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Best for Moms & Babies 2014: DallasChild

Whether you’re trying to decide if the time is finally right, sporting a full-fledged baby bump or settling into life with a little, chances are you’re feeling overwhelmed by one baby-related decision or another. Where to give birth? Which infant swim class to try? The decisions are never-ending. We get it. We know it’s hard, which is why we did the legwork to compile the best of the best for moms and babies as voted by our readers: local moms like you. So dive right in. From the best midwife to the most trusted baby-sitting source, it’s all here.
Best Place to Meet Other Moms
No matter your religious or denominational preferences, regular visits to your place of worship not only refresh your spirit but open you up to meeting other families who are going through the same experiences as yours. Connect with other moms during the Sunday-school hour or at specially designed programs for new parents. Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPs) groups operate in a number of area churches, and at Christ Church Plano, Mothers ’n More meets the first and third Tuesday mornings of the month and offers child care with a reservation.
Best Childbirth Class & Best Doula Service
Natural Beginnings
The ladies of Natural Beginnings make a personal commitment to each woman and couple they serve, whether it’s in an intimate class setting or in their support roles as pre- and postpartum doulas. Childbirth educators Linda Worzer and Sharon Mattes are certified in The Bradley Method, and Worzer has attended more than 500 births as a doula. Both offer classes in the comfort of their homes for parents interested in natural birth. Richardson, 972/699-3921; Garland, 972/495-2805; naturalbeginningsonline.com
Best Place to Have a Baby in Collin County
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano
From the minute you find out you’re expecting, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano will wow you with their high level of care. Childbirth education classes prepare you for the big day, and lactation services will undoubtedly come in handy for life after leaving the hospital. In the event things don’t go as planned, there’s a Level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with the largest bed capacity of any NICU in Collin County. Comfort is key here; the center’s labor-delivery-recovery (LDR) rooms are designed to feel like home with optional support therapies (such as water therapy) available to moms seeking a non-medicated birth.
Plano, 972/981-8000; texashealth.org/plano
Best Place to Have a Baby in Dallas County
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
With nearly 6,000 babies born each year (that’s 15 a day!), it stands to reason that Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas knows their stuff. The Margot Perot Center for Women and Infants at Texas Health Dallas is the second-busiest labor and delivery unit in Dallas, which comes as no surprise considering the unit not only offers hotel-like luxury accommodations but a Level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and Special Care Nursery where parents can stay with infants who’ve graduated from the NICU but aren’t quite ready to go home. In a recent addition, “Peek-a-Boo” cameras were installed to allow parents of infants in the NICU 24/7 access to their baby via computer or smartphone.
Dallas, 214/345-6789; texashealth.org/dallas
Best Birthing Center and Best Midwife Service
Allen Birthing Center
As the oldest birthing center in Collin County, Allen Birthing Center has long been the first choice for expectant moms looking to give birth in a serene, private setting under the care of educated and experienced midwives. The historic Bacus-Brown home that houses the center is impressive in itself. But it’s the three certified nurse-midwives on staff who really help moms-to-be feel at home. Allen Birthing Center strives to be a crucial part of your journey to parenthood long before and after baby arrives; they provide everything from well-woman exams to nutrition and lactation counseling.
Allen, 214/495-9911; allenbirthingcenter.com
Best Spa Services for Pregnant Moms
La Bella Pregnancy Spa & Ultrasound
La Bella’s foot and leg massage alone is worth the drive east to Rockwall. Add in the hot chocolate, tea or cakes to snack on during the session, and you’ll be negotiating for an extra half-hour. To help alleviate those new aches and pains, make that much-needed appointment for a prenatal massage, mani-pedi, facial and something else you can’t get at any other spa: an ultrasound. The larger space allows for the whole family to join you for that first look at your child.
Rockwall, 972/772-7212; labellabellyspa.com

Best Place to Splurge on Baby Furniture
Chic moms have this Snider Plaza boutique on speed dial for everything from bassinets and furniture sets to wall art, bedding, clothing and essential baby gear. Babybliss carries cool, eco-friendly brands like Flink Living and Oeuf that will help you make baby’s room as stylish and comfortable as the rest of your space. Start designing in store or online.
Dallas, 469/232-9420; shopbabybliss.com
Best Place to Splurge on Baby Clothes
A Tiny Hiney Baby Boutique
Owner Jennifer Kitto’s belief that fashion should be fun is apparent in every corner of Dallas-based A Tiny Hiney Baby Boutique. Shop top lines such as Biscotti and Florence Eiseman in the roomy space, which makes shopping with rambunctious kids and Cadillac-size strollers a breeze. For those who can’t make it out, A Tiny Hiney has a thriving online store. But stop in if you can; embroidery is done on site, and gift wrapping is always free.
Dallas, 972/818-2000; atinyhiney.com
Best One-Stop Shop for Baby Goods
Babies R Us
As you tally your list of needs for the week (diapers, formula, more diapers) or begin the search for those big-ticket items (cribs, strollers), look no further than your local Babies R Us or Babies R Us/Toys R Us combination store. Find all that you need and more of what you want with unlimited layaway, and take full advantage of the toy registry (great for planning parties), parenting classrooms at select locations and registry consultants who help ensure that new moms don’t forget any essentials.
Multiple locations, babiesrus.com

Best Child-Care Center for Babies
Primrose School
Primrose Schools take a balanced approach to early childhood education by seeking to build “active minds, healthy bodies and happy hearts.” To do this, the schools use a “balanced learning” curriculum designed to support children’s social-emotional, cognitive, creative and physical growth. Starting as early as 6 weeks, babies can benefit from the program under the capable and caring hands of Primrose infant teachers.
Multiple locations, primroseschools.com
Best Baby-Sitting Source
Mom’s Best Friend
Need a night out? (You’re right – that was a stupid question.) Mom’s Best Friend meets every caregiver applicant in person, so you know you’re getting the best of the best when you book a sitter, nanny or overnight caregiver to look after your little one. The agency uses a rigorous 10-step screening process to ensure your family is matched with a sitter who is responsible, creative and passionate about kids. Annual membership is $125 for the first year and $100 for renewal.
Carrollton, 972/446-0500; mbfagency.com
Best Prenatal Workout
Moms on the Move at Baylor Tom Landry Fitness Center
Whether you’re a diehard yogi or think that floating weightless in a pool sounds awesome, Moms on the Move has a class for you – or you can mix and match yoga and water workouts as you please. The fitness center has two pools for moms’ use: a shallow, warm-water pool for stretching and relaxing and a deep, colder pool for suspended cardio exercises. Shallow-water classes are held on Tuesday evenings, deep-water classes on Thursday evenings and yoga classes on Saturday mornings.
Dallas, 214/820-8177; baylortomlandryfitnesscenter.com
Best Postpartum Workout
Baby Boot Camp
Put those maternity clothes in your past without leaving baby behind. Baby Boot Camp incorporates stroller and baby into 55-minute strength and cardio workouts designed to help you reclaim your pre-baby body, one push-up at a time. Your first class is free, and there’s no commitment, but the support from other new mommies will keep you coming back.
Multiple locations; 941/953-5000; babybootcamp.com
Best Maternity Store
A Pea in the Pod
This luxury maternity boutique with Dallas roots knows what expectant moms expect – and they deliver. Designer-label blouses, dresses and jeans that stretch in just the right places plus a new collection by Jennifer Love Hewitt will have you looking and feeling chic throughout your pregnancy. Freshen up with complimentary juices while you peruse the racks, and drop in to the Learning Studio later for a prenatal yoga class, post-pregnancy workout and more fitness classes every week.
Dallas, Lincoln Park, 214/346-9140; apeainthepod.com

Best Mommy & Baby Class
The Little Gym
For decades, The Little Gym has been a go-to for moms looking to learn and grow with their littles. Starting at 4 months, babies can benefit from The Little Gym’s three-dimensional approach to learning. Weekly classes are designed to get your child moving, boost his brain function and develop independence and socialization skills. The Little Gym believes this holistic approach helps children become well-rounded, well-adjusted and happy adults.
Multiple locations, thelittlegym.com
Best Infant Swim Class
Emler Swim School
Everyone, even newborns, should experience the joys of playing safely in the water: That’s the philosophy that has guided Emler Swim School for nearly 40 years. Their free Bathtime Babies class for infants as young as 2 months introduces parent and child to bathtime activities, while the Waterbabies Mommy-and-me course teaches baby to float and swim safely.
Multiple locations, 817/552-7946; emlerswimschool.com
Best Resale Shop
Once Upon a Child
You’ll recognize the racks of Once Upon a Child from the closet of your dreams, with clothes arranged by color, type, size and gender. Find accessories, toys, books, baby gear, strollers – all checked for safety recalls – and many more affordable, like-new items for babies, toddlers and children. Have gently used items your own child has outgrown? Resell your pre-loved items for cash, no appointment necessary.
Multiple locations, onceuponachild.com

Best Toy Store
Learning Express Toys
It’s playtime, but sneak in toys that exercise your kids’ counting and reading skills, and they’ll never know the difference. How clever you are. That’s the idea behind Learning Express Toys’ neighborhood stores in Frisco, Plano and Dallas at Snider Plaza, where you’ll find the toys to match your children’s developmental milestones and harness their creativity. Associates will gladly offer to demo the games for you, wrap gifts for free and help you set up a birthday gift registry for your child’s next soiree.
Multiple locations, learningexpress.com

Published January 2014