Great Business: The Parent Collective

Any expectant mamas in the house? If so, I am very jealous!!! Pregnancy and childbirth have been the highlights of my life to date. That’s not to say that when pregnant I wasn’t worried, anxious, and terrified for my babies health and my own. When I was expecting my first, I took a pre-natal class in New York City. To be honest it was over-crowded, the content was somewhat dry, and I had a tough time connecting with the teacher. Boy do I wish The Parent Collective had been around back then. Founders Melissa Griffin and Jessica Hill are moms themselves (both super cool I might add) and they created this business to help expectant parents get ready for this major life change. I met Melissa and Jessica on the train a few months back. We were all headed to the city and as I eavesdropped on their conversation I was taken aback by how energetic and excited they were about the business pitch that awaited them in NYC. I love passionate entrepreneurs so I of course had to ask them what they were working on (I think now you better understand why my husband hates to take the train with me!). When they told me about their business that offers 4 classes to expectant parents, and then follows up with gatherings and speakers for the first years of parenting, I knew they were on to something great! And if you are reading this, but finished having babies, please do pass it along to a friend or relative who might benefit from their services. Share if you care!

The Parent Collective

Q&A for The Sentimentalist with Mellisa Griffin and Jessica Hill of The Parent Collective:

The Parent Collective

What is The Parent Collective? 

The Parent Collective offers a new style of prenatal class which is designed to provide information, foster open discussion and establish friendships among couples living in close proximity and due at the same time. We see ourselves as an alternative to other childbirth education classes and hope that couples taking the series will develop a social network through participation, gather playmates for the little ones on the way and of course, provide that crucial support system that parents so need.

The idea for our classes arose from our experiences with having babies in the UK where they have a prenatal class series called the NCT, or National Childbirth Trust. With these classes, couples register for a series of sessions with a group of couples who are all delivering around the same time and live local to one another. The idea being that along with learning what you need to about labor and caring for your newborn, you are also fostering a support network that will be invaluable to you during this next chapter in your lives.

Who is your target audience? 

We are a resource for expectant and new parents in both Fairfield County and New York City.  When they are expecting, we offer a prenatal class series that helps them to learn what they need to about labor through to newborn care all while supporting connections with other couples in their class.  After babies arrive, we offer CPR & First Aid classes, feeding support circles as well as a wide range of workshops and online content developed in response to participant questions. 

 

Why did you launch this brand? 

Melissa and I decided to start TPC after hearing from countless friends that they spent their early months and years with baby feeling lonely and isolated.  Because we were lucky to have the NCT, our experiences were wildly different and we wanted to give a similar feeling of support through education to others.  Quite simply – I don’t know how I would have gotten through the early months of my first baby without my village of NCT moms who got me out of the house, listened to me vent when I was struggling, swap strategies for dealing with the latest feeding/sleeping/illness issues that crop up, and filled countless afternoons with conversation and companionship.  Everyone needs that support and we hope that TPC will fill this need.   

How are you helping expectant parents? 

We are always banging on about how important it is to have friends with babies the same age as yours.  We absolutely realize that it is hard to make friends as adults. With pregnancy as the common thread, it can sometimes be easier.  Mom and dad friends at every stage of the parenthood journey are super helpful, but friends who have kids the same age as yours are essential. No one can fully appreciate the daily trials of a newborn like your friend who is also navigating life with a newborn. From spilling preciously pumped milk to dealing with an explosive poo in-transit (which of course only manifests once you have run out of wipes), when you are in it, these feel like total disasters.  However, these stories will not elicit a visceral “gasp!” from a new parent, but rather a breath of relief as you realize another real person has experienced something similar—like, yesterday.

Parents need this camaraderie so you can enjoy/survive the early days (and hopefully beyond) together. Our classes allow parents to solidify these relationships before babies arrive, so you don’t have to work so hard once they do.  You can already be texting from the hospital about the terrible food and a love you never thought possible. 

What does your class entail and how much does it cost? 

Our prenatal class is a 4-week series and in it, participants will discuss:

Session 1: What to expect in labor and delivery

Session 2: Relaxation techniques to help you through the early stages of labor, options for pain management and C-sections

Session 3: Breastfeeding and bottle feeding information and advice, including latching on, pumping, milk storage, getting on a feeding schedule, and how to manage problems that may arise

Session 4: Newborn care

Costs in Fairfield County are $350 per couple and $495 in NYC. 

Where can people find you? 

Our website is www.theparentcollective.com and we are on Instagram and Facebook at @theparentcollectivect

Any favorite brands/items you have collaborated with in the last 2 years that you’d like to share with my readers? 

We have collaborated with so many amazing brands since we started The Parent Collective, many of which were started by powerhouse women who saw something in their lives that needed changing.  A few that stand out are:

Organachs Farm to Skin is a premium selection of luxe organic and natural skincare, makeup, bath & body, hair and lifestyle products. The shop is based in Westport CT but sells online as well.  Siobhan McKinley has made it her mission to source products that perform beautifully without harming our health.  Her range includes baby and maternity-safe products as well as a wide variety of makeup and skincare.  Melissa and I are both converts! https://www.organachsfarmtoskin.com/

Rose & Rex was started by Allison Klein, a play-based tutor who studied the importance of imaginative play on early childhood development, and later applied her research in pre-kindergarten classrooms.   Recognizing that imaginative play is the creative language of childhood that supports all facets of development, all of Rose & Rex toys foster just that through imaginative play with design-focused toys.  Their website and toy selection are beautiful and unique and a must for parents of babies and young children.  https://www.roseandrex.com

Tinybeans is a genius concept, which allows families to safely share the joy of their children’s moments through an online journal.  How many thousands of photos have we all taken of our children in their early years, and if you are like me, those photos are just rotting on the Cloud somewhere.  Tinybeans is the online baby journal that grows with your family. It allows you to keep all your memories in one place and print beautiful photo books all without over-sharing on social media.  https://tinybeans.com

Since you both are parents yourselves, what do you think is the most useful advice you can give to expectant parents? 

Trust your instinct! There is a lot of noise out there about how we should care for/raise/discipline our kids.  Online message boards and websites offer advice, often conflicting and judgmental.  It can make your head spin and make the most confident person wonder if they’ve got it right.  The truth is, no one does! And you are connected to this baby in a way no one else is.  If something feels right but a well-meaning passerby tells you otherwise, trust your instinct.  Easier said than done, I realize… 

After parents have their child, does the relationship end or do you walk alongside new parents after childbirth too?

We very much want to offer support to new parents as well and so we have expanded to our offering to include workshops and talks that address the concerns raised by our community, including CPR & First Aid, feeding support groups, healthy sleep habits, nutrition and weaning, how to play with your baby, Dads 101 and many more.  Visit our website to learn more and if you don’t see a topic on the schedule, we can always organize a private session for you and (hopefully!) your TPC gang.    

What’s next for The Parent Collective? 

We are excited to be launching our classes into Greenwich in April.   To kick off this exciting expansion, we will be hosting an event with some of our long-standing partners.  On March 8th, join us at Classic Kids Photography Studio on Greenwich Avenue for an evening of giveaways, demos, raffles and treats.  Guests will have the opportunity to book a free maternity photo shoot and receive a complimentary print thanks to Classic Kids Photography Studio. Tell your pregnant friends!  Space is limited, so RSVP to book your photo shoot by emailing [email protected].

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