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In “The Fifth Trimester,” Lauren Smith Brody Helps Working Moms Stay Sane After Baby

In “The Fifth Trimester,” Lauren Smith Brody Helps Working Moms Stay Sane After Baby

When Lauren Smith Brody was on maternity leave from her job as Executive Editor at Glamour magazine, she had no idea what the experience of going back to work would be like after twelve weeks at home with her new baby boy. She was the primary breadwinner and her husband was in medical residency. Going back to work was a no-brainer for her in so many ways, but it wasn’t easy.

Brody always loved her job and the people she worked with, but she found herself dreading going back after her first son was born. “I felt like I didn’t recognize myself,” she said during a phone interview with New York Family.

The sleep deprivation was intense and she was utterly exhausted. Each day felt like she was “just getting by,” which had never, ever been her norm. But with U.S. maternity leave policies being what they are (not good) and in need of a steady income stream, Brody went back and struggled through until she finally got her sea legs a few months into it.

Many parents who’ve dealt with fussy newborns are familiar with Dr. Harvey Karp’s concept of the fourth trimester – the idea that babies are born a trimester too early and therefore need to be made to feel like they’re in the womb again to feel secure. It’s these three months that the baby cries the most and is the incredibly needy of the parents. This is the period of time when women are typically at home on their maternity leave, and they usually return to work right as the fourth trimester is ending, if not beforehand. The fifth trimester, then, is all about the working mom’s return to the office, when she is likely not quite physically, psychologically, or emotionally ready. After all, many women are still breastfeeding when they go back to work and their babies may still be sleeping irregularly and waking up throughout the night. The idea behind Brody’s new book, The Fifth Trimester: The Working Mom’s Guide to Style, Sanity, and Big Success After Baby, is that women in this deeply challenging phase of life are looking for ideas, solutions, and the knowledge that other women have been in their shoes and made it to the other side, with family and career intact.

For Brody, realizing that this was just a transitional period, something that would pass along with the sleepless nights and spit-up, was transformative. It helped her adjust to her new role as working mom in a way that made sense for her, and inspired her to start talking to other moms (more than 700!) and experts for their ideas regarding not just the mental and physical logistics but the emotional evolution of making “mom” part of your work identity. The result is her book – an easy-to-read guide that’s essential for navigating the uncertain waters of balancing a new baby and a career. Pregnant women and new moms who are short on time will easily find themselves swept up by the friendly yet matter-of-fact manner in which Brody presents a litany of information and advice. From getting out the door in the morning looking like you actually got some sleep to what to ask your nanny during the interview. There’s even a quick reference page at the front of the book so readers can go directly to the topic and page they’re seeking.

Coming from a women’s magazine, Brody has a plethora of advice when it comes to making moms look and feel their best. One key piece is to make a miniature wardrobe within your closet. “Don’t let your closet torture you in the morning,” she says. Put everything that fits and is work-appropriate front and center so you can pick from there and make your morning a little easier.

When it comes to negotiating just about anything with your boss or a family member, have a plan and not just a complaint, and show how what you’re asking for isn’t selfish but actually good for everyone. If it’s flex time, then point out how working from home will save on commute time when you can get extra work done instead of waiting for the 6 train. If your company has never offered this benefit to anyone then you could be paving the path and making the company a more desirable place to work. Then just be sure to have a back-pocket plan when you feel out of control (think: exhausted or seriously sad or something that you would normally deal with hits you hard). This should be something that will soothe you. If nature gives you a sense of peace and calm find a park close to your office where you can walk when you’re feeling down. For Brody, she would call home because her dad would always say “I love you” when they hung up the phone and that was what she really needed to hear.

Brody’s book is packed with actionable tips, but one thing she wishes she’d mentioned as a resource for moms looking to network and connect with newborns is Mindr. “It’s a series of really awesome affordable events (conversations and talks) to which parents can bring their babies and come and learn about everything from flower arranging to public policy,” she says. There’s also lots to be said for moms who left the workforce after having babies but are now looking to jump back in. Brody points to the returnship program at Goldman Sachs and career placement company Werk that posts many part-time or work-from-home positions. “The future of work is flexible, and that’s great news for working parents,” Brody adds.

Speaking of good news for working parents, Brody is now doing more speaking engagements and some consulting to spread the word about the Fifth Trimester and how important it is to set up women for success when they get back to their desks. She’s helping companies improve their policies and, as a result, employee retention, along with boosting recruitment and reputation, not to mention their bottom line.

“There is just this burning desire to nurture and mentor that seems to light up for many women after having a baby,” Brody says. “It’s surprising because you’d think there’s no energy left to take care of anyone else, but it’s just the opposite.” Herself being a prime example, Brody hopes to make a real difference in workplace culture and build a movement that will pay it forward for generations to come.

So what does such a busy working mom do in her free time? As far as “me time” goes, Brody always liked walking the three miles to her office when she was an editor, especially the part where she strolled through Central Park. “I would walk by the sea lions at the zoo and just enjoy the fact that I was looking at the sea lions,” she says. These days, she likes to do bar classes at Exhale whenever she can.

Raising kids in Manhattan for her means frequent visits to the little boat pond in Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Biscuits & Bath pet daycare not far from their place on the Upper East Side with Will (in third grade) and Teddy (in kindergarten). These days, they love the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum with its cool graphic design exhibits, the Upper East Side location of the Brooklyn Robot Foundry, the annual Maker Faire in Queens, Tinkersphere in the East Village (where her son Will made his own Raspberry Pi computer!), Dave & Buster’s, and birthday parties at Chelsea Piers. They can frequently be found eating dim sum in Chinatown or Momofoku Ssam Bar on Second Avenue.

“They are both fairly picky eaters (we are working on that right now) and would rather eat a buttered carbohydrate than anything, but they both love tobiko sushi,” Brody says. “Yes, the weird little crunchy red fish eggs. I heart NY.”

To learn more about Lauren Smith Brody, visit thefifthtrimester.com!

Breastfeeding Travel Tips: On the Road

Breastfeeding Travel Tips: On the Road

Traveling while breastfeeding this holiday season? Here are some expert tips from a Certified Lactation Counselor!

Plan Your Route:

  • Use a program like google maps to chart the best course and find rest areas along the way
  • Build extra time into your plans: Trips will take longer than usual with millions on the road. You will need to stop and nurse your baby on average every 2-3 hours while traveling
  • Be patient: Mentally prepare yourself for it to be a long trip. Warn eager grandparents or relatives that you will be arriving later than usual
  • Don’t forget your road trips snacks: Nursing moms need extra calories, so pack water bottles and healthy snacks to keep your energy – and patience- up
  • Pack the right equipment: In addition to diapers, wipes and a change for clothes for baby (and you!), you will want to make sure you have everything you need to breastfeed your baby while en route.

Breastfeeding & Pumping Checklist:

  • If your electric pump is also battery operated, pack extra batteries
  • Pack an extra set of pump parts in case you can’t clean yours while on the road
  • Bring a nursing cover or blanket in case you feel uncomfortable with strangers being able to see in your car
  • Pack a cooler with ice packs, as well as storage bottles or storage bags
  • If you’re using bottles and nipples to feed your expressed breastmilk, it’s always helpful to pack 1-2 more than you think you need

Breastfeeding While Flying Travel Tips:

  • Dress for Success: Wear a nursing bra and shirt that makes breastfeeding as easy as possible
  • Carry-on “Must Have” Items: You’ll want to pack a change of clothes for baby but don’t forget about you! Pack an extra shirt for yourself in your carry-on bag. Also take nursing “must have” items, like your HPA lanolin, or an extra set of disposable nursing pads, and slip them into a carry-on as well
  • Want a Nursing Cover? Pack a cover or blanket in your carry-on if you are uncomfortable nursing in public
  • Breastfeed at Take-Off and Landing: Swallowing helps babies adjust to the change in air pressure. If you can’t nurse then, consider using a soother or pacifier
  • Bringing Breastmilk Through Security: TSA doesn’t restrict size of containers for breastmilk but you need to let security know you’re traveling with it. Here’s some TSA tips!

Molly Petersen is Certified Lactation Counselor at expert with Lansinoh. Learn more at lansinoh.com.

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Hello, Haylie!

Hello, Haylie!

Haylie Duff wears a L’agence top, Levi’s jeans, Vince Camuto shoes, an EF Collection necklace, and a Tacori ring. Haylie’s daughter, Ryan, wears a Little Moon Society dress.

Photos by Jenn Sturtevant for Classic Kids Photography. Hair and makeup by Ashley B. Cordova. Styled by Rhonda Spies.

It’s safe to say that most #MillennialMoms have fond memories of seeing Haylie Duff on Disney Channel (sometimes alongside her sister Hilary Duff, as on the popular show “Lizzie McGuire”) and as Summer Wheatley in the iconic 2004 film “Napoleon Dynamite.” It’s also safe to say that anyone who’s followed Duff’s multifaceted career since the early aughts can attest to the fact that she hasn’t slowed down and that there’s not much in the entertainment industry that she hasn’t been inspired by, tried, and succeeded at.

“Like most people in this business, I feel like I’m an artist and I’m inspired by whatever it is that is in front of me at the moment,” Duff explains of her career in acting, singing, songwriting, TV hosting, food blogging, cookbook-authoring, and beyond. “I find the creative outlet in so many different places. But it’s kind of that thing when you hear that an activist is also an artist and they paint all these crazy things. I think that I’ve been lucky that I haven’t had to find the creative outlet in just one arena, that I’ve been able to do it in a few feels pretty fortunate to me. Otherwise, maybe I would have been over it by this point in my life.”

For Duff right now, the view from “this point” in her life is looking pretty good. At age 32, she and her fiancé, entrepreneur Matt Rosenberg, are loving parents to an almost-2-and-a-half year old daughter, Ryan. She’s staying busy and fulfilled with her website Real Girl’s Kitchen (a Pinterest-worthy trove of actually-doable recipes, home décor hacks, and tales from her very own exploits in the kitchen) and a slate of upcoming acting projects (notably, a recurring role on season two of Rob Schneider’s “Real Rob” on Netflix, out now). And she’s enjoying the well-deserved success of her new kids’ clothing line Little Moon Society.

Perhaps it’s because Little Moon Society—which she founded with her lifelong friend, children’s clothing designer Jessica Frank, to offer ethically made and high-quality clothing for babies, toddlers, and kids up to size 8—is her newest professional venture, or perhaps it’s because the line is deeply inspired by her daughter, but it’s easy tell how sincerely she cares about this project, and how proud she is of how it has all come together. And she has good reason to be: The collection is adorable (just look at Duff’s daughter Ryan in the photos in this feature), but it also taps into values of quality, ethical production, and consumer consciousness that surely resonate with many modern parents.

“Our clothes are made with really high-quality materials and they’re well-made, so they’re built to last—not just for one child, but for a sibling or for a cousin,” Duff says. “It was really important to us to be ethically made and I think that’s the biggest thing behind us. As far as our general vibe—we always say we’re made for play. So it’s soft, cozy, comfortable clothing that fits really well and is made really well.”

As a creative pro and busy mother with many hats to wear, Duff keeps a packed schedule and then prefers to go on total silent-mode in terms of work, phone, and email when she’s spending time with her family. So during a golden moment between work and home, we caught up with the Texas-native about her upcoming acting projects, Real Girl’s Kitchen, Little Moon Society, and, of course, the joys of motherhood and raising a family in sunny Los Angeles.

Haylie Duff wears a Zimmerman jumpsuit, Stuart Weitzman shoes, and an EF Collection necklace. Ryan wears a Little Moon Society dress.

Your daughter Ryan is almost 2.5, what is she like right now and what do you like to do together?

She is really into music and dress up. She’s all about princesses and putting on all kinds of costumes and things like that. She spends the majority of our evenings up on our coffee tables performing. We have a lot of music time together. She loves her little ballet class. She’s very girly, but she also loves to go out and play soccer in the backyard with her dad.

She’s at a really cute age right now!

She’s almost 2.5, which is really crazy! It’s crazy because it’s going by really fast, but, actually, I really love this age. Everyone always says: “Terrible 2s,” and “Oh, they really become super-opinionated at this age,” and things like that, but I really love this stage. I’m going to be sad to see it go. I feel like she’s growing so fast.

What have been the biggest joys and challenges of motherhood so far?

I think, so many times, that those two things come packaged together. For example, one of the biggest struggles for me was leaving her at preschool the first time. I’d never left her anywhere before—she’d stayed with my mother or Matt’s mother or her nanny, but I’d never taken her somewhere and left her there. That was a big struggle for me, and it was a struggle for her—that first transition isn’t always easy—but she worked through it, and the next two times of being dropped off, she was giving me a kiss and saying “bye-bye!” and so happy to go. So, sometimes the hardest struggles are packaged up with the most wonderful joys because I was so proud of her—to see her flourish in that way, to see her gain that independence and that confidence—and that’s what you wish for your child, for them to feel secure enough to go into something like that with confidence, and to feel that you’ve propped them up enough.

What’s the best part about raising your family in LA?

I love living in Los Angeles! I am so happy to be raising a family here, and I’ve got to tell you: There are so many things that are great about it. You have amazing weather, parks that are nearby, and beaches nearby. You just have so many options for things to do with your family, and since the weather is nice basically all year long, it really encourages families to be outdoors. I’m always looking for things that will bring me outside—whether it’s taking Ryan on a little hike or taking her to a farmer’s market. You’re just constantly encouraged to be outside because it’s so nice.

How does your parenting style compare and contrast with your fiancé’s?

Truthfully, we’ve been pretty on the same page with our parenting opinions, which, I think, is very fortunate, because I don’t think that always happens. I hear a lot of stories from my friends like: “He wants to do the cry it out method but I don’t!” For the most part, I think we’ve been pretty in synch, which is great, but when you become a parent for the first time, there are always differences about how to do this or how to do that… One of the things that I struggled with when I first became a parent was sleep crutches. Ryan was in a swaddle and then she was in a Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit, and she still sleeps in a jumbo-size sleeping bag because I’m just terrified of blankets. I think Matt would have rather not done the Magic Sleep Suit and just gotten her sleeping in the crib the normal way, but when your baby is fussy, or whatever, you’ll do anything to make them comfortable and happy.

Little Moon Society

Your kids’ clothing line, Little Moon Society, is all about keeping kids comfy! What inspired you to start that business?

I normally say that my daughter inspired it because she tends to be the thing that makes me slow down and put my phone down, and in those moments I find such inspiration. But I will tell you that I have so many wonderful moms in my life that have businesses and are hard-working and are amazing mothers at the same time, and I feel like that had a lot to do with it, too. We’re in an age where women are handling more than ever, doing more than ever, more capable than ever, so as much as my daughter inspired me, women inspired me, too—to push myself to do something that scared me a little bit and step outside my comfort zone and try something that I was inspired by—and not in a competitive way… I see so many great women around me who are having their own success outside of being a successful parent that it’s encouraging to all of us to do more and be more.

What sets Little Moon Society apart in the kids’ clothing market?

I feel like we’re a very conscious brand. And by “conscious” I don’t necessarily mean “all organic” or the normal ways of being conscious—but we’re conscious of waste, we’re conscious of where we’re made and being ethically made, and making sure there are fair wages for the people that are sewing our clothes, dying our clothes, and packaging our clothes. I think being a conscious brand goes way deeper than just saying you’re an organic brand.

I think those values really resonate with parents when they’re shopping—they want quality from many angles.

I think so! It’s hard because there’s always the option for the $5 leggings from big box-style stores, and that works for some people too. But for my own self and my own family—not to say that I have some hard line drawn, by any means—I see those clothes tearing faster, I’m throwing them out faster, and I end up buying so much more, whereas the things that are really well-made in my daughter’s closet tend to be her favorite things for so long. I’m always trying to be a less-is-more shopper.

Little Moon Society

You also stay busy with Real Girl’s Kitchen. Tell us about the history and essence of that website.

Real Girl’s Kitchen, for me, came along 6-7 years ago almost… I started Real Girl’s Kitchen on BlogSpot and I thought it was just going to be a hobby and something to fulfill me creatively when I was in between movies or shows or whatever. I started posting about things I would learn or mess up in the kitchen because I didn’t really know how to cook. It was more like my trials and tribulations of trying to be a good cook, but then I really fell in love with it, and it became the thing that inspired me most in life. Pretty quickly, it turned into me writing for Hello Giggles and Huffington Post and all these places, and shortly after that it turned into a book [The Real Girl’s Kitchen], and I sold the concept of the book into a show and we did a couple seasons of “Real Girl’s Kitchen” for the Cooking Channel, and I did a season called “Haylie’s America” for the Cooking Channel after that. It’s been the craziest ride, quite honestly. It was something I never expected to happen. It’s been a real gift in my life, for sure.

Is instilling a passion for food a big part of your life with your daughter? Does she help out in the kitchen?

Oh my God, yes… [Recently], my mom taught her to make fried okra the other night and it was pretty cute. She was mixing the batter and putting the okra in the bowl after my mom cut it. And it was really fun for me to watch it because I learned how to make fried okra with my grandmother. So it was kind of cool.

Many fans first came to know you as an actress! Tell us about the acting projects you have coming up.

I’m a recurring character on [the Netflix series “Real Rob”] with Rob Schneider that premiered [its second season] on September 29. He’s amazing, he’s so funny, and he’s an incredible director and such a visionary. He’s really just super-rad… And I have 2-3 Lifetime movies coming out in the next year and a really cool movie for SyFy Channel.

As a working mom with a lot going on, how do you strike a balance and make sure you’re choosing meaningful projects?

Not over-extending myself is a big part of it. Being able to say “yes” and “no” to things is the biggest blessing in my life. I don’t feel like I have to say “yes” to everything because then it does give me more time with my family. I think the biggest thing is making my work time my work time and making sure that Ryan is cared for by somebody that I trust—so I’m not worried and I’m not checking my phone every 20 minutes—so I can really just crank out what I need to do at work, and then when I’m at home, my phone gets put away, my email doesn’t get answered…the work stuff gets set aside when it’s time to be with my family. For me, that’s how I find the balance.

To learn more about Haylie Duff, follow her on Twitter & Instagram @HaylieDuff, and visit realgirlskitchen.com & littlemoonsociety.com!

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How To Prepare Your Baby For The End Of Daylight Saving Time

How To Prepare Your Baby For The End Of Daylight Saving Time

I won’t lie, the end of Daylight Saving (DLS) for parents kind of sucks. Babies can’t read clocks, after all, and there is no snooze button built into their internal clocks!

The good news is that it’s super easy to adjust, and only takes a few days. Just think of it like a one-hour time zone change–like a trip to the Midwest (but with a baby who doesn’t get the joys of sleeping in).

Here’s the deal: If your baby usually wakes up at 6am, after DLS (November 5, 2017), she will probably wake up at 5am for a few days. I know, I know, that’s really early, but fear not–it will change!

Here are a few things you can do to make the transition easier:

First, understand that your baby’s body clock will take a few days to adjust. She will wake up on her body clock time for a few days, no matter what time you put her to bed.

From there, you have some options:

The Standard Logic: Most people will suggest that you adjust your baby’s bedtime later for a few days before DLS, by pushing bedtime 15-30 minutes later each day. Following that logic, if her bedtime is usually 7pm, your goal would be to stretch her until 8pm (which will be 7pm on November 5). This strategy can work really well for older and more adaptable babies who can easily tolerate a later bedtime. However, babies under 5 months are usually done for the day by 7pm, so stretching to an 8pm bedtime might be really stressful for all of you. And, she will probably still wake up at 5am for a few days anyway.

What I recommend: Wait until November 5. Know that morning will come earlier than usual (if your baby usually wakes at 7am, the clock will read 6am, because that’s the correct wake up time for your baby’s internal clock!). Keep that in mind when timing naps–they’re going to come a little bit earlier today.

Throughout the day, try to stretch the length of time between naps by 15-20 minutes longer than you usually would, so that you can push bedtime a little later for the next few days*:

Example: Normal wake up for your 4-month-old is 7am. On Sunday, the clock will read 6am. If her morning nap is usually two hours after she wakes up (around 9am), she will be tired at 8am on the new time. Try to stretch it to 8:15-8:30am if you can, and keep doing that for all naps throughout the day. From there, stretch the day incrementally for a few days until her body clock and the new time zone meet!

*Caveat: If you’re sleep training during DLS, especially if you have a baby under 5 months, don’t try to stretch the time between sleeps too much. In fact, it’s probably better to work with her body clock for the first day or two, then once she’s sleeping through the night and feeling more rested, then you can start adjusting her schedule and stretching the days out a little longer.

Another strategy for newborns who are more flexible and not yet in a predictable schedule is to add a short extra nap around 5pm, and just them down at 8pm on Sunday. They will still wake up early for a few days, but they’ll make up the sleep during the days and it will be totally uneventful. Pinky swear!

Natalie Nevares is the founder of Mommywise, a company whose mission is to help parents with babies sleep, feel happy, rested, balanced and connected as couples, and have an identity beyond baby. To learn more, visit mommywise.com!

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“Real Moms, Real Hacks” Offers The Ultimate Parenting Tips

“Real Moms, Real Hacks” Offers The Ultimate Parenting Tips

Vanessa Quigley, mother-of-seven (yes, seven!) and seasoned business owner, is giving moms everywhere their own parenting cheat book on everything from cooking and cleaning, to tips for road trips. Quigley and her husband own their company Chatbooks, which makes photo books out of Instagram pictures automatically. She notes Chatbooks is her “ultimate mom hack,” as it allowed her to get her photos to family members without having to do any work. Wanting to do more to help everyday families lives easier, she started up a private Facebook group that offered an open space for moms to ask questions from “What kind of jewelry should I buy,” to “How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?”

After one mom cried out for advice on the Facebook group, writing about how tired and frustrated she was, the rest of the women showed up to help. “We had an incredible response,” Quigley says, “Some of the things I had already discovered in my 20+ years of mothering, some things I’d seen my sisters do, and some totally brand new things I’d never seen before.” She realized a lot of the mothering tips she had were from friends and family. Quigley decided to create her book Real Moms, Real Hacks as a way to compile parenting hacks from a variety of different people to share and make other mom’s lives easier.

“The book is almost entirely collaborative,” Quigley says, “In the book there are 107 tips, maybe a dozen of those are from me, one from each of my sisters and sister-in-laws, and the rest are either from community members and Facebook group members, or from customers.”

There’s no question about her expertise on the matter; not only having a big family now, but growing up in one too. Quigley grew up with 11 brothers and sisters, so she cites her mother as being the inspiration for a lot of her parenting tips. “Our whole house in Florida was tile, and to get it clean my mom would just dump a bucket of hot, soapy water and then give us all rags. We thought it was so much fun to slip and slide around the floor. So she was keeping us busy, but also getting her floors clean,” Quigley writes.  Taking after her mother, she says enlisting kids to help around the house is one of the most important tips in the book.

Real Moms, Real Hacks is pertinent for parents with kids of any age. “I mean there is a section on babies, so if you don’t have a baby that section might not apply. But all the other sections, about keeping organized, helping with healthy habits, traveling with kids of all ages, will,” Quigley says. The biggest book in the section is, of course, kitchen tips. Quigley notes that there was an overwhelming response of cooking advice contributed as so many people have their own advice on the matter. “It’s a job you have to do three times a day or more because if little aren’t in school, they’re home and they want snacks. It’s just a constant thing,” she explains.

The message of her book is to not only give a helping hand to families who may need some quick fixes, but also to encourage parents that they’re doing a good job already. Quigley states: “I hope that by reading this, you know there’s probably one or two of the hacks that you already do so you’re like ‘Man, I’m a pretty good mom, I have some things figured out.’ I think it can just boost our confidence that we already know a lot, and then maybe come away with something that just makes life a little bit easier.”

To learn more about Real Moms, Real Hacks, visit chatbooks.com/realmomsrealhacks!

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Rachel Zoe Is Teaming Up With Quinny & Maxi-Cosi Again

Rachel Zoe Is Teaming Up With Quinny & Maxi-Cosi Again

Back in summer 2016, savvy new and expectant parents lost their minds when fashion maven (and mom-of-two) Rachel Zoe launched an oh-so-chic baby gear collaboration with Quinny and Maxi-Cosi, offering luxe strollers, car seats, and diaper bags as part of the Jet Set Collection. Well, she’s back at it and we are so excited!

Zoe is once again joining forces with baby gear standard-bearers Quinny and Maxi-Cosi to launch a Luxe Sport Collection at Nordstrom in January 2018. The collection, which is defined by a sleek monochrome color palette and sporty netted details and champagne-hued accents, will include a Quinny Zapp Flex Plus stroller, a Quinny Diaper Bag, a Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 car seat, and a Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Max car seat.

“It has​ been such a fun process to collaborate once again with Quinny and Maxi-Cosi,” Zoe says. “For this collection, I was inspired by the modern woman on the go, who is all about looking effortlessly glamorous in her daily routine yet never sacrificing comfort for style. The mix of classic black and white staples coupled with gorgeous metallic champagne accents creates a polished and refined look, but also provides parents with functional elements like easily washable fabrics.”

Be sure to mark your calendar for early January 2018 and head to Nordstrom to snag your gear picks! To learn more, visit quinny.com!

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Labor-At-Home Mom: A Certified Doula Shares Her Best Tips For Having A Non-Hospital Birth

Labor-At-Home Mom: A Certified Doula Shares Her Best Tips For Having A Non-Hospital Birth

For the majority of American women, home birth is not even an idea floating around in their minds. According to an article published in the International Journal of Women’s Health, less than 1.5 percent of women in the United States choose a planned home birth. This is a great difference from other countries such as the Netherlands where 20 percent of births are experienced at home. Why might women in the US be a bit hesitant to choose a home birth? Partly because there is not a lot of exposure and explanation of how home births work. Let’s break down the pros and cons so that there is a clear, informed understanding of why this may be a viable option for some.

Home births are intended for low risk women. Here is a list of some reasons that would prevent someone from having a planned home birth:

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Insulin dependent diabetes
  • Multiple babies
  • High blood pressure
  • Seizure disorder
  • Premature labor (before 37 weeks) or extreme postdate (after 42 weeks)
  • Placenta previa or marginal previa
  • Breech or transverse baby
  • History of postpartum psychosis
  • Current alcohol or drug abuse problem

While some women may choose an unassisted home birth, the majority of planned home births are attended by trained midwives. In New York and several other states, only Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) are allowed to practice midwifery by law. This credential requires the midwife be trained and licensed in nursing and midwifery with the minimum of at least a bachelor’s degree. There are other levels of midwifery, like Certified Midwife (CM), Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), Direct Entry Midwife (DEM), and Lay Midwife. For those choosing a midwife, it is important to consider your comfort level with the type of midwife you prefer.

Next, consider where you feel the safest and most secure. Having attended over 100 hospital births by the time I was pregnant with my first child, I had a very strong opinion of what I wanted for my birth and where I would feel the safest. Much to the dismay of my family, I felt the most secure at home. I did not want to be in the position of having to advocate for my rights to have routine interventions or face common place time restrictions on labor and birth. It was important to me to have my care be more personalize and not “routine.” These are some points I would put in the pros category. At home, under the watchful eye of my CNM, I was able to labor with intermittent monitoring, which is a practice that is supported by the World Health Organization and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologist as the safest manner for women without complications or other interventions. When at home, a women is also not restricted from food intake, limited movement, or receiving an IV and continuous fluids. She is also in her own space with her familiar and supportive people, which can affect the parasympathetic nervous system and make labor more functional.

Home birth midwives come very prepared for issues that may require immediate attention as well as the possibility of needing to transfer a woman in labor. I was surprised to learn the extent of the equipment midwives arrive with at a birth. For example, they bring an oxygen tank, different oxygen masks for mom and baby, ambu-bag for giving positive pressure ventilation, IV equipment and fluids, a doppler and gel, a blood pressure cuff and many, many other tools. If the midwife sees arising complications—blood pressure increase, worrisome fetal tones, or as my midwife called it, “cases where baby won’t come out,” the mother will need to transfer. Also, before labor even starts, it is vital to have a backup plan in place for transferring to a medical facility. The need to transfer would be in the cons category. While emergent and necessary, it can be a big disturbance and highly emotional for the mother to have to transfer to a hospital.

One last idea to chew on is that the personalized care provided by a midwife is often dramatically different than that of a traditional hospital-based obstetrician. Most home birth midwives come to your home for all or part of the prenatal exams. The appointments also are more thorough in terms of addressing not just the physical wellness of the mother and baby, but also the emotional state of the mother. My midwife told me she used to schedule each person for an hour long appointment.

How one chooses to birth is a very personal choice, but one that should be made with great consciousness. Where and with whom you give birth will greatly impact the experience and the outcome.

Debra Flashenberg is a certified labor support doula, Lamaze Childbirth Educator, mother-of-two, and the studio owner and director of the Prenatal Yoga Center. For more information, visit prenatalyogacenter.com!

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Molly Sims Talks Family, Entertaining & The Art Of Decluttering

Molly Sims Talks Family, Entertaining & The Art Of Decluttering

Photo by Gia Canali

It can seem like it takes a lot of effort to turn a house into a home, especially in NYC, where apartments can be the size of a suburban closet and juggling everyone’s busy schedule can send you across all five boroughs. Who has time for cozy living room furniture, Pinterest-worthy refrigerator organization, or hosting a dinner party when there is so much to keep track of every day?

According to Molly Sims, you do!

Known for her career as a model and actress, Sims has spent her entire life juggling responsibilities between work, home, and family, but still manages to make her house a happy place for her husband, her three kids, and herself by “keeping sh*t real”—aka not striving for perfection, but being honest with herself and “embracing happy mess.”

We caught up with Sims to learn more about her new book and to learn some of her refreshingly honest entertaining, organizing, and decorating tips that can make creating a humble abode easy and, most importantly, fun!

What inspired you to write your new book, Everyday Chic: My Secrets for Entertaining, Organizing, and Decorating at Home?

My biggest inspiration for Everyday Chic was to show that it’s not about having a perfect life. This book is about embracing the imperfect happy mess and adding in those chic little touches whenever you can. It’s as easy as ordering takeout and serving it on your best dishes or serving sparkling water in a wine glass. I’m lucky enough to be able to know and work with incredibly talented designers, nutritionists, party planners, and homemakers who teach me as I go. So I really wanted to take the style and grace that I learned from these people and share them with all of you.

The book covers a variety of topics and tips that parents can infuse into their everyday lives, from home décor and organization to cooking and entertaining. Why do you think that these four core topics are so important?

The four core topics addressed in Everyday Chic are what the everyday supermodels or supermommas deal with on a daily basis. If we’re not cooking, we’re entertaining. If we’re not entertaining, we’re organizing a room and then trying to figure out what piece would look good in the empty corner. It all comes full circle. It’s so important to showcase these topics because it’s never going to be perfect. Us mommas are always doing something so these four chapters in my book highlight the tips that have really helped me.

In your book you outline an accessory rule for home décor that you love—remove one piece. Can you explain a little bit more about what this means?

There’s a fine line between chic and overdone. I always like to add one statement piece in a room because it can truly elevate the ambiance. You want the room to be livable and not overwhelming. By removing one piece, you can really elevate the room.

Molly Sims’ new book, “Everyday Chic,” is on sale today! Photo by Gia Canali

What other advice do you have for busy parents regarding decluttering, especially for parents living with young kids?

I’m the type of person where if my space is cluttered then my mind is cluttered. I try to keep an environment that’s as peaceful as possible. But at the end of the day, kids will make messes and it’s all about embracing that happy mess. In Everyday Chic, I talk about all of the unnecessary items that we accumulate over time, and that only grows once you have kids. The things that I keep in my home are what I value the most—the things that truly bring joy to my family and the necessities. If you keep clutter in the home, the chances are that your kids will too. I like to get my kids involved. Every once and awhile we go through their old books and toys that they don’t use anymore and donate them to a local charity.

One of the perks of having a decluttered home is that your focus can shift from organization to design. What are some of your best tips for families looking to make their house look luxe on a budget, and what is your favorite room in the house to decorate?

I completely agree! Something that I’ve learned over the years is that quality décor and design do not have to break the bank. Good design can be found everywhere from exclusive showrooms to flea markets! I truly believe that you need to invest the majority of your budget in instillations like cabinets, counter tops, and flooring. Save your money on trendy pieces or items that you’ll change out easily. As for my favorite room to decorate, it would have to say the kitchen. When we built this house we made our kitchen an open concept since it is the heart of the house. I’m able to talk to [my husband] Scott while he’s watching TV across the way in the living room while still keeping an eye on the kids—who are always roaming around.

Getting dinner on the table and organizing daily meals for a household can be stressful for busy parents, especially when health is a top priority. How does you book help parents tackle this concern?

Oh trust me, I know. It’s so easy to hit the drive thru on your way home but I picked up on this 2/2/2 + 1 strategy. This allows me to cook all my dishes for the week ahead of time and store all of my food in glass containers. This strategy includes cooking two protein dishes, two salads, two veggie or grain sides and one “top it off” dish which is a casserole, stew, or simple dish. I go into further detail on how I prep and cook these dishes every week in Everyday Chic.

As someone who is pretty familiar with and gets a lot of enjoyment out of planning parties and events, what advice do you have for parents who tend to get overwhelmed organizing holiday and birthday events?

Scott always says that good food, good people, good drinks, and good music are they key ingredients to making a great party. I also believe that the devil is in the details. As much as I love the basics, I truly appreciate stylish flatware and a printed menu. I always start my party planning with a theme; if I don’t begin to plan an event by setting a theme, I go down the Pinterest rabbit hole and we all know that’s a scary place to be.

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Out of all of the dinner parties, birthday parties, and holiday events, what is your favorite that you have ever thrown?

As you know, I go ALL OUT for my kid’s birthday parties. Momma loves a theme. This past year, we threw Scarlett a unicorn-themed birthday party and my husband literally almost killed me. I actually got a unicorn for this party and I gotta say, it was definitely a hit.

A theme throughout your book is the idea that staying positive is more effective than achieving perfection and the importance of “keeping sh*t real,” and you tackle perfectionism in motherhood, body image, and work. How has your outlook on perfection changed since becoming a mother, and what do you do to stay positive when you are facing challenges in life?

We are living in the pressure cooker of perceived perfection. It’s a tough place to be but in all honesty, no one is perfect, even though Instagram or television makes it seem that way. Whenever there’s chaos, and believe me there’s a lot of it, I take a deep breath and embrace the happy mess.

For more information on where you can get your own copy of Everyday Chic, as well as more tips and tricks from Molly Sims, visit MollySims.com.

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Mark Your Calendar For Fulton Market Harvest Fest

Mark Your Calendar For Fulton Market Harvest Fest

Chef Stephanie Izard. 2016 Galdones Photography LLC

Fulton Market Harvest Fest is back for the second year from September 30 through October 1!

Curated by Chefs Stephanie Izard (Chicago Baby’s recent cover mom) and Paul Kahan, Fulton Market Harvest Fest brings the top culinary talent in Chicago together with notable chefs from around the country for three days of pop-up dinners, food and beverage classes, cooking demonstrations, and a neighborhood street fest. This year, the Harvest Fest is offering a special Kids Alley full of fun activities for the kids. A few highlights include kids yoga, music class with Old Town School of Folk Music, storytime and more!

The schedule of events for Kids Alley is as follows:

Saturday, September 30:

11am: Storytime

12pm: Music class with Mr. Nick Davio Old Town School of Folk Music

1pm: Kids yoga with BareFeet Power Yoga

2pm: Music class with Mr. Nick Davio Old Town School of Folk Music

3pm: Storytime

Saturday, October 1:

11am: Storytime

12pm: Music class with Little Miss Ann Old Town School of Folk Music

1pm: Kids yoga with BareFeet Power Yoga

2pm: Music class with Little Miss Ann Old Town School of Folk Music

3pm: Story time

Additional activities happening both days:

  • Decorate a pumpkin
  • DIY snack mix with Pilot LightFace painting
  • Balloon artist
  • Hula hoops
  • Chalk
  • Jump ropes
  • Coloring station

2016 Galdones Photography LLC

For mom and dad, there will be plenty of foodie fun on hand as well! Multiple restaurants will be offering tastes from their menus, including Girl & the Goat, Publican, Spiaggia, Swift & Sons, and Kuma’s Korner, among others. There will also be plenty of beverage options on site, including brews by Goose Island and Bell’s. There will also be a menu of culinary classes like oyster shucking at Cold Storage, cocktail making at The Betty, live fire bread baking at Publican Quality Bread, and coffee making with Dark Matter at Little Goat; as well as special events hosted throughout the weekend, including a kick-off party hosted by Stephanie Izard, Jonathon Sawyer, and Paul Kahan at the Goose Island Barrel Warehouse, a BellyQ brunch with Bill Kim, John Besh and Aarón Sánchez, and an Afterparty at the Izakaya with Mark Hellyar and Chris Cosentino, with guest bartenders from Spilt Milk.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit FultonMarketHarvestFest.com!

General admission tickets are $30 (and kids under age 10 are free) and include:

  • $20 in food/beverage tickets
  • A Fulton Market Harvest Fest branded beer mug
  • Access to KitchenAid demos and live music
  • Donation to Pilot Light.

VIP tickets (a limited number) are $200 and includes

  • $50 in food and drink tickets
  • Access to a VIP lounge with special offerings, such as access to a VIP beverage lounge and complimentary cocktail and craft beer samplings
  • Shaded Lounge Style seating with cell charging stations
  • Fulton Market Harvest Fest gift bag including Harvest Fest Beer Mug and more!
  • Private Bathroom Trailers
  • VIP festival Entrance

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Founded By A Chicago Mom, Monica + Andy Offers Truly Unique Baby Gear & Gifts

Founded By A Chicago Mom, Monica + Andy Offers Truly Unique Baby Gear & Gifts

A staple of the Chicago area baby gear and gifts landscape, Monica + Andy offers shoppers high-quality and totally adorable gifts, layette sets, blankets, and clothes. Founded by Chicago mom Monica Royer after the birth of her own child, the brand has grown from a popular digitally native retailer to also including brick-and-morter guideshops. To learn more about the brand, we caught up with their Director of Brand Strategy + Digital Content Jessie Mash!

For someone unfamiliar with Monica + Andy, how would you describe the company’s mission and core offerings?

Monica + Andy is a digitally native children’s brand whose mission is to be an expectant mom’s first mom friend. Through our growing national community and our local guideshops we are working to make purchasing clothing for your growing babe easier. Starting with our one-on-one layette appointments for pregnant women, we continue to grow with your child through the age of 6. As a new mom myself I felt like and outsider so building a brand around making people feel in the know and welcome has been my mission.

Tell us about the company’s background. When did it start and how has it evolved since then?

It started when my daughter was born. She was tiny and her skin was so sensitive. Nothing seemed to fit her and everything she wore seemed to give her a rash. Right from the hospital I started shopping online and was surprised at what I couldn’t find. I also wish I had been more prepared and understood what she was going to need to wear. We have evolved those early learnings I had into a brand that caters to expectant parents and their needs. Whether it is the one-on-one layette appts (which also can be done remotely) or our experiential guideshop classes we try to provide everything you will need to know. We also now offer an edited assortment of clothing for children through age 6.

What sets Monica + Andy apart from others in the baby marketplace?

We feel there are some musts in the baby space. Super soft organic fabrics and high-quality materials that wash and wear well are key. Above all, kids should be able to move and grow in their clothing.We also feel that babies shouldn’t have to dress the same and we are hyper focused on our constantly rotating limited addition prints.  But, what truly sets us apart is our customer service, one-on-one experience, and community.

To learn more, visit monicaandandy.com!

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