We know it takes a village to prepare for and welcome your new baby. Of course, finding that village, from childbirth instructors to doulas to the best babysitting service, can seem overwhelming—there is so much information out there these days. But don’t worry! Your fellow readers have stepped up to help. Our annual Best: Moms & Babies survey features the best of the best in all these topics (and more), chosen by you. Consider it our baby gift to you.
Best Childbirth Instructor
Stacy Hutchins, AAHCC – Birthing … Naturally
Stacy Hutchins knew birth education was her calling after having her firstborn. As part of the team at Birthing … Naturally, the mother of four teaches seven-week classes that touch on all things childbirth, from the labor process to relaxation techniques and comfort measures. For moms who took childbirth classes during a prior pregnancy, Hutchins offers a one-day, three-hour-long refresher course to go over the basics, such as labor stages. She is certified in the Bradley Method and Spinning Babies.
Runner-up: Jessie Prim, ICCE, CD – Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano
Best Hospital To Have a Baby
Medical City Plano
Moms trust Medical City Plano on the big day for its plethora of amenities, services and on-site Level III NICU, should (heaven forbid) little ones need extra care upon arrival. In-room amenities include adjustable lighting, Spotify access, memory-foam beds, a kitchenette and a lounge area––after baby arrives, you might not want to leave. The hospital boasts a newborn nursery and photography services by Mom 365. Plus, to ensure every measure of safety, the labor and delivery nurses hold several life-saving certifications. Call to schedule a one-hour tour.
3901 W. 15th St., Plano; medicalcityplano.com
Runner-up: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano
Best Birthing Center
At Plano Birthplace, birth suites boast comfortable beds, tubs and walk-in showers for a spa-like environment. Amenities aside, our readers trust Plano Birthplace for its certified nurse-midwives, who in case of emergency can continue to care for moms at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. Plus, moms receive individualized, personal attention, as the center cares for only five to seven moms a month. Schedule a tour online.
5172 Village Creek Drive, Suite 101, Plano; planobirthplace.com
Runner-up: Allen Birthing Center
Laura Fortner, CD(DONA) & ProDoula CD Labor – North Dallas Doula Associates
Moms count on Laura Fortner for her impressive expertise—she has over 300 attended births under her belt, including home and hospital births, C-sections and VBACs. As part of the North Dallas Doula Associates family, her services include lactation assistance, placenta encapsulation, and postpartum and antepartum services, to name a few. In addition to her certifications as a birth doula and lactation educator, this spring Fortner will add VBAC Link certification––becoming one of only a few doulas in North Texas with three doula certifications.
107 Murray St., Dallas; northdallasdoulas.com
Runner-up: Stacy Hutchins, AAHCC – Birthing … Naturally
Amy Giles, CNM, DNP – Allen Birthing Center
A veteran Best: Moms & Babies winner, certified nurse-midwife Amy Giles offers full maternity care at Allen Birth Center (which she co-owns with her husband), and attends births at hospitals and homes too. Her resume is impressive—in addition to having served over 1,500 families, Giles received her Doctorate of Nursing Practice in 2018. Her birth center provides nitrous oxide for delivering mamas, along with hormone therapy and neurofeedback for clients and their families.
406 W. Main St., Allen; allenbirthingcenter.com
Runner-up: Teri Mitchell, RN, CNM, IBCLC – BundleBorn Midwifery
Best Childcare Center
Our readers trust Primrose Schools, which was founded over 30 years ago, for their babies’ educational growth. The private preschools provide care and classes for littles as young as 6 weeks old, nurturing infants’ development through movement, music, sign language and more. Titled Balanced Learning, the curriculum places equal value on a variety of learning areas so kids leave fully equipped to enter preschool or big-kid school. All teachers have experience in child development and are first aid- and CPR-trained.
Multiple locations; primroseschools.com
Runner-up: Bright Horizons
Best Babysitting Service
Mom’s Best Friend
When our readers and their partners need to take the night off, they call Mom’s Best Friend—a household staffing agency (with decades of experience serving families) that is quite literally a mom’s best friend. Much more than a babysitting service, MBF matches families throughout Dallas-Fort Worth with full- and part-time nannies, housekeepers, personal assistants––even chefs. Their sitters are all certified in CPR and first aid, in addition to completing a 10-step screening process. They can care for littles as young as newborns. Find your next babysitter (or chef) by calling or searching online.
Runner-up: College Nannies + Sitters + Tutors
Best Parent & Baby Classes
The Little Gym
For fun time with a side of educational play, The Little Gym’s parent and child classes are a favorite among our readers. The 45-minute classes (for babies as young as 4 months) involve age-appropriate activities and exercises; the theme, music and gym setup change each week. As young children are exploring and learning about the big world around them, classes focus on developing strength, balance and spatial awareness, plus social skills.
7151 Preston Road, Suite 123A, Frisco
1941 Preston Road, Suite 1020, Plano; thelittlegym.com
Runners-up: Kindermusik and My Gym
Best Infant Swim Classes
Emler Swim School
With heated, saltwater pools (with a max depth of 4 feet), it’s no wonder families flock to Emler Swim School for kiddos to earn their fins. As an added bonus, pools have ultraviolet water purification systems, and some locations boast dehumidifiers. The veteran Best: Moms & Babies winner offers year-round swim lessons for children as young as 2 months. Swimmers move up levels as they get older and master breath control and independent movement; until then, as your little one splashes away, you are right there in the water with them.
Multiple locations; emlerswimschool.com
Runner-up: Aqua-Tots Swim School
Best Sleep Consultant
Live Love Sleep
Families in North Texas turn to Live Love Sleep to help their littles start catching their ZZZs. Founder Kaley Medina starts working with families as soon as baby comes home to set them up for success before sleep training can begin (around age 3 months). LLS creates a customized sleep plan depending on your family’s needs, taking into account your parenting style and your child’s personality. Local parents typically select the in-home consultation, during which LLS sleep experts pay a visit to review the new sleep plan and help you implement techniques to get your baby to sleep. Recently, LLS also began offering services for adults––because we’re all at our best when we’re rested.
Runner-up: Newborn Nightingales
Best Sleep Disorder Experts
Children’s Health Sleep Disorders Center
Sleep is baby’s (and Mom’s) best friend, we know. So when things are going awry in the snooze department, our readers call the Children’s Health Sleep Disorders Center. The board-certified physicians, psychologists, respiratory therapists and sleep technologists (yep—it’s a whole team!) determine your child’s diagnosis and come up with a personalized plan. Plus, their facilities feature amenities for ultimate kiddie comfort, such as TVs, games and themed rooms.
7609 Preston Road, Suite P1100, Plano, childrens.com
Runner-up: Pediatric Sleep Institute
Photo courtesy of Beth Horn Photography.