Seeking New Parents' Support Group

Parent Q&A

  • Seeking Mom's group NW Berkeley - 10 week old

    (8 replies)

    Ok, I missed the boat on registering for a new moms group when my little one was born because to be honest there were so many groups I didn't know which way to go.  We're new to parenthood (and new to Berkeley) and now that he's 10 weeks old I really want to get him into a group of kiddos around his age for playdates and socializing.  Selfishly, I also would love to meet new moms and socialize sometimes over bottles of our own.  Does this kind of group exist or am I wishful thinking?

    When I had my first child 2 years ago, a “moms group” grew up organically among the people in my birthing class. I just had my second kid 8 weeks ago and I’m also in NW Berk: want to make our own group?  Send me a PM if interested. 

    I am going to start going to a mom group that is starting September 21st called Living Room. It is a group for moms with kids at different ages that runs once a month in South Berkeley on Fridays from 4-6pm. When I have gone in the past, most people do not bring babies, although babies in arms are welcome. It is more about creating space for self care for moms than babies meeting each other. It is not exactly what you are thinking, but it would be a place to meet moms and you could then make play dates if you want. If you want to check it out, it is listed on this site:

    I’m following this!   I’d love to connect as welll. My little one is 8.5 weeks now, so right around the same age.  Weekends are best for me to get together/play date.  We are hoping to wait til the 3 month mark to bring baby out into the world but I could totally host a few moms at Rosenblum. I’ve got a wine club membership there and the outside patio space is really lovely. 

    Hello! I went to Bananas for their new parent support group (near Temescal/Rockridge). The sessions are weekly for 4 weeks, and the babies are about 3 weeks to 6 months old, generally (mostly parents that are on leave, so that is probably why they are in this range). It was totally worth the commute from Berkeley, got me out of the house, and now I have several friend with babies the same age. We made a facebook group, and then got each other's phone numbers, and started meeting weekly on our own after the 4 sessions ended. Also keep in mind that 2-4 months difference feels so huge right now, but once they get to be about 1 year old, they will be so similar so don't hesitate to friend a mom with an older or younger baby! 

    This has been an incredible resource for me!

    Hi! I’m Jen. We live in South Berkeley and also have a 10-week old. We moved here from Boston about a year ago. I don’t know of any groups but would love to join one! Also up for  play dates and/or coffee!  Let me know when you are free! 

    You are not too late to join a moms group. I am currently participating in New moms support moderated by Jennifer Subasic Marks and my girl is 14 weeks. Then comes baby has a good one too, as does Alta Bates. There aren’t too many area specific moms groups especially in North Berkeley, but another good resource is Main Street Mamas on Facebook. I have found that most of the new Mom groups and participants are heavily weighted towards Oakland. As an aside, I’m also located in NW Berkeley (and relatively new to Berkeley as well)  and would be happy to meet you sometime for a coffee.


    So many positive responses here!  I've been direct messaging those that want to meet up and am sending a blast email shortly as well. Anyone that would like to join in can message me.  The more the merrier!


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  • Seeking new mother support group - Pinole, Hercules area

    (2 replies)

    I'm seeking new mother support groups for a family member who resides in Pinole/Hercules area. She is a 1st time mom. She is also open to El Cerrito too. I want to help her find support during this postpartum period.


    Have her check  There used to be a very active new parent's group called the Busy Bees in Hercules that I found through Meetup, but it faded away as the last of the kids entered elementary school and I don't believe it's running now.  She could always start her own, it doesn't take much work to get it going and in this area there's always a demand.  Or, Kaiser Pinole sometimes has new mom groups at their offices as well.  Good luck, it can be very isolating before you find your tribe as a new mom!  

    Pinole resident here -- no group to recommend right on the doorstep alas, though there is definitely a need! Resources I took advantage of when my daughter was born 2 years ago:

    -- the mother-baby support group at Birthways in Berkeley is a bit of a drive but was a FANTASTIC resource.

    -- I've heard really good things about the Kaiser mama-baby classes if that is an option for your relative.

    -- once baby is a little bit older, hanging out at the local park in the morning -- it can take a while to meet new people, but we now have several good friends that we met that way, by basically bumping into them over and over again :) (and the little bit of sun and exercise is good for mama too).

    I'm also happy to chat with your relative and connect her w/some other families of little ones (and be one more voice promising that those difficult first few months will not last forever); please feel free to pass my contact info along!

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  • Looking for new mom's group in Berkeley area!

    (4 replies)


    We're expecting this month and I'm looking for a mom's group to join the the East Bay Area, preferably near Berkeley.  Please let me know if you have any recommendations.

    Thank you


    A friend recently recommended this to me: 

    There is also a New Parent Support Group that meets at Alta Bates.

    I am due with my first at the end of November, so I don't have direct experience with either but am interested in any responses you get!

    Muirmommies in Walnut Creek is one of the best

    I am looking for more groups in the Berkeley area too! I have a 17 month old. We live near Tilden park 

    Hi I did This group for about 2 months. And still keep up with the Moms and babies. I wish I had found it sooner. Very welcoming environment and judgment free. Check them out. Have a wonderful labor and delivery!!

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  • Birth + Night Doula + Mom/Parents Community

    (6 replies)

    We are new to Berkeley Parents Network and really excited to join this community. We are looking for a birth doula, but also interested in night support post birth. Does anyone have any experience working with the same person for both? We are lucky to live in an area where there are so many doula services out there- it is a tad hard to wrap my head around it all. With that said, I would love to hear from this community on:

    - Have any of you worked with a birth doula that also then supported you at night for 2-4 weeks following birth? If so, any recommendations? 

    - Any advice on how to navigate the doula world? Or is it really just a rabbit hole of research? 

    - Any recommendations on what birthing classes my husband and I should take? Looking to build my mom community, learn about childbirth/CPR, and lean all the 'fun' childbirth things I don't know, but need to know :)  {Loving Arms orThen Comes Baby?}

    I know you are all busy people, so thank you in advance for your help.

    A lot of the doulas in Roots of Labor Birth Collective do both birth and postpartum doula work. I can vouch for Michi Arguedas, Linda Jones, and Rebecca Orozco personally. 

    With my older child's birth, I ended up scouring review sites, BPN reviews, and personal referrals and ended up with a list of maybe 20 doulas. We narrowed it down from there and then met with three of them. My experience with the doula we chose was mixed. 

    With my current pregnancy, I had the good fortune of meeting a doula in another setting, and just liked her vibe. We met only with her, and hired her immediately. She does do postpartum doula work as well. There was another doula I had my eye on, and she is actually my doula's backup! My biggest concern was whether my doula would stick with me for the long haul that birth can often be, and I know and trust my doula will be there for me through it all. Good luck navigating all of this!

    I was asking these questions about 2 years ago and got some great support here on BPN, so I thought I'd chime in quickly with my experience (active toddler, permitting). :-)

    I worked with an incredible birth doula, but she is now in school to become a midwife (bummer, we are expecting #2 now)!  I was going down the rabbit hole of online research, but on a whim, went to the free Doula event at Then Comes Baby.  That was such a good choice. They weren't "sales-y" in their approach, and they took it more as a time to educate us about what a doula does and doesn't do.  Plus, an eye-opener for me, the roles of the various people involved in a hospital birth (we were at Alta Bates) and the difference between midwives and OBs.  We met several lovely doulas there and chose the one that felt like the right vibe, that both me and my husband felt we could work with if the S#** hit the fan, so to speak.  Going there was SO MUCH easier than what I did (digging through the interwebs) and my only regret is that I wasn't referred there sooner. They still do it and I am going to go back to that event since my doula isn't available now and I am expecting again!

    From that event, I decided to give Then Comes Baby a shot and took their prenatal yoga with Torrey (she's awesome), then I joined the 4-week birth class with Anna (another gem), and the Breastfeeding class (I forget the teachers name, but I learned a lot).  Between the yoga classes and the birth class, I really found that "mom" community you were talking about.  And, two+ years later, that's what is still going strong.  We were pretty new to Oakland when we got pregnant, and making friends there was the real game changer, for both me and my (kinda busy/ distracted/ shy) husband.

    The East Bay is awesome and has much to offer on this front. I found it a bit dizzying, honestly, for my first baby. I also heard nice things about Loving Arms, but their birth class was longer than we had time for at the time with our commutes and busy pre-baby prep.  I'm sure they're great, though! 

    We took our birth class at Birthways in Berkeley and are still friends with all the other couples 2 full years later (just went through the string of 2-year-old birthday parties :)). We found the class to be very personal and in-depth while providing a decent balance of outlining both "traditional" modern birth and "natural" birth options. We watched videos of a C-section, epidural birth, water birth, home birth, etc. While the information the instructor provided was *slightly* biased toward assumptions of parents wanting a less-interventionist birth (making sure we knew we could decline eyedrops & Vitamin K shot, discussing risks of epidural, etc.), we never felt like she was trying to push us one way or the other in our birth experience.

    We found our doulas at a Birthways "Meet the Doula" event, which I would highly recommend (it's basically doula speed-dating :)) We ended up working with Shoshana Friedman-Hawk and Lori Jaffe for our birth; they are a team who both attend prenatal and postpartum visits and then trade off on "on-call" weeks for births (all doulas have backups b/c it is impossible for 1 person to be on-call constantly -- their arrangement means that you will never have a stranger show up at your birth). Lori was the one who attended our daughter's very LONG birth (induction resulting in multiple days of labor) and she was great; coaching my husband about when he needed to take a break/nap, rubbing my back during back labor, and even taking some really beautiful pictures immediately after the birth.

    I know Lori also does postpartum work, including overnight work, though we didn't take advantage of that particular service. But I cannot recommend her highly enough as a birth doula, so I'm sure she is wonderful with postpartum as well!

    Happy to provide more info if needed -- feel free to PM me.

    I would recommend evaluating if a night doula is really the right fit for you.  If you are breastfeeding, and won't be supplementing with formula at night, I frankly don't think it would help.  Most of my moms group has discussed that this is an alluring concept - someone else can feed and hold and rock baby so you can get a couple 4-hour stretches! - but if you are nursing, and you're trying to build your supply, you will still be getting your sleep in one-hour chunks between 45-min feeding sessions and 15 minutes to fall back asleep, then lather-rinse-repeat.   That said, our son would only sleep on our chests for his first 3.5 weeks of life, so we did fly out my mom, and she took a couple 'holding' shifts between 2.00 - 6.00am so we could both sleep for the hour the baby slept.  Keep in mind that you'll be paying $80/hour with 4-hour minimums to spend 2 of those 4 hours nursing and holding your baby yourself.   If you are lucky to have a baby with a big stomach who is a big eater & good sleeper, you can potentially be on a "Babywise" 3-hour schedule earlier on, and have baby sleeping 4-hour stretches at night, in which case having a night doula take the middle of the night feeding with formula might give you 6 or 7 uninterrupted hours of sleep - which could be amazing.  But you won't know if this is your baby until he or she is born.  So I would recommend doing a little diligence and potentially interviewing folks, but not committing yourself to a huge financial cost until you know if this service will actually meet your needs.   In our case, paying for a relative's flight and hotel for a week a month for the first 3 months (lined up with the difficult 'wonder weeks') was a fraction of the cost of a doula and more helpful.  The first 6-8 weeks are incredibly difficult and sleep-deprived, and extra hands are invaluable, but given the tremendous cost of a night doula, you should evaluate if the benefit is actually significant enough to justify the cost!

    As a doula myself, I have very high standards haha. Tabitha Ames was my doula for both babies, and I can't recommend her enough. ( I'm happy to get on the phone and share my experiences with her. She also offers childbirth and breastfeeding education.

    As far as navigating the doula world, there are SO MANY doulas now! Which is great, because that means there is a doula that will be a good fit for every family. Word of mouth, yelp, and even checking with your OB or Pediatrician for names they've heard or worked with is a good way to start. 

    Just wanted to chime in on the cost of a night doula, as I saw a reply that quoted $80 per hour for night doula services, which is either a mistake or an outlier doula who charges way more than average. I used several night doulas when my kids were born in 2014 and 2017, and the fees ranged from a low of $27 per hour to a high of $40 per hour. All we're certified postpartum doulas. I've never heard of a night doula charging $80 per hour, although I suppose they're out there. Certainly would be unusual though. 

    I found the night doulas I used to be absolutely invaluable. My kids needed a lot of soothing to go back to sleep between feedings and I literally would not have slept at all for the first few months if I'd had to do a 45 minute feeding every two hours, plus an hour of bouncing/rocking, then maybe 15 minutes when I could put the baby down and close my eyes before the next feeding. After the first two weeks when my milk supply was well established and the babies were confirmed to be gaining weight well, I started pumping a bottle of milk for the doula to give so I could skip a whole feeding and actually sleep a six hour stretch. I don't know how anyone does it without help unless they have a super easy baby or very committed family members who are themselves willing to give up a lot of sleep. 

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  • 2nd time Mom’s Group?

    (5 replies)

    Does anyone know of a local Mom’s Group that is specifically for 2nd time moms? 


    RE: 2nd time Mom’s Group? ()

    Then Comes Baby on Grand Avenue in Oakland has one. If its still moderated by Robyn Aragona, then it should be wonderful. I was in her first time moms's group  last year and we all still keep in close touch.

    RE: 2nd time Mom’s Group? ()

    Check out Gina Hassan in berkeley  - she has a 2nd time mom’s group that is mindfulness focused. 

    RE: 2nd time Mom’s Group? ()

    I don't have an answer but I'd like to follow what you find out (or start one?); also ISO same thing! Thanks for asking.

    RE: 2nd time Mom’s Group? ()

    Just signed up for this one!

    RE: 2nd time Mom’s Group? ()

    The 2nd Time Moms Group at Then Comes Baby was great!  I really liked the group that I was part of (many of us are still in touch after 2 years) and it was definitely a professionally ran group.  It's been some time, so I don't know if the facilitator is the same, but my experience there was that every class I took was excellent. Best wishes!

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  • Searching for Mom's group in Montclair, Oakland Area

    (2 replies)

    I am four and a half months pregnant and would love any recommendations on local mother's groups that get together for an occasional coffee, walk etc. in the Montclair area. Is anyone familiar with any groups in the area or how to find one? Thank you so much for any advice!

    If your on FB, you can try Moms of Montclair. 

    Join the Moms of Montclair Facebook group.

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  • Mom-to-Be Seeking Groups in Berkeley

    (1 reply)

    Hi! I am pregnant with my first (due in February) and would love to connect with other local moms! Currently have a circle of none :) Please send recommendations! 

    Thank you!

    Mom2Mom is wonderful. I joined one of their groups with both of my kids.

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  • New mom mindfulness group

    (1 reply)

    I am looking for a meditation group or class. I practice on my own but am looking for support integrating my practice with new life as a new mom. Spirit Rock offers a five week session for parents but unfortunately it takes place at 6-8 pm, is, bedtime. In my ideal world I can bring my little one to the class but I feel flexible on that.

    RE: New mom mindfulness group ()

    Check Out Natashia's website.  If I remember correctly she allowed babes in arms for her living room meetings - she also facilitates a new moms group.  If you don't see something that fits on her website give her a call - she may have other resources to share.

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  • Second time moms group?

    (1 reply)

    I'm new to the Albany/North Berkeley area and am a SAHM to two kids under 2 (a 20-mo-old and a newborn). Since we're new to the area, I do not have any sort of moms network built around here and would love to find some mom friends. Does anyone have any recommendations for a moms group that would welcome both the toddler and the newborn? 

    RE: Second time moms group? ()

    I went to this one in Albany which was great and I met some lovely Mums. I have a 3yo and 7 month old and am also SAHM in Albany if you ever want to hang out message me!

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  • El Cerrito New Mom

    (4 replies)

    Hi! I'm a new mom to a 4 week old baby boy living in El Cerrito (just moved from Berkeley a couple weeks before baby arrived). I'm having a hard time finding a local moms group and am looking for other moms nearby to get together, share experiences, hang out, whatever! I've heard great things about the facilitated moms groups Support Group For Mothers in Albany and Birthways in Berkeley, but they are either full or not starting until much later in the summer. Are there any new (or not so new!) moms out there in El Cerrito or close by who could also use some camaraderie and companionship with our little ones this summer?  I hope so! Looking forward to connecting, 

    Laurel (Jaspers mom)

    RE: El Cerrito New Mom ()

    I just noticed on 510families that there was a babywearing fitness class in El Sobrante today - maybe there will be more? There's also a few different EC parent facebook pages that seem to skew either elementary-age or babies that you can search for.

    RE: El Cerrito New Mom ()

    Hi Laurel. Congratulations on your little one! My baby is a bit older and I'm back at work, but I highly recommend checking out Loving Arms Childbirth Services on San Pablo Ave. They have parent-baby yoga classes, lactation services, and an amazing meet-up group called Weight Check Wednesdays where you can go and get your baby weighed and hang out and breastfeed. It's a great place to meet other moms and babies. It was a high point of my week when I was on maternity leave and I made some good friends there. 

    RE: El Cerrito New Mom ()

    Hi Laurel! I am a FTM in El Cerrito too. My LO is 7 months old and I went back to work a month ago but I would love to meet more moms. Did you hear from others? Maybe we can all meet up at a park sometime?

    Let me know!


    RE: El Cerrito New Mom ()

    Laurel -- I am not yet the mom to a tiny baby (she's due in about 3 weeks) but I would love to stay apprised of any response you get to this :) I live in Pinole and am also eager to meet other new moms and compare experiences.

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

Sept 2018

RE: Seeking Mom's group NW Berkeley - 10 week old

You are not too late to join a moms group. I am currently participating in New moms support moderated by Jennifer Subasic Marks and my girl is 14 weeks. Then comes baby has a good one too, as does Alta Bates. There aren’t too many area specific moms groups especially in North Berkeley, but another good resource is Main Street Mamas on Facebook. I have found that most of the new Mom groups and participants are heavily weighted towards Oakland. 


I'm looking for a new mom's support group.

May 2013

I'm looking for a new mom's support group in Berkeley or close by. Has anyone attended a new mom's support group at Birthways in Berkeley? What was your experience? Did you foster lasting relationships with the other Moms in the group? Do you have any other suggestions for groups? Thanks

I did Support Group for Mothers: It's been almost two years and we are still in regular contact with each other (we started a Google group and that helped). I'm sure that some of it is luck, but my group is full of wonderful, smart women. We are always asking advice, sharing tips, and keeping updated on all the kiddos. Good luck!

I've attended new moms groups at Bananas, Support Group for Mothers, and Kaiser Oakland. I really liked the Bananas group and we continued to meet afterwards, but things sort of fizzled out when everyone went back to work. The Kaiser Oakland group was pretty good, and people kept in touch afterwards, but it's large and sometimes a little chaotic (but it's free). I wouldn't recommend Support Group for Mothers -- it was really expensive, and we didn't keep in touch afterwards (the facilitator had said she would help with this and then we never heard from her again). I suggest checking out the free groups before you pay for one. anonymous

2nd Time Moms Group

May 2013

I'm hoping people can share their experiences with Gina Hassan's Mindful Mothering Group and Support Group for Mothers, specifically the groups for second time moms. Would you recommend them for a second time mom, if so, which one and why? If not, please share your thoughts and opinions.

I'm considering joining one but I'm not sure if I'll have the time, energy or the interest once the baby is here, though it seems like a nice idea now (I also have a toddler who will be at preschool part time).

Lastly, if anyone has any recommendations or advice for second time moms with toddlers, please share! Thanks!

Cant recommend Gina Hassan's 2nd Time Moms/mindful mothering enough. Well facilitated and a good combination of sharing, skill-building/mindfulness experiential stuff, and support. I actually did Support Group for Mothers with my first child and didn't like the facilitator-- nice lady and all but I didn't find it all that insightful. Mindfulness practice, by the way, is very accessible --I wasn't sure if it was my kind of thing before I experienced it. Whatever you choose, I do think a group for 2nd time moms is great b/c it's quite a different thing than the first time around... Best wishes! Another Mama

Hi: I looked into both of these. Unfortunately neither group had enough people for ''quorum'' to actually start the group so I dont have feedback on the groups themselves. That said, based on previous experience with her individually and the communication I did get, I would recommend Gina's group other the Support Group for Mothers for exactly the reason you mention in your post.

In terms of whether to do it at all, Id say if the opportunity is there, you should do it. The baby basics are not so bad this time, whats really hard is managing the two child dynamic when the older sibling is still young. I wish I had more people to talk to about this. It will be a nice time to connect with other mamas while your older is in school. Hope this helps! New Challenges the Second Time Around

Seeking group for moms/parents of newborns

March 2013

I'm home with baby #2 for her first year and at barely one month in I'm already desperate for some adult interaction! I noticed some posts about new mom/parents' groups when I was still expecting back in January but can't seem to find quite the right fit now. This is baby #2 for me, born in early February, and I have an older son in preschool. I'd love to get together with other parents during the weekdays, maybe once or twice a week, who are also home with newborns. I live in Oakland but am willing to travel throughout the immediate east bay for walks, coffee dates, shopping, etc. If interested or if you know of a group that might fit my needs, feel free to email me. I'd prefer a free group, obviously, but would consider a group with a small fee as well. Thanks in advance! Becky

Hi Becky, I wanted to recommend BRIDGES Moms Group This group is facilitated by Emily Shenson who is a Bay Area doula (actually my doula for both of my children's births). I was in a similar boat as you last year after the birth of my son and was seeking a group to join. BRIDGES was a great fit and I met other Moms some first time, some 2nd time and we became very close (I'm still in contact with most today). This group may be more structured than you were looking for, but I believe it opens the doors for additional outings and activities, not to mention an immediate group of babies within the same age-range as your baby. I truly valued my time in this group and I would sign-up again if I ever have another baby. And I wish you good luck in your search. Sincerely, Marie

2nd time mom's group

Nov 2012

Hi- I joined a fantastic mom's group when I had my frist son. I had my second two weeks ago, and I'd love to join a second time mom's group, but I'm having a hard time finding one. Does anyone have any suggestions? I have to go back to work in Febuary, so it would need to start relatively soon. Thanks! stephanie

I recently did a second-time moms group with Support Group for Mothers, and it was a big disappointment. I felt the facilitator was ineffective and unreliable (not to mention that she changed the start date for the group and didn't let us know until the day it was supposed to start, and she was pretty bad about responding to emails in a timely manner, if she even responded at all). That was the only second-time moms group I could find. I hope you have better luck than I did. Anon

I can't remember the original posting but Gina Hassan does ''mindful mothering'' groups and she does a 2nd time moms group. I haven't been a 2nd time mom yet but had a great experience in her mindful mothering group. anon

New Moms / Parents Group

Nov 2012

Wondering if there are Mommy and Me or New Parents groups in Emeryville or Berkeley? I have a lovely new baby not quite six months old. My husband and I have decided that I will stay at home for a couple of years to devote time to raising our baby and possibly return to work when it is time for preschool. I am interested in learning about community gatherings and resources for new parents and their babies. Thank you! Happy New Mom in Emeryville

I used to go to the mother's group in Alta Bates hospital. They have 2 mom and baby sessions- one for babies under 6 months and one for babies over 6 month. Its not very expensive ($10 per session). It was a great way to make friends and get to know more about the community. Here is the link Momat30

Mom's group for a first time Mom

July 2012

I'm looking for a recommendation for a Mom's group for a first time Mom. Hi! I'm looking for a moms group to join:) My baby is 9wks old and we would love to meet other moms & babies. We are located in the Lake Merritt area. If there is an existing group or some people are interested in forming a group, please contact me:)Thanks for your Suggestions

I joined Bridges new moms' group led by Emily Shenson (also my doula!) and cannot imagine becoming a new mom without this amazing group. We meet weekly at Emily's home and she facilitates the group. She knows how to create a safe and fun place for incredible women to gather, share and grow. Having a laid- back and experienced facilitator allows us to open up more and bond in a way that is truly unique. Emily's also an invaluable source of support and resources for new parents. Here's a link to more information: Kate

Tulip Grove offers a wonderful mom's group for new moms. Kim

You might want to look into MOMS Club of Oakland. Most of our activities are on weekdays so it is great for stay-at-home moms (or those who work part-time). Email momsclubofoakland [at] for more information. Sarah

If your baby is younger than about 5 months, I'd recommend Support Group for Mothers: One baby in our group was 10 days old at the first meeting, and mine was almost 5 months; 2 months old was about average. It's a fantastic support group for new moms. There is a fee, but for me it was totally worth it to really connect with other moms, and the facilitation helped with that. Our group is still in frequent contact and we often plan group outings. Congratulations!

I whole-heartedly recommend Bridges Moms Group, This is a fantastic group facilitated by Emily Shenson a doula who works in the Bay Area (who I also highly recommend). This is a great group because it provides a safe, nonjudgmental environment for moms to discuss concerns, fears, strengths as well as learn and grow with other women. It is a place where you establish long-lasting, valuable friendships, that will continue to grow as your babies do. If you have questions you can visit the website posted above, or call Emily at (510) 224-7255. Marie

If you are looking to join an amazing moms group, you should check out BRIDGES. The website is The group is run by Emily Shenson. Emily has been a birth and postpartum doula for 13 years and she knows her stuff! She is mentioned by other people in reference to her doula work on other parts of this site. We originally hired Emily to be our postpartum doula but it turned out we didn't need help at night because we got lucky with a super easy newborn. When we met Emily, I told her I was looking for a good moms group where I wasn't going to feel like everyone was just comparing their babies and just being sort of competetive in general (something I've heard from other moms about these sorts of groups). Emily mentioned that she ran her own group and that it was the opposite of what I described. I am SOOOOO glad I listened. BRIDGES has been the best thing I have done since becoming a mom (10 weeks ago). It might just be one of the best things I have ever been a part of. This group is uplifting and empowering. Emily always says, I hoped it would be the best part of your week, but I never realized it would be the best part of my week too''. She is so right. I think everyone in our group right now would agree that we all look so forward to our meetings every week. The group lasts for 8 sessions and every single one is just as special and moving as the last. It is blatantly obvious that Emily has put a tremendous amount of thought and work into creating a safe, warm, inviting,and uplifting environment for new moms in this group. The group is very small, she limits it to 8 people and she holds it in her home in Lafayette (also another one in the city), so it is intimate and you can really get to know the other women deeply. I am currently in two other moms groups and there is absolutely no comparison when it comes to BRIDGES. They feel just shallow and somewhat sloppy, and the facilitators haven't promoted any sort of relationship building beyond introductions. And it's not just that Emily has put a lot of thought/work into making each meeting special, it's also just her spirit. She is able to make women appreciate each other and promote friendships in people who maybe would have never thought they would have had a connection. If you are looking for a moms group where you will likely build lifelong bonds and feel like you are a part of something really special in this precious new chapter of your life, check out the BRIDGES website and give Emily a call. It's been one of the best experiences of my life! EB

I've loved the Bridges Moms Group I've been a part of for the past several weeks. Emily Shenson, a birth and postpartum doula, facilitates the group and, although I know I could have have joined an unfacilitated group, I've valued the time Emily puts into organizing each session. She really stresses building a safe space to share and it has been great to have a place to talk freely about everything from the transition to motherhood to sleep techniques to intimacy with my partner post-baby I feel like I'm walking away from the group with a better sense of who I want to be as a mom ... and with some great fellow moms with whom to share in the journey. Bridges' website is; you can also reach Emily Shenson at (510) 224-7255. Congratulations on your new baby, Katie! KM

2007 - 2009 Recommendations

Grandparents' Support Group

Jan 2009

A close friend of mine and her husband have just become parents for their grandchildren. The grandchildren have had to relocate to Berkeley, start new schools, develop friendships, etc. Does anyone know of a support group for my friend and her husband? I know there are many grandparents who are raising their grandchildren and are the primary caretakers. Thanks.

Habitot Children's Museum has a number of active parent support groups for non-traditional parents who don't feel comfortable in standard parent groups (eg multiracial families, LGBTQ parents, etc.) and is planning to start a group for grandparents as caregivers. This group would be aimed at grandparents of preschool aged children, however. Contact Susana at parented [at] if you are interested. Gina

New born parents group in El Sobrante?

April 2008

We will have a baby girl in May. And would like to join a new born parents group in El Sobrante, Albany area. Any recommendations? new born parents

Congratulations on the anticipated arrival of your baby girl! My daughter was born in May of 2005 and when she was five weeks old, I joined a new mom's group through ''Support Group for Mothers''--an East Bay tradition of facilitated groups for local moms. Three years later...we are still meeting (this is not uncommon, as the SGFM groups have a strong tradition of longevity, which I love). To be completely transparent, I now facilitate these first-time groups for moms and their newborns in Oakland for Support Group for Mothers, and can share with you, that joining a support group is a wonderful thing to do...for your whole family. You can learn more about how the groups work here:

I'll just give you some quick info. There are groups forming in May, June and July very close to you in Albany - right by San Pablo & Solano Avenues. Groups are put together based on baby's birthdate and where you live, which makes for amazing connection. The women who facilitate the groups near you (Jennifer, Molly and Miracle) are incredible - all mothers with lots of professional and personal newborn care experience--you can read about them here:

I just ended a group yesterday, and all of the moms shared how much they have valued our group, sharing ideas and experiences, and getting out in the world together with their babies. I have no doubt they will continue to help each other out and have fun parenting with new support. If you have questions or want to talk with Jennifer or B about the groups, call 868-2617 or send an email via the website. Good luck to you during this last month of pregnancy - such a time of anticipation and growth as you await meeting your daughter. Best wishes for a wonderful birth, Elisa (mom and group facilitator)

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

Mindful Parenting Group

March 2004

I have seen a listing for a mindful mothering or parenting support group through this network before, but haven't seen it posted recently. Has anyone participated in it, and if so, what was your experience and how can I reach the person facilitating it?

We took a mindful childbirth class with a woman named Nancy Bardacke (which was great) - and I wouldn't be surprised if she also did mindful parenting classes... anon

I have attended Yvonne Mansell's group ''Mindfulness and Mothering'' for the last six months. She does a wonderful job of providing warmth and wisdom in reflecting on mindfulness and parenting. I've also enjoyed reading the Kabat-Zinn's book ''Everyday Blessings'' as part of the group. The group meets monthly and Yvonne asks for a 3 month commitment. The next block starts in about a month, so it's a good time to contact her.

You can reach Yvonne by e-mail: ymansell AT or phone (510) 528-9551.

I have been a part of the mindful parenting (moms) group since last fall and it is based on readings from Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn's book Everyday Blessings. We meet once a month on a Saturday from 10 -12. The woman who facilitates the group is Yvonne Mansell, she can be reached at her email ymansell [at] I have really enjoyed the connection with the other women in the group (there are generally 5 of us there-including Yvonne). We discuss issues that come up for us in our parenting and how mindfulness can and does play a part in our learning about and understanding our children and ourselves. Participating in the group and reading the book have been very positive experiences for me. Yvonne will be able to give you more information when you contact her directly. marion

A great resource regarding parenting issues is Helen Lockwood. She is a marriage and family therapist doing individual and family counseling, is also a therapist at a school for special needs children, where she works with kids and parents; and also has a parent coaching practice. I have found her behavior- oriented approach concise and compassionate. I recommend her highly! Zoe

I participated in the Mindful Parenting group last summer and fall and found it very helpful. Yvonne Mansell (who leads the group) is very compasionate and supportive while keeping a sense of humor about it all. I enjoyed the group and felt very comfortable sharing my concerns and experiences with the other mothers. I highly recommend the group for anyone who is looking for support in parenting in a more conscious way. You can find information about the group at or email Yvonne at ymansell AT Stephanie

I participated in the mindful parenting group for several sessions and I highly recommend it. Small groups meet for 2 hours at a time and use the book Everyday Blessings by Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn as a guide. The meetings start and end with a brief meditation. The leader provides a relaxing and peaceful place to contemplate mindfulness practices in daily family life. Contact Yvonne Mansell at 528-9551 for more information. Lee

2003 & Earlier

Group that includes both moms and dads

April 2002

My partner and I are looking for a parenting group that involves parents in general rather than just moms. Does anybody know of an existing one or have an interest in starting one? thanks Karen and Tim

Couples groups have always been so hard to organize

Martha Harris is the first person in a long time to offer a group for new couples: 925-284-4426 I think she may be holding it at The Nurture Center in Contra Costa County.

Bruce Linton used to do some Couples Groups and he does see couples with new babies for 3 sessions to look at the impact of a baby on relationships. His website is a wonderful resource for fathers:

If you need other resources for life with a new baby, please visit: Sherry Reinhardt