Best for Families: Moms + Babies 2017 / The Best of the Best from Pregnancy to Birth

WORDS
Jessica Myers and Beth McGee
PUBLISHED
February 2017 in
DallasChild, FortWorthChild, NorthTexasChild
UPDATED
January 30, 2017
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Being pregnant and having a baby means that you are likely doing a lot of research right now, and you’re reading ratings and reviews on everything from bassinets to birthing centers. To save you time — and sanity — we polled hundreds of  moms, compiled their feedback, then asked the winners what makes them Mom’s go-to. Here, you’ll find moms’ favorite doula, childbirth class, sleep specialist and more. So stop Googling and read on. 

Best Childbirth Classes
CollinChild Winner: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano
The Prepared Childbirth classes at Texas Health Plano offer a crash course into the birth experience, but the hands-on instruction keeps referrals and second-time mommies enrolling. Mom and Dad learn what to expect at each stage of labor and practice breathing techniques and labor positions. You’ll leave the class knowing all your options for pain relief and delivery too. If you’re within four to eight weeks of your due date, register for a $25 session.
6200 W. Parker Road, Plano, 877/847-9355

DallasChild Winner: North Dallas Doula Associates
The one-day Prepared Childbirth: The Uncensored Version class, taught through North Dallas Doula Associates, covers topics such as the signs, symptoms and stages of labor, comfort measures like breathing, relaxation and visualization techniques and ways to avoid unnecessary interventions. Visit the Facebook page for a calendar of events and prices. Prepared Childbirth, $125 per couple.
107 Murray St., Dallas, 469/360-3810

FortWorthChild Winner: Birth Boot Camp
Birth Boot Camp’s 10-week program teaches couples how to prepare Mama’s mind and body for a natural birth. In the beginning, you’ll embark on a nutritional program and learn muscle toning and relaxation techniques. In the weeks ahead, instructors tell you how to write a birth plan and what to do when labor-induced disorientation arrives (because it will). Tuition includes a workbook outlining labor positions, relaxation exercises and the postpartum period. Find a local instructor and register online. Some charge a $50 registration fee to reserve a spot in the class.
Fort Worth area

NorthTexasChild Winner: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton
The crash course into the childbirth experience makes the Prepared Childbirth class at Texas Health Denton a favorite for expecting mommies. The weekly class teaches parents about the stages of labor, comfort measures, including epidurals and breathing techniques, plus delivery options. If you’re within four to eight weeks of your due date, register online for a $25 class.
3000 Interstate 35, Denton
 
Best Hospital To Have A Baby
CollinChild Winner: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano
Collin County moms vote Texas Health Plano again and again — six years in a row to be exact. And the reasons are clear: high-risk pregnancy care, a level IIIB neonatal intensive care unit and private suites with options to use birthing balls and peanuts or a hydro tub during labor. After baby arrives, take advantage of lots of breastfeeding resources, including a breastfeeding support group run by a lactation consultant and Mommy Mixers for support and camaraderie. Call or go online to set up a tour.
6200 W. Parker Road, Plano, 972/981-8000

DallasChild Winner: Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas
Moms choose Baylor Dallas for a number of reasons: spacious labor and delivery rooms offer lots of options to help keep Mom comfortable, including oversize balls and peanuts to let her labor in various positions, an mp3 player hookup so she can listen to her own soothing playlist and a tub. Parents also like the private postpartum rooms with a sofa bed for Dad, the level III neonatal intensive care unit and the on-site, no frills hotel that allows Mom (and Dad) to stay close if she’s discharged before baby. Plus, postpartum care includes free mommy-and-me yoga classes and breastfeeding support groups. Call or go online to schedule a tour.
3500 Gaston Ave., Dallas, 800/422-9567

FortWorthChild Winner: Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth
The possibility to choose care from an OB/GYN or midwife, alternative options such as water births and pain management that include nitrous oxide to take the edge off contractions make Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth the top pick for expectant moms. New parents also praise the 17 private labor and delivery suites, the on-site lactation consultant and the level III NICU. Call or go online to schedule a tour.
1301 Pennsylvania Ave., Fort Worth, 817/250-2000

NorthTexasChild Winner: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton
Moms like Texas Health Denton’s level III NICU and the 11 private labor and delivery rooms that each have a TV and a rocking chair or recliner (some also have a tub). After delivery, you’ll likely be famished. Pick your meal from a menu or ask your hubby to bring your something from the on-site, 24-hour Vibe Fresh Market. Call or visit the website to set up a tour. 
3000 Interstate 35, Denton, 940/898-7000

Best Birthing Center
CollinChild Winner: Allen Birthing Center
The accredited (one of only five in the state) Allen Birthing Center has seen over 1,500 births, and each one is about making Mom feel comfortable and honoring her labor and delivery choices, including giving birth at home. The birthing center offers guidance from four certified nurse-midwives, two private birthing tubs and pain-relieving nitrous oxide. Plus owner and clinical director Amy Giles (best midwife winner) and certified nurse-midwife Kristen Conroy have hospital privileges at Baylor Medical Center in McKinney should a transfer be necessary. Go online to schedule a tour. 
406 W. Main St., Allen, 214/495-9911
 
DallasChild Winner: Birth and Women’s Center
Expecting mothers select Birth and Women’s Center because it really is like giving birth at home, a home with certified nurse-midwives and nitrous oxide to take the edge off your contractions, that is. The two rooms inside the Victorian-era home, which is three blocks from Baylor Medical Center, feature lots of natural light (with curtains you can draw if you prefer darker surroundings) four-poster beds, sofas and ottomans. One room also has a tub for water births.
3100 Swiss Ave., Dallas, 214/821-8190

FortWorthChild Winner: Fort Worth Birthing & Wellness Center
The certified nurse-midwives at Fort Worth Birthing & Wellness Center perform routine gynecological exams, prenatal sonograms, postpartum care and so much more. Plus, each birthing suite is outfitted with a water birth tub, and there’s an on-site massage therapist and chiropractor. In the event of a necessary medical transfer, best hospital winner Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth is a short five-minute drive. Go online to request more information.
622 Hemphill St., Fort Worth, 817/878-2737

NorthTexasChild Winner: Inanna Birth and Women’s Care
Laboring moms feel at home in the Victorian-style birthing suites at Inanna Birth and Women's Center in Denton. In an effort to keep the birthing process as comfortable as possible, the certified nurse-midwives furnish the center as if it’s a home away from home. Each room comes equipped with a queen-size bed, closet, candles and a tub for relaxation and water births. During labor, your midwife and birthing assistant offer relief, encouragement, even snacks. Call to schedule a tour.
1823 North Locust Street, Denton, 940/483-1569

Best Doula
CollinChild Winner: Jessie Prim
Moms recommend Jessie Prim to their expectant friends because of her 33 years of experience in prenatal, birth and postpartum services. With five children and three grandchildren of her own, Prim understands how deeply personal each birth story becomes. She also volunteers with moms at risk. Packages start at $750 for prenatal, birth and postpartum services.
Plano, 972/208-1591

DallasChild Winner: North Dallas Doula Associates
Enlist North Dallas Doulas’ services, which have been around since 1999, to coach you through labor and delivery, provide postpartum help, including lactation consultations and help you recognize and address the needs of your new little one after she arrives. North Dallas Doulas also offers placenta encapsulation and overnight assistance so you can get a little shuteye too. Prices available upon request.
107 Murray St., Dallas, 469/360-3810

FortWorthChild Winner: Fort Worth Doula Associates
Moms turn to Fort Worth Doula Associates not just because of the continuous labor support but also for the unlimited email, phone and text support they get in the six weeks following baby’s arrival. During labor, use the Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) tool, which helps alleviate birthing pains without drugs, for free. Afterwards, take advantage of Fort Worth Doula Associates’ placenta encapsulation or belly binding (a cloth wrap that supports weakened abdominal muscles) services at a discounted rate. Packages from $1,050.
1616 5th Ave., Fort Worth, 682/777-3932

NorthTexasChild Winner: Maria Pokluda
Great Expectations Birth owner Maria Pokluda holds experience supporting moms during hospital births, water births, VBACs, planned Cesareans and more. She also wrote a doula certification program and trains doulas around the world. Simply Doula packages start at $850.
Dallas-Fort Worth Area, 214/223-0226

Best Midwife
CollinChild Winner: Amy Giles
Amy Giles is known as an encouraging and knowledgeable guide with expertise in high-risk women and pregnancies. With 15 years of experience under her belt, she serves as owner and clinical director of repeat winner Allen Birthing Center (find it under best birthing center) and is among a select few certified nurse-midwives who have dual privileges at both a birth center and a hospital.
406 W. Main St., Allen, 214/495-9911

DallasChild Winner: Teri Mitchell
Count on certified nurse-midwife and internationally board certified lactation consultant Teri Mitchell to monitor you and your baby throughout the pregnancy, guide you through a home or water birth and provide postpartum and newborn care, including breastfeeding help (two sessions for free).
Frisco, 469/850-2661

FortWorthChild Winner: Carla Morrow
Lauded midwife Carla Morrow has over 1,000 births under her belt. She works in both hospital and non-hospital labor and deliveries, providing families with research and individualized care to help them make decisions during the birthing process. The sought after certified nurse-midwife is on staff at Fort Worth Birthing Center, Grace OB/GYN and Harris Methodist Southwest Hospital.
622 Hemphill St., Fort Worth, 817/878-2737

NorthTexasChild Winner: Singing Tree
Local mamas turn to Singing Tree for prenatal care (at home if you prefer) and the ability to choose a home birth or birthing center delivery with licensed midwife Kassia Walcott, who works all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Plus, her office, located at the NEST in Addison, gives moms-to-be access to other pregnancy and parenting services such as tub rental (for home births), prenatal chiropractic care, prenatal massage, placenta encapsulation and parenting classes.
4811 Broadway, Suite 3, Addison, 509/592-5279
 
Best Child Care Center
CollinChild & NorthTexasChild Winner: Kids ‘R’ Kids
For 32 years, parents have entrusted their children to the staff of Kids ‘R’ Kids. If it’s not the “hug first, then teach” philosophy that parents rave about then it’s the fact that each classroom incorporates accredited STEAM activities for children 6 weeks and older. Infants learn sign language, practice tummy time and spend as much time as possible outdoors. Toddlers engage in small group motor and sensory activities such as feeling new textures, playing with kinetic sand and maneuvering around objects to learn right and left. When you pick your child up for the day, expect a detailed report of her activities and progress. Go online for a virtual tour or show up to one of the 10 locations in Collin County to tour it in person. Prices vary by location.
Multiple locations

FortWorthChild Winner: The Children’s Courtyard
It’s not all fun and games at the Children’s Courtyard — it’s song and dance, exercise and science projects too. Feel safe knowing your child is cared for by a first aid and CPR-certified educator with a background in childhood education and ongoing child development training that makes them the expert in your child’s stage of development. Plus, lunch includes registered dietitian-approved meals packed with whole grains, raw fruits, veggies and healthy proteins. Schedule a school tour of one of the 19 Tarrant County locations online. Prices vary by location.
Multiple locations
 
Best Babysitting Source
CollinChild, DallasChild, FortWorthChild & NorthTexasChild Winner: Care.com
Filter through Care.com’s large database of sitters by need — from full-time nannies to the occasional date night sitter — and make additional specifications such as skills, age, rate, years of experience, ratings and more, then get emails from candidates available in your zip code. Care.com also helps with the hiring process by providing sample interview questions and tax services for managing payments. Download the free app for Apple or Android. Basic membership is free but doesn’t allow you access to contact details or references. Premium membership, which costs $147 a year, does.
Dallas-Fort Worth area, 877/227-3115
 
Best Mommy & Baby Class
CollinChild, DallasChild & FortWorthChild  Winner: The Little Gym
The repeat winning mom and baby classes at The Little Gym let baby experiment with his motor skills and independence. In Bug classes for littles 4–10 months old, you help baby sit up and stand while doing something fun like ringing bells. As baby becomes more mobile, floor mats and tunnels encourage scooting and crawling and parallel bars help baby begin to walk. Call to enroll. Drop-in class, $27; tuition from $96 per month.  
Multiple locations

Best Infant Swim School
CollinChild, DallasChild & FortWorthChild Winner: Emler Swim School
At Emler Swim School, babies as young as 2 months float and kick (supported, of course) in the water during the free 30-minute Bathtime Babies classes, designed to supplement at-home bath time with songs and activities that help babies get comfortable in the water. Starting at 6 months, babies join the Waterbabies program and practice back floats and gentle submerging exercises until they can comfortably hold their breath for 8–10 seconds. Register for a free orientation class and sign up for the spring semester, which started Jan. 23: $435.67 for 19 weeks; price prorated for mid-semester registrants.
Multiple locations

NorthTexasChild Winner: Aqua-Tots Swim School
At Aqua-Tots Swim Schools infant swim classes, you and your infant learn water awareness from CPR-certified water safety instructors in the Tadpole class for babies 4–12 months. Babies practice kicking and moving their arms at the same time, submersion exercises and back floats. View the Tadpoles schedule online then call to sign up for a free trial class or to enroll. Rates from $84 per month.
777 S. MacArthur Blvd., Suite 409, Coppell; 972-793-7992
6060 Long Prairie Road, Suite 100, Flower Mound; 214-396-7900

Best Sleep Specialists
CollinChild & NorthTexasChild Winner: Sweet Dreams Infant Care
The Dream Team at Sweet Dreams Infant Care sleep training teach parents that baby can sleep for up to 12 (wow!) straight hours by the time he’s 5 months old. Skeptical? Follow the routine the team establishes during the phone or over-night consult. They encourage parents to let baby self soothe and put himself back to sleep. Call to schedule a consult. Prices from $300 for a phone consult; $550 for 12-hour overnight sleep training.
Dallas-Fort Worth area, 708/429-2229

DallasChild & FortWorthChild Winner: Newborn Nightingales
Newborn Nightingales founder Melissa O’Neill helps Mom (and Dad) catch some zzzs. In the in-home, phone, email consultation or overnight nursing, O’Neill and her team of sleep specialists customize a plan, teach you how to establish a nighttime routine and create an environment where baby can put herself to sleep and soothe herself if she wakes in the middle of the night. Plus, the Nightingales answer all your sleep and postpartum questions and provide six months of email support. Complete the online form to begin the process. Email package starts at $150; in-home consult package, $450.
Dallas-Fort Worth area, 214/632-1673

SIDEBAR

Editor's Picks

Best Place to Find the Right Support
As your waistline changes with pregnancy and new motherhood so too does your bosom. And while Nordstrom doesn’t carry an extensive selection of nursing bras in store (there are more options online), they will measure you and turn any bra into a nursing bra for a nominal fee ($16). They can even turn a bra you already own — and love — into a nursing bra (for $32) or make it more confortable for you during pregnancy such as removing the underwire. Visit the lingerie department for a free fitting.   
Stonebriar Centre, 2613 Preston Road, Frisco, 972/712-3794 
North East Mall, 1101 Melbourne Road, Hurst, 817/590-2599
 
Best Place to Find Your New Mom Tribe
The Nappy Shoppe carries a wide range of cloth diapers, baby carriers and nursing supplies, but we love the groups and events that this store hosts best. Drop in to one of the free weekly breastfeeding cafes on Wednesday 12–1pm, where a certified lactation counselor is in attendance, or for Saturday’s mom-to-mom support group 3–4pm to get nursing advice and chat with other new mommies. Or join one of the free weekly Mum groups (dads welcome too), where you bring baby (and toddler if you have one) to socialize and make mom friends. There’s a free postpartum support group too. Check the website for a complete schedule and to register.
3253 Independence Parkway, Plano, 469/371-5448
 
Best Place to Save Face
The Posh Petunia in Plano isn’t the only local children’s boutique to enlist the creativity of Cut Arts Studio’s Karl Johnson to make silhouette artwork using your kids’ profiles, but it’s one of the most popular services The Posh Petunia offers twice a year (follow them on Facebook and Instagram for details) at the boutique stocked with newborn, baby and kids clothing, gifts and accessories. We also love the personal shopping service for days when the schedule’s too packed to shop. Call, give your budget and a little about what you’re looking for, and owner Kelly Farber and her team will send photos of options that you can browse before popping in to purchase.
4025 Preston Road, Suite 608B, Plano, 972/403-1540

Best Place to Find a Gift That Keeps on Giving
Find a collection of baptism gowns — from linen to silk, simple to ornate — plus sweet religious gifts such as sterling and silver-plate frames adorned with crosses, Bibles, plush toys that recite the Lord’s Prayer and more at St. Michael’s Woman’s Exchange in Highland Park Village. We not only love this store’s selection but the fact that all the proceeds go to charity. Completely run by volunteers (134 of them), St. Michael’s has donated more than $8 million in its nearly six decades in business.
5 Highland Park Village, Dallas, 214/521-3862
 
Best Place to Shop with Toddlers in Tow 
New owners and a new location mean there’s also a new concept at Small Pockets. The upscale kids’ consignment store offers an on-site space for birthday tea parties, but when it’s not booked, moms can use it to host free weekday play dates (call or go online to request the room) or as a place to entertain and wear out the kids — with Legos, trains, puzzles, books and more — before you shop the collection of new and gently used fashions for babies and kids. There’s also storytime every Friday at 10:30am.
12300 Inwood Road, #160, Dallas, 214/484-9240
 
Best Place to Outfit the Kids like Prince George and Princess Charlotte
Online: 
Dallas-based Smocked Auctions manufactures and sells classic smocked and monogrammed clothing for babies and kids on their website and through social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram, where you’ll find almost daily sales. Plus, twice a year, owners Amy Laws and Nicole Brewer hold a multi-day sample sale. The next one takes place March 7–9. We’ve been. Our advice? Go early and leave the kids at home. Check the Facebook page for details.
 
In Store: 
Layette, the Park Cities shop that stocks classic clothing, accessories, gifts and special occasion outfits for kids ages newborn to 8, is moving to a bigger space (just a few doors down) next month. Don’t worry. They’ll still offer monogramming and custom order services as well as personal shopping too. Crunched for time and in need of a gift now? Call and store manager Lori Lilley and her team can text pictures or pull items that you can pick from when you pop in. Check Instagram for the most up-to-date offerings.
4214 Oak Lawn Ave., Dallas, 214/520-7000
 
Best Do-Good Boutique
The boutique best known for the timeless baby and kids clothing and gifts they’ve been selling for almost two decades added something new to its repertoire this past summer. Hip! Hip! Hooray! started the nonprofit Hip Hip Hooray Helps Dallas and hosted a very successful diaper drive (they collected more than 10,000) for Communities in Schools of the Dallas region. They anticipate hosting two drives a year. Follow their Instagram and Facebook feeds for details, or drop off diapers at any time, even the box that’s half full.
6816 Snider Plaza, Dallas, 214/369-2788
 
Best Place to Shop with Toddlers in Tow
The Happy Lark carries a modern mix of children’s toys, clothing and books, but the 1,400-square-foot adjoining play area for ages 6 and younger might be Mom’s reason for going. Book the space for a play date ($125 for up to 25 people) to entertain the kids with a rotating collection of toys and activities such as a magnet wall, garden center and infant area while you catch up with friends. Or let the kiddos play ($10 for a day pass for one child; memberships also available) before hitting the shop since parent supervision is required.
5816 S. Helen St., Fort Worth, 682/841-1027
 
Best Place to Go When You Don’t Have Time to Shop
It can be tough getting out of the house with a newborn, and the people at Zoe & Jack know that, which is why they offer free FaceTime personal shopping. Call and let them know what you’re looking for — from toys and gifts to jammies, clothing and accessories for babies and kids. The staff works to gather items then sets up a time to chat, letting you virtually shop. Swing by to pick up the purchases (they gift wrap them for free), or ask them to ship the loot to you (for an additional charge). 
5137 Birchman Ave., Fort Worth, 817/989-2200
 
Not every mom has hours — even 30 minutes — to spend sifting through racks to outfit the kids or get a gift. That’s why the personal shopping experience at Small Fry Children’s Clothing, a boutique that carries fun dresses, rompers, swimsuits and outfits for little ones in sizes infant and up, is such a hit. Call ahead to let the staff know what you’re looking for. They’ll text or email photos, and you can pick and choose your purchases before you even get to the store.
330 Sunset St., Denton, 940/387-9915
 
 Best Place to Outfit Your Little Material Girl or Boy
Located inside the Dime Store and also online, Bugs & Roses is a made-to-order clothing shop for kids size 3 months–5T. Choose a paired print-and-solid, top-and-bottom set, or create your own from the selection of whimsical prints (many of them organic) and styles. Bugs & Roses also offers custom cloth diapers and crib sheets.
The Dime Store, 510 S. Locust St., Denton, 940/381-2324
 


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