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One year baby girl at his first swimming lesson with mother

Experts and Services in Dallas-Fort Worth for Baby’s First Year

You can never have too many helping hands during Baby's first year

This article was originally published in September 2018. Please reach out to each entity for the most up-to-date information on classes.

0–3 Months

Soon enough, you’ll long for the days of tummy time and incoherent gurgling. But right now, this brand-new bundle is, well, new, and you’re still trying to figure out how this mommy business works. News flash: That’s a lifelong process—but with the help of these experts, we can make the first three months with baby a little easier.

In Good Hands

Baby’s home … now what? First things first: Make sure you know how to respond if, heaven forbid, something should happen to your little one. The Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the American Red Cross (214/678-4800) offers adult and pediatric first aid/CPR/AED courses around North Texas from $85 per person for up to 6.5 hours of instruction and practical training with mannequins.

The YMCA provides similar Heartsaver CPR & First Aid courses for $35–$100 per person for three to four hours of class time with a certified instructor. Make sure to register in advance with your local branch.

To learn lifesaving techniques at home, purchase the Infant CPR Anytime kit from the American Heart Association for $38.50, a small price to pay for skills that could save your child’s life. The kit includes a DVD, instructions, skills reminder card and the requisite mannequin for practice— this one clicks when you’ve done the job right.


When baby’s crying and nothing will soothe her, or when you realize—again—how much you really don’t know about this whole parenting gig, call the Dallas Association for Parent Education (DAPE) Warmline (972/699-7742) or The Parenting Center’s Parenting Advice Line (817/332-6399). A trained volunteer will offer nonmedical support, suggestions or a listening ear if you just need to vent about the wonderful new thing that is mommyhood. The lines are open Monday–Friday 9am–3pm (DAPE) or noon–3pm (The Parenting Center). After hours, visit either organization’s website to send an electronic query and to find other resources and classes to help you on the journey.

The Perfect Touch 

“Babies come wired to learn more about the world through touch than their other senses,” explains Barbara Einsohn, certified educator of infant massage (214/363-5237). She offers one-on-one home visits to teach parents how to properly touch and massage their infant and “send messages of safety and caring through all those skin sensors.” Lessons are $50 for each one-hour session plus a handbook; Barbara says most parents feel comfortable with the moves after 2–3 sessions.

Sweet Pea Baby Massage also provides in-home training for parents and small groups (214/674-7422). Marina Spriggs, certified educator of infant massage, says that massaging your baby can boost his immune system, reduce colic and gas, encourage self-esteem and, most important, promote better sleep for baby (and Mommy too). A four-week, one-hour-per- week course is $150 and includes a book and a bottle of natural massage oil.

Milk It 

The bad news: Breastfeeding may be natural, but it’s not always easy. The good news: There’s a lactation consultant for that. Call Natural Beginnings lactation consultants Cleo Marchese (214/505-3967), Sharon Mattes (972/495-2805) or Diana Gifford (469/844- 3574) with your breastfeeding questions; most queries can be handled with a quick, free phone call. If further investigation is needed, you can schedule a consultation to receive a thorough examination and care plan. Office visits are $110 and home visits are $150.

If you’re feeling like the only breastfeeding mom in a formula world, seek out the ladies of La Leche League of Texas, a support group that meets once a month to share their experiences and discuss breastfeeding. Visit the website to find a meeting near you.

Not a Wink 

If baby’s not sleeping—which means you aren’t either—it may be time to call in a sleep consultant before your coffee intake reaches record-breaking levels. Cortney Gibson of Gibson Newborn Services (866/432-2229) provides an array of sleep consultation packages, ranging from a one hour phone call ($120) to the Fussy Baby Fix, ideal for ages 0–4 months ($330). During in-home consultations, she will spend quality time with your restless little one to assess the situation, formulate a step-by- step guide to promote the whole health of the child and work with you to implement the plan.

Whether you have multiples, a baby with special needs or a newborn who just won’t let you sleep, Melissa O’Neill, founder of Newborn Nightingales, can help you through those first few weeks. Visit the website to reserve a home, phone or email consultation— Newborn Nightingales will develop a personalized routine for your family and answer all those questions keeping you up at night.

4–6 months

You blinked, and suddenly baby’s gotten bigger. Never mind where those first three months went—your little pre-crawler is getting restless, and so are you. Make sure your baby is always in a safe environment, whether at home or with a caregiver, so that both she and you can have some fun exploring the big wide world outside the nursery.

Safe House 

You probably know that sharp corners and electrical outlets are not baby’s best friend, but do you know which babyproofing products to buy and how to install them properly? Even if you’ve done your homework, it’s still best to call a professional babyproofing service. “The last thing a parent wants to do is experiment with their child’s safety,” says Jack Smith of Infant House (866/463-2685). During an in-home consultation, Infant House will educate parents about risks and solutions, fix what they can for free—moving furniture around, for example—and put together a quote for all the babyproofing items you’ll need. Whether you choose to shop on your own or let Infant House professionally install your new safety features, you can rest easy knowing your house (and your pool area) are safe for baby.

Brad Lemon of Little Bird Babyproofing (972/712-3312) had a near-miss years ago when furniture fell on his daughter, who still bears a scar from the incident. Now he makes sure other homes are safe for tots. Call for a consultation, and Little Bird will share information, tour your home, give you an estimate and install all the gates, locks and latches you need. The process takes 7–10 days, but Little Bird will respond to babyproofing emergencies.

Babysitters Club

If you haven’t had a dinner date since baby arrived, now’s the time to trust your tot to a sitter and go out for some adults only relaxation. Join Mom’s Best Friend (972/446-0500) for access to qualified babysitters who have undergone a stringent screening process even the pickiest parent would approve. Call, email or ($100 for renewal); babysitting rates start at $20.95 per hour. Advance notice of 48 hours is recommended, but Mom’s Best Friend will try to accommodate last-minute needs.

Caring Hands (469/586- 5262) has a robust, veteran staff of caregivers who are experienced with all ages, including babies. Their high standards ensure that each babysitter meets parents’ expectations in terms of dependability, competence and TLC. Just pay a one-time registration fee ($50), submit your request by phone, fax or email and enjoy a night out while Caring Hands spends a night in with baby. Rates start at $13.50 per hour plus a $15 booking fee; Caring Hands recommends that you book at least two business days in advance if possible.

Join MommyMixer for access to a babysitting Rolodex without the middleman. Meet potential sitters—all talented local college students—at exclusive personal mixers or online. You choose the sitter and you choose the rate. MommyMixer keeps their list of eligible sitters and families in tip-top shape through user reviews, so you know exactly what to expect when your sitter arrives. Better be on your best behavior—sitters rate their families too. Membership is $30 per month; $5 goes to support orphan care in India through The Miracle Foundation.

Move and Groove

Do you remember the first time you beheld the majesty of a rippling rainbow parachute? Well, no, obviously, but you’ll definitely remember the adorable smile on your baby’s face when she spies that childhood staple for the first time. Now that she’s wiggling and giggling a little more, introduce her to the world through interactive play. Gymboree’s Play & Learn classes use maracas, flashlights, beach balls and other baby-friendly playthings to encourage sensory development. And as you guide her through the moves, you will also get plenty of cuddling moments with the new baby you’re still getting to know. Classes are 45 minutes twice a week.

Whether or not your child is destined to be the next Gabby Douglas, you can let her explore the baby-friendly gymnastics equipment at The Little Gym to learn basic motor skills. The Parent and Child classes— 45 minutes once a week— promote every part of baby’s development, from movement to her musical ear, so she’s ready to go when it’s time to hit the playground on the first day of preschool. Even if you can’t think that far ahead just yet, you can still look forward to weekly bonding through play.

In addition to physical play, your baby could use a little flashcard practice. Daunted? Don’t be. PlayWisely is not about producing baby geniuses but stimulating little minds with whimsical images and colors. Each 30-minute class also includes exercises to develop balance, strength and athletic ability—at a basic level, of course, though with training like this, your pre-crawler will be ready for the big leagues before you know it.

Home Away From Home

It’s been in the back of your sleep-deprived mind—the day when you have to resume your career and lend your little one to someone else during the day. To ease the transition for both you and baby, make sure you put her in nurturing hands while you’re at work. Some local child care centers offer infant care, a convenient option for busy parents. The infant learning program at Children’s Courtyard caters to your child’s natural interests and development with individualized lesson plans crafted by qualified caregivers. Your child will explore the world through music, sign language, finger plays, physical activity and, of course, cuddling in a nurturing, home-like environment.

Primrose Schools use the Balanced Learning System to promote whole-child development through story time, sign language, art projects and other exploratory activities. After spending the day guiding your child through playtime, baby’s teacher will send home a daily report, so you know exactly how your little one is learning and growing.

The qualified staff at TLC Schools (Plano, 972/473-0167; Arlignton, 817/801- 5228) will give your child plenty of tender loving care while you’re away (though you may not be able to resist popping in for Mommy and Me time). TLC uses the HighReach Learning curriculum to encourage development through music, books, rocking, tummy time and toys made just for baby.

Bright Horizons will partner with parents to develop a learning plan as unique as your baby. Their Great Places for Babies program emphasizes sensory experiences, motor skills, relationships and communication, with milestones to celebrate baby’s progress and lots of warm interactions to comfort and nurture.

Kids ’R’ Kids developed the Big Steps Curriculum to promote curiosity and creativity from infancy on. The “Hug First, Then Teach” approach will ensure your child receives the attention and encouragement she needs as she builds cognitive, physical and emotional skills. Kids ’R’ Kids especially promotes literacy and language development so that baby is ready for school when the time comes – which will happen before you know it.

Using two research-based curriculums and facilities specially designed to encourage learning, Crème de la Crème promotes language and motor skills, social awareness and emotional development in a caring environment. Children’s Lighthouse Learning Centers emphasizes emotional intelligence in their infant classrooms, promoting a safe and secure learning environment so babies can comfortably explore their senses and develop gross motor and social skills.

7–9 months   

Baby is sort of crawling and kind of eating and still making noises you can’t figure out, but you’re finally getting used to the new normal. Now’s a good time to reclaim some of those things you loved before this chaotic, wonderful life with baby—like your pre-baby body and visits to yummy restaurants.

Shape Up 

We know you’re tired of stretchy pants, so join a local postpartum workout group to melt away the pregnancy pounds and get your body back—without leaving baby behind. Baby Boot Camp takes typical boot camp moves—lunges, squats, push-ups—and adds baby to the equation to make a strength and cardio workout your abs will thank you for. Plus, exercising with other new moms provides accountability and a chance for you and baby to make friends.

Whether you are looking for total-body conditioning or a whole-health transformation, FIT4MOM has a program for you—from Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre, which lets you work out with baby in tow, to the eight-week Body Back program that includes high-intensity interval training and nutrition guidance. Instructors host classes at local parks, malls and churches; visit the FIT4MOM website to find a class near you and even try it for free.

Foodie Finds 

She’s not quite big enough for a Happy Meal, but that’s probably a good thing for everyone’s caloric intake. So, for your next family dine-out, grab a bite to eat at a healthier spot in town. Dallas-Fort Worth’s beloved vegan eatery Spiral Diner serves up plant-based comfort food—think burgers and quesadillas— and even a baby plate for your youngest crew member. Don’t leave without a sweet, organic treat from the bakery.

Southpaw’s Grill serves up scrumptious eats such as the Dr. Luke sandwich with roast beef, feta cheese, spinach and jalapeño or the avocado bowl with hummus and tabbouleh. You can even order a classic PB&J; Southpaw’s has four varieties to choose from. And baby will love the custom smoothies. But whether it’s a salad, sandwich or smoothie, every menu item is free of preservatives, syrup, and sugar—but still chockful of flavor.

For comfort food with a gourmet twist, try Kozy (Dallas, 214/219-5044), helmed by executive chef Nicholas Pavageaux. Chef Nick cooks up classics like rich buttermilk pancakes—a short stack is all you can handle, trust us—and grass-fed meat dishes such as the buffalo tacos. Kozy is also known for gluten-free meals that are as tasty as they’re good for you, and the chefs will cater to parents’ wishes to whip up a meal fit for the tiniest member of your brood. Drop by anytime for a family-friendly environment; highchairs and changing tables are available.

The Doctor Is Out 

If baby bumps her head or gets an earache at bedtime, don’t panic: You don’t have to brave the ER or a 24-hour clinic to get help. Medical City Urgent Care is open when your doctor’s office isn’t, but they communicate with your pediatrician and your pharmacist to ensure your baby gets the right treatment for earaches, problems and other ills. Check in online beforehand and you’ll get a call when a doctor is ready to see your little one.

The pediatric staff at Cook Children’s Urgent Care Clinics sees complaints ranging from ear infections to sprains to foreign objects up the nose. Take advantage of the hospital’s urgent care online check-in, and the doctors will be ready for you and baby when you walk through the door.

Pediatrics After Hours is another option for those evening emergencies. With on-site lab equipment, they can quickly test and diagnose your child and provide the appropriate treatment, working with your primary physician to make arrangements with a hospital if necessary. But for most typical illnesses and injuries, Pediatrics After Hours can keep baby on-site for care, and she’ll be feeling better before you can even say “bedtime.”

10–12 months

Baby is taking his first steps and you’re flooding Instagram (again). Now that he’s nearly a year old (when did that happen?), it’s time to start thinking about other milestones, like the first haircut, the first swimming strokes and, of course, that very special first birthday party—and what happens after year one.

Parenting 101 

You love getting to know your growing baby, but the light of your life is also becoming a complicated little person. You’re looking ahead to the toddler times with excitement— and, let’s admit it, some trepidation. So, keep yourself from getting overwhelmed by taking parenting classes from the Dallas Association for Parent Education (Mesquite, 972/699-0420). Their Positive Parenting program is a six-week course that covers limits, listening and difficult behavior.

Classes are offered on Wednesday evenings year-round; start any week you choose. The cost is $60 per person for six weeks or $100 per couple. DAPE also offers four-hour parenting workshops with subjects such as “Help! I’m an Infant/Toddler Teacher” (but it’s a good resource for parents too) and hosts winter and holiday activities for the whole family.

Join the Momentous Institute (two Dallas locations) for early childhood parenting classes that cover topics such as attachment, potty training and tantrums. Learn practical techniques for raising your baby to be happy and (mostly) well-behaved by strengthening your parent-child relationship. At locations around Tarrant County, The Parenting Center (817/332-6348) offers evening workshops— some of them free!—on topics ranging from potty training to positive discipline. See their online calendar to register for an upcoming class.

Pool Cues

It’s time to pass on your swimming pool devotion so that baby can cool off in the summer swelter like a true Texan. The Waterbabies class at Emler Swim School will have your almost-toddler totally ruling the pool—with you safely by her side, of course. With songs, activities and plenty of encouragement from instructors and parents, baby will learn to submerge, hold her breath for 10 seconds, kick independently and feel comfortable in the water. Classes are 30 minutes once a week; 18 sessions costs $380 plus a $30 annual registration fee. Try it out for free at a Waterbabies orientation class.

Mimi Conner, owner of Aqua-Fit Family Wellness Center (Plano, 972/578-7946), is known as the Swim Whisperer for a reason. She is enthusiastic about teaching infants to love and respect the water at their own pace, and most importantly, to swim to safety if ever they fall in the pool. Parent/child classes for babies—known as “WaterBugs”— are offered in six-week blocks for $119, with one 30-minute lesson per week.

Littles as young as 4 months can get their fins moving at  AquaTots. The 30-minute parent-and-child class focuses on safety skills and getting littles adjusted to the water. Parents learn techniques like how to hold baby in the water, and baby learns how to kick toward Mom and Dad, control their breath and use their natural reflexes to adapt to the water. Monthly fee starts at $89 for one class per week.

Tracey Panzer-Michelle of The Floating Kiwi Swimming School (Richardson, 214/535- 2285) is passionate about the practicality of infant swimming lessons. She affirms that swimming is a survival skill that could potentially save your child’s life and will definitely give him a healthy dose of confidence. So, whether you have Phelps-ian dreams for your little one or just want him to splash safely, Tracey promises he’ll learn to float with ease after 4–5 weeks of one-on-one training.

Following the Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) curriculum, Water Kids (Dallas, 972/268-5884) provides one-on-one instruction to give your baby a healthy respect for the water and confidence navigating the waves. After 4–6 weeks of private lessons that emphasize repetition and muscle memory, he’ll master self-rescue skills such as turning to float on his back and holding his breath under water. Classes are 10 minutes a day, five days a week.

Goals for little swimmers in the Baby & Me classes at The Guardian Swim School (Irving, 972/506-7946) include kicking with parent assistance, blowing bubbles and floating on their backs. During the 30-minute classes, babies also learn breath control, back-to-front rollovers and how to safely enter and exit the pool. Regular, private and semi-private lessons are available at per-session and monthly pricing.

At SafeSplash Swim School, you and your child work together to develop fundamental swim and safety skills. The curriculum can be adapted to each swimmer, starting with ParentTot 1 (for littles 6–18 months old). Fill out a registration form online to begin enrollment.

With parent participation, Aqua Kids’ Waterbaby classes help first-time swimmers become comfortable in the water, submerge for at least five seconds, begin swimming independently and jump to Mom and Dad. Sign up online for a 30-minute free trial lesson.

Snip Snap

Celebrate baby’s first snips with a trip to one of Dallas-Fort Worth’s hip kids’ salons, where it’s totally OK for you to snap photo after photo of his new look. The whole family can get a new ’do at Kids B Kids (Plano, 972/596-8979), where baby can sit on a fire engine or a horse and giggle at Thomas the Train while Mom and Dad watch or get a trim too. If there’s a wait, have no fear: Kids B Kids has a play area with slides and toys to keep your crawler occupied. Be sure to browse their selection of all-natural organic hair care products.

Snip Its takes the typical haircut experience and adds games, prizes, animated characters and even a sing-along show to make sure baby and her parents have a blast. The Snip Its gang will usher your little one into the salon, and a safety belt—and her own personal play station—will keep her glued to the chair. Soon, she’ll be old enough to ask for a haircut herself, but until then her smile will tell you all you need to know.

Jungle Cuts caters to young customers, from the variety of hair services, including trim, shampoo and tangle treatments, to the colorful salon interiors—we’re talking a wall filled with bows and a play area equipped with a train set. Book an appointment on Tuesday for $5 off.

Kids are in the driver’s seat while getting their hair cut at Pigtails & Crewcuts. In addition to cars for salon seats, the place offers videos to keep the kids entertained and a treasure chest to dig into. Plus, the stylists understand how special that first cut is—you’ll leave with a souvenir card and photo to add to your kiddo’s box of memories. Call for an appointment.

This article was originally published in September 2018. Please reach out to each entity for the most up-to-date information on classes.

Image: iStock