Crowdsourcing Guidance from Moms

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The one piece of advice I've heard countless times since becoming pregnant is not to take to everything I hear to heart. That said, it is still hugely overwhelming trying to sort through it all. So, I tapped 13 admirable women to help guide this first-time mother-to-be, on what they learned their first go-around.

P.S. the image above is of my mom and me one week after I was born.

jenni

Jenni Kayne, Fashion Designer - With an eponymous line that's synonymous with French-girl cool, I have absolute faith in Jenni’s thought process. As mom to Ripley and Tanner, she’s gone back to her gut and has the most basic advice that I'll probably need to be reminded of over and over again.

“Trust your instincts.”

kelly

Kelly Wearstler, Interior and Fashion Designer - As one of the most recognizable names in lifestyle design, Kelly Wearstler manages to make good design seem effortless and attainable. She’s left her fingerprint on luxury hotels around the world, and is author to four home decorating books. I wanted to know the mantra that the insanely creative decorating mogul believes in for her sons Elliot and Oliver. 

“Educate your children's eyes and ears. Give them the opportunity to express themselves, find their unique voice and encourage them to explore. Take them to flea markets, museums, gallery openings, record stores and concerts.”

pati

Pati Dubroff, Celebrity Make-Up Artist, Creator of Pati Dubroff Cosmetics - A-listers flock to her before a red carpet event, and her clients include celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow, Drew Barrymore and Jessica Alba. Beyond growing her brand new cosmetics line, Pati Dubroff has done an amazing job raising daughter Bianca who is 11.5 (the half is very important). Here’s her take on those first few months of being a new mom.

"Having a new person to take care of is all-consuming.  It's very easy to give everything to the little angel and forget to take care of yourself. My advice is to take the time to do something for yourself...every single day. Whether it's going for a walk, taking an exercise class, a bath, or something as simple as applying a face mask - make the time to give back to yourself.  You will then be in a better state to give fully to your child." 

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Marlien Rentmeester, Editor-in-Chief, Le Catch - Former Lucky Magazine West Coast Editor, Marlien Rentmeester, now runs cult favorite fashion site LE CATCH.  When she’s not being mom to her two sons, she's online shopping or surfing. Here's her expert take on being a brand-new mom. 

“You might lose your mind, but it will come back... intermittently. However, mommy hood joy is like no other!”

paz

Paz Stark, Owner of Stark Waxing Studio - An entrepreneur who owns Stark Waxing Studio (the prettiest place to get waxed in Los Angeles), Paz Stark is not only a busy business woman, but also mom to daughter Goldie and son Jacob. She’s been through new mom mode twice before and knows what works. Here, her top three pieces of advice (I’m a big fan of the silly dance party already).

1. "OxiClean Spray really does work on any stain. Buy a lot of it!"

2. "Trees really do make the best mobiles. Treat yourself and your kids to a breezy shadow show and just enjoy watching the branches do their dance."

3. "Speaking of dancing, don't underestimate a 20-minute "silly" dance party in your pj's with the kids to get the energy out before lights out.” 

missy

Missy Magsaysay, Author and Co-Creator of The Hive Magazine - Former Los Angeles Times fashion editor Missy Magsaysay is also the author of a best-selling style book. Her newest venture is an online destination for busy, multi-tasking moms (and precisely why I tapped her for her post-birth experience with son Miles).  

“Each day is a wild new adventure filled with emotions, frustrations and love, you never thought possible. Try and enjoy it all, even the challenges, as a learning experience about both yourself and your child.” 

jeana

Jeana Sohn, Photographer and Creator of Closet Visit - I love just about everything Jeana does, especially her sartorially voyeuristic site, Closet Visit, where she features the wardrobes of Los Angeles’ coolest creatives. More so, I love her on Instagram where she snaps images of her daily life with lots of cameos from her son Oliver. Here, what she learned about going with the flow. 

“Go with the flow and trust your instincts. When our son was born we read a ton of books about parenting and early child development. Every book seemed to have different and conflicting rules. We were also bombarded with advice from other parents,  again all conflicting and impossible to process together. At first we tried to absorb all the tips,  rules, and warnings from every source and implement them all into our parenting, which caused us great stress and turmoil.  

Sleep training was a great example. We read three books on the subject, all of which came highly recommended by other parents. We tried so hard to do what those books preached, but nothing worked. After trying and failing everything recommended to us, we gave up and just did what felt natural to us; we put him in our own bed (in a co-sleeper for safety) and went to sleep with him.  Boom,  magic. This process worked great for us and seemed to be great for our son.  Maybe it's not the ideal way to do it.  Maybe it will make our lives harder later when we have to wean him out of our bed.  

But it made our stress on this subject go away and made us happy and it felt right.  

We extended this approach to most aspects of parenting. We still listen to other parents,  read books,  and listen to podcasts about parenting, but we process that information with a grain of salt.  We use what works for us and discard what doesn't.  We trust our instincts as much as possible and that has given us a lot of peace.  So far so good.“

des

Des Kohan, Shop Owner and Trend Forecaster - As a trend forecaster and owner of one of the most fashion-forward shops in Los Angeles, Des Kohan is one of my favorite fashionable people out there (and of course the coolest mom, ever).  Her advice hits home for me and I’d like to remember to do this with my daughter.

"My one piece of advice for a new mom is to always speak and explain to your little ones, they really listen and comprehend it all”.

bunmi

Bunmi Laditan, Author and Tweeter @HonestToddler - Not only is Bunmi the tweeter behind the hilarious Twitter @HonestToddler, but she’s also my childhood friend who now has three kids of her own (hi Maya, Tali, and Félix!). She has a no-holds barred approach to motherhood, and I’m looking forward to her new book Confessions of a Domestic Failure: The Diary of a First-Time Mom. Here’s her take on being a new mom.

"Ignore all of the advice and follow your instincts. If that doesn't work there's always Google."

lisa

Lisa Greenwald, Vice-President of Merchandising at Madewell, CEO of Chewbeads - Lisa Greenwald is a rockstar: Not only is she the current VP of Merchandising of Madewell and mom to Benjamin and Jordan, but she also started her own company called Chewbeads, intended for use by new moms with teething babies that love to touch, tug, and chew on their mother's jewelry (genius!).  Here’s one stylish CEO’s take on new motherhood. 

“You're going to figure things out about your baby with time, so don't be too reliant on parents' or friends' experiences and training tools. Every baby is unique and has his/her own needs.  Over time, you'll learn what your baby needs (sleeping/feeding/cuddling/etc.), and in turn, learn more about them and yourself!”

raegan

Raegan Moya-Jones, CEO of Aden & Anais - Just about every mom has heard of aden+anais, the swaddling blankets that have made their way onto registries around the world. Raegan Moya Jones, the creator of the uber-soft swaths of fabric got the idea when she moved from Australia to New York and couldn’t find the muslin wraps that were so common back home. As mother to 4 daughters herself, she’s had her fair share of experience being a new mom. Here’s her biggest lesson learned.

"Don't compare yourself to other mums.  You are the best mum for your baby - trust your instincts and set up a bedtime routine, everyone is much happier after they've had a good night's sleep."

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Elise Loehnen, Editorial Director at GOOP - Elise heads up the editorial efforts at GOOP, and has her finger on the pulse on just about everything cool (not to mention she's one of the smartest people I've met). Her son Max is the best (he's sick, but cuddly in this image) and his disposition is a testament to Elise's own easy-going approach to raising kids. Here, the three tips she gives to all her new mom friends.

1: "Invest in a really ugly swing. Babies have bad taste, just embrace it. A Fisher Price Snugabunny swing might change the first few months. (To that end, watch the "Happiest Baby on the Block" DVD...kind of all you need!)."

2: "Remember that everything is a phase—the stretches where they sleep through the night, the stretches where they absolutely don't—they will evolve without any interference from you. Just know that this too will pass."

3: "Speaking of interference, schedule seems to be comforting. When we checked out of the hospital, our pediatrician gave us some marching orders that (I believe) had Max sleeping through the night at two weeks (yes, two weeks!). He instructed us to feed him every two hours, counting from the END of the previous feeding until the beginning of the next. He told us to wake him up if necessary, and repeat until 11PM or so, at which point we could let Max sleep for as long as possible. He pointed out that when babies are born they're essentially jetlagged, since they're most active in utero when we're sleeping. You have to train them that the day is for eating, the night is for sleeping. I think our pediatrician is a genius."

4. "Once your child moves on to solids (you have awhile), read "Cure Your Child With Food," by Kelly Dorfman. Super interesting must read. Or, you can read the cliff notes version of the book over at goop."

Joanna Goddard, Writer of Cup of Jo - My morning doesn't feel complete without a visit to Joanna's expertly informational site: From her in-depth series on motherhood around the world to her favorite new dress, if Joanna vouches for it, I believe it. More over, she's somehow balanced it all: A career, two beautiful boys, and even time for date nights. I think her bit of advice will resound when I am running on steam. 

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"Remember that "babies be babies." My sister-in-law told me this phrase when I was pregnant, and during those moments when I would find myself analyzing why on earth my baby only wanted the right boob, or why he kept giggling at the lampshade, or why he suddenly hated the stroller, I would remind myself...babies be babies. And just laugh it off. You can only do so much! And also remember, I promise, IT GETS SO MUCH EASIER."