Newborn Group FAQ
PEPS Newborn Groups FAQ - How is a PEPS Newborn group formed? What is the difference between PEPS and other parent groups? Is PEPS a parent education program?
What Parents are Saying
"I really appreciated seeing how different parents raise children differently, and that they are all turning out OK. Helps to see what you want to copy from other parents, and which things you want to avoid."
"PEPS has truly been a wonderful experience for me. I continue to recommend it to any new moms I meet. It really has been a lifesaver in these early months with my new baby."
You can register any time during pregnancy, or after birth, up until four months after your baby is born. (If your baby is five months or older, check out Baby Peppers) We recommend that you register as early as possible. The sooner you register, the better, as it increases the chances that we will be able to place you in a group neaby, with babies close in age to your baby. There is limited space in each Group and families already registered on PEPS list have priority. PEPS does its best to serve every family that registers, and we offer groups to almost everyone that registers (99% of registrants in 2009), but cannot guarantee placement due to multiple variables such as location and volunteer availability.
When exactly will my group meet?
Groups are scheduled according to when a volunteer leader is available. The majority of daytime groups meet from either 10:00 am to noon, or from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. However, they could be anywhere between 9 am and 5 pm. Evening groups may start at 6:00, 6:30, or 7:00 pm, then run for two hours. When we offer you a placement in a specific group, if the time and day does not work for you, you can ask to be put back on the waiting list for the next group that opens up. (However, we can't guarantee that we'll have another group to offer you.)
Daytime groups are Monday through Friday. "Evening" groups are usually weeknight evenings, but we do occasionally offer Saturday or Sunday daytime groups to parents who had requested an evening group.
PEPS is a non-profit organization and depends on fees and contributions to keep our programs going strong. Your fee represents part of the cost of making a PEPS Group experience possible, including processing registrations, matching parents into Groups, developing curriculum, gathering resources for leaders to share, training Group leaders, monitoring leader performance and evaluating program outcomes. It ensures we can provide the highest quality experience to all our participants.
PEPS receives over 2,000 registrations a year for our Newborn Program alone. Your $10 registration fee contributes to the cost of managing and corresponding with each individual registrant and to maintaining our website so that convenient online registration is possible.
PEPS is unique, because we do not have pre-formed, pre-scheduled groups waiting for families to join. Instead, we create Newborn Groups based on the babies' due dates and on zip code clusters (i.e. part of town you live in), and time of day you prefer to attend meetings. We build groups from our registration list so you're paired with families who live near you and whose babies are close in age to yours. Think of it as your own customized PEPS Group!
Each Newborn Group includes approximately 12 adults and their babies. At daytime groups, only one parent from each family attends (most often the mother), so a daytime group may have up to twelve families. At evening groups, some parents attend solo, but most parents attend with a partner, so there are usually 5 - 8 families total, with a mix of new mothers and new fathers.
PEPS offers groups all over King County and south Snohomish County.
We offer 175+ Newborn groups each year. Newborn Groups meet in group members' homes. Group members are matched up in these "neighborhood zip code clusters":
- Snohomish County (Bothell, Brier, Edmonds, Everett, Lynnwood, Mill Creek, Mukilteo)
- North County (Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Shoreline)
- Northwest Seattle (Fremont, Wallingford, Phinney, Ballard, Crown Hill, Greenwood)
- Northeast Seattle (U district, Ravenna, Laurelhurst, Greenlake, Wedgwood, Maple Leaf, Northgate)
- Queen Anne (includes Magnolia and Belltown)
- Central District (Beacon Hill, Columbia City, Brighton, downtown, Madison Park, Madrona, Seward Park)
- West Seattle
- Southern Eastside / I-90 corridor (Mercer Island, Bellevue, Medina)
- Northern Eastside (Redmond, Kirkland, Woodinville)
- North Bend / Snoqualmie
We do encourage all parents to take their turn hosting. It doesn't matter how big or small, fancy or simple your home is.
If, for whatever reason, you aren't able to host in your own home, you may choose to host in a public place, such as a library meeting room or community center, or you may choose to offer to help in some other way, such as organizing a group outing, or providing snacks for meetings at other members' houses.
ALL families are welcome. PEPS Groups reflect the wide diversity of the Seattle area, with a range of age, race, religion, income, education, political views, and so on. Many Newborn Groups include adoptive parents, single parents, gay or lesbian parents, parents of multiples, bi-racial families, both first-time and experienced parents, and more. All are connected by the common experience of parenting a new baby.
Some parents debate between attending a daytime group on their own, or attending an evening group with their partner. There are upsides and downsides to each option:
Daytime groups are typically moms only, and many participants like being in this all-female environment, and feel like it offers a great opportunity to really explore what it means to be a mom. There are some dads who attend daytime groups, and this still works well, especially if he is the primary stay-at-home parent. Many parents find friendships in their PEPS Group, then go on to do other daytime events together: playdates, walks in the park, or enrolling in other mother-baby programs (yoga, music classes, dance classes, etc.) together. On the downside for day groups: Sometimes partners are disappointed to miss out on the PEPS experience. Also, most daytime groups have a mix of moms who stay home, moms who work outside the home part-time and moms who return to work full time. This can make it challenging to accommodate everyone’s schedule if the group wants to continue meeting once the 12-week session formally ends.
Evening groups are typically couples, with a few parents attending solo. Many participants report loving the diverse perspectives brought in by men and women, working parents and non-working parents. Evening groups tend to be laid back and social, and many families say that they like that the whole family belongs to the group. On the downside: many babies are fussier in the evening than the daytime, so there may be more crying babies. Also, some families find that they're too tired in the evening to enjoy a group (especially if they've been at work all day).
If you don’t have a time of day preference and are open to the first group that forms near you, you can register with your first choice and add a note in the Comments field that says “or first available”.
Here are a few quotes from recent evaluations:
- My group leaders are excellent. They help us realize that this stage will not last forever, even if it feels like it will sometimes!
- We love PEPS and look forward to it each week. It has been very comforting to see that other parents go through many of the same things we do. It helps us not feel so alone.
- PEPS is a safe place to share struggles and joys of parenting. It is so good to know that no one has it figured out and there is never just one way to do something.
- I love meeting parents with kids the same age and sharing stories, ideas, resources, and laughs.
In Seattle and the greater Puget Sound area, we are blessed with a wide variety of postpartum support groups, and early learning opportunities. It can be hard to sort through all your options to find the support that meets your needs.
- First Weeks is a drop-in group for families in their first 12 weeks. Nurse Ann Keppler offers advice and answers whatever questions participants bring up about baby care or early parenting.
- New Baby or New Mother classes at hospitals are typically taught by a nurse or parenting educator, and have a planned curriculum, focusing on health care and baby care for infants under 4 months of age.
- Listening Mothers Groups are led by professional therapists, and focus on the emotional changes that mothers experience and the development of the mother / baby relationship.
- MOMS, MOPS, La Leche League, Attachment Parenting, and a variety of church-based groups also exist. These often serve a wide range of parents, whose children may be anywhere from birth to age 4.
- There are also parent-baby classes in specific activities such as gymnastics, swimming, music, and yoga.
Many PEPS participants have participated in multiple programs, and they report that they found value in each type of program. Parents who have participated in a variety of groups report that the things they liked best about their PEPS group were:
- Community - seeing the same group of parents each week for several weeks, which allowed them to build strong, supportive relationships. Seeing the same babies week after week helped them to better understand their own baby's developmental phases.
- Mutual support - sharing experiences and learning from other parents who were at the same stage in their early parenting journey as they were, as well as learning from the leader, who is typically an experienced parent of one or more children.
- Predictability - PEPS Groups follow the same routine every week: sharing highs and lows, songs, break time, and discussion. This familiar routine is comforting for new parents who may feel like very few things are predictable when there's a new baby in the house!
- Variety - Some other programs focus only on baby care, or only on singing songs, or only on emotional development. At PEPS, you get it all! Many PEPS Groups also plan informal outings together, such as walks around the lake, Mom's Nights Out, playdates, or enrolling in other classes as a group.
Your volunteer leader will facilitate the group for twelve weeks. Parents are then encouraged to continue meeting on their own for as long as they wish. Some groups choose to stop meeting, some continue for a while but then drift away, but some of our groups continue to meet for years, supporting each other through pre-school, first days of kindergarten, even through the challenges of adolescence!
We can't guarantee how long your Group may choose to stay together. However, we will give you tools to help you get started, and offer on-going support for groups, with an online social networking community, guest speakers who can attend your group, a parenting lecture series, and more. Beyond that, it's up to you and your fellow group members to make it the experience you want it to be!
You will learn a great deal about babies and parenting by attending PEPS. However, that learning comes from sharing information with other parents, observing other parents and their babies, and participating in facilitated discussions that guide you in exploring your own values and priorities for your family.
Every PEPS Group is filled with experts - you, the parents! You're all learning new things about parenting every day, and your group's leader can help guide you on this journey. PEPS provides a curriculum for our group leaders, which offers an overview of each parenting topic, a summary of vital research information and current trends in parenting advice, and resources for more information. Your leader may also offer additional handouts, or email articles related to the week's topic. Your leader's role is not to be an authoritative educator, lecturing you in the "one right way to parent." Instead, he or she will facilitate the sharing of information amongst group members.
Some groups choose to have guest speakers at a few of their sessions, who have unique knowledge about certain topics to share. Some groups decide that guest speakers would only distract them from the great lessons they have to learn from each other.
Call PEPS at (206) 547-8570 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm Ready to Register
Register for a Newborn Group by clicking here to complete our online registration form. A $10 non-refundable registration fee will be collected at registration.