This guide to East Bay new parent support groups, activity groups, and great places to meet other moms is sponsored by FIT4MOM 510. FIT4MOM 510 has locations across Emeryville, Berkeley, Albany, and El Cerrito. Your first class is always free. Use code 510FAMILIES to save 10% off your first 5- or 10-class pack.
Well, gosh, Covid-19 has sure made it more challenging for new parents to meet each other! Am I right? We’re happy to see that online groups, outdoor groups, and creative solutions are flourishing so new moms can connect.
A note for parents of all genders: Some of these groups and outings welcome parents of all genders while others are more mom-specific. When in doubt, please contact the business directly.
S P O N S O R M E S S A G E
FIT4MOM 510 is a local FIT4MOM franchise currently supporting locations across Emeryville, Berkeley, Albany, and El Cerrito. They’re a local mama-led business, owned and operated by mamas right here in the 510 community since 2018.
Your first class is always free. Use code 510FAMILIES to save 10% off your first 5- or 10-class pack. Limit 1 use per person.
Moms are always able to do what they need to take care of their little one and, of course, we try to keep things moving so that the kids are happy, entertained, and mama gets a workout in. Little ones are the top priority from infants to toddlers to kids, so if mamas need to change a diaper, give a bottle/snacks, nurse, or console, they do it (no sideways looks, just love). Some days littles will nap through the whole class while other days, it seems they only fuss. We’ve all been there and we all get it.
Activity-based new mom meeting opportunities
Looking for an opening to connect with other new mothers? Here are some resources that are operating to serve new parents, divided between support groups and activity groups. Activity groups include gathering together to learn or do something in addition to talking and supporting one another. Sometimes it is easier to click with another new parent over scarf-dancing or struggling to hold a plank.
FIT4MOM 510 (Berkeley, Emeryville, Albany, El Cerrito)
Classes are both outdoor and virtual. A bring-your-baby (or toddler) fitness class with playgroup events incorporated. Locations for stroller-based classes are Grove Street Park in Berkeley, Cerrito Vista Park in El Cerrito, Christie Park, and Doyle-Hollis Park in Emeryville. Additional events are designed to welcome new members, such as free walk/runs each month. Learn more >
Classes are both in-person and virtual. Formerly known as Baby Bootcamp, these classes coach postpartum women through a fun outdoor workout with their jogging strollers. The current schedule has energetic classes at Lake Temescal with lots of free parking.
Baby Brigade Movies (The New Parkway, Oakland)
Join other vaccinated parents with crying babies for regular current release movie nights at the theater at Baby Brigade held on Thursday afternoons. There’s beer and dinner, too. Find showtimes >
Berkeley Rose Waldorf Walks in the Woods (Oakland)
New parents enjoy hikes in the woods together. Session-based toddler groups are making the migration from outdoors to indoors based on Covid safety. Learn more >
Music Together (Various East Bay)
Classes and groups in-person, outdoors, and remote. We love East Bay Music Together for its music curriculum and getting to know so many other families of similar age babies during circle time when we let down our guard a little. Learn more >
Library storytimes (Various)
Many storytimes are now outdoors. For babies over 6 months, there are baby-friendly circle time activities at nearly every East Bay library, some are in-person and some are still online. Mix it up. Check our round-up of East Bay storytimes to see if there’s one you want to try.
Lotus Bloom (Oakland)
A child and family resource center in Oakland with playgroups for kids 0-4. Learn more >
tum-e-time (Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda)
Classes and groups now remote. 4-week sessions offer new parents tips on infant massage, baby songs, and tips on how to spend time together. See dates, times, and locations.
Find more places to meet parents in an active setting in our (pre-Covid) round-up of Best Classes for Babies and Parents >
Support Groups for New Parents
When I joined Support Group For Mothers back in the day, I had one simple goal: to make a friend with the same-age baby. I knew I was about to meet ten women with babies close in age to mine, and I thought, “If I truly like just one of them, this will be money well spent.” The support of fellow postpartum women turned out to be invaluable, but I was just thinking it would be nice to have someone to hang out with while I was on maternity leave.
I liked ALL of them, and some of us still get together. A handful of the kids are in high school together now, and they have a special (awkward?) bond, knowing that they were in the same “Moms Group”.
BANANAS Support Groups
Offered periodically on the “Parents & Family Workshops” page, moms will get to share their feelings, ask questions, and build friendships with one another. There are also playgroups and free classes about all things parenting! Check the schedule to find the next group >
FUN Mother’s Club (Fremont, Union City, Newark
A Tri-city organization for families with young children, they do support groups and fun activities, too. Learn more if you’re near FUN >
Jewish Baby Network
Jewish Baby Network welcomes everyone with little ones 0 to 36 months to their in-person (outdoor) events, including unaffiliated, single and multi-parent, multi-faith, multi-ethnic, multi abled, and LGBTQ families. Learn more at jewishbabynetwork.org.
Kaiser new parents support groups (Multiple)
Classes and groups are currently remote. Groups for Kaiser members and are facilitated by a lactation consultant or licensed therapist in Oakland, San Leandro, Fremont, and more. Find a new parent support group near you >
La Leche League meetings (Online)
Currently meeting online. Dedicated to supporting breastfeeding, you’ll find locations and details on their interactive map, which includes groups for Alameda and Oakland/Berkeley.
MOPS, Mothers of Preschoolers (Alameda, Walnut Creek, Online)
This church-affiliated national group is a place for parents from pregnancy through pre-K. They meet in many different locations across the country, including Alameda at this time. They have Moppets for the kids so the moms can connect while the kids play in a preschool setting. It includes breakfast, speakers, creative activities, and opportunities to meet many new moms in your group. Find out if there’s a group near you >
Parents, Resources & More (PRAM) is a community-driven formed in 1998 to support families with young children (ages 0 to 12 years old) living in the Greater Richmond area. Check them out >
Support Groups For Mothers (Emeryville)
Facilitated weekly meetings put new moms on a path to a support group and a baby-friendly social life in these non-hospital, non-religious affiliated groups held in Emeryville. Learn more >
Then Comes Baby (Oakland)
Classes and groups are now remote. This sweet spot for moms in the Grand Lake area of Oakland offers a full schedule of classes from prenatal to Potty Training as well as support and connection groups for new parents. See the website >
Push your stroller down the street
In order to make new parent friends, you will need to put yourself out there. Though it can be easier just to stay home, the simple act of putting on your shoes (and mask!) and making sure you know all the features of your stroller will give you the confidence to keep on keeping on.
Start simple: walk around your block and neighborhood. Broaden your activities to scope out the playgrounds and coffee shops (can you push the stroller and sip a latte?). When you’re ready for a more exciting destination, push your stroller through a shopping district like Fourth Street or College Ave. in Rockridge. Visit a cafe and a family-friendly business as your destination. You got this.
Another way we meet each other is by hanging out at our nearby playgrounds. Starting at about six months, this is a totally normal thing for parents to do.
[Photo credits as noted.]
This guide to East Bay new parent support groups, activity groups, and great places to meet other moms is sponsored by FIT4MOM 510.