Best for Moms & Babies 2018 / The winners of this year's readers survey revealed
You don’t need us to tell you that you’ve got a lot on your plate. Between researching preschools (it’s never too early, right?), reading way too many pregnancy blogs and narrowing down the name, your brain—not just your belly—is full to bursting. To give your pregnancy brain a break, we polled our readers to find their favorite local resources for new moms and moms-to-be, from childbirth classes to infant swim lessons. Here, the winners. Consider it our baby shower gift to you.
Best Childbirth Class
(All) Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources’ six-to-eight-hour Prepared Childbirth course covers the stages of labor, comfort measures, anatomy (so you know exactly what’s going on inside your body—after all, knowledge is power) and the medical interventions you may or may not decide to take advantage of. Register online for a one-time Saturday course or three-session weekday course. While you’re at it, sign up for the Sibling Class to prep your kids for the new arrival. Stuck on bed rest? Prepared Childbirth is offered online too.
3000 Interstate 35, Denton, 940/898-7000
4400 Long Prairie Road, Flower Mound, 469/322-7000; texashealth.org
Best Hospital to Have a Baby
North Texas: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Flower Mound
Local mamas trust Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Flower Mound with their labor and delivery care, and it’s easy to see why. From private labor suites equipped with birthing peanuts and labor bars to the level II neonatal intensive care unit to breastfeeding support, the hospital takes care of your every need before and after baby arrives. That includes the need for privacy— bond with your new bundle during Serenity Time, a daily two-hour window without visitors, testing or other interruptions.
4400 Long Prairie Road, Flower Mound, 469/322-7000; texashealthflowermound.com
Fort Worth: Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth
Moms-to-be choose Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth because they like options. Water birth? No problem. Want to see the birth of your child, even during a C-section? Absolutely! The gentle cesarean (which uses clear drapes instead of blue) will let you experience that magical moment. Whether you’d like nitrous oxide during labor, or you want that epidural ASAP, the hospital will work with you to achieve your ideal birth—and offer pre- and postpartum support through yoga classes, childbirth classes, an on-site breastfeeding boutique and a mobile app.
1301 Pennsylvania Ave., Fort Worth, 817/250-2000; texashealth.org/fw-baby
Collin: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano
With private labor and delivery suites and a level III neonatal intensive care nursery for babies born as early as 22 weeks, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano cares for mom in all stages of her typical or high-risk pregnancy. Plus, spoiler alert: Nurses bring you and dad a complimentary steak and lobster dinner (vegetarian and vegan options available) and shareable dessert after delivery. Once baby arrives, an in-house lactation consultant helps you get the hang of breastfeeding, and the Mother’s Gift Shop offers breast pumps and equipment for rent during your stay or when you go home. From 1–4pm, the postpartum unit dims the lights for quiet time so you can bond with your baby and catch up on sleep. If your hospital bag lacks a few items, request the missing toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, hair dryers and snacks from the front desk for free.
6200 W. Parker Road, Plano, 972/981-8000; texashealth.org/plano-baby
Dallas: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
The nurses, doctors and midwives of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas help you achieve the birth you and your partner desire before, during and after labor. Request birthing balls, labor bars and rooms with tubs for alternative labor support, and if a C-section is necessary, opt for a gentle cesarean, which uses clear drapes instead of blue ones so you can see baby the moment she arrives. Make sure your birth plan includes a mani and pedi—the in-hospital spa service Spataneity pampers moms with a soakless manicure and pedicure plus a hand and foot massage. For ultimate relaxation, book a luxury suite that includes a fridge, coffee machine (to keep your partner going through those late-night feedings), floral arrangements, spa products and concierge services.
8200 Walnut Hill Lane, Dallas, 214/345-6789; texashealth.org/dallas-baby
[Editor's note: In the print version of this article, we listed a price for the luxury suite at Texas Health Dallas. This price was incorrect. Please contact Texas Health Dallas for updated pricing information.]
Best Birthing Center
North Texas: Inanna Birth and Women’s Care
Since Inanna Birth and Women’s Care opened in 2006, over 1,500 North Texas babies have been delivered at the quaint Victorian-style birthing center, which has two birthing suites equipped with tubs (for relaxation or water birthing) and plenty of room for your loved ones. Staffed by certified nurse-midwives, the center boasts a low C-section rate (about 3 percent) and a low rate of hospital transfer (about 10 percent). Free tours are available most Saturdays at 2pm; call in advance to sign up.
1823 N. Locust St., Denton, 940/483-1569; inannabirth.com
Fort Worth: Best Birthing Center Fort Worth Birthing & Wellness Center
Our readers appreciate the one-on-one care and compassionate culture at Fort Worth Birthing & Wellness Center. Staffed by four certified nurse-midwives, the birthing center combines modern furnishings with Cowtown accents and is home to two birthing rooms complete with tubs, birthing balls and stools, and en-suite kitchens. The center is both licensed and accredited and, unlike many birthing centers, performs on-site ultrasounds. In case of a medical emergency, laboring moms can easily be transferred to Harris Methodist downtown.
622 Hemphill St., Fort Worth, 817/878-2737; fwbirthcenter.com
Collin: Allen Birthing Center
A home away from home for expecting mamas, Allen Birthing Center provides two birthing suites with a tub for water births, private bathroom, kitchen, four-poster bed, accoutrements for every labor position (e.g., peanut pillows, oil diffusers and massage tools) as well as a postpartum home visit and well-woman exam. New this year: Moms can sign up for a free, one-hour baby-wearing class. If you’re not feeling up to attending classes, take advantage of the center’s lending library of birthing and parenting books and DVDs.
406 Main St., Allen, 214/495-9918; allenbirthingcenter.com
Dallas: Birth and Women’s Center
Nearly 4,000 baby footprints adorn the walls of Birth and Women’s Center, a testament to all the local mamas who’ve trusted the center’s certified nurse-midwives with their pregnancy and delivery care. Book a free tour of the center to see why so many Dallas babies have made their debuts there—if the four-poster bed, jacuzzi tub, Victorian ambiance and fully stocked kitchen don’t convince you, the low emergency C-section and hospital transfer rates will.
3100 Swiss Ave., Dallas, 214/821-8190; birthcenter.net
North Texas: Maria Pokluda, Great Expectations Birth
After struggling with infertility, Maria Pokluda decided to help mothers-to-be everywhere by training to become a doula. Now she’s been practicing as a doula for 13 years and is founder and owner of Great Expectations Birth, providing support for moms delivering in any setting, be it a hospital or home. She’s also created her own doula certification company that trains women nationwide to become doulas. Pokluda’s most basic Simply Doula package costs $795, with add-ons such as childbirth education and postpartum care available.
Dallas-Fort Worth area, 214/223-0226; greatexpectationsbirth.com
Fort Worth: Barbara Davis, Birth Fort Worth
Mom of two Barbara Davis is about as qualified as a doula can be: She is dual certified as a birth and postpartum doula, and she’s a birthing class educator, placenta encapsulation specialist, trained breastfeeding educator and owner of Birth Fort Worth. After a free consultation, choose the doula services package and receive on-call labor support, a prenatal and postpartum in-home visit, guidance as you create your personalized birth plan and no judgment when you call with a million questions—Davis provides unlimited phone and email support. The package is $1,050, with add-ons like belly binding and placenta encapsulation available too.
Fort Worth area, 682/777-3932; birthfortworth.com
Collin: Jessie Prim, Confident Birthing
Repeat winner Jessie Prim has 34 years of experience helping moms feel confident about giving birth. She’s worked with single and multiple births, medicated and unmedicated, and she’s passionate about get-to support mom before, during and after the baby arrives. In fact, this January she launched a postpartum class at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano to help the entire family—not just mom—adjust to life with a newborn.
Dallas: Melissa Espey-Mueller, North Dallas Doula Associates
Readers have again voted Melissa Espey-Mueller the best doula in Dallas for her nearly two decades of creating connections with local families and empowering moms to advocate for themselves. She is the owner and founder of North Dallas Doula Associates, which provides doula services—plus placenta encapsulation, lactation support and more—to 400–500 families per year. In 2017, Espey-Mueller became the director of parent education at Medical City Dallas and Medical City Las Colinas—a role right in line with her belief that education is essential for moms to make informed decisions about their birth experience.
Dallas-Fort Worth area, 469/360-3810; northdallasdoulas.com
North Texas: Kassia Walcott, Singing Tree Midwifery
As a certified professional midwife and owner of Singing Tree Midwifery, Kassia Walcott aims to help women from all religious and socioeconomic backgrounds have safe, comfortable births. Walcott sees patients for prenatal care at her office in Addison, then the majority of her patients deliver at home or in a birthing center. After baby arrives, Walcott provides six weeks of in-home postpartum visits.
Dallas-Fort Worth area, 509/592-5279; singingtreemidwifery.com
Fort Worth: Kaitlyn Wages, Origins Birth Services
After complications following her own hospital delivery, Kaitlyn Wages began midwifery training so she could help women give birth naturally and with as few interventions as possible. Now a certified professional midwife, Wages creates a unique and intimate plan for each family’s birthing experience. Prenatal and postpartum appointments and deliveries take place at the farmhouse-style Origins Birth Services center, which she cofounded and co-owns.
10345 Alta Vista Road, Keller, 817/562-2828; originsbirth.com
Collin: Amy Giles, Allen Birthing Center
The owner of Allen Birthing Center, a certified nurse-midwife and a women’s healthcare nurse practitioner, Amy Giles has made it her calling to help every woman feel empowered by her birth experience. And our readers know it too—a multiyear winner, Giles maintains her place at the top by providing nitrous oxide at her birthing center, acquiring midwife privileges at nearby Baylor Scott & White McKinney and evolving her center to meet a mother’s emotional, physical and mental health needs with a network of holistic health professionals.
406 Main St., Allen, 214/495-9918; allenbirthingcenter.com
Dallas: Adrienne Jones, Midwifery and Family Wellness
Certified nurse-midwife Adrienne Jones offers personalized pregnancy, labor and well-woman support within the hospital setting (Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, to be exact) for moms who want the best of both worlds. Through appointments that feel more like catching up with an old friend than a clinic visit, she implements a care plan for every mom and mom-to-be based on their physical, social and emotional needs.
8160 Walnut Hill Lane, Dallas, 214/345-6817; texashealth.org/dallas
Best Child Care Center for Infants
North Texas, Collin: Primrose Schools
At Primrose Schools, low infant-teacher ratios, developmentally appropriate play spaces and an open-door policy that lets parents check on their little ones anytime all work to ensure that tots as young as 6 weeks are safe—and that Mom and Dad are at ease. The Balanced Learning approach combines everything from story time and sign language to building balance and motor skills to make sure that kiddos are physically, emotionally, socially and academically prepared for preschool.
Multiple locations; primroseschools.com
Fort Worth: Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons ticks those all-important boxes for safety, security and cleanliness: Cleanliness standards exceed those required by the state, all staff members are CPR-certified, and there’s an open-door policy that lets you check in on your little one. Plus, extras like finger painting, bubble blowing, story time books and outdoor playtime make it a fun place for babies as young as 6 weeks to learn and develop. Bright Horizons offers a Montessori or traditional curriculum, depending on location.
201 Jones St., Fort Worth, 817/334-0036
1709 N. Enderly Place, Fort Worth, 817/927-6249; brighthorizons.com
Best Babysitting Service
Find a sitter for tonight, this Friday or that concert next month on Care.com’s online babysitter matching service. After signing up for a free membership, post a job (the site instantly writes the job description based on your criteria) then see candidates’ profiles, ratings, reviews and certifications and request a background check. Payment and tips are handled through the app so you never have to remember to stop by the ATM on your way home.
Dallas-Fort Worth area; care.com
Best Parent & Baby Class
All: The Little Gym
Meet other parents, teach your infant new skills and have a bit of fun at one of The Little Gym’s parent-child classes. Classes are offered for ages 4 months to 3 years and are divided by age to make sure your kiddo is mixing with others at the same developmental level. (The youngest class is for tots 4–10 months.) In each 45-minute session, help your baby build muscles and social awareness through developmental gymnastics— little ones wiggle on mats, balance on beams, push barrels and pull themselves up on padded beams. Monthly pricing starts at $96 for one class per week.
1141 Flower Mound Road, Suite 600, Flower Mound, 469/980-1220
7151 Preston Road, Suite 123A, Frisco, 972/704-1819
1941 Preston Road, Suite 1020, Plano, 972/985-4545
Locations in Fort Worth, Keller, Mansfield and Saginaw
6465 E. Mockingbird Lane, Suite 410, Dallas, 214/515-0800
11909 Preston Road, Suite 1442, Dallas, 972/644-7333; thelittlegym.com
Best Infant Swim Classes
North Texas: Aqua-Tots Swim Schools
First-time swimmers at Aqua-Tots Swim Schools begin in the Tadpoles class, a 30-minute parent-child class for ages 4 months–1 year. In class, little fishies learn natural breath control and back floats while parents learn how to properly hold babies in the water. To make sure each baby gets plenty of instructor attention, classes maintain a strict student-instructor ratio of 4-to-1. Monthly pricing begins at $84 for one lesson per week.
777 S. MacArthur Blvd., Suite 409, Coppell, 972/793-7992
6060 Long Prairie Road, Suite 100, Flower Mound, 214/396-7900; aqua-tots.com
Fort Worth, Collin, Dallas: Emler Swim School
You and baby take the plunge together at Emler Swim School, a perennial parent favorite with indoor saltwater pools kept at a balmy 90 degrees, friendly instructors and—most important—a focus on safety. Start things off with a free 30-minute Bathtime Babies class that familiarizes 2- to 6-month-olds with the feeling of being in the water. Then transition into the semester-long Waterbabies course, where you work alongside the instructor to
teach your little one breath control and floating techniques.
6250 Southwest Blvd., Fort Worth, 817/737-7946
280 Commerce St., Suite 180, Southlake, 817/552-7946
Locations in Allen, Frisco, Plano and Sachse
9820 N. Central Expressway, Suite 500, Dallas, 214/361-4542
11909 Preston Road, Suite 1422, Dallas, 972/851-7946; emlerswimschool.com
Best Sleep Specialist
North Texas, Fort Worth, Collin: Newborn Nightingales
If your little one isn’t sleeping through the night, the 25 registered nurses from Newborn Nightingales are here to save your sanity. Choose an in-home, phone or email consultation, and a nurse will assess your family’s situation and provide a sleep plan and daily schedule for your baby (as young as 2 weeks), as well as help you troubleshoot problem areas like swaddling, breastfeeding and tummy issues. Plus, if you have any follow-up questions, Newborn Nightingales provides free email support for six months.
Dallas-Fort Worth area; newbornnightingales.com
Dallas: Rest to Your Nest with Mary Cantwell
Turn your baby’s sleep from guesswork to clockwork with the help of Rest to Your Nest with Mary Cantwell. The certified sleep consultant knows that sleep isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation and works to build a personalized sleep plan tailored to each family and baby. After a two-hour in-home consultation (which can also be done by phone or Skype), Cantwell emails a four- to six-stage sleep plan for you to follow—with the help of email and phone check-ins. Packages start at $465 with an in-home consultation and at $365 for a remote consultation.
Dallas-Fort Worth area, 972/638-9974; resttoyournest.com