About to have a baby? Congrats! Live in the Boston area? Congrats again! As it happens, you’re in a great place to connect with other new parents and stay active during the insane transition to new parenthood. Below are just a few resources I discovered while on my maternity leave. (Fair warning: I live in Somerville, so these resources are somewhat locationally biased toward my neck of the woods.)
New parent drop-in groups
These are free support groups where you can get advice from and commiserate with other new moms and dads. Some are hosted by hospitals, but all are open to anyone, regardless of where you delivered. In each case, don’t worry about running late, showering, or forgetting essential things, like, say… diapers. Everyone understands and is willing to help!
- 10 a.m. Tuesdays at MGH — Accessible from the T, this group is facilitated by a very kind and knowledgable OB nurse who’s happy to answer all manner of questions. The group also has a lactation consultant who stops by periodically.
- 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Mama & Me in Jamaica Plain — I’ve never been to this group, but I love the sound of the Mama & Me facility. They offer all kinds of classes, workshops, and groups, from LGBTQ family support to postnatal pilates. If you live south of the city, you should totally check them out!
- 2 p.m. Tuesdays at Mount Auburn in Waltham — This one is run by the midwives at Mount Auburn. It’s a bit of a hike if you live right in the city, but it’s worth the trip (and not just because they often serve delicious cookies). Some days they have special guests, other times the moms of the group take turns sharing highs and lows for the week.
- 11:30 a.m. Fridays at Cummings School in Somerville — This is my go-to group because it’s walking distance from my house. It’s run by two social workers who are both wonderful. Everyone sits on the floor and there are lots of toys everywhere, plus a few rocking chairs for nursing.
- Various locations and times — The Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston run various drop-in groups, as well as for-a-fee classes throughout the Boston area (and you don’t have to be Jewish to take part).
Walking, hiking and exercise
- Hike-It Baby Boston — This is a wonderful resource for new moms who want to get active. The group hosts lots of hikes that vary in intensity and accessibility. For instance, there’s a leisurely walk on the Arlington bike path on Mondays, but on Thursdays there are carrier-only hikes in the woodsy areas further out from the city.
- Babes in the Woods — On Tuesdays at 11 a.m. the Friends of the Fells organization runs carrier-only hikes in the Middlesex Fells Reservation in Medford. I never made it to one while on maternity leave, but they sound great!
- Mom & Baby Yoga at O2 — This is the only entry on my exercise list that isn’t free, but I love it so much I’m adding it anyway. Bring your baby to yoga! It sounds crazy (and kind of is), but it’s lots of fun. Try it out on Tuesday mornings at the Cambridge O2 Yoga studio or Friday mornings at their Somerville location.
- Moms of Camberville 2.0 — Focused on parents with children under a year old, this Facebook group currently hosts a walk along the bike path from Davis Square every Wednesday morning. The membership shifts regularly, so I’m sure there will be new activities cropping up all the time!
Yep, you read right. You can take your kid to the movies! Two theaters in town offer weekday matinees especially for new parents — the sound is turned down a little, the house lights are on just a touch, and screaming and diaper changes are par for the course.
- Box Office Babies at Coolidge Corner — Every other Friday at 11 a.m., $9.
- Baby Matinee at Capitol Theater — Every Monday afternoon, $7.
These groups are perfect for asking weird baby questions but also for getting awesome hand-me-downs, connecting with nannies and babysitters, or finding out about family friendly local events.
- GardenMoms — This email list serve is for parents throughout the entire Boston area.
- Somerville Moms — Both a Yahoo group and a Facebook group, this online community centers on Somerville but is useful for anyone close by.
- Moms of Camberville 2.0 — I listed this for the walking event above, but it’s also just a nice group to be part of for questions and camaraderie. It’s a lot smaller than Somerville Moms and is only for parents with kids under a year old, so the topics are much more focused.