Wee Essentials: Parenting Centers in the City

A.k.a Your saviors Read more

parenting centers philadelphia by neighborhood

In the recent years, as more and more parents have populated Greater Center City, more and more parenting centers and other types of places dedicated to serving parents have popped up — and thank goodness for that. Because sometimes all you need in life is a nursing group. Or a carrier tutorial. Or potty-training help. Or some other mom friends. Or a just really cute onesie. You can find all (or most) those things (and more!!) at each of the places listed here — places devoted to helping moms in all sorts of ways. In other words: Bookmark this list, mamas!

The place: Minnow Lane
The hood: Fishtown
The scoop: The newest of the bunch, Minnow Lane is a natural-parenting-focused boutique with a full roster of programming. The store side has toys, books, carriers, feeding and bathing gear, diapering needs, furniture gifts and more (all of it geared toward babies, kids and young families); the “gathering space” offers workshops and classes. (Check out current roster here.) 

The place: Nesting House
The hood: West Philly and Mt. Airy (Also Collingswood)
The scoop: Nesting House has a super well-edited selection of new things for babies and kids (clothes, toys, cloth diapers, feeding supplies) as well as a ton of consigned stuff (shoes, clothes, strollers, bouncy seats, car seats and more). On top of all that? They offer classes in their spaces, such as workshops about baby-wearing and cloth diapering, as well as new mom groups, childbirth prep sessions, music and dance classes, baby-and-me yoga, and more.  

The place: Ali’s Wagon
The hood: Fairmount
The scoop: Ali’s Wagon is a great, 
homey little boutique with smart, fun gifts for grown-ups and all sorts of kids gear out front, and a well-known parenting center in the back. Owner Jessie Menken has run and continues to runs a whole variety of great programming for parents in the space, from breastfeeding groups to storytimes to special workshops to Q-and-A sessions with pediatricians (like Alexis Lieberman of Fairmount Pediatrics) and sleep coaches (like Andrea Elovson).

The place: Cloth
The hood: South Philly
The scoop: Aside from all the awesome gear (carriers, diapers, potty gear, new mama essentials, bath stuff, toys, gifts and more), there are also the now-famous and 
FREE babywearing and cloth-diapering workshops, as well as other topical sessions that range from childbirth to to potty-training to mom-and-kid music classes (Rhythm Babies!) to infant care to infant/child CPR and more.  

The place: City Sprouts
The hood: Kensington
The scoop: This cool, urban-feeling little store-meets-parenting center has been open for about a year now, selling a big variety of cloth diapering supplies, as well as toys, gifts and art (much of which is locally made), and offering a bunch of good stuff by way of classes: Prenatal and postpartum yoga, new mom groups, breastfeeding groups, a dads meet-up (not on calendar now, but it has been in the past!), baby music classes, birth classes … plus an in-house doula and midwife.

The spot: My Fabulous Mama
The hood: Graduate Hospital
The scoop: Owner Marisa Piccarreto offers a whole slew of great stuff at this two-year-old parenting center: shopping (kids, baby and mama gear of all sorts), classes, workshops (ranging from breastfeeding support groups to estate planning workshops to infant care classes, and beyond), as well a whole range of professional baby-planning services and parenting help — registry consultation, gear tutorials, help with preschool selection, and much more.

The place: Hall-Mercer Child and Parent Center
The hood: Wash West
The scoop: The Penn Med-affiliated program is really well known for its weekly playgroups and discussion groups that focus on informal mom education (via a facilitator and via peers) while the kids play. It’s not a boutique, and not even really a “class” in the way that most of us would consider a class, more of a playgroup with a chance to learn about your kid’s particular developmental stage while your child present, and to get advice from childcare professionals. A session runs roughly two months; prices vary by age group. Many local moms qill tell you that they met their best mom friends here. 

The place: Mama’s Wellness Joint
The hood: Wash West
The scoop: 
The wonderful, nurturing yoga studio is forever offering wonderful, nurturing classes and workshops that go way beyond yoga (and also beyond childbirth, though those are popular classes, too). There’s been infant massage, basic newborn care and feeding, sleep classes, solid food courses, going-back-to-work workshops and more. Not surprisingly, it’s a very mama-friendly and family-friendly spot.

The spot: Nest
The hood: Gayborhood and Chestnut Hill
The scoop: A lot of people know Nest mostly as a gathering spot for kids, but like
 Hall-Mercer, Nest tends to offer discussion/playgroups that incorporate playtime and learning for kids and discussion/social time for parents. (They cover infants, toddlers, preschoolers, parents welcoming their second kid, and more!) 

The spot: Pennsy
The hood: Wash West
The scoop: Most hospitals offer some form of childbirth and/or nursing classes, but Pennsy also offers courses on baby-care basics, baby CPR, The Happiest Baby on the Block, sibling classes, infant massage, and more. 

The spot: Center City Pediatrics
The hood: Gradate Hospital
The scoop: One of the most popular pediatrics offices in the city, Center City Peds goes beyond just medical care for their patients, offering regular classes and workshops on topics ranging from infant massage to lactation support groups to infant sleep help to tummy time social hour, and more.

The spot: South Philly Parents Resource Center
The hood: South Philly
The scoop: The people behind the amazing CityKids Consignment Sale and the Kids of South Philly list serve also offer new mom groups, new dad groups, family playgroups and more — all helping connect 1000+ families in South Philly.

Want more posts like this? Check out:
Wee Spotlight: Primp & Play
Expert Spotlight: Child and Family Coaching
Breast-kept Secret: Solutions for Women