molly_sims

cc_blog_spacer“He’s like a Christmas present that I get to open every morning,” says Molly Sims of her one-and-a-half-year-old son Brooks.
Lest you get the wrong idea, she also referred to him as a “nipple vampire” minutes earlier. Before Sims returned to work – filming episodes of The Carrie Diaries and as a guest star on TBS’ Men At Work, penning a “girl’s guide to everything” called The Everyday Supermodel for HarperCollins, designing maternity apparel (Molly Sims’ Stork & Babe in collaboration with Thyme Maternity), and updating mollysims.com (which is more magazine than blog) daily – she was tackling a far more challenging undertaking. Her hungry infant happened to be born with a tooth (!) making nursing excruciatingly frustrating. Smartly, Sims sought help for that issue – and for almost every parenting challenge since then. The result: an enviably supportive network, and one that’s open for us non-supermodels to tap in to, too. “The more I learn about parenting, the more I think you need a village around you.” A village, and a hefty supply of Medela Hydrogel nipple pads. “The ones you can put in the fridge – I loved those.”
cc_blog_spacercc_blog_tips_title_v1cc_blog_molly_sims_tips1I take Babies First Class and Jackie gives handouts and guidelines to follow. Sleep training, toilet training, solid foods and allergies… But also the developmental stuff. I know it’s work and that you have to be the disciplinarian, but you can take those boundaries and redirect them into fun. As Jackie would say, listen: You can say hi to your baby or you can say HIII-EEE!!!
cc_blog_molly_sims_tips2I tell all my pregnant girlfriends, get involved with your community. Ask around and find the best mommy and me class. I have one that’s more social and one that I really learn from. (Cricket’s note: Red Tricycle has a directory for many cities.)
cc_blog_molly_sims_tips3When everyone seems to be talking about something, it’s usually for a good reason. Like, Bringing up Bebe – it’s worth it. Or the Macaroni & Cheese series, which I love.
cc_blog_molly_sims_tips4When it comes to nursing, some of us are cows and some of us are goats; I was a goat — there’s milk, but only a little. I loved my lactation consultant Linda Hanna. Yes, she taught me tricks, but I love her because she made me feel good about myself. Definitely work with someone because the latching on is the hardest part.
cc_blog_molly_sims_tips5Jill Spivack at Sleepy Planet  helped me to sleep train my baby. The Seedlings Group offers support for sleep and lots of other parenting needs. (Cricket’s note: They offer phone consultations, too.)
cc_blog_molly_sims_tips6Find somewhere with ambience between 5 and 7pm and one that’s loud. For us it was Terroni’s. Sure, he wants to get out of the high chair 20 mins into dinner, but I come prepared. My diaper bags weighs 20 lbs, 15 pounds are cars. And crayons.
cc_blog_molly_sims_tips7My single girlfriends would make me laugh during the first year. I was like, “we had bilirubin,” and they’re like, is that an Indian dish? I told them my nipples look like they belong on a different animal. We all laugh about this stuff.

 

 

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christy_turning_burns

She’s a supermodel, a philanthropist with her own nonprofit, a filmmaker, marathoner, student of Columbia’s Public Health masters program, one of TIME’s Most Influential People this year, wife of actor/director/hottie Ed Burns, and a mother of two, Grace (10) and Finn (8).

When we chatted with Christy Turlington Burns, we girded ourselves for a neurotic, Type-A go-getter. But she’s quite the opposite – an old soul with a gentle demeanor and fairly normal-sounding way of life (yes, truly). Totally inspiring and refreshing!

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Christy opened up about her path to do-gooder-ness, which started with her own traumatic postpartum complications, and shared her insights on a balanced marriage and staying in shape – inside and out. This supermodel’s stories are straight ahead…

Pregnant Perfect

I had a picture-perfect pregnancy – I was healthy and felt great. I also had a beautiful delivery in a birthing center with a doula, midwife, and a supportive OB as backup. I was nursing Grace right after giving birth and suddenly saw the tone in the room shift. Most people go into the fourth stage of labor, delivering the placenta, at this point, but mine had grown attached to my uterine wall (something you can’t screen or test for) and needed to be extracted. The doctor had to intervene and literally tear it out of me. It was so unexpected and excruciatingly painful (like more so than giving birth without drugs). I was rocked to my core.

Recovery

I had a postpartum doula (but no baby nurse) who is one of my favorite people on the planet. I lost a lot of blood, so she made sure I was given the right nutrition and got the proper bonding with my daughter – she totally took care of me, and I am eternally grateful to her.

Down The Rabbit Hole

Shortly thereafter, I jumped onto Google and discovered that 530,000 or so women were dying per year from delivery complications and postpartum hemorrhages.  I had no idea that women still died in pregnancy and childbirth in the 21st century. I thought that only happened in rare instances. I was determined to raise awareness for the many women who do not have basic care to save their lives if this happens to them.

On A Mission

A year and a half later, when I was 6 months pregnant with my son, I went on a humanitarian trip with CARE to El Salvador. CARE has been around for 50 years and does their work quietly, which intrigued me. I spent the last day with women who were also pregnant at a well. They were coming to retrieve water, and CARE had prenatal care set up onsite, so the women could receive it without missing work (a big reason many don’t get medical care). I saw this program in effect and working.

Aha Moment

When I got home, it really hit me then that if I didn’t have the fortune and resources I do – if I had been in a village like the one I visited – I could have died. Maternal health has to be a priority. I was so eager to do something.

On The Ground

I reached out to CARE to see how I could get more involved. Next I went to Peru and visited an area where they had successfully reduced high mortality rates. When I left, I wanted to share what I was seeing and learning, so I got inspired to make a film, and that’s where No Woman, No Cry came from.

Telling The Story

I wanted people to see the vast differences in maternity care around the world. We shot the film in Tanzania, Guatemala, Bangladesh, and the U.S., and it really put a face behind all the statistics, which is so powerful.

Keep It Going

Now, my nonprofit Every Woman Counts (dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother) lets people actually get to work and directly affect change. By purchasing a product, donating an old cell phone, or even running a race, you provide tangible things – transportation vouchers in Uganda, training for birth attendants in Haiti, and solar-power to clinics in Malawi – that are desperately needed. On the site people can see the impact they’ve made via short films, photos, and blog posts, bringing it all full circle.

Marathon Woman

I’m training for my fourth marathon – I’ve gotten obsessed because it’s connected to the work I’m doing, so it’s become symbolic. I’m hooked! I run without music, it’s become my quiet time to clear my thoughts.

Christy’s Sister Married Eddie’s Brother

My sisters are my best friends, and Eddie’s brothers are his best friends. My sister Kelly is mutual friends with one of his friends, so she’s sorta how we met, and then she met his brother Brian through us, and they got married at our house 8 years ago! We have kids around the same age, making them double cousins! It’s so cool, they’re blood donors for each other – perfect matches on all these different levels, and they sense it themselves. I see my sister 3-4 times a week, and her kids are always at our apartment. It’s such a nice arrangement.

Yikes!

My daughter is starting middle school, and I’m excited but also like oh god! such a huge step. She’s such a strong, confident, independent child who was born ready for the world. I’m nervous about how fast it goes, and I know the jump from 10-20 goes in a nanosecond.

Boys vs. Girls

I’m one of 3 sisters, so I’m really glad I have a boy. He’s such a gentle, emotional guy. I love watching his interactions with his male friends – they’re so sweet and tender with each other. It’s changed my perception of boys and girls because my daughter is the tough one and my son is the emotional one. They balance each other out and can teach each other a lot.

Model Parents

Our goal as parents is to show the kids what a balanced relationship looks like. I want them to see us equally share the responsibilities of work and child rearing. That’s much easier when they are older.

3 Hours Alone, No Kids, No Work

You’d find me at a yoga workshop, where you can go deeper than a regular class – it would give me physical exercise, mental clarity, and the benefits of massage.

Date Night With Mr. Burns

My husband likes to go to the movies, but I prefer dinner and a walk on the beach because that’s what we did all the time when we first met.

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what_kind_of_parent_are_you

You’ve mastered the midnight blown-out diaper change and the nail trim (seriously: why is that so hard?), now on to the real work of raising a human. Not sure where to start? We understand. Shaping a kind, respectful person is serious business.

Which is why there’s a whole genre of publishing dedicated to this very art! We’ve broken down some of the most buzzed-about parenting approaches so you can pick your own – or better yet, pick & choose from each. There’s no one-size-fits-all method to the madness that is parenting – and really, we’re all a little bit crazy about something. So remember, no judgment.

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Attachment Parenting

Who wrote the book:
The Baby Book, by William and Martha Sears
The theory:
Being emotionally and physically available creates secure bonds between parent and child. You learn to trust your instincts because you know your child so well. Your child feels capable and independent because he or she feels secure.
How it works:
Think babywearing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping (or sleeping close by), and learning to respond to your child’s unique cries. In other words, get super in-tune with your kiddo.
Worst case scenario:
That breastfeeding tween from Game of Thrones.
Read on:
askdrsears.com and attachmentparenting.org

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French Parenting

Who wrote the book:
Pamela Druckerman with Bringing Up Bebe and the Cliff’s Notes version, Bebe Day By Day.
The theory:
French kids are better behaved (and better eaters) than American kids – and French parents don’t blow up their life for that kid.
How it works:
Establish firm boundaries. Say no with authority. Cut out snacking. Stop the negotiations (you’re the boss!). Wear stripes (just kidding). And your kids will patiently wait for their dinner (not nuggets and mac n’ cheese) without having a tantrum while you pour another glass of wine.
Read on:
pameladruckerman.com and French Kids Eat Everything by Karen LeBillion

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Tiger Parenting

Who wrote the book:
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua
The theory:
Raise your child in a strict, traditional manner that values achievement over self-esteem and you’ll raise a successful child.
How it works:
Think the opposite of permissive parents with a focus on clear and high expectations. It’s one part tough love, one part (violin) practice makes perfect.
Read on:
It’s hard to find resources on strict parenting, go figure. But, for kicks, here’s what Chua’s Harvard-attending daughter penned in response. You can check out a short version of the book here.

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Free Range Parenting

Who wrote the book:
Free Range Kids, by Lenore Skenazy
The theory:
Today’s kids are overscheduled and parents are helicoptering. Unclutter the calendar. Give your kids freedom. Release your worry.
How it works:
Plan fewer activities and play dates and let kids explore on their own. Prepare them for the freedom — being hands-off and free range are not the same thing — so that they learn the difference between a challenge and actual danger. P.S. We call this “raising kids in 1974”. It’s also sometimes associated with the Slow Parenting movement.
Read on:
freerangekids.com and Under Pressure, by Carl Honore

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Mindful Parenting

Who wrote the book:
Everyday Blessings, by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn
The theory:
Apply the practice of mindfulness to your child rearing and kids will grow to be adults who can easily handle all kinds of situations.
How it works:
Try seeing your kids for who they are and not who you want them to be. Be mindful in the moment instead of focusing on the outcome. Respond instead of react. Share empathy. Find your breath. (We’re calmer just writing this.)
Read on:
carlanaumburg.com and drshefali.com

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Hand in Hand Parenting

Who wrote the book:
Parenting by Connection and Listening to Children by Patti Wipfler
The theory:
Children want to love and be loved. Listening and connecting with your child allows them to thrive.
How it works:
A series of booklets, videos, and classes help you learn to listen, respond to tears and meltdowns with compassion, and manage your own anxiety during stressful times — so you can be there for your kiddo.
Read on:
handinhandparenting.org and Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Laura Markham

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RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) Parenting

Who wrote the book: The RIE Manual, by Magda Gerber
The theory: Treat babies with the respect they deserve in order to raise confident, self-starting, secure adults.
How it works: It starts with observation to better understand the needs of the baby. Cut the goo-goo, gah-gah. Talk/narrate in your normal voice about things as they happen (“Mom is changing your diaper.”) Allow for baby-directed free-play in a safe environment. Rattles, swaddles, bouncies, and flashing lights are a no-no. Don’t try to soothe your little, let your little learn to soothe herself.
Read on: rie.org; Baby Knows Best by Deborah Carlisle Solomon; and the Vanity Fair piece.

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Preschool Prep

The truth about preschool is that you don’t really need all the fun accessories that make the best Instagram, but that’s probably not going to stop you from picking out the cutest backpack and lunchbox for that ubiquitous first day photo. Herewith, our favorite preschool essentials.

And about that photo:

Share yours with us. Use hashtag #cricketsfirstday on Facebook and Instagram, and look for our round-up of the cutest preschoolers.

Backpack

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Lunchbox

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The Extras

Onyx Ice Pack: a stainless steel ice pack is the only (and safest!) way to go.
Sharpie Fabric Markers: Label every piece of clothing if you want to see it again.

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Brown Bag Inspiration

Goop – it’s GP-approved and simple, need we say more?
Food52 – last night’s leftovers, glorified
Weelicious – kitchen-averse need apply
Bon Appetit – if you’re a gourmand

Books

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