togethers (newborn to 12 months), Breastfeeding Support, and Sleep Support. Classes include New Mother, New Baby (newborn to 5 months), Yoga for Mommy and Baby, Babies Together (ages 5-9 months), Shape Up With Baby (6 weeks to 9 months), Baby Massage (2-5 months), and Baby Toddler/CPR and Safety. 92y.org

    Ancient Song Doula Services: Since 2008, Brooklyn-based Ancient Song Doula Services has offered quality doula services to women of color and low-income families. Over the course of the last seven years they have grown to offer trainings and workshops, midwifery care, well woman services, and advocacy through community engagement and campaigns to address the lack of resources to communities of color. They also offer classes in childbirth education and pregnancy cooking, as well as support groups for new parents and for teen parents. ancientsongdoulaservices.com

    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, and essential equipment needs. Through their prenatal educational provider, Stork and Cradle, Babies “R” Us also offers classes in CPR, baby care, Lamaze, and breastfeeding, as well as a breastfeeding support group. They also offer post-natal mommy and me music classes from Little Maestros, Music for Aardvarks, and Music Together, as well as a baby dance class from Dionne Kamara Dance and an Expectant and New Moms Support group series with Babybites. 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

    Birth Day Presence

    Birth Day Presence. Photo by Bellamy Blue.

    Birth Day Presence: Founded in 2002, Birth Day Presence is the premier provider of smart, non-judgmental childbirth education, doula services, and on-demand lactation support for savvy New Yorkers. One of the longest-running and most trusted independent childbirth education and doula referral centers in the city, BDP hand-selects the best ideas and techniques from a range of childbirth traditions to provide NYC’s expectant and new parents with modern, practical education and support, helping to reduce the fear and anxiety around childbirth, while increasing the joy and pleasure of confidently becoming parents. BDP has assisted over 6,000 families. Classes include Childbirth Preparation, Breastfeeding, Newborn Care, and Infant CPR, plus new additions like The Breast Start Visit (a service where a new mom can text 917-407-1347 for immediate lactation help), Childbirth Express Classes, and overnight postpartum doulas. 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, and offer grief and loss support groups, newborn care classes, new mom meet ups, community reiki, and community acupuncture. 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

    CityBirth_03_photo-by-Kailyn-Sanders-Photography

    City Births. Photo by Karilyn Sanders Photography.

    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. They also offer their All About Birth workshops throughout the year, which bring together parents and providers for expectant parents to hear a wide range of information as they prepare for birth. 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. fitbump.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 newyorkfamily.com for lists of our hospital and physician recommendations.

    JCC Manhattan: The JCC Manhattan is the Upper West Side’s premier location for pre- and post-natal support, education, and services. In addition to classes, seminars, and support groups including Caring for Your Newborn Baby, a Weekly Parents Drop-in Group, CPR Certification, and Breast-Feeding Support Groups, they offer socializing experiences such as 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 popular health and wellness classes include Prenatal Water Workout, Prenatal Yoga, Mother & Baby Pilates, and Baby & Me Yoga. jccmanhattan.org

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    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 their 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 online support and networking with (currently) close to 1,000 member parents in the greater NYC and Tri-State 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 members access to their forums, events, and more. It’s the NYC must-have for multiple birth families. manhattantwinsclub.org

    Metro Minis: Metro Minis offers personalized and small group babywearing and early infant contact educational resources in-person, through their website, and through online courses. Have a bag of hand-me-down carriers? Need guidance with what carrier would be best for your lifestyle? They will travel to your home for a private consultation, or you can visit one of their baby-wearing clinics at Yummy Mummy. Metro Minis makes daily life with baby easier and more enjoyable. metrominisnyc.com

    Mom Support: Jessica Shapley, the founder of Mom Support, 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. She also offers infant massage classes and parenting counseling. 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. Deutsch, later joined by her business partner Heather Ouida, started Mommybites because they 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, with a growing online community across the country. Through their signature, free mom-generated nanny board, free online parenting classes, mom job board, and parenting tips and articles, Mommybites connects moms to experts, and all the latest parenting education, products, resources, and support to help make their lives a bit easier. mommybites.com

    MomPrep & “Conversations with Rosie Pope”: Rosie Pope’s MomPrep program began as an in-store core curriculum of prenatal and postpartum education at Rosie Pope retail locations in NYC and Santa Monica, CA. The original classes and personalized concierge services have now transformed into MomPrep hospital partnerships and digital education on Rosie Pope’s YouTube channel and blog through the mini-series “Conversations with Rosie Pope.” From infant CPR to childbirth education, the core curriculum is an essential foundation that also offers less traditional classes like getting the most out of your C-section. Both MomPrep and “Conversations with Rosie Pope” strive to serve customers with unprecedented access to expert information with a non-judgmental, and supportive approach. rosiepope.com & youtube.com/rosiepope

    The Moms Groups: Hosted in 23 locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, The Moms Groups is the city’s largest organizer of groups for pregnant women, new moms, older babies, and working moms. Founded in 2008 by Renee Sullivan, the organization specializes in professionally-facilitated chats 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—from sleep and routines to finding childcare (and everything in between). The warm, informative, and friendly sessions will easily connect members to a great group of moms in their neighborhood and provide essential resources and support for raising a baby in New York City. themomsgroups.com

    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 redefining what it means to be a good father in the 21st Century. Prenatal offerings include New Dad Boot Camps at top parent education providers around the city. These workshops for dads, by dads, give new and expectant fathers the opportunity to connect with veteran dads and their babies and to give the rookies some hands-on experience holding, feeding, and calming infants. The group also organizes weekly meet-ups for post-natal dads and their kids at parks, museums, and parent-and-me classes, as well as parenting workshops and dads’ nights out. NYC Dads Group is now the flagship for City Dads Group—a burgeoning organization of dad communities in eighteen other major cities across the nation. nycdadsgroup.com citydadsgroup.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. 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. They have prenatal yoga classes on the Upper West Side, Upper East Side, in Tribeca, and in the Flatiron District. 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

    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 (they accept multiple insurances for lactation consultations), and sibling and grandparent prep classes. storkandcradle.com

    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 

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