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Kristal, a new mother in West Englewood, walks with her newborn to visit her husband at the family barbershop.

Kristal, a new mother in West Englewood, walks with her newborn to visit her husband at the family barbershop.

Manuel Martinez

Bringing home baby: A resource guide for new parents in the Chicago area

Navigating the educational and social services available to new parents can be challenging. What programs are out there? Who’s eligible? And how do you apply?

These questions can feel overwhelming amid the myriad stresses and lifestyle changes that hit postpartum. Fortunately, the Chicago area offers a number of government programs, nonprofit organizations, and community-based resources that provide everything from medical care and mental health resources to educational resources for breastfeeding. Parents can also find organizations on this list that provide referrals for daycare and early education programs.

This guide is designed to give new parents a place to start, but it is not exhaustive. The intention is that it will take away some of the stress and confusion and provide a one-stop list of contact information. Have a recommendation that is not on this list? Tell us about it at First12Weeks@wbez.org.


Doulas and midwives


Start Early

Start Early is a nonprofit with national reach that provides doula and home visiting services to new families, and it connects parents with early education programs. It is headquartered in Chicago and offers several novel programs here.

Location: 33 W. Monroe St., Suite 1200, Chicago; 312-922-3863

Email: Info@StartEarly.org


Chicago Birthworks Collective

Chicago Birthworks provides doula services for families on the South Side, with a particular interest in supporting Black families during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

Location: 1603 E. 55th St., Chicago; 773-675-4290

Email: info@chicagobirthworks.com


Pilsen Wellness Center

The Pilsen Wellness Center provides holistic and culturally-sensitive mental health services, doula services and services for teenage mothers.

Locations: Pilsen Wellness Center has a number of locations in Chicago. A list of locations and phone numbers can be found here.


Howard Brown Health

Howard Brown Health is an LGBTQ-focused health care provider that offers doula services, prenatal and postpartum care, and breastfeeding support. It also offers a number of sources on queer family building, including orientation and support groups for artificial insemination.

Locations: There are a number of Howard Brown Health locations around Chicago, a list of which can be found here.

Phone number: 773-388-1600


Family Focus

Family Focus provides education for parents with children from pre-birth to five years of age, including doulas, home visits, and preschool. It also provides summer camp and afterschool programs, and has support programs for mothers, fathers, grandparents and immigrant families.

Locations: Family Focus has many locations in Chicago, as well as locations in Aurora, Evanston, DuPage, South Holland and Highland Park. A list of locations and their phone numbers can be found here.



Safia, a newborn, rests on her mother's bed on Chicago's North Side.

Safia, a newborn, rests on her mother’s bed on Chicago’s North Side. A WBEZ project called ‘The First 12 Weeks’ examines motherhood from the lens of three families.

Manuel Martinez


Postpartum services and home visiting programs


UI Health Two-Generation Clinic

The UI Health Two-Generation Clinic provides primary care services to both mothers and their infants or toddlers in the same location. It also provides social support and care for high-risk patients, including a social worker who speaks English and Spanish.

Locations:

  • 1801 W. Taylor St., Chicago

  • 2600 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago; 312-492-0025

Phone number: 866-600-2273


Erie Family Health Centers

Erie Family Health Centers provide a variety of prenatal, postpartum, and family planning and contraceptive services, including in-hospital labor, delivery and newborn care and breastfeeding support.

Locations: Erie Family Health has a number of locations in Chicago, a list of which can be found here.

Phone number: 312-666-3494


New Moms, Inc.

New Moms in Chicago helps provide stable housing, job training, academic coaching, prenatal education, home visits and peer support groups for new mothers.

Locations:

  • 5317 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago

  • 206 Chicago Ave., Oak Park

Phone number: 773-252-3253

Email: contact@newmoms.org


Family Focus

Family Focus also offers a home visiting program to caregivers with children from birth to 3 years of age.


Howard Brown Health

Howard Brown Health locations on 63rd Street and on Clark Street offer OB/GYN services, including postpartum care.


Breastfeeding support


I PROMOTE IL

I PROMOTE IL is a project funded by the State Maternal Health Innovation Program at UIC. The group maintains a Linktree containing telehealth tips, contraception information, breastfeeding tips, information about infant vaccines and mental health resources.


UChicago Medicine Family Birth Center

UChicago Medicine, as part of the Comer Children’s Hospital, offers a Family Birth Center, which provides a number of postpartum care services, including practices to encourage bonding with a newborn and breastfeeding support. Parents can have their breastfeeding questions and concerns answered by a lactation consultant by calling the “Lactation Support Warm Line,” which can be reached at 773-702-8885, and can access a number of online resources about breastfeeding at this link. They also offer a breastfeeding support group, which mothers can register for here.

Location: 5721 S. Maryland Ave., Chicago; 773-702-1000

Phone number: 773-702-8885


Northshore University HealthSystem Breastfeeding Resource Center

The Northshore University HealthSystem offers patients who deliver at its hospitals breastfeeding classes, in-hospital consultations and pump rental and sale.

Locations: A list of Chicago locations can be found here.

Phone numbers:

  • Evanston Hospital: 847-570-2268

  • Highland Park Hospital: 847-480-3702


Rush University Medical Center

The Rush University Medical Center offers breastfeeding classes for expecting parents, lactation consultations and support group meetings.

Locations:

  • 1620 W. Harrison St., 8th Floor, Chicago; 312-947-8850

  • 2000 Ogden Ave., Aurora; 630-978-6290

Phone Number: 888-352-7874


UI Health

The UI Health system provides prenatal breastfeeding classes, education for expecting parents and lactation consultation after birth.

Location: 1740 W. Taylor St., Chicago; 312-413-0233

Email: breastfeeding@uic.edu


Erie Family Health Centers

Erie Family Health also provides breastfeeding support in person, by phone and via telehealth appointments. Support includes addressing common breastfeeding problems, assistance using a pump and storing milk and information on helpful breastfeeding supplies.


Child Care


Illinois Action for Children

Illinois Action for Children helps connect low-income families with childcare and financial assistance programs.

Locations:

  • 1340 S. Damen, 3rd Floor, Chicago

  • 1111 E. 87th St., Suite 400, Chicago

Phone number: 312-823-1100

Email: generalquestions@actforchildren.org


Chicago Early Learning

Chicago Early Learning is the City of Chicago-maintained hotline that allows parents to apply online and rank preferences for early learning programs for children aged 3 and up. Parents can apply for both Chicago Public Schools Pre-K programs and community-based programs that accept public funding. However, many private providers are not on this list and must be contacted directly.

Parents can apply online at this link.

Phone number: 312-229-1690


Marillac St. Vincent Family Services

Marillac St. Vincent Family Services provides early education services, short-term child therapy, resources for young mothers and more.

Locations:

  • Marillac Social Center, 212 S. Francisco Ave., Chicago; 773-722-7440

  • St. Vincent de Paul Center, 2145 N. Halsted St., Chicago; 312-943-6776


Family Focus

Family Focus also offers two preschool programs in Hyde Park and South Shore, as well as after-school programs and summer camp programs.


Start Early

In addition to their direct service home visiting programs, Start Early also connects families with a national network of 25 educational programs for birth through five years of age.


Mental Health Services and Support Groups


Chicago New Moms Group

Chicago New Moms Group is an in-person education and peer support group for new mothers, offering new mothers the chance to connect with and learn from each other, to share their experiences and receive education on topics like breastfeeding and sleep.

Location: 3759 N. Ravenswood Ave. Suite 119, Chicago; 773-340-2229

Email: info@chicagonewmomsgroup.com


Beyond the Baby Blues

Beyond the Baby Blues offers support groups for women experiencing depression and anxiety during pregnancy, as well as support groups for women who have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth, or the loss of their newborn. Sessions take place over Zoom and meet once a week for six weeks. The program will pilot a Spanish-speaking support group beginning in May.

Phone number: 847-864-7957

Email: info@beyondthebabyblues.org

For questions about the Spanish-speaking support group:

Phone number: 773-742-6824

Email: gsinane@gmail.com


UIC Women’s Mental Health and Reproductive Psychiatry

The University of Illinois at Chicago provides a Women’s Mental Health and Reproductive Psychiatry service, including both inpatient and outpatient mental health services for women, as well as special services for pregnant women.

Location: 912 S. Wood St., Chicago; 312-996-2200


Rush University Medical Center Women’s Behavioral and Mental Health Services

Rush University Medical Center offers psychotherapy and other treatments for women struggling with mental health struggles such as unplanned or high-risk pregnancy, depression or anxiety during and after pregnancy and difficulty breastfeeding.

Location: 1645 W. Jackson Blvd., Westgate Building Suite 400, Chicago; 312-942-5932


4th Trimester Project

4th Trimester Project, an initiative within the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work’s Jordan Institute for Families, has created NewMomHealth.com, aiming to create “a village for mothers,” and it provides a number of physical and mental health guides for new mothers. The 4th Trimester Project also has a “Meeting Mamas” program that provides tips for finding parents in your community, and offers privacy considerations when sharing parenting information and tips to combat negative comparisons with other new parents.


She Matters

She Matters is an online platform providing resources and community for Black mothers. They provide a limited amount of free therapy services as well as educational resources and a directory within their app of culturally competent health care providers.


I PROMOTE IL

I PROMOTE IL also provides information on warning signs for postpartum depression, postpartum depression in Illinois, emotional support tips for breastfeeding parents, and the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline, which can be reached at 1-833-943-5746.

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