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
Barbara Davis, CD Labor, CBE, PES – birth | Fort Worth
Our readers love doula Barbara Davis’ instruction, particularly the Your Best Birth Class, a one-day course on all things childbirth offered through birth | Fort Worth. Besides the in-person lessons, every new mom leaves with a free one-year membership to an online portal where you can access tips and video resources. Plus, you also receive Davis’ personal cell number, so you can stay in contact throughout your pregnancy should you need extra support. This year, Davis is debuting the Your Best Birth Class Academy, which will consist of online childbirth class supplements and customized classes.
4255 Bryant Irving Road, Fort Worth, birthfortworth.com
Runner-up: Jillian Blakeman – Birth Boot Camp
Best Hospital To Have a Baby
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth
When it’s time for baby, Fort Worth moms trust Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth for its experienced and attentive delivery team (nurses check on moms about every hour during their stay, or more often when necessary) and desire to help moms give birth the way they want to—for example, the hospital offers tub births and gentle C-sections, which allow families to watch their little ones emerge from the womb. Seventeen personal maternity suites boast amenities such as a private bathroom, free internet access and a flat-screen TV so Mom feels right at home. Plus, she and her support person receive a complimentary meal to celebrate baby’s arrival. And if little ones need extra support upon arrival, the hospital has a level III NICU on-site.
1301 Pennsylvania Ave., Fort Worth; texashealth.org
Runner-up: Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center
Best Birthing Center
Fort Worth Birthing & Wellness Center
Located only two blocks away from Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, the Fort Worth Birthing and Wellness Center has plenty of Cowtown flair mixed with modern style and amenities. Founded seven years ago, the center offers services from family planning to prenatal, birth and postpartum care, which includes two- and six-week postpartum visits. The center currently has six certified nurse-midwives with expertise in gynecology, fertility and more who collaborate in order to support clients.
622 Hemphill St., Fort Worth; fwbirthcenter.com
Runner-up: Origins Birth Services
Tonya Buffington, CD – Right Hand Doula
Inspired by her own experience with professional birthing support, Tonya Buffington decided to pursue a doula certification. Now with 12 years of doula experience, Buffington (who has assisted at over 400 births) is a placenta encapsulation specialist and post-birth belly binder too. Our readers call on her for her passion for assisting new moms and families; through Right Hand Doula, Buffington provides birth plan assistance, labor support and breastfeeding support.
Runner-up: Barbara Davis CD Labor, CBE, PES – birth | Fort Worth
Carla Morrow, DNP, CNM – Fort Worth Birthing + Wellness Center
With two decades of midwifery experience, Carla Morrow (who also holds a doctorate of nursing practice) was chosen by readers for her dedication to supporting new moms and their families. In 2013 she founded the Fort Worth Birthing & Wellness Center, and she’s just opened a new practice in Arlington that offers in-hospital midwifery care. Her services range from routine prenatal visits and postpartum care to childbirth classes and lactation consulting. Morrow also provides well-woman exams and screening for anxiety and depression.
622 Hemphill St., Fort Worth; fwbirthcenter.com
Runner-up: Gina Thomson, LM, CPM – Origins Birth Services
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: Fort Worth Sitters
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.
Multiple locations; thelittlegym.com
Runner-up: Gymboree Play & Music
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.
6250 Southwest Blvd., Fort Worth
280 Commerce St., Suite 180, Southlake; 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
Sleep Center at Cook Children’s
When their littles are tossing and turning at night, our readers trust Cook Children’s Sleep Center to diagnose their troubles and help them get some much-needed rest. The center has pediatric sleep medicine physicians and a sleep psychologist on-site and boasts kid-friendly rooms so your child feels right at home during overnight testing. This year, the center is welcoming a new nurse practitioner who specializes in sleep disorders. Though the Fort Worth center has the overnight sleep lab, sleep specialists also see patients in Denton, Southlake, Alliance and Mansfield.
1500 Cooper St., Fort Worth; cookchildrens.org
Runner-up: Pediatric Sleep Institute
Photo courtesy of Emler Swim School.