Includes resources of interest to parents in
eastern and central Massachusetts, especially the "Metro West"
This Guide was begun in July 2001, and has been overhauled periodically since (most recently in January 2011). Any corrections are welcome!
Mothers and Company (also known as "MoCo") provided "comprehensive, evidence-based prenatal education, breastfeeding and new parent support, toddler classes and groups, special events for women and families, and natural parenting products to childbearing families in Central Massachusetts and MetroWest." I know the moms who owned and ran MoCo, and they're all smart, passionate, and dedicated to informed decision-making and natural parenting. This was one of my highly recommended sites — but the center, alas, closed in January 2012. You can still check their Web site for links to a variety of classes, both prenatal and postpartum.
Isis Parenting is another "place in the Greater Boston area for new and expecting parents"; they have five locations in Greater Boston, including one in Needham, and offer a variety of classes, support groups, and shopping.
Motherhood Maternity is especially useful for underwear and slacks; there are stores in Framingham, Natick, Burlington, Millbury, and Auburn.
Baby Depot at Burlington Coat Factory carries furniture, carseats, and more (we bought one of our carseats there). Branches are in Natick, Shrewsbury, Worcester and Billerica, among other places.
Consignment shops often carry children's clothing, toys, furniture/equipment, books, and games; prices are generally good, if the quality is mixed. Many towns in Massachusetts have them, though many shops are too small to have their own Web sites (an exception is Natick's "Kid to Kid," part of an international chain). Check your community Yellow Pages under "Consignment Shops & Svcs.", or Google your town name plus "children's consignment" for a map of shops near you.
There are also periodic children's consignment sales run by various organizations; one listing is at Kids' Consignment Sales — Massachusetts.
Motherwear has a factory outlet store in Florence (near Northampton) which is definitely worth a long drive (at prices up to 80% off from the catalogue)! However, this outlet store has recently gone online on eBay, so you can get factory-outlet prices on overstocks and discontinued items without leaving your home.
There are hundreds of books, magazines, catalogues, and other resources available on twins and supertwins, but I have (aside from several friends with twins) little experience with multiples. For general information, you may want to visit the bibliography prepared by the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs.
Local resources include:
Massachusetts Mothers of Twins Association (affiliated with the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs), which offers support, information and advice for parents expecting or raising twins or other multiples.
Keeping Pace with Multiple Miracles is "a non-profit support network for families and families-to-be of multiple birth children. We are based in W. Bridgewater, Massachusetts with chapters throughout the state. Offers a monthly newsletter, couples' nights out, family outings, playgroups, online chat, and a wide range of support beginning in pregnancy. Also runs an exchange which takes donated items and provides them to families with multiples.
Triplets, Moms, and More is a "support group for families and families-to-be of triplets, quads and more. We are based in Massachusetts and serve members throughout New England."
A Mothers of Multiples breastfeeding-support group sponsored by La Leche League used to meet in Westford; unlike other local LLL meetings, the multiples group welcomed partners and support providers. For current information on this group, consult LLL's Massachusetts page.
LLL moms, and word of mouth from other mothers interested in natural childbirth and breastfeeding, are among the best ways to find a practitioner suited to your family.
I first heard about my own children's pediatrician at a La Leche League meeting while I was first pregnant. If you live within a half hour of Acton Medical, I can't recommend him highly enough: Christopher Cooper, MD, Acton Medical Center, Acton, MA.
Coping with issues during the childbearing year? Here are some psychologists with long experience dealing with women in your situation who are reasonably local:
The Massachusetts Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program provides nutritional assistance to "low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are determined to be at nutritional risk." The program offers checks for grocery staples (e.g. milk, cheese, fruit juices, fortified cereals, peanut butter, dried beans and eggs) and coupons redeemable at farmers' markets for fresh fruits and vegetables.
If you're hungry, also call the Project Bread FoodSource Hotline, 800-645-8333; they can refer you to food pantries and free meals programs in your area.
The Massachusetts Children's Fund provides jarred baby food (as well as other baby supplies, such as cribs and carseats) to families in need.
MassHealth is a state low-income health-insurance program covering pregnant women and children, among others. Healthy Start is state health insurance for pregnant women whose income is over the "200% of poverty level" limit for standard MassHealth coverage; it applies until birth, but does not cover homebirth or services by midwives who are not CNMs.
The March of Dimes is devoted to fighting four major problems — "birth defects, infant mortality, low birthweight, and lack of prenatal care" — via research and education.
The Pregnancy Exposure InfoLine is run by the Genesis Fund, a nonprofit group that raises money "to enrich the lives of children and their families affected by birth defects, genetic disorders and intellectual disabilities." Located at the National Birth Defects Center here in Mass., the InfoLine provides nonjudgmental counseling for women exposed to potential teratogens before or during pregnancy.
The Circumcision Resource Center offers referrals, counseling, personal consultation, and educational resources to parents contemplating circumcision.
The state Department of Public Health's Immunization Program provides information to new parents on recommended vaccines and schedules; parents can also speak with an epidemiologist. (For information on low-cost vaccination, call your town's Board of Health.)
The Massachusetts Health Promotion Clearinghouse provides downloadable booklets on child health and safety, among other health topics.
The American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay offers Infant/Child CPR and Community CPR classes, including classes in Boston, Framingham, and Waltham; the Central and Western Massachusetts chapter offers classes further west.
First Connections in Concord, among their many classes (see "Parent Education" on this resource list), offers "Pediatric Basic Life Support", which covers infant/child CPR and other safety issues.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers many online booklets via their Healthy Children site, including the "Family Shopping Guide to Car Seats."
The "Public Health Degree" site provides another helpful guide (with additional links).
Most police departments in Massachusetts have Child Safety Seat Technicians on staff. For more information, call your town's non-emergency police number, or use the locator at Mass.gov. You can also use the NHTSA's Child Car Seat Inspection Station Locator (zoom in on the map to find the closest to you).
The Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention serves Massachusetts and Rhode Island: 800-222-1222 (24 hours).
For pointers on babyproofing your home, see these articles from BabyCenter and Toddlers Today.
The Parental Stress Hotline, run by Parents Helping Parents (see "Parent Support and Education"), provides round-the-clock confidential stress counseling, information and referrals: 800-632-8188 (24 hours).
Yahoo!Groups hosts hundreds of mailing lists on parenting, many of which are an excellent source of information and support from other mothers in your situation — mothers due in the same month, for example. (I joined a list for July 1998 mothers while first expecting; the list eventually wound up at Yahoo!, and our community is still going strong as of 2011.) Among the many other parenting lists available are those on high-risk pregnancy; bedrest; preemies; pregnancy after miscarriage; pregnancy over 40; single moms; lesbian moms; multiple births; and adoption.
Other useful forums online are at LiveJournal (for a list of current due-date communities, scroll down) and at BabyCenter.
Well Within, in Newton, hosts monthly Pregnant Mothers Forums for pregnant moms to chat with each other; call for details.