Editor’s note: With California’s Safer at Home orders, many of these groups are now strictly hosting online classes. Please call or visit the groups’ websites for details.
Being a new mom isn’t easy. Sure, you’re in love with your bundle of joy, but you’re probably operating on little to no sleep, while dealing with all the unknowns and anxieties that come with taking care of a newborn. Even with close friends and a supportive partner, it might feel like no one really “gets it.” Enter the mom group—a chance to find your tribe, glean essential parenting tips and, well, commiserate. Read on for a rundown our favorite LA mom squads.
Wright Mommy & Me
Who They Are: Mommy and me classes are led by a team of licensed psychotherapists, founded by parenting pro Julie Wright, MFT, co-author of The Happy Sleeper and Now Say This: The Right Words to Solve Every Parenting Dilemma. Classes for new moms start when your baby is two-three months and continue through the first year.
What They Do: In addition to sharing stories about your delivery and the ups and downs of new motherhood, you'll have a chance to learn and ask questions about your baby’s development during the first year. Along the way, the trained therapist will offer guidance for regulating sleep routines, introducing solid foods and more. There's also the "and Me" component, with singing and play time for babies. Classes are offered in Santa Monica and Sherman Oaks.
What It Costs: $280/session (each session includes eight 90-minute classes)
Who they are: The motto underpinning Babytalk's classes: There is no “right” way to raise a baby. Each class is led by a trained facilitator, who is a mom herself. While they may share valuable parenting advice with the group, the facilitators truly reinforce the idea that each parent has the right to make his/her own choice for how to raise his/her child. Babytalk LA offers meeting locations in Beverly Hills, Westwood and Culver City.
What they do: Fans of this mommy-and-me class compare it to group therapy in a good way. The environment is open, non-judgment and supportive. In addition to giving moms the chance to connect, experts are also occasionally brought in to offer insight on topics including sleep, first foods, sign language and child safety. Of course, your little one will also have the opportunity to "mingle" (i.e. crawl, roll and wiggle around) as you sing songs, learn about baby massage and other activities for you and baby.
What it costs: $450 for 10 week session
La Leche League
Who They Are: Breastfeeding (especially for the first time) can be enough to make any new parent think those all too familiar “what did I get myself into?” thoughts. Luckily you are not alone. A local chapter of La Leche League, a national organization dedicated to supporting women who are breastfeeding, is the perfect place to meet other nursing moms, ask questions and get help. There are several local chapters in the LA area, but the largest and most active is La Leche League Los Angeles Westside.
What They Do: Local groups meet monthly and any mom is welcome to join. Meetings are generally casual and offer a moms safe space to talk about issues, share solutions and support fellow moms and babies through the triumphs and trials of breastfeeding. The meetings are led by volunteer League Leaders, breastfeeding moms who have been trained and accredited by La Leche League. Leaders are also available to contact by phone for support outside of the meetings.
What It Costs: There's no fee to join.
You Might Also Like: The Pump Station & Nursery
Who They Are: The “Moms Offering Moms Support” acronym says it all. It's a place to meet other mothers and build support systems. Of course, the added bonus is your little one gets to have similarly aged kids to play with. With chapters all across LA (including throughout the Westside, Valley and South Bay), you shouldn't have trouble finding a group close to you.
What They Do: Each Chapter has their own meeting schedules and planned activities, including things like playgroups, moms night out, parenting speakers, craft and cooking activities, book clubs, and plenty of ways to help those in need with charitable activities and fundraising events. Visit the national MOMS Club website to find the nearest local chapter in your area. There are dozens and dozens in the LA area so you’re sure to find a great fit for both you and your brood!
What It Costs: An annual membership fee anywhere between $35-$45 depending on the chapter. Events and activities are generally free.
West LA Parents Of Multiples
Who They Are: It should come as no surprise that moms (and dads) of multiples need all the extra help they can get. This group offers an extensive support system for LA parents (and even those expecting) of twins, triplets, quadruplets or more. With events and resources both on and offline, there are tons of ways to get involved, meet other parents of multiples and get much-needed encouragement both before birth and after.
What They Do: West LA Parents of Multiples offers seminars and informational meetings on parenting topics, playgroups with similar aged kids, an online forum, and even a collection of preemie clothes members can borrow. Support systems are also in place to provide meals for families with newborns and a helping hand to moms on bedrest or families in the NICU. As if all of this unconditional support wasn’t enough, WLAPOM taps into its philanthropic side by donating essential supplies and baby gear to needy parents of multiples through the Multiple Helpings program.
What It Costs: Families are charged an annual membership fee of $55.
LA Dads Group
Who They Are: Dads need support squads too, and that’s exactly why the LA Dads Group was formed. Whether you're the lone dad at the playground, the only guy in your kid’s playgroup, or simply a father who wants to take an active role in your little one’s life while meeting other dads, this group is for you.
What They Do: The group hosts playdates, parenting workshops, social events like beach outings or movie screenings, and even dads-night-out. They also organize volunteer activities from time to time to do their part in paying it forward for those less fortunate.
What It Costs: The group is free to join.
Who They Are: Can’t go anywhere without your beloved baby carrier? Feel naked when you’re not strapped to your little nugget? Then this is the group for you. Whether you’re new to baby-wearing (or you’ve just mastered wearing two kids at once), you’ll find a whole lot of support here. This organization believes that babies are designed to be carried and doing so (with the right information and tools) can be mutually beneficial for both you and your little joey. In addition to monthly meetings, Babywearing LA also offers an online community via Facebook where you can ask questions and meet other moms.
What They Do: Monthly events all across the LA area include play dates and meetings with other babywearing parents, workouts while babywearing, and classes on the basics of babywearing. Meeting hosts will bring along a variety of different carriers for new parents to try out.
What It Costs: There is no fee to join the group and general meetings and playdates are free. Certain ticketed events, like classes and group workouts, have various prices.
Who They Are: Build your village while getting rid of some unwanted baby weight in the process? Yes please! This program offers a variety of kick-butt exercise classes, such as Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre programs, that will get you and your small fry out of the house and get your heart pumping at the same time (win/win!).
What They Do: Unlike some of the traditional support groups, Fit4Mom is a bit more of an expense offering many different types of fee-based exercise packages to choose from once you sign up to be a member. But they also offer playgroups, crafts, and mothers-nights-out for free to anyone who wants to attend, member or not! Fit4Mom Franchises are located all over L.A. County: Westside, South Bay LA, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Torrance, San Fernando Valley, Palos Verdes, and San Pedro, and Long Beach.
What It Cost: Cost varies by plan but your first class is always free to try.
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Sometimes getting out of the house just isn't an option. Thanks to the invention of the good old internet, you can still make friends, seek help and support or just share some much-needed memes in the middle of the night. Here are two favorites:
Peachhead: Before Facebook groups were even a thing, the OG parenting forum in Los Angeles was Peachhead. Founded in 1997 by Venice mom Linda Perry, the group now has over 10,000 members and continues to be a go-to place to gab, swap baby gear, and ask every parenting question under the sun.
LA Mommies: With the long-reaching influence of social media, there are literally hundreds of Facebook groups dedicated to moms, parents, and parents to be. One of these biggest networks in our part of the planet is LA Mommies. It’s a private group (so no one outside of it will see you post about having a mommy meltdown at 2 a.m.) but with over 50,000 members, be prepared to have your posts read (and potentially commented on) by thousands of people. Posts are anything and everything mom-related from pregnancy and parenting advice to the best spots for birthday parties or date nights.
What They Do: While these groups are online-based forums for chatting and seeking advice, subset groups and friendships have formed, taking them offline for occasional meet-ups.
What It Costs: There are no fees to join.
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—Shahrzad Warkentin & Jenifer Scott