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Battle of the Bumps: Expectant Mom Groups

Find out when an online community is all you need and whether it pays to show up in person.

Battle of the Bumps: Expectant Mom Groups

Regardless of how you get it, support is essential when expecting a baby (especially your first). Lucky for us, it is readily available not only online, but often right in your own neighborhood -- especially when you live in NYC. The battle royale? The support group, a meetup of a group of women sharing the same experiences, led by one or more experts in the given field. The worthy contender? The online mom community, such as Facebook groups, sites like BabyCenter or Circle of Moms, and invitation-only listservs.

Let’s take a closer look at this battle of the bumps, then read on for an exclusive discount for WRNY readers below.

GUIDANCE

Online Mom Community: You’re relying on the knowledge of other moms, not experts. You will hear valuable feedback on everything from heartburn to breast pumps, but it is based on experience and opinion, not fact.

Support Group: A support group leader is most often a mother, but always a trained professional, either a RN, teacher, lactation consultant or social worker. The instruction is backed by knowledge of various fields. Leaders are often educators and can provide evidence-based resources for expectant moms.

Winner: Support Group. If I don’t know what to do when I can’t feel my baby kicking, I want to ask a pro, not mommytobe23.

CONNECTION

Online Mom Community: You are hearing from pregnant women with similar experiences and asking those same women for help, but one element is lacking: face time. The exchanges are through your computer. Faces are replaced by a photo, and words with text. Most often you are conversing with women that you don’t know by name.

Support Group: Your support group meets weekly: same time, same place, same expectant moms. You are sharing your highs and lows, learning what to expect, and venting together. Many women who meet in support groups often remain friends and stay in touch long after their babies arrive. They experience pregnancy together and become moms together with children of similar ages.

Winner: Support Group. A good playdate pal is hard to find.

PRICE

Online Mom Community: Free. Unlimited. Did I mention free?

Support Group: Many groups require paying the leader, paying for space and resources. They can range from $15 to $30 per meeting and often you must commit to the entire session.

Winner: Online Mom Community. Free always wins, doesn’t it? It is nice to not have to pay for support, but if you find the right group, it is usually worth the investment.

ACCESSIBILITY

Online Mom Community: Social media is available 24/7, which certainly caters to our impulsivity and impatience when wanting answers.

Support Group: Groups are usually offered only once per week, which in the land of pregnant women means a dozen new questions and concerns. Some group leaders, however, offer email access in between sessions to provide additional support for the more anxious.

Winner: Draw. You can’t argue with the fast food drive-thru support offered online, but it is good to know that some support groups extend their help well beyond the actual meetups.

KNOWLEDGE

Online Mom Community: With online groups and listservs, you are gaining knowledge, but that information only pertains to the actual queries posted. For example, you can gain insight into “How many ounces does your three-month old drink?” according to a) who responds and b) how quickly they respond. The community board does not run the gamut of all things pregnancy-related. Knowledge is based on your audience.

Support Group: Groups are more comprehensive. The facilitator has a lesson plan of sorts, ranging from labor to breastfeeding to newborn care. You walk away with an immense amount of knowledge on which you can rely and use towards being a confident parent.

Winner: Support Group. It arms you with comprehensive understanding versus immediate answers.

When it comes down to it, as women we support each other, and different moms have different needs. Support is something you can never have enough of and having people to share your experiences: the good, the bad, and the ugly is invaluable.

Lauren Deneroff is offering Well Rounded NY readers an exclusive discount for her Expectant Mama Support Group at Sprout San Francisco’s NYC location. The 6-week session starts Jan. 7, but drop-ins are welcome! Sessions will cover all things pregnancy and newborn, such as baby care, breastfeeding basics, baby gear and essentials, and nursery prep. Email info@mamalovenyc.com to register and mention “WR10” as the promo code.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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