Parenting resources abound in West Michigan, but finding them all has the potential to be overwhelming for a new parent who’s got all they can do to remember when they last fed or changed their new little bundle of joy. At grkids we often share resources with our fellow parenting peers and just as often ask our community to share with us what resources they recommend. This is what we did in this case, by inquiring on Facebook what resources our readers would recommend to a friend who was a new parent.
So please take the following list for what it is, a helpful resource from one friend to another.
- Bright Beginnings | Personal Home Visits, Playgroups/Parent Meetings, Developmental Screenings, Resource Network and Nutritional Information Resources
- MomsBloom | Provides practical help and emotional support during times of transition for growing families.
- Pine Rest’s Mother and Baby Postpartum Depression Treatment Program | Partial hospitalization program for treating a number of perinatal mood disorders including postnatal depression, postpartum psychosis, postpartum anxiety and perinatal depression.
- Early Head Start | For pregnant women and children under age 3; Home Visiting, Health, Special Needs and Social Services.
- Safe Kids Greater Grand Rapids | Childhood injury prevention program.
- Family Futures | Building strong families through parent coaching, education and prevention-based programming.
- Welcome Home Baby | Available to first time parents, age 25 and under; at-home visit from nurse to answer questions and help you get resources/support.
- mealtrain.com or takethemameal.com | Free online services for friends/family/neighbors to sign up to take new family a meal.
- Baby Beloved | Offers lactation consultation (home and office visits), breastfeeding and pumping classes. Shares space in Women’s Health Center with La Dee Da Children’s Boutique.
- Spectrum Health Breastfeeding Support Group | Support group, classes, personal support during your hospital stay and after.
- La Leche League
- Kent County Health Department Lactation Consultants | Call 616.632.7058 for Community Nursing; 616.632.7200 for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
For Parents Looking to Connect with Other Parents
- Local church Bible studies. (Specifically mentioned: Brookside Christian Reformed Church’s Coffee Break Bible Study, which meets Wednesday mornings or Thursday evenings.)
- Local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups (overwhelming favorite).
- Mothers & More Chapter 137 | Offers: Bi-monthly chapter meetings, weekly playgroups, mom’s night out, couple’s nights out, family activities, children’s activities, subgroups such as Seasoned Mom’s Group (for moms with school-aged kids), Book Club, Working Moms Group, Fitness Club and more.
- MOMSClub of Kentwood, Caledonia & Cascade | A club for stay-at-home moms who are looking to meet friends for their children and themselves offering a variety of weekly activities for moms and their children, providing a forum for topics pertinent to child rearing, homemaking, personal improvement and the family.
- GRMom2Mom | A ministry to provide a fun, open and accepting environment to connect moms and serve Christ; meets weekly on Thursdays.
- Grand Rapids Dads | This group for dads in the West Michigan area offers twice-weekly play groups.
Things to Do with Your Baby
- Joyful Sounds | Music classes for children of all ages
- Library story times
- Pooh’s Corner Story Time
- TOTS Classes (for families in the Lowell area)
- Gymboree Play and Music
- Stroller Strides
Resource Lists We’ve Previously Compiled
- West Michigan Education Options Beyond Traditional Public Schools
- Resources to Help You Find a Babysitter
- Parenting Groups in West Michigan
- West Michigan Photographers Guide
- West Michigan Groups and Clubs
- Making Mommy Friends in Grand Rapids
And because motherhood can sometimes feel lonely, I’d recommend Melody’s posts on loneliness:
- I’m lonely so call me maybe
- The ugly side of lonely
- And join our group for playdates and more, Lonely No More
This list is by no means exhaustive of everything there is out there, but it’s an excellent start for those of you who are new to this parenting gig. Plus, they are all resources that come recommended by people like you – fans of grkids!
Do you have another resource that bears adding to our list? Share it in the comments, and help this page become an even better resource for new parents out there.