CBB Exclusive: Dayna Devon and Dr. Brent Moelleken talk about tummy tucks, their children and parenthood
The Celebrity Baby Blog asked for reader’s help last week, and you definitely delivered! In the extended post, we chat with EXTRA co-host Dayna Devon, 37, and her husband, Dr. Brent Moelleken, 47, about the recent hybrid tummy tuck Brent performed on Dayna, parenthood, and their children — Emmi Reese, 2, and Cole Brent, 8 months — all with interview questions sent in by you, our readers.
Click below for Dayna and Brent’s interview, in full!
Dayna on the kids:
Emmi just celebrated her 2nd birthday — I read about her 1st birthday party in Cookie — how did you mark her second?
Well, it wasn’t a blow out like last year! I don’t want her to think that all parties are going to be like that first one. We just had some friends and family over. We ate cake and she got one or two gifts — mostly books.
I assume Emmi is starting to talk a lot now that she’s two. What’s the funniest thing that’s come out of her mouth lately?
My daughter screams “frog” which sounds like the “F” word. Everything she says makes me laugh because her little lisp is so precious at this age. Emmi speaks a little Spanish too (because her nanny only speaks Spanish to her) and that really cracks me up.
In May, you had said ‘No TV until 2.’ So has Emmi watched any yet? Or have you continued to hold off?
On her 2nd birthday we took her to see Ratatouille, but that was the first significant thing she’s seen. Since then she’s seen one other movie. We’re trying not to make a habit of this. We prefer to use books for visual stimulation. There is some significant research about the damage television could have on kids at an early age. It really scared me.
How is Emmi with her new brother?
Not good. She was pressing the pointy end of a block in his eye. She bit him and kicks him in his car seat. Poor little Cole. But then other times she hugs him and kisses him like he is her best friend. So, this is an issue we are dealing with on a daily basis. Help!?
How does Cole react to Emmi? Is he interested in how busy she is?
Poor Cole. Every day my daughter tries to kill him but he is oblivious! He loves her so much and smiles every time she looks at him. He does seem very interested in what she is doing, but he is also getting so active and coordinated himself that he can’t be bothered.
What is your children’s bedtime routine?
We are big into routines in our house. We play together outside until Daddy gets home around 6 pm. Then we try to have a family dinner together and talk about our day (Cole can’t talk, but he gurgles). Emmi has many meltdowns, but we are adamant about family dinners!
Then it is off to bath time. After the bath we read to both kids every night! Then we brush teeth and it’s off to bed. The routine helps. Kids like the stability of knowing what’s coming. But don’t get me wrong, the kids always cry about going to bed, and then I cry because I’m so exhausted.
Is Emmi a picky eater? If so, what’s your strategy?
She is a very picky eater and I beg and plead for her to eat even one bite of vegetables but she won’t. So I stopped feeding her a bunch of snacks between meals and I give her a vitamin supplement.
I just heard about a new book by Jessica Seinfeld called ‘Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food.’ I ordered it and I can’t wait to try it out. I will let you know how it goes.
What are a couple of the kids’ favorite books?
Do the kids ever come to the EXTRA set?
Sometimes, but not too often because I can’t give them my full attention and it makes me feel bad.
Does Emmi ever throw tantrums? If so, how do you handle them?
I get really flustered when she throws temper tantrums so I try to 1) ignore them or 2) distract her. Distraction is really the only thing that works for me so far.
What are some of Emmi’s favorite activities to do at home with you?
She loves playing hide-n-seek, building things with blocks, she LOVES her Thomas the Train set. She likes playing with me in the pool. She loves bubbles, swings, sand, and climbing things.
Dayna on motherhood:
What’s your ‘mommy break?’
I am sad to say but every single night without fail I have a glass of wine. But it’s the time that my husband and I sit and talk and rehash the day. Every Friday and Saturday night we feed, bathe and put the kids to bed then hire a babysitter so that we can go out on a date. That is our gift to us and our relationship.
I noticed in a CBB photo that you mix high-end clothes with Target shoes for your daughter! What are some of your other ‘cheapie’ favorites that non-celeb moms can afford?
When I do have a special occasion, I love Janie and Jack (plus they have great sales), Firefly catalog and Lola et Moi in Beverly Hills are also some favorites. As far as shoes go, Pediped, Stride Rite and, of course, Target (as you so astutely noticed in the picture).
You talked in your May interview about your amazing nanny. How do you recommend finding a good one, and what’s the trick to keeping her?
This is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. You should make sure your kids are at the interview so that you can watch their instant interaction. Trust your instincts and get background checks (there are some websites that make this more affordable).
The first few times have her come over when you are there to see how she is taking to the kids and vice versa. Keep an open line of communication about what you want and don’t want and keep your eyes open. I have even had friends and family drop by unannounced to get their opinion.
What diet plan & exercise routine
did you follow to initially get the baby weight off?
Since I had a c-section, I was not allowed to strenuously work out for 6 weeks. After I recovered, I worked out with a trainer two times a week and tried to find time to do cardio. Most of the time we took long family walks pushing the double stroller — that’s a good workout.
As far as diet plan, I hired a diet delivery system service — SunFare. If your area doesn’t have something like this, try Jenny Craig — the food is really good — or NutriSystem (Tori Spelling told me the food is really great) or even the classic favorite Weight Watchers. You can’t order the pre-packaged food from Weight Watchers, but it’s the best for teaching you how to eat on your own.
Are you glad to be a working mom, or would you rather stay at home?
Some days when I leave for work my daughter cries and clings to my legs and it makes going to work hard. Then I think about my Mom who is a teacher and did an amazing job raising my brother and me. She taught me that you can find balance. She was an independent, professional woman who did everything well.
What’s the best advice you would give a mom-to-be based on your experiences with Emmi and Cole?
Have a reeeeaaaaalllly good sense of humor. Do not expect perfection from them or yourself. Do not give too much attention to the developmental guidelines (i.e. when they should start walking or talking). Err on the side of love.
Being an owner of my own baby photography business, I always wonder about celebrities getting their baby’s portraits done.Did you get Emmi and Cole’s done?
A friend of ours named Nicole Maloney blew me away with the photographs she took. She works quickly, easily and in a stress free environment. Somehow her love for children comes through in every picture.
Dayna on her hybrid tummy tuck surgery:
How does your tummy tuck scar compare to your c-section scar? Does your c-section incision/scar look different post-surgery?
My c-section scar was pretty nasty — it was about a quarter of an inch thick, red, raised, and long (although my OB/GYN did a good job of keeping it really low so it wouldn’t show in a bikini). So when Brent went in to do the tummy tuck he revised my scar.
It is now a bit longer than it was but much, much, MUCH better. Look at lines in the palm of your hand — it is a little darker than that and a little thicker, but that is what it looks like now. And the color will continue to lighten over time.
I was so focused on the tummy tightening aspect of the surgery that I didn’t even think about how much better my scar was going to be. It was almost worth it for that alone!
What do you mean by your stomach pooling?
By "pooling" I mean that the stretched skin (with a crepe-like consistency) would lie down next to me when I slept on my side. It would also droop over the front and side of my jeans. The skin looks like it’s lost all of its elasticity and it was loose and saggy.
This was something that was never going to go away. No sit-up or exercise was going to fix this. I know that this is not for everyone, but that droopy skin really bothered me.
Dayna, during the EXTRA segment when you talked about your reasons for having the tummy tuck, you said you were ashamed of your belly (while the camera was on a close-up of your tummy, a tummy I would do anything for). I understand your job as an on-air personality requires you to look a certain way, but your comment of being ashamed has really stuck with me.
How would you explain that comment to Emmi? Are you not scared that she will grow up thinking she has to have the perfect body? How will you ensure that she has a healthy image of herself?
During the "Extra" segment I did say that I was ashamed of my stomach — and a lot of people were really upset about my choice of words and I have taken a lot of heat for that comment. I don’t know if I can explain it completely, but I will try.
It is very difficult to work in television and live in Hollywood. There is so much pressure to look “perfect”. For some reason when my stomach didn’t snap back, I felt like a failure, I felt like I had done something wrong. I know that sounds crazy and I know that is probably stupid, but that is how I felt. But I also felt this unbelievable pressure to be honest.
A lot of actresses are doing this and not admitting to it. That felt wrong to me. I felt like a traitor. I wanted to empower women. I wanted them to know that we have options. Believe me, this took a lot of courage for me to admit — it would have been easier to let people just think I had good genes.
Also, my fascia (stomach muscle) was completely wiped out and I had a hernia that needed to be fixed. So this was not completely a cosmetic procedure — you could actually fit your hand in between the muscles of my stomach. Brent said my stomach muscles were so loose it was like lifting a sheet off of a mattress.
About my daughter, I will also be honest with her about my decision to do this, but I will let her make up her own mind about it.
Brent on his hybrid tummy tuck procedure:
What should I look for in a doctor when researching one to perform this procedure?
Look for board certified in plastic surgery as a first step. Look at the doctor’s education and compare. I would interview at least three surgeons. Ask your family doctor if he has heard of the doctors you are thinking of picking. I have more detailed recommendations listed here. Go with your gut: if you have reservations, hold off until you are comfortable! You should trust your doctor completely before undergoing surgery.
Unfortunately, the hybrid tummy tuck is very new, so it may be a few years before it is widely performed.
How soon can you have it done after having a child? Should you only have the tummy tuck done if you feel that you are finished having children?
I usually recommend patients wait for six months after the last baby is born.
What if a woman has a surprise pregnancy after having the surgery done? Could there be complications in the pregnancy, or would the surgery results be ‘erased’ with a subsequent child?
If patients have a “surprise pregnancy”, the baby will make its own way and be fine. Having a baby after a tummy tuck may undo some of the surgery, a small
price to pay for a beautiful smiling baby. I recommend waiting until the last baby is done; this is tough for some women because their bodies have changed so much from having children, and they don’t want to wait.
If an unexpected pregnancy occurs, it is doubly important to have a healthy pregnancy with exercise and a healthy diet. It is wise for the expectant mother to avoid excessive weight gain, since that can lead to diabetes, difficulties with the pregnancy, and, of course, greater permanent negative changes on the mommy’s breasts and tummy.
Do I need to wait until I’m finished nursing to have this done?
Wait until nursing is finished before having the mommy makeover; the baby should not be exposed to anesthetic agents or postoperative pain medicines. Also for two weeks after the procedure, you shouldn’t lift the baby.
Could you explain a little more in depth what happens during your hybrid tummy-tuck operation? How do you create the "corset" you described? Is the fix pretty permanent?
Through a small lower incision, the entire fascia (deep layer around the muscles) from the pubic area to the chest is tightened. The tightening is done with permanent sutures. Any hernias that are found (like belly button hernias) are repaired. The fix is permanent. Fat is reduced by liposculpture if needed.
Brent on fatherhood:
Brent, I think you must work long hours as a plastic surgeon.How do you make the most of your time with your kids?
I work hard during the day so I can get home on time. Every night, I read to my children and put them to bed. Dayna has been wonderful in sculpting me: I used to be an inefficient workaholic. Now I have three great reasons to get my work done and get home.
What do you do completely differently than Dayna?
I dress my children terribly, non-matching colors, and cut corners by not putting them in pajamas at night. I am on clothing probation at the moment…
Photo from Dayna Devon and Brent Moelleken’s personal collection. Express permission for use only on the Celebrity Baby Blog Inc.
Also check out our previous interview with Dayna in May. For more on Dayna’s employer, check out EXTRA — they’re launching their 14th season and 4000th episode next week! For more on Brent and his practice, check out DrBrent.com.
Thanks to CBB readers David, Nancy, Kate, Candace, J.J., Kara, Ashleigh-Faye, Missy, Paula, Sarah, Neke, Brandy, Pamela, John, Stacy, Samantha, Cynthia, Robert, Taneesha, Min, Alissa, Jake, Melanie, Jodie, Kristen, and Mary for their questions for Dayna and Brent.