Being a new mom can be hard – harder than one might expect. The complete life adjustment and the social isolation can best even the strongest of women. Thank goodness for Linda Szmulewitz and The Chicago New Moms Group for bringing some sanity to my upside down world. I finally had a safe haven to go to meet other moms, bring my baby and ask a professional questions, like “How and when do I establish a sleep schedule?,” and “When do I need to think about feeding my baby solids and how exactly do I go about introducing them?” and the general, “My baby does [insert anything], and is this normal at this stage?” Meetings are 1.5 hours long – just the right amount of time to really delve into topics while still being able to keep babies entertained and not overly fussy. You also really get to know the women and babies in your group so that you can hopefully establish a support network that goes beyond the last meeting. If you’re a new mom and living in Chicago, I highly recommend signing up a full session!
Jen, mom of Iris
Joining this group was the best thing I did when I was on maternity leave. First of all, it runs for 6 weeks so the timing was perfect. Secondly, I couldn’t have ask for a more diverse group of women from all different parts of Chicago. Lastly, the one rule of the group is “no judgments.” I would highly recommend.
Uchenna, mom of Abram
Joining this group is one of the best things you can do for yourself as a new parent! It’s not only a great resource for new Moms but it’s also just a chance to practice getting out of the house…..who knew it would be so hard?! Having a weekly commitment was something I needed.
Linda’s group provided me with a safe, comfortable place to ask questions, talk about any issues and to socialize with other women experiencing the same firsts. If you’re thinking about joining a new Mom’s group, this is the one to join!
Trish, mom of Max
Linda is a fantastic resource for any new mother! Her group was ideal as a new mother dealing with the challenges and joys that a new child(ren) bring. I am very thankful to Linda for providing this service. I met new friends, learned valuable information, shared resources, and most importantly: felt like I wasn’t doing ‘it’ wrong. I would recommend this class to any first time mother, as it was such a great place for me to come each week. Linda also is a sleep consultant, and knows everything related to babies (and if she doesn’t know, she will find resources for you!)
Allison, mom of Ford
I worked really hard throughout my pregnancy to build a support network and gather tools for dealing with the difficult newborn phase of life. I went to Cheers for Moms pregnancy dinners, every available Bump Club event, La Leche League meetings, KickSprout events. They were all fantastic and helped prepare me mentally and gave me a great foundation of knowledge.
There is nothing that can replace simply sitting with other people who are going through the exact same challenges you are having, listening to their experiences, sharing your own and offering one another the comfort of KNOWING. It sounds so silly, but it is incredibly helpful and empowering to know you’re not alone. I was never on time. I sometimes felt like the worst person in the world for feeling the feelings I had, but I always found that someone else was feeling the exact same way. It was all OK.
As leader of the group, Linda is fantastic, knowledgeable and has the rare quality of really remembering what that newborn period was like and relating to us all. So many of my mom-friends really didn’t remember that period. They’d already lost touch with the hourly challenges and only had vague feelings about being a brand new mom. Linda has a set topic to go over each week and most of the time we focused on that (sleep, traveling with little ones, eating habits, going back to work – or not, etc) but sometimes we’d spend the entire session just sharing what happened the previous week (the good, the bad and the very very ugly).
Of all the connections I made throughout my pregnancy and while on maternity leave, the connection I feel with these ladies is the strongest. We still get together for playdates and just to talk and share what’s going on – our struggles, our accomplishments and of course pictures of our most adorable babies in the world!
If I had to go back and pick just one “thing” to do before or after birth, it would be to join this group.
Laura, mom of Tacy
Immediately after the birth of our daughter, I was not only sleep (and shower) deprived but a nervous new mom lacking confidence. I found The Chicago New Moms Group through a referral from a doula I spoke with. Linda leads a small group of new moms for a 6-week session that focuses on all the topics directly impacting your new role as a mom. Not only were the topics timely but Linda’s knowledge, experience, and willingness to answer questions and discuss issues that came up during the week was such a comforting aspect of participating in the group. This group truly made a difference in helping me develop as a mom. Our group ended almost 8 weeks ago and all of us moms are still communicating by email and plan weekly meet ups with and without baby! Their first-hand experience is also truly priceless and makes me feel that I am not alone. Our baby is four months old, and we are now working with Linda on a sleep training program that will help teach our daughter healthy sleep habits and help us get on track to sleeping through the night.
Meg, mom of Elizabeth
A friend sent me information about this group just after I had my son. I wasn’t sure it would be worthwhile, since I have quite a few friends with young children who are always open to support and share with me. But – this was amazing and exactly what I needed! Not only did it give me a place to be once a week (which I needed to get over any fear of getting out with the baby by myself — and I started before he was 2weeks old!), but being around other new moms in the throes of the newness of it all was great. Unlike my friends who were removed enough from the newborn stage that, while helpful, were already more comfortable, the other moms echoed how I was feeling, which was reassuring. It has been great to have a formal setting with Linda to guide the conversations and offer information and resources, in addition to the comfort of other new moms. I have been recommending it to all my expectant friends already!
Leah, mom of Eli
I just finished my six week session with the Chicago New Mom’s Group and I couldn’t be happier about my decision to participate. The women I met in the group were wonderful, and now my son and I have some new friends. Linda was a wonderful facilitator. She is such a wealth of knowledge about infants, especially sleep. After putting into practice some of the recommendations she shared with us during the group, my son immediately began to nap during the day and sleep better at night. It was like a small miracle had occurred. Linda listened to our concerns, and there was no judging going on in the group. She was very encouraging, which built up all of our confidence levels. I looked forward to the meetings each week, and I already miss them now that the group has ended. I highly recommend this group for any new mother.
Jessica, mom of Noah
I highly recommend this group to any new mom out there. You meet new moms who are in the same boat, who can share experiences, venting, resources, etc. I learned a lot from Linda and the other moms that I’ve met.
Carmen, mom of Ociel
So sad that the new moms goup meetings have ended today. I wasn’t sure joining the group was a good idea as I do not share easily emotional and private issues; however, from the first week, Linda has put me at ease and I started to realize that I wasn’t the only mom with mixed feelings and in need to receive support and useful information. Linda has been non-judgemental all the way, has given useful input and facilitated great conversations. Joining the group turned out to be a great idea. I have met an awesome group of new moms, gained knowledge about many areas of parenting a little baby, built confidence in myself, and I started to look forward to every Monday session. Now that the sessions are over, I am left with lots of memories and many moms to hang out with, to share my son progresses and a great friend in Linda as well. The all experience had just one negative…that is over 🙁 Thanks Linda for your support !!!
Giuliana, mom of Alessandro
This group truly saved my sanity! Linda was a wonderful facilitator providing insight, perspective and advice when asked without passing any judgement. A voice of reason when you are feeling the most unreasonable! Learning and growing with other new moms also provided invaluable emotional support. Hoping to keep in touch with the mom’s and their babies and Linda for years to come!
Kate, mom of Hannah
I was a little concerned that since I was a soon-to-be new mom rather than an actual one, I might feel awkward. Linda facilitated the group in such a way that there were no concerns once I got there. To get together with others around my stage of life was invaluable. Things that hadn’t gotten answered in official training were answered here from Linda and the other moms. We have connected outside the group as ll, which feels very supportive.
Carolyn, expectant mom
I am so glad that I decided to join this group. As a new mom I was nervous about going anywhere alone with our son. By having a place to go every week that wasn’t intimidating I got to test things out, like breastfeeding, diaper changing and soothing him outside the house, I made some great new friends WITH BABIES!! Being home on maternity leave is great, but even better when you can go for a walk or out to lunch with a new mom and her baby too. In the group we easily mingled and got comfortable with each other really quickly, Linda helped create a non threatening, non judgmental and welcoming environment. She lead discussions on things from relationships post baby to sleep, feeding and returning to work or staying home. It was also great talking with her and the other moms about things like bottles, diapers, spit up and bath time. We already have plans to meet up for walks and are all talking about joining baby centered classes together! Thanks Linda for such a great experience!
Stephanie, mom of Dominic
My birth doula had recommended I join this group after my son’s birth. I have no family in Chicago, and I’m the first of my Chicago friends to have a baby so I did not have a lot of emotional support nearby. And after spending the first five weeks of my maternity leave on the couch nursing and watching TV, I really needed to get out of the house! I was hesitant to join this group since I live up north, but I wasn’t able to find anything similar in my neighborhood during my maternity leave. I am SO glad I joined this group! Before joining, I thought only I had struggles, and I had just been granted an exceptionally difficult baby. It was a relief to meet other mothers who were going through or had gone through some of the same struggles. I was not alone! The group was small, and I was quickly comfortable with the other moms. Linda had discussion topics planned for each week, but conversation in each session always came naturally, as we all shared our current struggles from the prior week and got advice/suggestions from Linda or someone else in the group who had already been through it. Our meetings quickly led to discussions after the meetings and lots of email exchanges during the week. Looking back, I think other than Linda being such a great facilitator, what made this group so great was the fact that it was small and we met six times. This really helped foster the relationships in the group. Our formal sessions ended less than a month ago and we’re already meeting up on a weekend to introduce our spouses. We’re still talking through email about all the latest struggles and plan to continue meeting up monthly.
Jill, mom of Adam
Joining the group was one of the best decisions I have made since the birth of our son. It was extremely supportive, fun, and a chance to meet new moms experiencing some of the same things as myself. Linda provided valuable information and was always available via text or email.
Absolutely marvelous group that saved my sanity. The group leader, Linda, is a warm and generous person who makes all new mom’s feel like they are not alone. The group is structured so that you meet for a 6 week period with the same group of new mom’s – this works so well and I am in close contact with all of my group months after the last “official” session. Linda is readily available after your group session formally ends for sleep advice and all things baby. I am so impressed with this resource for new mom’s and I could not recommend it more highly.
Dot, mom of Georgia
The Chicago New Moms Group was such a lifesaver right after I became a new mom! I was overwhelmed and feeling a little lonely in the city, and this group connected me with 11 other women who recently had little ones themselves. Each week we focused on a different topic (sleep, starting solids, body after baby, etc) and just talked. It was really nice to spend time each week with women going through the exact same thing as me. Also – Linda is fantastic and has loads of information and advice on almost everything baby-related. She is a sleep consultant and provides lots of tips on getting your little one to sleep! So important :). I highly recommend The Chicago New Moms Group!
Kelsey, mom of Kate
As a former new moms group member, I just wanted to highly recommend this group to all the new mothers out there and thank Linda for the great experience. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to participate and would do it again in a heartbeat. Linda provides a wonderfully supportive environment and I can’t imagine the first weeks with a new baby without her and the rest of the new moms I had the chance to meet.
Sara, mom of Dylan
I thought the new mom’s group was a lifesaver. It was such a relief to talk with other new moms who were going through all of the same issues at the same time. It was also very fun to meet the other babies and see them grow and change. The group was facilitated in a way that was flexible and open enough to discuss any topic, but also focused enough keep the conversation going. Not only that, but everyone from the new moms group remains in touch and we are planning a monthly get together to touch base and see how the babies have grown. I have recommended it to several moms who are even newer than me. I really appreciated having the group.
Charmaine, mom of Jackson
The transition to motherhood is great, but also intense. A lot changes very quickly, and things that once came very easily- like getting out of the house to grab lunch, getting a mani/pedi, or just going for a walk, suddenly feel overwhelming, and in some cases impossible. Having a weekly meeting where I could discuss these issues with other moms helped make this transition more comfortable. Also, this was an outing that was very low stress, because I knew I could feed my baby during our group and it would be ok if he cried or needed to be changed- I didn’t have to worry about whether or not I was going to be able to care for him. Over the course of the six weeks I got better at learning how to leave the house with my baby and packing a diaper bag. I got to see how my baby and the other babies were different week to week. Because all of the babies in the group were not the same age, but born within months of each other, I could see where my son’s development was headed, but also what he had already accomplished. I have a lot of friends with children that are all different ages, but being apart of a new mom’s group, with babies that are the same age as your own, and going through it with other women that are becoming mothers for the first time was very powerful. Our group still meets monthly, and keeps up with each other via email for babysitter advice, developmental questions or when important things happen in our lives. I recommend all new mothers take advantage of this opportunity!
Molly, mom of Sam
This group was a weekly joy. Linda offered invaluable information and resources in a very open and non-judgmental way. I immediately felt comfortable in the group and felt solidarity with the other new moms. It was a wonderful space to ask questions and share the experiences of being new on the job. I would strongly recommend it to any new mother.
Elissa, mom to Zora
Being part of the new moms group was a wonderful experience for me and my baby. Our weekly meetings were extremely helpful but also relaxing. It was great to meet other new moms and their babies and to see that we all had so much to share regarding our new (busy) life. I have the impression we learned a lot from each other. Linda was a very attentive and helpful mentor during those meetings, bringing the conversation to very diverse and essential points of our new life as a mom and giving us the opportunity to find a strong support from each other’s experience (including Linda’s!). Our new moms group still meets once a month, and it is real pleasure to meet and talk about our babies while they all play together :-). Love it.
Stephanie, mom of Theophile
This is the best group for new moms! Even after the first session, we all connected because of our shared experiences as new mothers. I had trouble finding a group like this because so many meet ups are playgroups for older babies, but this one helped us get out with the babies AND focused on pressing issues for moms! It was nice that the babies were so close in age and all under 5 mo, so we could really talk about key issues surrounding sleeping, eating, fussing, and more. It gave me a safe space to talk, feel comfortable nursing in front of others, and not feel embarrassed if my baby got upset…because they all did at one point or another! After one session, we stayed for an extra hour or so just talking about the constant trials of parenting. And I’ve kept in touch with those in the group through email, Facebook and other meet ups. I also liked the variety of topics that were planned for each week; we used those as a guide but conversation always flowed to meet the needs of the group too. While moms came from all over Chicagoland, I loved that it was right in my Hyde Park neighborhood.
Amanda, mom of Ann