About to have a baby? Congrats! Live in the Boston area? Congrats again! As it happens, you’re in a great place to connect with other new parents and stay active during the insane transition to new parenthood. Below are a few resources I discovered in the Boston area while on my maternity leave.
New parent (drop-in) support groups
These are FREE support groups where you can get advice from and commiserate with other new moms and dads in the Boston area — whether you’re on maternity leave or will be staying home long term with your little one! Some are hosted by hospitals, but all are open to anyone, regardless of where you delivered. In each case, don’t worry about running late, showering, or forgetting essential things, like, say… diapers. Everyone understands and is willing to help!
Accessible from the T, the groups at MGH are facilitated by very kind and knowledgeable nurses and lactation consultants. They’re happy to answer all your questions! There is a weekly virtual breastfeeding support group, plus an in-person “Me and My Baby” support group to meet other new moms, ask questions, share your experiences and get support. The weekly Mother Infant Lactation Club (MILC) is another place for moms to come with their babies and ask questions about being a new parent.
The BMC Baby Cafe hosts virtual and drop-in support groups around Boston all throughout the week! These groups offer professional lactation counseling, fun playgroups for your young child, and support for anyone struggling with the ups and downs of parenting.
This drop-in postpartum support group takes place at Mount Auburn’s Waltham location and is run by the midwives at Mount Auburn. This group is worth the trip (and not just because they often serve delicious cookies). With other parents, you’ll be able to share experiences and support each other through the early days (and nights) of parenthood. Some days there may be guest speakers, a free massage, conversations with a certified nurse-midwife, or time to share the highs and lows for the week.
These Somerville playgroups and parent support groups offer an opportunity to connect with other parents and caregivers, learn about parenting, and introduce your child to other children. There is a support group for fathers, a new parent support group, plus many playgroups for various age ranges of babies, toddlers, and beyond!
Boston’s Jewish Family & Children’s Services offers seven general parent support groups in Arlington, Brookline, Cambridge, Jamaica Plain, Medford, Sharon, and Watertown — plus an ongoing virtual group each week. These groups provide safe and nurturing spaces for parents — with their new babies — to give and receive support, ask questions, and begin building a parent community close to home. JF&CS also hosts groups for pregnant women, parents of toddlers aged 1-4, women experiencing postpartum depression, anxiety, and other emotional complications, and parents through adoption.
Dawn Ellis is a local licensed clinical social worker who has facilitated support groups for pregnancy and early parenting for more than a decade. Her stroller group is free, and walks take place in Newton. (Other Dawn Ellis groups are fee-based.)
Walking, hiking, and exercise
This is a wonderful resource for new moms who want to get active! You do need to have a Facebook account to join. The group hosts lots of hikes around Greater Boston and even the Cape, too! Hikes vary in intensity and accessibility — there’s a leisurely walk on the Arlington bike path on Mondays, and on Thursdays there are carrier-only hikes in the woodsy areas further out from the city.
On Tuesdays at 10 a.m. the Friends of the Fells organization offers fun guided carrier-only hikes in the Middlesex Fells Reservation in Medford. This popular weekday hiking program has been running since 1999!
This “walk and talk” stroller group was started by local moms to find community and get outside!
Yep, you read right. You can take your kid to the movies! Two theaters in town offer weekday matinees especially for new parents, and one theater offers sensory-friendly movies — the sound is turned down a little, the house lights are on just a touch, and crying and diaper changes are par for the course.
Baby-friendly movies in Brookline take place every other Friday at 10:30 a.m. for $13.25.
Arlington’s Capitol Theater hosts first-run baby-friendly movies every Monday at noon for $7.
AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer a sensory-friendly, family-friendly film program on the second and fourth Saturday of every month. Tickets are regular priced.
These groups are perfect for asking weird baby questions but also for getting awesome hand-me-downs, connecting with nannies and babysitters, or finding out about family-friendly activities near you!
Tinyhood is a public group for all parents living in Boston and surrounding areas to connect and get advice from each other, plan playdates, request recommendations, and buy/sell/swap baby gear.
Melanin Mass Moms works to bridge the gap between community resources and health disparities for mothers of color as they navigate all stages of motherhood. They provide mental health resources, postpartum support, and in-person and online networking events to support and engage moms.
There are SO many local-to-you groups for parents on Facebook, and these groups can be a wonderful way to find community in the Boston area during your maternity leave and long term! For example, Somerville (and beyond) Parents is 4.7K members strong, and the thriving Moms of Camberville groups are divided by year so you’re set up with parents experiencing the same ages and stages. There is a South Shore moms advice and support group, a Moms of MetroWest group, plus groups focused in on individual towns (Swampscott parents, Arlington parents, Quincy moms, etc.).
If you like/prefer apps, you may enjoy Peanut to find other moms local to you!
Many libraries offer lapsit storytimes for caregivers and babies! Enjoy time together to learn, play, and develop language and motor skills. Baby lapsits are typically recommended for 0 to 12 months or until baby is walking, though some of the events below are for ages 0-2 years. There are also many programs available for older children, too. Our local libraries are amazing! (Be sure to check your library’s calendar of events before showing up, as there may be changes to the regular schedule.)
Cambridge Public Library main branch: Mondays at 10 a.m.
Boston Public Library main branch: Mondays at 10:30 a.m.
Boston Public Library Mattapan branch: Mondays at 10:30 a.m.
Medford Public Library: Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m.
Brookline Village branch: Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.
Somerville Public Library central branch: Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.
Boston Public Library North End branch: Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.
Boston Public Library East Boston branch: Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.
Boston Public Library Jamaica Plain branch: Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.
Boston Public Library Roslindale branch: Tuesdays at 11:30 a.m.
Boston Public Library Parker Hill branch: Wednesdays at 10:15 a.m.
Boston Public Library Chinatown branch: Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.
Boston Public Library Honan-Allston branch: Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.
Somerville Public Library West branch: Thursdays at 11 a.m.
Somerville Public Library East branch: Fridays at 10:30 a.m.
Boston Public Library Connolly branch: Fridays at 10:30 a.m.
Boston Public Library Brighton branch: Fridays at 10:30 a.m.
Boston Public Library Egleston Square branch: Fridays at 10:30 a.m.
Boston Public Library Codman Square branch: Saturdays at 11 a.m.
This post was originally published in 2015 but was updated in 2023 with contributions from Dashanna Hanlon.