Our Goal Is to Empower Moms
and To Help Babies Thrive
The Mommy Center Family
Cristina Gamarnik, M.A., CCC-SLP
Founder, Mommy&Me Educator, Parent Coach
- A.A. in Child Development
- B.A. and M.A. in Communicative Disorders
- Licensed Speech and Language Pathologist
- Published Author of The Articulation & Phonology Video Assessment Tool
- Positive Discipline Educator
- Mindfulness Teacher
- Couples Coach (Using Gottman Principles)
Cristina is a mom to a three-year-old boy. Before becoming a mom, she worked as an SLP in the schools and private clinics. After having her son, Cristina experienced the struggles of motherhood. Through her journey in counseling, spiritual and self-growth, she realized that her calling was to create a community for mothers who may be going through the same. She continued her education in mindfulness and became a certified Reiki practitioner and meditation teacher. She developed this community to be able to provide mothers with the education and support so they can be the best mother, wife and woman they desire to be.
Mommy&Me Educator, Sleep Consultant
- Infant specialist
- Baby Sleep Training Specialist
- Baby Nurse For 15 Years
Michelle Smith is a certified infant specialist with a background in nursing who believes in empowering the new mom with education, validation and support. She understands that the first year and beyond of motherhood is beautifully challenging.
Michelle has been leading mommy and me groups for the past 5 years and has a passion for newborns. Some of her favorite topics to educate new Moms on include sleep, breastfeeding, postpartum, baby safety, and relationship challenges. Michelle has 3 children under the age of 8 and resides in Ladera Ranch. Prior to becoming a Mama herself she helped countless families in the postpartum adjustment process and specialized in multiples. She has a passion for helping families achieve the most amount of peace and sleep in the early months. She is a wealth of knowledge in the infant and newborn stages of life.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
- M.A. in Counseling
- Author of “Postpartum Happiness”
- Certified Experiential Therapist
- Postpartum Stress Center Post Graduate Training
Postpartum Support International Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Training Certificate
Marissa Zwetow is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and owner of Postpartum Happiness. Marissa became passionate about helping mothers to both prepare and adjust to a new baby after experiencing postpartum depression firsthand and realizing there was a pretty big gap for new mothers. Marissa understands what it takes to be on a healing journey to find acceptance, meaning, and happiness in the role of motherhood.
Additionally, Marissa is a published co-author of Postpartum Happiness: What to do when you love the kids, but hate the job.
Nadine Durbach, LCSW
Clinical Social Worker & Psychotherapist
- Master of Social Work from University of Toronto
- Gottman Level 1 Trained
- CBT Certified
- DBT Certified
- Over 25 years of experience
Nadine’s mission is to support individuals, couples and families to cope with the challenges found in relationships, effective communication and healthy parenting. Her passion is empowering her clients to be their authentic and fully expressed selves. Additionally, her interest lies in supporting women to adjust to the role that Motherhood brings, and in guiding couples to healthier and happier relationships. Having raised 3 kids to young adulthood, Nadine emphasizes progress over perfection and values the kitchen table as a no-tech zone!
When not working or volunteering in the community, Nadine loves spending time with her family of 5 humans and 2 Goldendoodles. Her free time is invested in cooking, entertaining, walking at the beach, arranging flowers, traveling, and getting lost in a great book with an almond milk latte in hand.
Nicole Zahiry, M.A, BCBA
- B.S. Psychology, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (SLO)
- B.A. English, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (SLO)
- M.A., Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT), Chapman University
- Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
Nicole is a Mama to three children (13, 7, and 3) and a strong supporter of community, early intervention, and advocacy/inclusion. She has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) since 2012 and has worked in private clinics and educational settings for nearly 15 years. She has worked closely with the autism community throughout her career providing families with evidence based behavioral assessment and treatment, access to community supports, and collaboration with school-based special needs teams to identify appropriate placement and functional goals. She is passionate about infant/toddler play (and educating new Mamas on how to incorporate it into their daily routines!), helping parents navigate challenging behavior (including sibling interactions) and supporting Mamas of children with special needs (from the initial diagnosis and beyond). Have questions about behavior? Biting? Hitting? Tantrums? Toilet-training? Play? Nicole is our go-to gal and has you covered!
Cherilyn E. Davidson Cibelli, PhD
- PhD in Applied Child Development, Tufts University
- M.A. in Marriage, Child & Family Counseling, Chapman University
- B.S. in Child Development, UC Davis
- Over 25 years of experience working at Boston Children‘s Hospital
Dr. Cibelli has worked with children from all walks of life. From summer camps for children with special needs, to state hospitals, residential treatment centers, Child Protective Services, research and state and federal policy positions, Dr.Cibelli’s life has been about children and their families. She was lucky enough to be a 3rd generation attachment researcher and brought trauma and resilience into the study of children‘s and adult attachment and the transmission of psychological vulnerability. She was able to help birth HeadStart from a program that served only 3–5 year olds to a national program that also served the 0–3 year old population. She has taught at the university level and also at the college level for 15 years. Her work as a psychologist has centered on healing trauma and assessing strengths. As she winds down, she practices being a mermaid while awaiting the time her grandchildren can once again visit.
Leora Robles, B.S, IBCLC
- B.S. – Bachelor of Science in Child and Adolescent Development
- IBCLC – International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
Leora is a mom to three boys. She founded The Breastfeeding Center of Orange County with a mission to provide compassionate, evidence-based breastfeeding support to all families regardless of their infant feeding goals. As a mother herself who experienced an array of breastfeeding challenges, it was important to Leora to provide support and encouragement to the families she works with, ensuring they feel heard and supported along their breastfeeding journey. The Breastfeeding Center of Orange County provides private lactation consultants, prenatal classes, and educational opportunities through an array of offerings.
Leora lives in Orange County with her three boys and husband, Adam.
Erinn Askin MA OTR/L
- BA in Communication ( UCSB)
- MA in Occupational Therapy ( USC)
- Certified in handwriting without tears
- Certified in SOS feeding therapy-certified in infant NDT
- Certified in Interactive Metronome
Erinn is a mommy to four children (4 months, 2 years, 4 years and 5 years) .Erinn has been an occupational therapist for 11 years with experience in school based practice, private practice, feeding/eating/swallowing, hospital based acute care rehab and experience in the higher educational setting as a current Occupational Therapy professor. Erinn is certified in many areas of Occupational Therapy practice and will lend her expertise in development to help us understand pediatric development. Erinn understands what it’s like to juggle work and home life and she is excited to share information and support with all of you.
Susanna Wolfe, OTR/IBCLC
Occupational Therapist&Lactation Consultant
- Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy
- IBCLC certification from University of San Diego
- Registered occupational therapist with over 25 years of experience
- Lactation Consultant with 5 years of experience
Susanna is a mother to two children. Before becoming a mother, she worked as an occupational therapist with children ages 0-21 with physical disabilities. She focused on helping them achieve independence and had a keen interested in feeding. She attended numerous advanced feeding education classes focusing on both the physical and sensory aspects of feeding. Susanna enjoys working with the selective eaters and has many tips for achieving meal time success. She incorporates her developmental knowledge, feeding and lactation training in her practice as an IBCLC to help mother’s achieve an easy and successful breastfeeding journey.
When she is not working or advancing her skills, she can be found crocheting, cooking for her family and hiking.
Cami Leenstra, RN, BSN
Birthing Class Educator
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing University of Rochester
- BS Psychology Cal Poly SLO
- Labor & Delivery RN for 5 years
- Perinatal Diagnostic and Treatment Center RN for 2 years
- Baby Friendly Training Certified
- Advanced Fetal Monitoring Certified
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support Certified
Cami is a Registered Nurse specializing in the areas of high risk pregnancies in the antepartum period, Labor and Delivery, postpartum, and recovery. She lives in Mission Viejo and has two kids under 3 years old. Cami believes every woman should be fully educated and have the ability to have true informed consent during one of the most incredible yet vulnerable times in a woman’s life during labor. Cami is straightforward and likes to keep it real, and no question is off limits for her to answer!
Whitney Sippl, DPT, WCS
- Women’s Health Physical Therapist
- Board Certified Women’s Clinical Specialist
Dr. Whitney Sippl is a mama of two little ones. She treats women in their homes throughout Orange County and at a clinic in Costa Mesa, CA through her company Restored Physique Physical Therapy. She’s passionate about promoting awareness, well-being, and healing with a goal of empowering women during the prenatal and postnatal periods to address discomforts or concerns. Many women are told that symptoms such as incontinence, painful intercourse, scar pain, pelvic or back pain, pelvic pressure or abdominal separation (diastasis) are normal during pregnancy or after having a baby; however, though COMMON, these conditions are not “NORMAL” and there are many ways to address these concerns. Whitney loves teaching women ways to take care of themselves during pregnancy and how to get their bodies back after childbirth and she is also the mom of two little ones.
In addition to treating the moms, Dr. Whitney also treats kids with pelvic symptoms such as constipation, urinary leaking, bedwetting, bowel leaks, abdominal or pelvic pain, and painful periods. She also works with families for potty training and addressing potty training difficulties.
Nicole Kielkowicz, D.C
Pediatric and Perinatal Chiropractor
- Doctorate of Chiropractic, Life Chiropractic College West
- Bachelor of Neuroscience, University of Alberta
- Pediatric and Prenatal Trained Specialist
McKenna Curtiss, B.S.
Chat N’ Play Teacher
•Bachelor of Science in Child Development
McKenna is a boy mama of two. Easton is 3 and Jett is 8 months. Her, along with her boys and husband, are from sunny Orange County, CA! While she has her degree in child development, she is currently enjoying every moment of being a stay-at-home-mama and raising her boys. She loves everything about littles + mamahood, and since becoming a mama her passion has grown even more! She loves connecting and engaging with other mamas! You can find her and her boy crew at the beach, park, or adventuring somewhere fun! She loves planning activities for her babes, going all out for all holidays, and just celebrating life REAL BIG! She’s so happy to be part of the team!
Emily Varon, BCBA
Emily Varon is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with a dedicated focus on sleep-related behaviors. She has worked in the field of behavior analysis since 2000 and has devoted her practice to improving the sleep habits, and related behaviors of children since 2010. Emily’s unique style of supporting parents with developing healthier support systems for their families has resulted in hundreds of success stories over the years. She is dedicated to maintaining an individual family’s values, through the process of evaluating the most appropriate strategies for a child. Her focus on sustainability of skills, versus “good” or “bad” habits, offers families a broader, long-view perspective of sleep, child development, and behavior, resulting in more sustainable results over time.
With a background rooted in Applied Behavior Analysis and child development, Emily deeply values science and research to support the strategies she offers families, and will only recommend protocols that are valid, proven methods. Emily resides in Irvine California with her husband and two tweens who delight, challenge and entertain her all day long
Emily Kite, B.A.
Mommy & Me Educator
- BA in Human Service Studies
- Masters of Education in Organizational Performance
- Certified K-6 Teacher
Emily is a former educator and boy mom of 2, Hank is 3 and Walter is 6 months. Prior to becoming a mom, Emily spent 3 years teaching kindergarten and 2nd grade in Tennessee and Oklahoma. She was able to see first hand the value of early literacy skills and helped show parents how to incorporate them at home. After her oldest son was born, Emily became a stay at home mom, her days are now filled with play-doh, paw patrol and outside adventures. For the last several years Emily and her husband have moved all over the US and settled in Orange County during the fall of 2020. Throughout their many moves, Emily was constantly seeking a community, especially of moms, to feel grounded in where she lived. she is so glad to have found the Mommy Center. When Emily is not doing all things “stay at home mom” you can find her at a yoga class or a coffee shop.