Whether you’re a new mom or a veteran, The Baby Bunch at Florida Hospital is for you. Check out why this weekly meetup became my favorite mom group.
My introduction to motherhood was a bit rocky (whose isn’t?)! My first baby was born the day before Hurricane Irma hit our area, I struggled with breastfeeding and eventually quit after four months, and I spent the first year of motherhood struggling to feel like I knew what I was doing. As difficult as I found that first year, there was one constant that made a lot of it easier: The Baby Bunch at Florida Hospital.
Note: The Baby Bunch takes place every week at four Florida Hospital locations. I always attended The Baby Bunch at Florida Hospital’s Altamonte Springs location, so my own experience comes from this specific group.
What Is The Baby Bunch at Florida Hospital?
The Baby Bunch at Florida Hospital is a support group for moms of all backgrounds with a baby between 0-12 months old (and no, it’s not limited to moms who delivered at Florida Hospital – any mom is welcome.). A certified lactation consultant attends each meeting for moms who need breastfeeding help, lunch is served to the moms, occasional speakers give helpful information on resources in the Orlando area, and moms have a chance to support one another in a judgement-free setting.
What The Baby Bunch Does For Moms
The Baby Bunch provides three things at once for Orlando moms: education and resources, support from fellow moms, and breastfeeding assistance. At the Altamonte Springs location, for example, a certified lactation consultant attends each meeting and is available during the entire two hour meeting for hands-on breastfeeding assistance. A digital scale is also available so that moms can weigh their babies before and after nursing to track exactly how many ounces their baby took in that particular feeding.
Speakers periodically visit The Baby Bunch at Florida Hospital to give moms information on resources in the Orlando area. Always held in the first 10-15 minutes of a meeting, presentations at the Altamonte Springs location have included everything from stroller fitness classes in the area to water safety for little ones. Every third Wednesday of the month, the Seminole County Public Schools “Great Start” program leads a fun story time and singalong that is geared towards the developmental stages of each baby in that day’s group. They discuss different ways for the moms to engage with their babies at specific ages, and each baby receives a book at the end of the singalong.
And at every meeting, moms receive support from their fellow moms. Concerns about motherhood can be voiced, advice can be solicited, and the highs and lows of motherhood can be shared in an environment that is inclusive, empowering, and supportive. When many new moms struggle with feelings of isolation after the birth of a new baby, The Baby Bunch at Florida Hospital gives them a chance to socialize and interact with fellow moms.
What The Baby Bunch at Florida Hospital Did For Me
Even though the group is meant for moms with a baby aged 0-12 months, I actually jumped the gun and attended my first meeting at the Altamonte Springs location when I was still pregnant with my son, Killian. As a first-time mom with no immediate support in our area, a husband whose work schedule left him absent 6 days out of the week, and no knowledge of resources for moms in Orlando, I knew that I would need extra help when I became a mom.
I needed The Baby Bunch.
I can’t speak for other locations because I’ve only attended The Baby Bunch at the Altamonte Springs location, but my experience with the group was one of family. The group is coordinated by Laura, the Birth Experience Coordinator at Florida Hospital Altamonte. Laura actually attended The Baby Bunch 15 years ago when she was a mother, so she learned firsthand how important a support system could be for a mom. As a fellow mom and past group member, Laura brings that level of personal care and passionate sincerity to every mom who walks into The Baby Bunch.
Breastfeeding wasn’t successful for me, but the four months that I was able to breastfeed Killian wouldn’t have been possible without the group’s certified lactation consultant, Tangela. I would attend a meeting and breastfeed while Tangela explained why Killian had trouble latching, or how I might hold him differently to ease my own back pain. And when I finally decided to stop breastfeeding, Tangela supported my decision and never once shamed me for the choice.
I met my “mom BFF” at The Baby Bunch at Florida Hospital. Her son was Killian’s first friend, she hosted my very first play dates, and her son’s birthday was the first one that I attended as a parent. Even as my family prepares to move to Maryland, Jen will always be my very first “mom friend,” and Lincoln will always be Killian’s very first friend.
The Baby Bunch at Florida Hospital became one of my most crucial outlets as a new mom. Even before Killian was old enough to safely venture into public, he and I could attend The Baby Bunch. I would ask moms for tips on sleeping habits, commiserate on the disaster of a diaper blowout, and socialize comfortably in my sweats and dirty hair (no judgement, they all had young babies, too.) Outside of the Wednesday meetings, moms would get together for walks or mom nights out, and they’d check in with one another through Facebook.
The Details: Cost, Location, Meeting Times
The Baby Bunch meets every week at four different Florida Hospital locations around the Orlando area. The cost for each location is $8/meeting or $20 for three meetings (lunch is included at each meeting).
The Altamonte Springs location meets every Wednesday at 12:00 PM. For more information or to register to attend, click here.
The Celebration location meets every Monday at 12:00 PM. For more information or to register to attend, click here.
The Orlando location meets every Tuesday at 12:00 PM. For more information or to register to attend, click here.
The Winter Park location meets every Friday at 10:30 AM. For more information or to register to attend, click here.