Living Life Like You Mean It with Betsy Riley
Betsy Riley previously co-founded Doyenne, a women’s social club in LA, now known as AllBright. After becoming a mother and having a hard time finding everything she needed on her journey to breastfeeding she created Swehl, a modern toolkit to make the breastfeeding experience easier.
Here she chats with us about the lesson she’s learned along the way, the best advice she’s been given, and even how she turned a mom-shaming experience into positivity.
What is the one lesson you’ve learned that you’ll pass along to your child?
After a big health scare in my 20’s, what stayed with me was: this isn’t the dress rehearsal. You have one opportunity to create whatever big, juicy life you have dreamed of, so go out and live it. We all come to that moment at different times, but I hope I can instill a sense of adventure and seizing the moment early on.
Second, closed mouths don’t get fed. Meaning, you have to be active and speak up for the change you want in life. I believe there is a big lesson in teaching kids to advocate for themselves.
Tell us about your child’s name. Is there a special meaning behind it?
Rose Fields is a combination of my mother’s and my maiden name. We went very traditional despite its vibe!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received about motherhood? How did you incorporate it into your life?
The best mothers love themselves. Motherhood is one (very important) descriptor of my life, but not the only one. I know I will be the best parent by being a fulfilled person overall. Being active in my community, nurturing a business, small acts of self care and even evening dinners with my husband after bedtime all help me ultimately give more to Rosie.
Have you ever been mom-shamed? Share an experience and how you handled it?
Most of my motherhood has been in a vacuum due to COVID. A few weeks after Rosie was born, we finally ventured out to the beach. There was a group of older ladies sitting six feet away, waving and cooing at Rosie, which quickly turned into shaming. “Is she warm enough? Have you tried getting her to nap in her stroller? Her hat looks too tight.” I couldn’t believe these actual strangers were criticizing me, but then suddenly I was elated! I had been missing this silly initiation to motherhood and had a group of bubbies yelling at me in the most loving, quaint, and honestly hilarious way. It felt like the full circle of joining generations of mothers before me, something I had really been missing. I went from annoyed to overjoyed to have that small piece of normalcy — before swiftly assuring them her hat was fine, thank you very much! Although that was ultimately a benign moment, I do hope our generation can break the mold and offer a more supportive initiation to future mothers.
Since becoming a mother, what is one product you wish existed that you haven’t been able to find?
Breastfeeding was not an immediately natural journey for me (or I'd assume 99.9% of women) and what I really needed was not so much one product, but one central home for all the products that made my experience even a slightly bit easier. Helpful tools are extremely fragmented, and when my research-loving friends couldn’t find what they needed, I came to the realization that no one could, and set off to create it myself. Swehl is the modern toolkit to change the way parents experience breastfeeding. Each kit provides inclusive product solutions for all the pain points of the journey by taking the frenzy out of feeding.
What are your three most helpful parenting resources you’ve come across and why do you love them?
Solid Starts has been our bible for introducing food. I had no idea the amount of brain power it would take to meal/snack prep for a baby five times a day. Brilliant for a busy parent who is trying to give their child a balanced diet.
Beyond being the most luxurious texture and scent, Mini Bloom is a gift for anyone who manages eczema. We use Fresh ‘N’ Clean from top to bottom, literally. When Rosie was first born, I tried so many different soaps and everything caused an eczema flare up — both on her and on my hands. Mini Bloom is the only soap we have found that works for us, and we love the focus on sustainability.
Lovevery really is an amazing platform that offers thoughtfully crafted kits geared towards learning for both baby and parent. It can feel entirely overwhelming to go home with a newborn. How do you fill the day? How do you stimulate them? Lovevery simplified those hazy first few weeks for us.