The Ins, Outs and Must-Haves for New Moms and Dads
Los Angeles is a big town, especially for little ones, and their moms and dads who need to learn and navigate a new landscape of LA’s playgrounds, parks, kid gyms, baby boutiques and baby-friendly malls and restaurants.
Even native Angelenos may find that as a parent they are discovering a whole new metropolis from a kid-friendly perspective. For new LA parents, here is a quick guide to getting around the city of little angels with a baby on board and a few products to make life a bit easier for moms and dads.
The Grove in Beverly Hills is known to locals as the “baby mall” because of its stroller-friendly one-level layout and its outdoor courtyard area that hosts Kid Club events like movie nights and baby & me yoga classes. Find a schedule of events at thegrovela.com.
When mom is out shopping, she can stay organized with the three-in-one Baggino Combination Diaper Bag-N-Changing Belt ($149). It coverts from a shoulder bag to a mommy tool belt, equipped with changing mat, wipes case and pockets and pouches for all your diapering supplies and personals. Available at baggino.com.
Islands restaurants across Los Angeles have kids-eat-free Tuesdays with fave menu items for little ones, and with all the ambient kid noise, you don’t have to worry about a fussy baby disturbing other diners.
You can make eating out with baby a bit easier by bringing your own feeding set. The Baby Dipper Feeding Set features a stay-put rubber grip base that makes it easier for toddlers to feed themselves and gives mom a free hand for other duties. Transparent angled sides help mommy and baby see when food is all gone ($9.99, 6 months and up). Order or find retailers at babydipper.com.
Forget those hard-sell franchise kids’ gyms where even the songs are commercials. Joey’s Gym in Beverly Hills is one of the longest-operating romp rooms for kids in LA, run by genuinely kid-loving owners Ron and Donna who let kids be kids in a just-structured-enough playtime that kids can’t wait to go to.
Dress kids comfortably for play time at the gym or playground in TAGGIES Playwear. Outfits are accessorized with touch-and-feel tags, appliqués, flaps and pockets to encourage interactive, tactile development, like the 100% cotton TAGGIES Colours Sweet Swirls 3-Piece Take Me Home outfit ($28.00, sizes newborn to 12 months), with a secret friend hidden inside an opening in the jacket. Available at taggies.com.
Mom loves the music selection on LA’s hot station KIIS-FM, but she doesn’t have time to download her favorite hits. The answer? The KIIS-FM slotRadio Player by SanDisk ($49.99), a unique music device perfect for busy moms that comes pre-loaded with a playlist of more than 500 hits. She can listen to great tunes while out power strolling with baby or working out. For even more variety, there’s the slotRadio player by SanDisk ($99), which comes pre-loaded player with more than 1,000 Billboard hits from a variety of genres, including a chillout selection off mellow music great for lulling little ones to sleep using a docking station. Additional cards are $39.99. Available at sandisk.com and at Radio Shack stores.
There’s so much going on in LA for kids, it’s hard to know where to start to find activities, deals and general information about raising kids in such a vast city. A good place to begin is Jen’s List, a daily roll of helpful tidbits for parents in and around LA. Check it out at Jenslist.com.
Park, Ride and Roll
The myriad of parks in LA offers something for everyone. The best park is not just the one with the top amenities but the one where you and the kiddies feel most comfortable with the atmosphere. You can find a guide of city parks at laparks.org, but usually chatting up the neighbors will get you the best advice on where to play, like some local favorites: West Hollywood Park on San Vicente in WeHo, where weekends often host kid events with music and educational and fun activities; Roxbury Memorial Park on Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills, with a pirate-ship themed play structure; Pan Pacific Park on Beverly Drive near the Grove, with a train-themed play structure; and Lauren Canyon Park, off Mulholland Drive, where the off-leash dog park is also an attraction.
Whether at the park or in the hood, kids love to scoot. For the hard-core kid, the Weplay Push Scooter ($224.44, ages 4-8) is a heavy-duty ride built with materials that can take a beating, by children as well as outdoor elements. Its wide three-wheel base provides a safe and steady platform to push off to help kids develop balance and scooting skills. Available at MunchkinField.com.
Park play is a great experience for kids to learn to share, but at the end of the day, every kid’s bucket, shovel and other miscellaneous toys look the same, so when the playdate is over, make sure you get all the goodies you came with, with Mabel’s Labels ($12 for 60 labels), stylish, waterproof labels that stick to just about anything and clearly mark your child’s belongings. Available at mabelslabels.com.
All Dressed Up
LA is a fashion town not just for mom but for budding fashionistas too. Mommy’s little girl will take the cake wearing Cupcakes & Pastries, a new line of artsy, deliciously styled dresses for girls designed by a mom and inspired by her two-year old daughter. The fabrics and details are contemporary and luxurious yet still affordable. ($58-$72, 12 months to eight years). Available at Fred Segal and other retailers at cupcakesandpastries.com.