People often list the birth of their first child as the happiest day of their lives. But it’s also okay for new parents to feel lost, overwhelmed and even frustrated.
While babies don’t come with instructions, there is a wealth of local resources to help educate and support new parents.
At Central Florida Lifestyle Magazine, we put together a list that we hope will make moms’ and dads’ lives a bit easier.
The workouts at FIT4MOM West Orlando are designed to get mom’s body ready for the delivery room, with exercises targeting the core and lower back.
“So mom is feeling strong and confident going into labor,” said owner Kelly Starky.
FIT4MOM also offers postnatal classes to help moms recover from the delivery. Workouts are held outdoors at parks. Moms are encouraged to bring their babies. At the end of class, kids burn energy playing while moms can connect with other moms.
Orlando Family Stage is devoted to young people, with programming for children of all ages.
For babies, they offer Baby and Me. Artistic Director Jeffrey Revels describes the production as an interactive play led by professional theater performers.
“We see babies really respond to that kind of stimuli,” Revels said.
Presented by Orlando Health and Winnie Palmer Hospital, Baby and Me is an opportunity for babies to work on their social development skills. It is also sure to light up their little faces.
Orlando Dads Group is a community of diverse dads who share parenting perspectives and support one another. A group favorite is Dad’s Night Out, which they host monthly.
“We share dad jokes and let loose a little,” said organizer Flor Mercado.
Mercado and co-organizer Nate Watson started the meetups six years ago. They have get-togethers a few times a month. Sometimes, they will invite the entire family. Other times, it’ll be a daddy and me meet up to give Mom some well-deserved rest.
Winnie Palmer Hospital is an invaluable resource for new moms in Central Florida. Recently named Best Children’s Hospital by U.S. News & World Report, it is not only a great place to have a baby but also offers a ton of postnatal support.
Their Postpartum Series consists of three classes for just $15. All the instructors are medical professionals. Topics addressed are pelvic floor recovery, breastfeeding and postpartum depression.
They also offer 24/7 virtual care for minor health issues and concerns, which can be a lifesaver for new parents.
The Orange County Department of Health has a Fatherhood Program for new dads, run by Human Services Counselor Luc Desir.
The first part of the two-part program is Bootcamp for New Dads, a one-day class covering basics like swaddling a baby, changing diapers and making bottles.
The second part of the program is the 24/7 Dads Class, a series of classes held over four weeks. They cover things like housing, job training and mental health. Desir keeps these classes conversational.
“I really try to make sure it’s a safe space for them to share their feelings without judgement,” Desir said.