The Mommy Experts

As I help Julia understand what a baby needs, it’s critical that I obtain the best parenting tips to make the best baby product recommendations. It’s important to me that these match a parent’s style, and each have been backed by real moms with real tried and true feedback. And I believe what uniquely differentiates Tyckled Tales is the amazing panel of moms who have volunteered to become a Mommy Expert and share some of their best parenting tips.

Introducing The Mommy Experts!

The Mommy Experts on Tyckled Tales are six moms spread across the country with varying parenting experiences and styles. Some are stay-at-home moms, some work full-time. Some have one kid, and some even have three (and want more!).  I intentionally selected such an eclectic group of moms because I understand that not all parents are the same, and what one mom recommends may not be a fit for others. Essentially, I wanted a range of moms to ensure there’s at least one person every one of you can relate to.

For every product recommendation I make, the first step has been to get feedback from The Mommy Experts. You can read more about each of them below. I’m so proud and excited to have such passionate moms contribute their parenting expertise on this blog, and you’ll see them occasionally featured on the site for one-off parenting topics as well.

Is there a Mommy Expert you particularly identify with? Then again, that’s kinda like asking which “Sex and The City” character you relate to the most, huh? 😉

Tracy Burnham, Berkeley, CA

Mother of one: Celeste, 4 years old.

What is your current occupation or are you a stay-at-home mom?

I’m the Creative Director for Baby World Inc, an independent, family owned business that has been serving the Bay Area community since 1983. I’ve been in the baby industry for 10 years. Prior to Baby World I worked as a child stylist.

I want to also add that the opinions expressed here are those of my own and not of Baby World.

How would you describe your mommy style?

Funky eco-friendly minimalist seeking function, quality, locally made baby products.

Where are you favorite places to shop for baby products?

I have never bought anything on Amazon. I support local stores and do my best to buy American made.

Baby World is my number one go to!

What have been your baby essentials since starting off as a new parent?

Tracy-Baby-Product-Recommendations

1) Babyletto Hudson 2) UPPABaby Cruz Stroller 3) UPPABaby Mesa car seat 4) Baby Soy gowns 5) Baby Soy hats 6) Seventh Generation diapers 7) Swaddle Designs swaddling blankets.

What would be the tip on being a mother you wish you knew then but know now?

Take more time off work than you think you need or can, and keep things simple… because think about it: cavemen did it with rocks. You’ll be fine :)

Lisa Chen, San Francisco, CA

Mother of three: twins Ashlyn and Everett, 9 months, and Maddie, 2 years old.

What is your current occupation or are you a stay-at-home mom?

I’ve always been a stay at a home mom, and that’s a full-time gig!

How would you describe your mommy style?

We’re always on the go. I believe that schedules and routines are important in keeping sanity and creating a secure lifestyle for the baby, which ultimately helps when we do travel . And this is quite often – we spent a week in Carmel, CA and now in Shanghai for a month. I’d also say that I’m strict yet flexible when need be. And I’m a big advocate of natural/whole-living – e.g. breastfeeding, organic food, no tv, etc.

Where are your favorite places to shop for baby products?

I’m usually too busy to go shopping – have my hands full – so I rely on online. My fave sites include: Amazon.com, Diapers.com and mommy deal websites like Zulily.com.

What have been your baby essentials since starting off as a new parent?

Lisa-Baby-Product-Recommendations

Definitely slings and carriers like the Ergo Baby Carrier and Moby Wrap, since my first baby hated the car seat and stroller. Fun times, for sure. The swing such as the mamaRoo from 4moms also helps parents get some much-needed rest in the first couple months! I also relied heavily on my go-to books: Baby 411, Healthy Sleep Habits. All of these helps with random questions that might arise from poop to fever to feeding.

What would be the tip on being a mother you wish you knew then but now know?

As first time parents, we stress about doing everything right. But there is actually no right all the time. You have to go with the flow of the baby. Every baby not only has a different personality and set of needs, these change some times on a day-to-day basis. Being more flexible and listening to your own instinct makes you an advocate for your own individual baby. This way, you will have more time to truly enjoy your baby. Afterall, there is no one right, just what is right for your baby and family.

Michele Harrington, Orlando, FL

Mother of two: Alaia, 1 years old, and Amaya, 2 years old.

What is your current occupation or are you a stay-at-home mom?

I’m a proud and fortunate stay-at-home mom since day one.

How would you describe your mommy style?

I think I have a relaxed style as in I’m pretty go with the flow. I know not everything can be perfect, but I do also have very organized side of me… meaning, I have put my daughters on packed schedules. I just want to make sure they have the most fun and are exposed to new and exciting activities each day :)

Where are your favorite places to shop for baby products?

Because my family and I travel a lot due to Al’s schedule, online shopping is super convenient for me, so I love Diapers.com. They come in 2 days without any additional fees when you spend over a certain amount. I’m also what you call a power shopper, so this makes it that much easier 😉

What have been your baby essentials since starting off as a new parent?

Oh, definitely what you see listed in The Tyckled List as essentials for the 4th Trimester.  For me, they were: pacifiers, bottles, pampers, pjs, onesies, receiving blankets, and burp cloths. I could not live without them or the bassinet, which I kept with me throughout the house.

What would be the tip on being a mother you wish you knew then but now know?

When they are first born, you should always sleep when they sleep! The laundry can wait, the dishes can wait,  and so can the bottles! Sleep, sleep, sleep, when they sleep is the best advice I could ever give a new mother! And aside from the given fact that you should also cherish every moment, sleep will make it that much easier and enjoyable!

Sena Jones, San Jose, CA

Mother of one: Olivia

What is your current occupation or are you a stay-at-home mom?

I work full-time as an HR Systems and Operations Analyst for a company in Silicon Valley. It keeps me busy in a good way, but my first priority is always my family!

How would you describe your mommy style?

I like to think I’m pretty hands on without being too overbearing or smothering. I like to give my little girl, Olivia, the opportunity to explore, but I’ll always be there for her to check in and to let her know she’s safe. I also like to think I’m a fun mom. There have been many of times where daddy, my awesome husband Rodney, catches us dancing, playing silly games, or jibber-jabbering about nonsense.

Where are you favorite places to shop for baby products?

This honestly depends on what it is I’m looking for. On an everyday basis, Target or Buy Buy Baby are probably my go to places. It’s kind of your one stop shop for all things related to baby – gets the job done when I just need to go into one place.

What have been your baby essentials since starting off as a new parent?

Oh, this is a really hard question. I think it changes every time Olivia reaches a new milestone. When she was a newborn, I’ll have to say the Boon Drying Rack was essential. Being a mom that was exclusively pumping (yes, I will talk more about this in future posts), we did A LOT of dish washing. When she was a few months older, her Wubbanub pacifier was my life saver. She learned at an early age how to soothe herself at night and fall back asleep without mommy’s help. I thank her Wubbanub for that. Now that she’s a toddler and about to become a big sister, her dolls are essential. She’s learning how to take care of “baby” and I’ve even caught her feeding baby a couple of times.

What would be the tip on being a mother you wish you knew then but know now?

I always encourage every new parent I talk to realize: you’re the mom to your baby and you know what’s best. Don’t feel like you have to follow a book or what your friends did or even what your parents did. Follow your gut and if you make a mistake, it’s ok. Don’t torment yourself about it. Plus, babies are really forgiving!

I learned this after going through it with Olivia. Trust me, Rodney and I were the parents who talked to everyone, constantly read and researched, and it got down to a point where I had to tell myself, “It’s okay. You’ve got this. You can do this.” And I have, and it’s been amazing – so I can’t wait to share more!

Annika Jensen-Lamka, San Francisco, CA

Mother of one: Peyton, 6 months

What is your current occupation or are you a stay-at-home mom?

I’m a PR executive.

How would you describe your mommy style?

I am very laid back – at least I think I am. Right away, I started the baby routine of: feed, play, and nap, and it has worked really well for us. We’ve also been taking Peyton around everywhere with us, including San Francisco Giants games because my husband and I are HUGE fans.

However, I am one of those moms who worries constantly about my baby’s health – to the degree that it is probably not productive in planning for parenthood. I Google everything and watch her like a hawk when she is sleeping.

At the end of the day, my style leans towards love and nurturing vs. clinical. For example, when we interviewed nannies, we would rather have one that was full of love and emotion. That meant, willing to rock her to sleep and hold her vs. one that was “by the book” and or willing to let her cry it out. Yes, I am not a fan of “CIO.”

Where are you favorite places to shop for baby products?

I know a lot of moms love shopping online, but I’m a mix of online and shopping in the stores. My favorites include: GiggleDottie DollitleHanna Anderson, Baby Gap… and of course, Amazon. When it comes to home decor, I also love looking at Restoration Hardware for baby but just mainly for ideas.

What have been your baby essentials since starting off as a new parent?

A lot of what my favorites are have a common theme of what soothes the baby.


1) Moses Basket from Restoration Hardware 2) Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe velcro wraps  3) Dutailier Glider

4) Pacifier clips from J.J. Cole 5) Bibs 6) Sleep Sheep from Pottery Barn

What would be the tip on being a mother you wish you knew then but know now?

I have a few.

I know you’ll be talking about breastfeeding soon, and I had a lot of good lessons there. One critical thing I wish I knew then was to read up and talk to a lactation consultant before I gave birth. You will want her on speed dial.

Others include:

  • Make sure you have someone you can call for post partum. This is a serious issue, and you will want help right away of it happens to you.
  • Get an iPad or Kindle so you can watch movies, while breastfeeding in middle of night!
  • Having a baby is much more physical than led to believe, so I can’t wait until you talk about post-partum recovery!
  • Crying is normal. Let them cry if u need to go to the bathroom. Let yourself go 😉

Vivian Matsuyama, Foster City, CA

Mother of one: Mason, 1 years old.

What is your current occupation or are you a stay-at-home mom?

I work in education full-time as an English Language Development Specialist.

How would you describe your mommy style?

I parent based on intuition, heart, and research! I strive for eco-friendly and whole living as much as possible. Since becoming parents, my husband and I have naturally gravitated towards the attachment parenting style, and it has worked tremendously well for our family. I’m big on carriers, so you’ll see me talk more about them on the blog.

Where are your favorite places to shop for baby products?

I bet most people these days are skewed towards online, but I like the best of both worlds. I shop at Amazon.com, Diapers.com, Ecomom.com, Nordstrom.com, Gap.com and small, local boutiques. I like to support the local community and still be able to touch and feel what I’m buying and speak with a live person. Online sites can’t really tell you what’s the best stroller for you. You need to go in and test it out!

What have been your baby essentials since starting off as a new parent?

My list can go on, especially when it comes to the “4th Trimester,” which people don’t talk enough about. But if I had to sum it up, they’d be: Boppy, breastfeeding pump and other related necessities, Aden + Anais blankets, baby carriers (Moby, woven wraps, Beco Gemini, mei tais), nursing chair, and my beloved changing table.

What would be the tip on being a mother you wish you knew then but now know?

Don’t be too hard on yourself, and go with your instincts. For every book and resource out there telling you to do something, there is one telling you not to do it. Bottom-line: do what works for you and your family. It will change, so go with the flow! ☺ A quote about parenting I love is  “The days are long, but the years are short.” Savor every moment, good and bad!

Lauren Sebastian, San Diego, CA

Mother of two: Paul, 14 months, and William, 3 years old.

What is your current occupation or are you a stay-at-home mom?

I used to teach, but when I had my boys, I became a stay-at-home mom!

How would you describe your mommy style?

I always want what’s best for my boys, but I’m about being practical so I think about functionality. Oh, and style-style wise… I’m definitely on the preppy side. My boys’ names are William and Paul after all!

Where are your favorite places to shop for baby products?

Definitely online. Amazon.com all the way.

What have been your baby essentials since starting off as a new parent?

Baby Bjorn carrier, Restoration Hardware Moses Basket Bassinet, Medela breast pump, Graco infant car seat, and wine 😉

What would be the tip on being a mother you wish you knew then but now know?

The period from 3-9 months is the best and easiest time with your baby, enjoy it! Take them everywhere while they are portable and not demanding. I was too overwhelmed the first time around to realize this before it passed me by.

Josephine Tam, NYC

Mother of one: Alexis, 2 years old.

What is your current occupation or are you a stay-at-home mom?

I work full-time as an insurance Broker with moderate travel, but I do balance it all because my little one, Alexis, is so precious to me.

How would you describe your mommy style?

Laid back but quasi Tiger Mom – I have my daughter reading mandarin before the age of 2, but I’m also quite ok with her playing with dirt and being in it.

Where are your favorite places to shop for baby products?

I’m a big online person, which is super handy living in NYC. My go to sites: Amazon.com and Diapers.com.

What have been your baby essentials since starting off as a new parent?

I’m into natural skin care products, so California Baby products have been perfect for us. I use the lotions, creams, bath gels. You name it.

What would be the tip on being a mother you wish you knew then but now know?

It gets easier …. Then harder … then easier, then much easier.