Congratulations, mama, on finding time to shower. Next on the to-do list: Leave the house. If you need a good reason to pack up all that gear, we’ve got one. These new moms groups offer everything from tips on the latest baby products to emotional support led by licensed clinical counselors. Of course, babies are welcome at all of them. (And you won’t get the stink eye if she cries or spits up.)
The 6,000 families-strong Neighborhood Parents Network (NPN) connects Chicago parents at events and a popular discussion forum. Each month NPN moms of infants sip coffee and swap stories at the New Moms Mingle. Snacks, live music and raffled prizes add to the fun. After the event, attendees receive a spreadsheet with everyone’s vital stats (contact information, baby’s birth date, zip code and mom’s work status) so they can reconnect. If you’ve ever tried to swap info with someone while holding a squirming baby, you know what a perk that is.
Clinical therapist Alison Kramme and child development specialist Sara Sladoje started Grasp Group to help women navigate the sometimes-choppy waters of new motherhood. “It’s that old saying, ‘If mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy,’” Kramme says. In the group, they tackle the big question, “How do we get happy in our own lives… and give our baby the best start possible?” Each six-week session provides a safe space for new moms to explore topics like breastfeeding and staying connected to your partner. Participants can reach out to Kramme and Sladoje for advice throughout the session, so it’s a true support group.
Online community kickSprout Chicago brings together moms and moms-to-be for events and classes on fitness, breastfeeding, first-year milestones and more. Moms get together monthly at the New Moms Café for adult conversation and wisdom from a Birthways postpartum doula.
Bump Club and Beyond hosts more than a dozen events each month for expecting and new moms. “The best support comes when people don’t know they’re getting support,” founder Lindsay Pinchuk says, adding, “And it’s so important to get out of the house.” Besides product demos, shopping nights and dinners, the popular BCBrunch for New Moms brings together moms of infants for socializing and big-ticket prizes with a different theme each month.
Next event: Sunday, May 5, 10:00 am–12:00 pm, at Bubbles Academy. The Mother’s Day brunch is open to moms, grandmas and tots ages two and older. There will be a special craft from Babbaco and open play. $40-$60 per group, with additional fee for a second child or adult. Register here.
Linda Szmulewitz — a licensed clinical social worker, sleep coach and postpartum doula — founded Chicago New Moms Group two years ago because of her own experience with a moms group after her daughter was born. “I felt a tremendous sense of relief that I wasn’t alone,” she says. Now she aims to do the same for others attending her six-week session. Each week focuses on a different discussion topic, such as body image, traveling with an infant and finding your parenting identity.
What is your favorite new moms group?
— Heidi Moore
Photos courtesy of Neighborhood Parents Network, GRASP Group, KickSprout, Bump Club and Beyond, and Chicago New Moms Group