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Best for Moms & Babies 2014: NorthTexasChild

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
Church
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.
 
Best Place to Have a Baby
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Flower Mound
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Flower Mound wants your baby’s big entrance to be as calm and comfortable as possible. Following delivery in one of the hospital’s eight birthing suites, Mom and baby are moved to an individual postpartum suite where Dad is encouraged to room with Mom and baby and participate in daily interruption-free “Serenity Time.” New parents are also treated to a “Celebration Meal” created by an in-house chef and have the option of an in-room photography session to document the momentous occasion. For high-risk, preterm or sick newborns, there’s a Special Care Nursery staffed with highly qualified neonatal nurses, respiratory therapists, neonatologists and certified neonatal nurse practitioners.
Flower Mound, 469/322-7094; texashealthflowermound.com
 
Best Childbirth Class
Birth Boot Camp
Ready for a natural birth? Birth Boot Camp will train you up right for the mission of childbirth, from setting up camp (choosing where to birth) to adjusting to life with a new recruit. This 10-session course was designed with Dad in mind, and he’s an integral part of the exercises you’ll find in the official Field Manual. Start your training online or with a live, local instructor in a casual class setting.
Multiple locations, 877/712-4784; birthbootcamp.com
 
Best Birth Center and Best Midwife Service
All About Babies Birth Center
Their name might be slightly misleading. Sure, All About Babies has the baby business covered, but their commitment lies with the whole family. The experienced midwives at All About Babies are dedicated to ensuring baby arrives safe and sound, with multiple birthing suites allowing you to deliver in comfort and on your own terms. But the care doesn’t stop there. The All About Babies staff is passionate about healthy living and offers up to 10 classes each month on everything from organic eating and gardening to introductions to essential oils. All About Babies is growing; new midwives are set to join the team in 2014, and a brand-new birthing suite opened in 2013.
Argyle, 972/653-2229; allaboutbabies.net
 
Best Doula Service – Tie
Great Expectations Doula Service, Maria Pokluda
This mom of four has seen it all in her own birth journey: midwife, home birth, hospital birth – and all after a struggle with infertility. She uses her personal experiences to support moms-to-be in their birthing decisions and has attended more than 300 births since earning her certification, providing the knowledge and positive encouragement women need to achieve their ideal birth.
DFW Area, 214/223-0226; greatexpectationsdoulaservices.webs.com
 
A Joyful Birth, Laura King
A stay-at-home mom of six, Laura King believes supporting moms in childbirth is both a job and a ministry. She is passionate about helping women find strength and peace during their birth experiences and feels called to help them make educated decisions about their birth plans, whether they want to give birth in a hospital or at home, with medication or without.
DFW Area, 214/659-1569; ajoyfulbirth.com
 
Best Place to Splurge on Baby Clothes
Heaven Sent Children’s Boutique
For more than 10 years, Heaven Sent Children’s Boutique has been the go-to for parents on the hunt for haute baby wear. Things may not come cheap, but once you get a glimpse of their selection of designer garb just for kids, you won’t mind loosening those purse strings. Unlike some small boutiques, Heaven Sent has a flourishing online store, so you’re free to get your fix of tiny tutus and over-the-top hair bows from the comfort of your home.
Lewisville, 972/459-9400; heavensentonline.com
 
Best Child-Care Center for Babies
The Children’s Courtyard
Children’s Courtyard takes an individualized approach to child care by taking each child’s unique learning style into account. For infants as young as 6 weeks, this means individualized lesson plans including motor skill enhancement, singing, physical explorations and sign language use. Coupled with caring teachers eager to offer up lots of cuddles in Mom and Dad’s absence, it’s easy to see why Children’s Courtyard has been a trusted resource for local parents since its inception in 1986.
Multiple locations, childrenscourtyard.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 & 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 Mommy & Baby Class
Gymboree Play & Learn
Moms and babies can play, learn and – most important – bond at Gymboree’s Play & Learn classes. Play-based activities for children 0 to 5 years encourage each child’s growth at his or her own pace, using stimulating games, stories and music. Not sure you’re ready to commit? Pay their website a visit to print a free class pass.
Lewisville, 972/459-0934; gymboreeclasses.com
 
Best Infant Swim Class
AquaKids
Following their unique AquaSteps curriculum, AquaKids teaches babies as young as 6 months to have fun safely and feel comfortable in the pool – an indoor heated pool, no less. By the time your child completes the first Mommy-and-me Waterbaby class, he’ll be able to submerge for 5–6 seconds, swim along the wall and float on his back with your help.
Flower Mound, 972/724-1528; aquakids.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 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

Published February 2014