The Bebo Blog
Have you ever been that mom standing in the grocery aisle or bank line and you hear a frustrated grunt coming from inside the stroller. As mothers we need to read this cue as KEEP STROLLING MAMA! So, I ask all of you mommies out there how fit are your strollers? Does it only see the light of day when you need a bag of milk or are you a trailblazer? Well, whichever you are, the good news is that stroller fitness is a surefire way of getting to Fit Avenue fast. What I, as a mom, love about stroller fitness is that I can stroll to all my favorite iPod tunes and groove out a great workout with scenic views. As a bonus, the stroller, and your darling inside being carted around, act as a form of resistance to our aerobic workouts. All the equipment you need to reap the benefits of stroller fitness is a stroller, a park/ scenic route, sunscreen, WATER, tunes and of course your little one. Now that you have all your gear, here is a sample of your next stroller session.
Stroll Your Way to FIT Avenue Workout
On the Move Warm Up: (7-10 mins)
-walk 30 secs +30 secs shoulder rolls X3
-walk 30 secs+30 secs arm circles X3
- walk 30 secs + 30 secs toe taps X3
-walk 30 secs +30 sec walking lunges X3
-walk 30 secs +30 secs squats in place
Speed stroll (20-25 mins)
-the point here is to work at your own pace and always use the talk test as an indicator of how hard you are working. You should always be able to talk! If you can’t talk, slow down your pace. If you can sing easily, pick up the pace!
Some options to use in the Speed Stroll are: brisk walk, jogging, skipping, side gallops, running, jogging up and down hills (or stairs or bleachers, leaving your stroller within view).
** Remember, if you are a beginner Stroller Mama, you may entirely use a brisk walk, if advanced you may mix it up. Listen to your body, it won’t steer your strolling wrong.
Cardio Cool Down (2-5mins)
Repeat On the Move Warm Up
Muscular and core strength
Use picnic tables or benches to do 3 sets with 8-12 reps of the following:
- leg lifts
- modified pushups
- triceps dips
- abdominal crunches (or plank or V-sit depending on core strength)
Final Stretches (can be on a table, standing or sitting on grass)
head/neck rolls, inner thigh stretch, ankle rotations, side stretches, forward folds and deep breathing
-Always drink water before, during and after workout.
-Do not use light frame strollers suitable only for car seats (any other stroller is fine).
-Always check the weather and prepare accordingly for you and your baby (ex humidex, sunscreen, stroller rain cover, baby hat, bug net for stroller etc.)
Benefits of Stroller Fitness:
-safe and effective
-fresh air, sunshine and FUN
-full body exercise
-you can do it alone, with a friend or as part of a mommy group
-plus, BONUS – the movement of the stroller calms your little one and can help with their sleeping habits, giving you a much needed break.
Enjoy your next stroll to FIT Avenue!
To the apple of your eye, the playground is an oasis of fun and activity! Why not for us? Have we outgrown this wonder with our sophistication? I think not! Our little ones might be onto something here. Playgrounds and parks have everything we need to shed those baby pounds; fresh air, free equipment and the FUN factor! All we need to do is pimp it out it in a way to optimize its fitness potential. So the next time you are out with your little one, dress up your playground fitness style and get moving. Everything from the swings to the benches can be our key to fitness freedom and achievement. The great news is that as moms we always have a playground date or two each week, making our fitness habit consistent, simple and accessible. Next time you are at the playground, try this great park & play circuit that is as easy as 1, 2, 3 (literally 3 circuits) that will assist any new mommy in transforming their post-baby body. The upside of this 20-30 minute workout? It is an easy, effective, fun-filled escape from the everyday fitness regime.
If you are someone who would rather take part in a class led by an instructor, check out StrollerFit and Stroller H.I.I.T with Baby & Me Fitness!
The workout: Pick 3 circuits to work with. Do each routine 2-3x/week)
Warm-up 5 minutes
Walk, slowly increasing to power walk around parameter of the playground. Press arms up to the sky, extend to the sides to make circles, and ‘air pushup’ motions as you warm up.
2 minutes bench step ups
20 reps swing lunges
30 sec bench plank
Rest 1-1.5 minutes between circuits
2 minutes jumping jacks (for low impact, tap each foot side to side)
30 seconds monkey bar wide grip pull-ups
12 reps bench pushups
Rest 1-1.5 minutes
2 minutes hill jog/sprints/powerwalk (no hills: 2 minute bench or ground mountain climbers)
20 reps bench triceps dips
20 reps V-sits
Rest 1-1.5 minutes
2 minute slide jump overs (advanced) squat hops (intermediate) or standing squats (beginner)
30 sec bench mountain climbers
20 reps bench leg lifts (knee bent or extended)
Rest 1-1.5 minutes
Slow jog to walk/or just walk around park (5 mins) followed by full-body stretching (5 mins). This express, bootcamp style workout is completely adaptable to the type of fitness mommy you are: workout out alone, with the tot (perfect to use with stroller) or exercising with the older kid at the park.
Just remember, to get fit and have fun is as easy as running around your neighbourhood playground. You’re there anyway!
Yoga for Babes
When I think of Yoga, I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz shouting Sun Salutations, Warrior and Downward Dog, OH MY!!! In theory, I fear some of Yoga’s complex movements and fear more the picture of myself dangling in the poses themselves. However, after I, the Cowardly LION, finally gets over the initial esteem shock of my imperfect body attempting to create perfect alignment, I feel awakened emotionally and alive physically by yoga. Now, close your eyes and picture your baby enjoying the same yoga experience. Did you all just picture your infant in downward dog pose? No worries, baby yoga is all about enhancing your baby’s pleasurable sensations through voice, eye contact and movement. Today I can safely say that my baby is a Yogi through constant practice of daily massage and flexibility techniques. And we always end our yoga workouts with relaxation to ensure baby always knows that activity and relaxation complement each other. I have attached a sample baby yogi session so you and your baby too can enjoy the gifts of the Yogi!
Baby Yogi Workout
Baby Massage: Perform a series of 10 counts/reps for each exercise
1. Baby’s feet: squeeze each toe and stroke soles of feet with thumb
2. Draw heart shape strokes on the chest
3. Stroke entire face (over eyebrows, around cheeks, down nose) with thumb
4. Gently stroke with your palm from shoulder to tailbone on the baby’s back
Hips Don’t Lie: series of 10 counts/reps for each exercise
1. Knee Bends: gently press baby’s soft knees to stomach by holding baby’s feet
2. Half lotus: take each foot to opposite hip or armpit
3. Butterfly: with soles together, press feet towards groin and release and straighten
4. Leg lifts: take each foot and hand, lift for two counts and drop softly and under control with light hand grasp
Twists of JOY: series of 10 counts/reps for each exercise
1. Back twist: with baby’s knees folded to one side, stroke with fingers towards baby’s opposite shoulder
2. Arm and leg crunch: bring baby’s opposite arm and leg together and open slowly
3. Arm/leg circles: hold baby’s opposite arm and leg and stretch diagonally, circle 10 times gently and switch
I hope your baby enjoys this yoga workout. And please remember to have fun with Baby Yoga through singing or talking through the poses with your baby. The benefits are endless from the development of supple joints to restful sleep for your little one. The goal of your baby becoming a Yogi and of YOGA itself is to “open the heart and quiet the mind”.
You can feel it in the air, the inevitable end to summer is finally here. For me, it is always a little bittersweet. In a way I’m sad to see it go, but in another way I am glad to get back into ‘my routine’. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer, but by the end of August I am ready to start back to a proper planning of my meals, workouts and budgets.
For both bebo mia and Baby & Me Fitness, September is like a little mini New Years for us. The phone calls and emails start flying in from those who have pushed planning and fitness classes to the back burner so they could enjoy the last few weeks of summer (can you blame them?).
With everyone so keen on getting back into the swing of things, I thought I would write out 3 tips to get you on a healthy, organized start to this ‘new year’. I’ll start with my favourite tip!
1. Fuel Your Body
First things first, in order to feel great and have the energy to stay on top of all life’s demands, we need to fuel ourselves properly. After a summer of BBQ’s and possibly some delicious drinks (for those past the pregnancy stage), it’s time to start making some good decisions when it comes to eating. It helps me tremendously to think about food as ‘fuel’ for a healthy life. Is this meal or snack going to work FOR me or against me? Hopefully the answer is the former (unless you are having a little treat on a special occasion).
For many. the idea of eating well can seem overwhelming. After all, it can get confusing and it actually is a lot of work. There is no denying that grabbing food on the go or living on coffee (right new moms?) is easier to do, but it’s not going to help us in the long run. The best advice I can give is that of a keen girl guide: ‘be prepared’. Spend Sundays getting ready for the week ahead, and more importantly. planning for the ‘often forgotten by busy moms’ healthy breakfasts and snacks. Here are a few things I plan out on Sundays:
- Chopping up fresh veggies and throwing them into individual containers to grab on the go. I usually have a little salad dressing container full of hummus and/or a healthy nut spread. Nuts, seeds and already ‘packaged’ fruits like bananas, oranges and apples are easy to grab and go, but should always be stored in your purse!
- Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I believe that to be true. If you start off your day with a healthy meal, you are more likely to keep it up during the day. Pack a bunch of cut fruit (blueberries, bananas, peaches) and some torn kale or spinach into a Ziploc bag and throw it in the freezer. Each morning you have the base of a healthy smoothie to blend with your favourite liquid (like coconut water or almond milk).
- These are my favorite overnight oat recipes. I am far to busy to boil oats in the morning and I’m not a big fan of packaged oatmeal so this works well for me. The bonus is that these little breakfast in a jars are delicious and super filling, plus they last in the fridge for days so you can make a large batch at once!
- Speaking of food in a jar - This is the best way to make salad ahead of time without it getting soggy! Did you know that 1/2 of every meal should be veggies? This is an easy-ish way to make that happen!
- Meal planning is a ‘crazy making’ activity for most busy parents. Compiling pages of healthy, easy recipes and preparing them while in the midst of cleaning, working, playing, organizing is hard work. To make it a little easier, our amazing nutritionist Meghan Ford put together a Meal Plan that will fuel your body and your family!
I hope this is enough to get you started for now. Incorporating a little bit more of these tips each week will build motivation to keep you going! Stay tuned for tips 2 & 3 later this week! Until then, I would LOVE to hear from you. How do you get motivated to start September off on the right foot?
I want to talk about gender, I hope you do too. It has become a topic of interest to many people, often parents. It is worth talking about, especially as so much new information is becoming available to us. Before getting into the nitty gritty of it all, it is important to point out that sex and gender are completely different things. While sex refers to biological aspects like genetalia, gender is a concept constructed by society. To be brief about it: gender defines what behaviours are masculine and which are feminine. Unfortunately, this notion is extremely limiting to everyone. Self expression comes in many forms for males and females, however the male ballerina may be bullied through high school while the businesswoman is underestimated. Why?
First, let’s get back to the early years of life. You may remember baby Storm, whose parents Kathy and David started a conversation two years back about gender expression. When Storm was born, Kathy and David chose not to disclose the gender of the child. Their reasoning? To paraphrase their thoughts, they wanted to lessen the many messages and restrictions that gender would have brought into the child’s life. What they did is called gender neutral parenting, and is widely accepted and supported in other countries. Gender has the power to influence our behaviours, appearance and life choices. Often this is not by personal choice but rather societal pressure and judgement from others. It can influence so much of our lives from how people communicate with us to what job we choose and how much money we make. In a small yet common example, it is the reason we may refer to a girl as a ‘beautiful princess’ and a boy as a ‘strong warrior’ for no apparent reason. In another example, it is the reason stores design toys with focus on girl and boy sections, making the assumption a boy would not want an Easy Bake Oven and a girl wouldn’t desire a police uniform. These notions can stick with us, and become emotionally crippling right into our adult lives (women chasing beauty standards, men refusing to shed a tear… ring a bell?). Through removing gender pressures Kathy and David hoped Storm could develop from within, not influenced by the pressure to adapt preconceived notions about a girl or a boy. Other parents can do similar things to help their child too, and keeping the sex private doesn’t have to be the way to go about it.
WARNING: this next paragraph involves some very necessary ranting..
The response to Storm’s story was intense, with many people confused and questioning the family’s choice. Confusion is understandable, as gender roles have been imposed on many people since birth and become a normal part of life. Author James Delingpole appears to think gender neutral parenting is meant to make boys feminine and girls masculine, but the key word he seemed to miss is neutral. He explains he doesn’t want his daughter to be sueded by “some trendy teacher steering her towards a traditionally male profession” and would rather she “follow her true nature”. Ahem.. sorry Mr. Delingpole but your generalizations suggest ‘feminine professions’ and motherhood are the ‘true nature’ of all girls. For many girls it is not, and you cannot change that no matter how strongly you believe that girls do and should like pink. When individuals like Delingpole say things like “boys (are) hardwired into being obsessive, aggressive show-offs and risk-takers” and “girls have those dollyhugging instincts” please remember that such statements are based on opinion. This is only a projection of someone’s personal beliefs and experiences. No one can be described in such general statements as he used, and we should give children more credit than that. In no way, shape or form does gender neutral parenting involving ‘steering’ boys away from cars or girls away from dresses, it means letting them choosefor themselves. ‘Steering’ would defeat the entire purpose!
Allow me to state clearly that even though many people are comfortable in their assigned gender and the assumptions that go along with it, others are not. It is important to debunk any misconceptions about the topic. One of the biggest misconceptions is that gender neutral parenting is only for homosexual or transgendered children, and this is untrue. Boys and girls equally need to develop qualities like compassion, love, strength, wisdom, wits, cleanliness, independence and power. The issue is that often when children (as well as young adults, and ourselves) play or behave in ways that do not correspond with their gender, we scold or correct them. Before correcting a child, we must stop and think “what is wrong here?” because often the answer is.. nothing. As adults, we need to realize that the boy rocking a baby-doll may be a father one day, just as the girl karate chopping the air may become a martial artist. To put it simply: play is a child’s work. During play children are practising skills that will help them navigate through life. When the roles of gender creep into our adult brains we are tempted to say “Your trucks are here, put that doll down” or “That is not very lady-like” but we must resist. Children have the ability and wisdom to move and act in ways appropriate for their development, and we simply need to follow their lead. When we interrupt a child’s genuine play for frivolous reasons (like their gender), we are only inhibiting their learning.Young children take in our words and internalize what we teach them, so the next time we will say to the boy “That baby looks happy in your arms” and the girl, “You are very strong”. Just remember, the fact that your child may behave differently than the majority of their gender category is trivial in comparison to the amazing skills and interests they are developing. Humans of either sex are complex and emotional beings. Overcoming the restrictions of gender roles is healthy for everyone, of any sexuality, and as adults (especially parents) we can help children do just that.
Let’s face it, the widely accepted ideas of gender have power to restrict individuals based on their sex. It is wonderful that more people are speaking out about how gender is not black and white, masculine or feminine. If you or your children have struggled with pressures of gender conformity, I urge you to speak out and assure you you’re not alone. As more people tell their stories it is becoming more clear to everyone that gender is a spectrum, and both masculinity and femininity belong to either sex. Where each person lands on the spectrum is completely up to them, that is the beauty of individuality and self-expression.
Hello! My name is Michelle Peart, and as I type it is my 2nd day interning at Bebo Mia. I am a student at Ryerson University and have arranged to work shadowing Heather, Natasha and Bianca three days a week for my 4th year placement.
My program is Early Childhood Studies, and I am passionate about working with families and children. When I first began postsecondary my goal was to be a teacher in elementary school, and that quickly changed. Through my studies, placements and volunteer work I realized my desire is not to teach a set curriculum in a classroom. Instead I discovered the amazing world of family support embedded in my community.
My first Ryerson placement and current job is at Jessie’s centre, a drop-in program for pregnant women, young mothers and children. This is where I realized that families are the core of a child’s well being, and that I could no longer picture myself in a class with 25 students. I find it very rewarding to work with pregnant women, and eventually with their new babies. I also feel incredibly privileged to have the opportunity to observe these mothers learning about their babies, and vice-versa. I want to know more about the field of family support and how I can use this passion to make a difference with my future career. So here I am, exploring now what it means to be a doula. I am extremely excited to be involved with Bebo Mia, and welcome any questions you may have for me.
I will be blogging throughout this experience about topics of interest to parents, so keep an eye out! Any feedback and/or suggestions for future topics is welcome and encouraged, just send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh, and a random fact about me: I light scentless tea candles almost every day! Love ‘em.
It’s a GIRL! End of story.
Just kidding – I will elaborate, as I’m sure many of you are curious and it’s a wonderful story that I’ve been looking forward to sharing. I will preface the story with her name: Coral Beverly Poppy Jones. ‘Coral’ has been on our list for 5 years now as it was our ‘girl’ name if Caimen turned out to be a girl, ‘Beverly’ is my wonderful mother’s name, and ‘Poppy’ is Ken’s Grandmother’s nickname (and it’s awesome).
For many of you in my classes and personal life, you probably heard me say that I wanted to go overdue and that being two weeks ‘late’ would have been great! Well, instead of two weeks late, I went into labour two weeks EARLY. Fancy that. Something in my head told me that it wasn’t going to be long; she was born on a Tuesday and the Sunday prior, I woke up with a strong instinct and some pinky-tinged show. Oh, I forgot to mention that this blog entry will be very descriptive
On Monday, I taught my regular Carrier Fit class and felt really tired, barely doing any of the workout myself. I got home from class and I texted Natasha and Bianca (my business partners and doulas) about feeling pooped, but continued on with my day like normal with some computer work and then picking up Caimen from school. That evening, I had plans to go over to my friend Jessica’s house (she is also one of our doulas) as she was going to cast my belly and turn it into a beautiful sculpture. I was really REALLY looking forward to it but was so tired – the only reason I didn’t cancel is because something was telling me that I didn’t have time to reschedule. That something was right, because at 6:50pm (about half an hour before I was going to leave for Jess’s), my water broke! It started with a trickle, and I wasn’t quite sure what it was so I sat down on the couch and told Ken that it may have been my water. Then I felt some more… I looked down but since I couldn’t see past my uber big belly (see pic below taken at class that morning waiting for the ladies!), I asked Ken to look and the look on his face said it all. I ran to the bathroom and the water was streaming down my legs and pants and pooling at my feet. Some of you may have seen the picture of that posted on Facebook!
Ken and I were laughing and giddy with the excitement and right away he got to work setting up with birth tub. Caimen was ecstatic, jumping on the couches and literally climbing the walls; he couldn’t wait to meet his sister! He kept asking: “Is the baby going to be here in one minute?”. Haha – if only!
I made some phone calls: first to my doulas that my water broke, then to my midwife who asked a bunch of questions and told me to check in later, then to my mom, and last to Jess. I asked Jess if she could come to me to do the casting since I didn’t want to be driving across the city after my water had broken, and she happily agreed. After all of this excitement settled down, we realized that dinner had been burning! That’s what happens when your labour starts at dinner time I guess.
The regular Braxton Hicks contractions that I had been having for weeks quickly turned into real contractions. They were about 6-8 minutes apart while Jess was doing my belly cast and felt very mild. Having my torso plastered in early labour was very relaxing! The sculpture is still being worked on, and when finished, it will be up in our new space at 3 Munro Street – come check it out!
By 10pm we finally got Caimen to bed and my contractions were about the same; 6-8 minutes apart, mild and low down in my uterus. I was thinking that things would pick up quickly, but I took my own advice that I give doula clients, and went to bed since it was my bedtime. Thankfully, my contractions slowed down to every 18-20 minutes as soon as I lay down. They were slightly more intense, but I was able to physically rest in between. I laboured like this all night, getting up three times to pee and every time I was up and moving, my contractions were back to 6 minutes apart. After not much sleep at 5:30am, I texted Natasha and Bianca (who had been waiting with phones in hand for me to call!) to let them know that I was going to wait until the sun came up to get up. “Good plan!” they said! However, about 10 minutes later, the intensity of my contractions picked up and I texted them back saying “Screw that – I’m getting up and I need one of you here now”.
Ken and I got up and as he filled the birth tub, I walked around. It felt good to be upright and moving. These positions sped things up though, and my contractions were anywhere between 5-9 minutes apart and about 60 seconds long. They were more intense now and I had had a bit of bloody show, which was great as it meant things were changing! Ken took this picture of me as my last belly pic.
Bianca arrived around 6:45am and helped Ken get everything else set up. Ken made us breakfast and I called the midwives again once things intensified around 8:30am. By then, my contractions were consistently 4-5 minutes apart and lasting close to 90 seconds. My midwives decided that they’d better head over soon since it was my second baby and my first birth was so fast. Caimen woke up and we got him comfortable with a movie to watch; we decided to keep him home from school that day and be a part of the birth. My mom was on-call for him in case he wasn’t enjoying the experience or if he was bugging me, but I really wanted his first experience with birth to be a positive one, especially since he didn’t have any preconceived thoughts about it yet.
My midwives arrived all together (primary, secondary and student) at 9:30am and quickly got set up. You can see some of their stuff set up in the picture below by Carrie Duncan, Four Bees Photography.
I was actively labouring by this time, and really enjoyed standing and leaning against Ken while Bianca squeezed my hips during a contraction. I was getting a lot of intensity in my back and upper legs for the second half of the contractions and so I was also wearing a TENS machine. It was AWESOME. Ken and Bianca were also massaging my legs between contractions as I was getting a weird sciatica-like sensation (not pleasant). I was continually moving and changing positions; it’ what felt right. I laboured standing up leaning on Ken, I leaned on the wall, I was on the toilet, then on the exercise ball, walking between contractions and then having one wherever I was at that moment.
Part of my birth plan (I realize I never ended up posting my birth plan blog before the birth so here is a link to my actual birth plan posted separately) was to limit the number of vaginal exams; I had my first and only exam at 10:30am and I was 6cm dilated and 90% effaced – YIPPEE! That was wonderful news to me as it was further along than I had anticipated. I was still coping really well and while things were intense, I was still feeling great.
Then I felt like I wanted to get into the birth pool – I all of a sudden had a craving for warm water and was anxious to get in. We filled it with salt water for extra buoyancy! I got in the tub around 10:45am and the water felt amazing – it was nice and warm and there was less pressure on my hips and back. Caimen got into his bathing suit and jumped in with me! He liked the warm water and liked being near me as well – he was holding my hand through contractions and even making birth sounds with me! He was like my third doula
By that time, Natasha arrived and I opened one eye to see who was coming through the door. My mom arrived shortly after that and it was nice to be surrounded by such an amazing support team (Midwives, Ken, two awesome doulas, Caimen, and my mom).
I wasn’t in the tub long before I started to feel the urge to push. My contractions were 3 minutes apart, 90 seconds long, and super intense! With Caimen, I had a severe tear and lots of stitches and healing so my MAIN goal for this birth was to have a slow and controlled pushing stage. I succeeded, as I took twice as long to push Coral out than I did Caimen! I breathed through contractions and my pushing urge, trying to ‘blow it away’ and not push harder than I needed to. Natasha and Bianca were reminding me how to breathe and what to relax and it was SO helpful. They kept me focused and motivated and Ken was right there beside me holding my hand which made me feel calm and safe. Caimen was out of the tub by this time, but still watching the whole thing with a front row centre seat – check out this picture of his face as Coral is on her way out! He still follows “Congrats on being a big brother” with “I saw her come out!”. He was completely fascinated with the whole process and I am so impressed by how he was. It was definitely the right decision for us to have him there.
Once her head was crowning I reached down and kept my hand on her head the whole time; I could feel that my pushing urges and breathing were bringing her closer and it also kept me focused. Her head was born and it felt like right away that I felt the urge to push again and when I did, at 11:54am, her whole body came out into my hands and I pulled her up onto my chest. RELIEF! There is no greater feeling of instant relief than having a baby go from inside to outside your body. I just kept saying “Oh, that feels better!”.
It was between 4-5 minutes of relishing in the fact that I wasn’t in labour any more and my baby was in my arms before I was ready to find out what she was. No one had seen if she was a boy or a girl yet and so finally I lifted her leg up for Ken to see. It felt like the longest time ever while I waiting to hear him say ‘boy’ or ‘girl’. He said “I can’t see!” which drew it out even more, haha. I lifted her leg more and he finally said “It’s a girl!” and the whole room ERUPTED in celebration. My eyes are actually teary now just writing it and remembering that moment.
I got out of the tub with her still attached to me and lay on the couch where the umbilical cord pulsed for 18 minutes before stopping! I delivered my placenta half an hour after Coral was born, and Jess (who is also our placenta encapsulation lady) said it was the thickest and most dense placenta she had ever seen. Go me! I also had no tearing or damage to my perineum thanks to the super controlled pushing stage. Go me again!
The next couple of hours were wonderful; I will briefly describe them here, but then I will let the incredible photos taken by Carrie Duncan at Four Bees Photography tell the rest. I spent a lot of time skin to skin with Coral, breastfed her, she spent time skin to skin with Ken, had her newborn exam, Caimen held her, and then we snuggled down into bed for our first family nap (minus Caimen who was out with my mom for lunch).
The pictures below are very special to me as Carrie was able to catch the first moments of our family being complete; she did so without being noticed, and took such tasteful pictures in such an immodest setting, I will forever be truly grateful.
Heather & Ken Jones – Birth Plan for Number Two!
People attending the birth (*potentially)
- Ken: partner
- *Caimen: son
- *Beverly: Heather’s mom (there for Caimen or to take him away if he/I want)
- Natasha Marchand: doula (Bianca Sprague is my secondary doula)
- Christie Kavaratzis: primary midwife
- Jennifer Gardiner: secondary midwife
- Jae Steele: student midwife
- *Carrie Duncan: birth photographer
We are planning a home water birth :) In general, our goal is to have the most natural birth possible, limiting all unnecessary interventions.
We will be filling the tub with salt water.
I am comfortable going ‘post dates’, and strongly wish to avoid an induction even after 42 weeks unless there is strong medical reason(s) to induce.
If an induction is medically necessary, I wish to start with the most natural means possible (homeopathics, stretch and sweep, etc.) and only progressing to more invasive strategies if necessary.
I wish to limit the number of vaginal exams to one upon arrival of the midwives, and only after that if I feel it is necessary, there is a medical reason, or until I feel the urge to push.
I would like to push instinctively and slowly to avoid a pushing stage that is too quick for my body to adapt and stretch to.
I would love to catch my own baby! If everything is going smoothly and I am comfortable at the time, I want to guide my baby out without assistance.
I wish to keep the baby attached to the umbilical cord until the placenta is delivered (if the cord is long enough), then Ken would like to cut the umbilical cord.
Ken will announce the sex of the baby
I would like to deliver the placenta naturally avoiding cord traction and active management. I am open to uterine massage and breastfeeding/skin to skin/nipple stimulation as techniques to encourage the placenta to be delivered.
I do not want a pitocin injection to aid with the delivery of the placenta.
I am keeping my placenta for encapsulation.
I would like to do skin to skin with the baby right away for as long as possible. The vitamin K injection can be done while the baby is on me when we have had some time to settle down and connect.
I do not want erythromycin for my baby.
If my birth is taking a turn away from my birth plan, I would like time to discuss options with my whole team (midwives, Ken, Natasha).
If I end up in the hospital for an induction/epidural/cesarean, I wish for my whole team to remain with me (not have to leave the room) and not be asked to leave.
Cravings this week:
- Wendy’s frosty!
- water (does this count?)
I’ll start this week with an update from my last appointment like I said I would. I saw my secondary midwife, who is equally as wonderful as my primary, and we broached the due date subject right off the bat. She said that they have chatted about what they think makes the most sense, and wanted to run it by me. They are comfortable with keeping the October 7th EDD instead of changing it to September 26th – Yippee! I like my October due date That being said, we will play things by ear and depending on when I go into labour, they will take both dates into consideration if it is either really early or really late. By doing that, it gives me a 6.5-week window of opportunity to have this baby and it be considered ‘normal’ or ‘term’. That’s huge! My goal now is to put ANY date out of my head (like I usually try to do and advise any expecting parent to do anyway) and answer the “When are you due?” question with “after Caimen starts school”. It’s vague, and it might not be the answer people are looking for (because people want exact due dates to know precisely when your baby will be coming… ) but right now it’s a more accurate prediction compared to one date or another.
Everything is right on track and super healthy; baby’s heart rate was 140 bpm and my blood pressure was 106/60 (which is low but normal for me). My measurement was 31 cm, which is slightly above average but I always measured big with Caimen too so that doesn’t surprise me. I asked about which position the baby is in (if they could tell, as sometimes those babies are sneaky!) and she said it seems to already be head-down! At the time, she was facing my left side, but that changes almost daily.
My next appointment is this Thursday already! Both of my midwives are on vacation so I am seeing another one, who is not on my file this time around, but who was my secondary last time and was at Caimen’s birth! It will be nice to see her again.
So I’ve been feeling weird about ‘time’, and I know that in itself is a weird thing to say, so let me explain. It was made inherently clear to me last Friday that time goes on no matter what. I am a procrastinator, and try not to worry or think about things that I’m not looking forward to until they are here; I like to live in the moment and focus on what is going on now. A few Fridays ago, I was on the Global Morning Show (check it out here!), and if you are Ken or a few of my close friends or family, you know that I was absolutely green with nerves and feeling anxious the entire week leading up to it. I had no desire to be on TV! Wednesday was the worst day, but I kept saying, it’s ok, tomorrow is Thursday so I can worry about it then. Well then something happened: I woke up on Thursday (after pretty much NO sleep and nightmares about the show) feeling unexpectedly BETTER about it! The day went on, and I knew the clock was counting down but I think I just accepted the fact that Friday morning was coming no matter what I did. There was actually nothing I could do to stop it, or slow it down. Friday morning came and it went really well – it was really fun and although I was SO relieved to have it over with, I can honestly say I would happily do it again.
Reminiscing about my nerves leading up to the show, how it came and went, and inevitably happened whether I liked it or not, got me thinking about the time left in this pregnancy, and how again, like it or not, this baby is coming on a certain date and there is nothing I can do to speed it up or slow it down.
A few of you have heard me express that I’m ‘in denial’ about how far along I am. Take this to mean what you want, but to me, it means many things, both good and bad. Here is my top ten list (in no particular order) of what I am ready for and what I’m not ready for regarding what is going to happen after Caimen starts school
What I’m NOT ready for:
The pregnancy to be over! I know I have 2ish (BIG emphasis on ‘ish’) months left, but July flew by with me thinking it was June the whole time and I know the fall will be here before I know it.
My belly to be gone. I love having a big round belly; how it feels, how it looks, and what’s inside is pretty darn cool too!
No more kicks and squirms. This is definitely one of my favourite things and even though it happens multiple times a day, it’s always cool. The super creepy phantom kicks afterwards just aren’t the same.
The end of the loving belly rubs I get from Ken, Caimen and my fam/friends.
Even less sleep at night (if you remember from a previous blog post of mine, I am a crappy sleeper as-is).
The demands of a newborn and how frequent they are! Caimen is frequently demanding, but in very different ways; ways that I have gotten used to and I am in the 4-year-old zone, so I think having to switch back (and forth) to newborn will be a challenge.
The fact that this baby could be a lot more demanding than Caimen was as a baby. He was incredibly easy (ate well, slept well, was and still is easy-going) and I might be a bit spoiled. What if this baby is super high-needs?
Less time for Ken and I together – we like our evenings after Caimen goes to sleep, and the new baby won’t be in any sort of bedtime routine for a loooooong time.
The fact that this baby might be a boy! No boys names picked – nothing even appeals to us!
Explosive poops, up and out the armholes. How does that even happen?!
What I AM ready for:
Breastfeeding. It’s such a special and rewarding relationship.
Seeing Caimen as the wonderful big brother I know he is going to be.
Seeing Ken as a new dad for the second time around as he is really excited to enjoy the ‘raisen baby stage’ as he calls it (newborn stage) much more this time.
Sleeping baby on my chest.
To meet this little one and see who she is! I am excited to see if there is any resemblance to Caimen and what genetic combination nature has come up with this time around.
Baby snuggles, soft baby skin, and the amazing newborn smell.
Watching another Being that Ken and I have created grow, learn and develop; it has been one of my favourite things about having and staying home with Caimen and I’m ready to watch it all again.
A drink! I would love to enjoy a nice cold beer or cider in our backyard while the weather is warm.
Bending over comfortably without feeling like I’m crushing my baby’s head.
Our family growing
There’s only so much you can do to prepare for a new baby joining your family, no matter what number it is. So much of it is abstract until they are actually here. I am going to do my best to enjoy the rest of my pregnancy, look forward to what’s to come, and prepare myself mentally for the inevitable addition who is just around the corner.
At bebo mia, our mission is to support the modern family. In this new blog series, we are featuring some of the modern families we have had the privilege of calling clients and friends. Here is Nadia’s story of her journey to solo parenthood by choice.
I recently found an old cigar box from my childhood. Inside were dozens of little paper dolls that I had drawn and carefully cut out, their bodies smudged and worn from hours of play. Most of them were children, but there were also mothers with big long skirts and curly hair, and fathers sporting moustaches, (inspiration courtesy of my parents). I showed them to a friend of mine. She pulled at the pile of paper arms and legs and unloosed a mama doll, who Pompeii-like, still held in her carefully folded paper arms a baby.
I had always assumed that I would have a traditional family. My husband and I would have children and our home would be full of a good kind of noise. There’d be the sound of activity in the kitchen, feet on the stairs, voices calling, laughter, debate, and affection.
I can’t remember when the notion of ‘Plan B’ first emerged, but it was early. All along I knew that come hell or high water I’d have children. I’d adopt them if I couldn’t have them myself. I’d do everything short of kidnapping a child to have one. And yes, sure, I’d have them on my own if I didn’t meet the right man. But that was just in theory. Surely my story of love followed by family would work out.
But years passed and it didn’t work out. There was one profound relationship and many shorter, more frivolous ones. There were great dates and those filed into ‘entertaining stories for friends’ or, more desperately, ‘isn’t all life fodder for writing?’ Surrounding friends grew into long-term relationships or got married, babies arrived, my age hurried upward, and it still didn’t work out. Or at least not in the way I expected it to.
I was in my mid-thirties and at my mother’s farm when I decided that Plan B – having children on my own — might be a real possibility. I walked out of the house, a bit heavy hearted, and told my mother, who was bent over her flowerbeds, pulling weeds out. She stood up, her face flushed from bending and opened her arms up wide to embrace me. It was as if I had succeeded in something very fine.
“Hopefully it won’t happen,” I reminded her anxiously, her arms still around me, “I’m just saying that I’ll do it on my own, if I have to. In a few years.” A few minutes later we moved, still talking, away from the farmhouse where we had a clear view of the pond.
“Look!” my mother whispered, as though in congratulation. “It’s a sign.” A deer – a rare enough sight on our property to be a delight — stood there, alert.
I had avoided telling my father as I was sure he would disapprove, and I didn’t want to defend a path that had at times been painful to forge. I decided to say nothing until it was necessary, though unbeknownst to me, the rest of my family had filled him in. Driving me to the airport at the end of a visit, he told me that he knew about my plan and that he wanted me to know that supported me and understood that motherhood was an important part of who I was. As he spoke, he took a ramp to the wrong terminal.
”Don’t worry about meeting someone later on,” he added, as we looped around and looked for signs for my terminal. “This will bring out the best in you, and the right person will see that.” Finally he pulled up in front of my airline and he said warmly,
“You’ll end up where you want to be, even if it’s not the way you expected to get there.”
I briefly considered whether my father had become sort of Zen master, illustrating his point through his roundabout drive to the terminal. But no. It was simply the roundabout way of the world, and a reassurance that truly, we sometimes stumble our way to where we want to be. And have unexpected support along the way.
Occasionally when divulging my intentions to have a baby on my own I received odd reactions, such as that from someone my own age, and a mother to boot. When I told this acquaintance of my plan, she asked without any irony, “Why don’t you just get a dog?”
But by and large, the people in my life have been incredibly supportive of my decision. Not just my parents and two brothers, but my friends also have rallied through all phases of this strange and wonderful experience. They have encouraged me in the first place to take this step, have looked at the donor profiles with me, come to appointments with me, joined me for meetings with my Bebo Mia doulas, attended hypnobirthing classes with me, attempted to set me up while eight months pregnant (no thanks), been there for the baby’s birth, brought me food after the baby was born, and joined me for early dinners out with the baby. I am grateful that where romantic love is lacking, platonic love is in abundance.
As my decision to be a single mum by choice began to solidify, I read books and skulked around on forums. There was no one in my life who had taken this step, and although I received a couple of phone numbers of friends’ friends who had, I never contacted them. I remember a list of questions that a book posed. Do you want to have a baby even on your worst days? The answer was always yes. Have you sufficiently grieved the more traditional family you might have hoped you’d have? That was less clear.
And so I found myself, in the year of my self-imposed deadline (thirty-eight), perusing online sperm bank catalogues one minute and then checking in to my OK Cupid account the next. I narrowed in on preferred donors, and at the same time, met someone online and fell in love again. I enjoyed the clamour and excitement of a new relationship, and when it ended, I got serious about getting pregnant.
I was at a movie with my recent ex when I found out I was pregnant. Suspicion mounting, I had purchased a pregnancy kit on the sly just after dinner and used it in the movie theatre’s washroom. I said nothing to him when I returned to my seat and the theatre darkened, hiding my jubilation. I went back to his place that night, savouring my elation in silence, and awoke with the most delicious, amazing secret I’ve ever held. The grief of a traditional relationship slipped away that evening. When it rears it head it is very brief, and I remember that the story is not yet finished.
The processing of having a child on my own involved many decisions and practical steps. Yet when I look back it seems inevitable; everything about the process seems organic and seamless, as though it was something that happened to me. The path took me, rather than I took it. I have also since met a number of single mums by choice. They are interesting, attractive women who, like me, wanted a baby with all their hearts but had not met the right person with whom to share parenthood. What might be deemed clinical or unnatural to some could not be more normal to me now.
One evening in my third trimester, my cousin and three close friends held a party to celebrate my pregnancy. Friends (including my Bebo Mia doulas) and family gathered for a few toasts. They packed into a large hallway, spilling up the staircase. I raised a glass to everyone for being the kind of people to make me feel confident and supported in having a baby on my own. I looked around at the people clustered in the hall. It is not the life I expected as a little girl. It’s not the nuclear family that I expected. But it’s irrefutably our home, full of people of different ages and personalities and diverse lives and influences, full of debates and kindnesses and love, and it’s travelling with this tiny family wherever we go.
It’s hard to believe that it has been almost a year now since our 2012 Maternal Support Practitioner (MSP) trainees started their journey through our program, and what a wonderful ride it’s been! Lots of in-class learning, story telling, laughs, goose bumps, ‘Aha! moments’, as well as many babies born and cared for with the support of our newest students.
There are several doula training programs all over the country but our trainees chose the bebo mia Maternal Support Practitioner program because it is markedly different than the the rest. Other programs are largely self-study with a list of things to complete within a 2 to 4-year time frame. In-class learning consists of a weekend course, which often leaves doulas-to-be feeling overwhelmed and without enough knowledge or experience to go out on their own working with real clients. Statistically, only approximately 10% of people who take a weekend training course actually pursue a career as either a birth or postpartum doula!
The bebo mia MSP program is a much more comprehensive, hands-on, support-filled program which covers a wider range of topics outside of ‘normal birth’, and has many more in-class hours. The program begins with classes one evening a week for 13 weeks covering topics such as: Fertility (issues, etiquette, tests and treatments), Nutrition for fertility, pregnancy, and parenting, Anatomy and Physiology of Pregnancy, Stages and Phases of Labour, Monitoring and Interventions, Comfort Measures, Massage, Special Circumstances in Pregnancy, Sleep and Sleep Programs, Attachment Parenting, Multiples, Mental Wellness, Newborn Care and the Postpartum Plan, Client Care, and Life as a Doula (to name a few!). Each week is taught by professionals in the field, through lecture, demonstrations, and activities within an open, safe and FUN learning environment.
Through the MSP program, we are teaching all aspects of support – so it only makes sense that we support our trainees throughout the education component as well as through their fieldwork! bebo mia is a closely connected team of amazing professional women who support each other all around. Trainees are able and encouraged to seek the support of our team both with the academic learning portion of the program, and as they gain experience through client care. Here is what Natalie DiQuattro (2012 MSP trainee) has to say about her experience with the training:
“When we first started training in September 2012, I found the instructors very friendly, warm and approachable right off the bat. The in-class material was easy to follow, no questions were off the table and there were hands on/visual examples shown as well which really aided in my learning experience. As we started to support families in becoming new parents, I always felt comfortable and well supported by all bebo mia staff, as I was nervous at first. So far I have had a great experience with bebo mia; they are well organized, make great connections in the community for new parents and are passionate about what they do. I am happy I came across this training program when I did, I feel lucky to be a part of the growing team doing something I love.” – Natalie
And here is what one of Natalie’s clients had to say about her:
“Natalie is simply wonderful. I had a beautiful natural birth experience without any intervention. Natalie’s strategies to help me get through contractions were so effective that I stayed at home as long as possible and arrived at the hospital in very active labour. The doctor did not even get a chance to check for dilation before I was ready to push. Natalie arrived early at my place on the D-day. She helped to distract my toddler and keep her both busy and happy during the early and active labour stages. Natalie provided lots of reassurance throughout the process and instilled great confidence in me particularly when I felt I could no longer bear the pain. Her advice on different matters were very helpful. Before I went into labour, Natalie continually checked on me through e-mails, sms, phone calls. She was also quick in responding to any questions or concerns I had. She walked me through the birth plan so that I was clear on what I wanted ahead of time. Natalie was both professional and friendly. She got along well with my husband, daughter and hospital staff. I will highly recommend her to anyone. She was simply fantastic. Thank you. ” – Antonia
Clearly, having the combination of longer training time and a whole team of experts for support allows students to discuss, practice and explore the various program topics in greater depth. Students gain broader understanding when given time to process the information they receive which can turn understanding into confidence.
Confidence makes for better comprehension regarding the beneficial role of the Maternal Support Practitioner, working within our scope of practice, becoming a respected member of the health-care team, and ultimately to providing the best possible support to their clients.
Join us in September 2013 for our next MSP Training, do the job you love with the support and mentorship of our growing team of experts. Before you go, here is one more testimonial from our 2012 Graduating Class, Sierra Killam.
“My experience in bebo mia’s Maternal Support Practitioner program was amazing. I had the opportunity to learn from so many talented women in various fields, which really reinforced the idea that as a doula you are a resource, not a source. The weekly classes afforded plenty of time to process information from previous lessons, and have all of your questions addressed before new material was taught, fostering a sense of security in your growing knowledge base. Starting out as a new doula can be daunting, but knowing that you have a pool of seasoned experts who are only a text or phone call away is an invaluable source of support. I could not imagine taking a weekend course and calling myself a doula – I would not have had nearly as much experience or confidence as I did with bebo mia’s program. I am so glad to be a part of such a great company.” – Sierra
And what Sierra’s clients have to say about her:
“I was very impressed with Sierra’s postpartum services. I completed an evaluation for her already and also thought to drop a few lines here. She helped complete tasks I’ve been unable to perform in almost six months. As a result of that, I’m a lot more organized and it has been easier to care for Greatness. She helped organize my child’s room, spent quality time rocking my baby and putting her to sleep. She was fantastic with looking after Greatness while I rested and caught up with other tasks.” – Antonia
To learn more about our upcoming MSP Training program, contact email@example.com.
Recently, Baby & Me Fitness owner and fabulous bootcamp bellies instructor, Heather, wrote a blog about her growing baby bump…..and that bumps, bump!
This bump is caused by diastasis recti, which is the separation of the abdominal muscles at the body’s midline, often around the belly button or higher. This separation can create a bulge or doming out of the abdomen when doing activities (most noticeably when doing an ab crunch). It is a common condition and most women will have this during their pregnancy to some degree. After all, the uterus needs to go somewhere!
Baby & Me Fitness believes that once you get through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (and all that yucky sickness) you should be able to continue exercising as you had pre-bump. There are some things we would advise against though, such as exercises that put the wrong kind of strain on the abdominal muscles and the pelvic floor. At first you may feel up to doing exactly what you did before, but as your uterus grows and puts pressure ‘down there’, running and high impact exercises can attribute to muscle separation.
What can you do to avoid separation?
1. Strengthen your abs without crunches. I know you love crunches, I do too, but they push pressure on your abdominals and the pelvic floor, weakening the muscles. Try working your transverse abdominals instead by exhaling and drawing the belly button towards the spine (hug your baby). You can do this while sitting, standing or even better, hands and knees. If you are still doing crunches and don’t see a ‘bump’, that’s great, keep it up! However, most fitness professionals will agree, you should stay away from full sit-ups and any twisting motions.
2. Strengthen your pelvic floor…and GLUTES?. Everyone knows about kegals but what most people don’t know is the importance of strong glutes for good pelvic floor health. Often times our pelvic floor muscles are tight and weak, pulling the tailbone under and causing a flat bum (common in runners). We need to strengthen the glute muscles to lengthen the pelvic floor and allow for proper balance in the core. Ina May Gaskin, a very well known midwife, recommends 300 deep squats per day!
3. Have great posture. Pregnancy often causes ‘sway back’ where you allow the weight of the growing uterus to pull your lower back forward, leaving your chest to stick out to keep your balance. This creates tremendous pressure on your abdomen and can further separation. Whenever you can, think about that ‘hug your baby’ exhale and bring your belly button close to your spine, especially when lifting heavy items or getting up from a laying or sitting position. On the note of getting up from a laying position, always roll to your side before getting up to avoid that ‘crunch’ motion.
4. Find good support. If separation has happened and it’s causing you great discomfort, you can always opt for a stylish support belt (they do exist!!) for some added support. This not only supports the belly, but it also pulls the stomach back into a better position, making it easier for baby to be in the best position for birth.
It is important to know that once your baby is born, the separation does not just disappear – sorry! In fact, trying to flatten that mummy tummy too fast, too soon can actually exacerbate the problem. Start off slow with the ‘hug your baby’ exhales and when you’re ready, come join us in our postpartum classes. Our teachers are there to assess the separation and determine what exercises are safe for you!
Heather Jones has her degree in Kinesiology and is current co-owner of Baby and Me Fitness. She is expecting her second child in October.
Find an Outlet for Your Feelings
Whether you’re feeling jealous, frustrated, sad or even angry, understand that these feelings are completely normal. It’s okay to feel that way, but it’s essential that you find an outlet for your emotions. Perhaps now is the time to invest in a journal, where you can log your thoughts and vent about your feelings. After a good session of writing, take time out to relax. Yoga is a great way to calm down and meditate on something in your life that is bothering you. Join us for our next Fertility Yoga Program starting in September and learn how to use yoga to focus on the positive and handle the negative.
Don’t Let Your Menstrual Cycle Rule Your Life
Negative feelings about your body’s ability to conceive can enhance those pregnancy jealousy feelings when you are around friends who are pregnant. Identify the sources of your feelings and find ways to help yourself deal with them.
For example, obsessively tracking your cycle, basal body temperature and days until ovulation might cause you to be so busy trying to conceive that you’re not enjoying life. Ovulation typically occurs two weeks before your period, and an ovulation calendar can more accurately help you determine when your egg will be released. While it’s important to know the details of your cycle, try not to live your life according to it. Take time out to do the simple things you enjoy each day, like reading a (non-pregnancy-related) book or listening to music.
Take Care of Yourself
While you may not be pregnant yet, chances are you will be in the near future. By putting an emphasis on nutrition and eating right, you’ll be better prepared for a baby while allowing yourself to feel good on the inside right now. WomensHealth.gov recommends that women start taking prenatal vitamins while they’re trying to conceive in order to increase their intake of folic acid. In addition, the site also recommends you stop drinking alcohol and avoid smoking. Swap out your favorite junk food treats for healthy snacks, such as apples and oranges. If you are trying to increase your daily intake of fruits and veggies we love this whole food supplement.
Don’t Forget to Enjoy the Things You Love
While stress isn’t going to prevent you from getting pregnant, it certainly isn’t going to help the process. Web MD notes that stress is not a deterrent, but women who are trying to get pregnant should do their best to relax about the process. This may be easier said than done, but one way to manage your stress is to do the things that you love to do. Go out and enjoy a chick flick with your girlfriends or take a bike ride through the park. Your carefree lifestyle will be gone once baby arrives, so take advantage of this time while you can. One of our favourite books on the topic of stress and fertility is Conquering Infertility by Alice Domar.
Feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about our fertility services including fertility yoga, support groups and hypnosis!
‘Breastfeeding your toddler will lead to psychological problems later in life’ – oh great, another thing to worry about!
Don’t worry, that wasn’t a quote from Psychology Today or any other childhood study, it was just my dad.
Being a mum is one rollercoaster of a ride…… I used to love rollercoasters…now I get anxious and want to throw up at the first sign of an uphill climb! I can wholeheartedly admit that having a child is much harder than I ever anticipated- it’s a learning curve that spins into the abyss. There are moments when I feel I will never return to planet earth and then there are days when the curve ball of parenting stops spinning and things are just like in the movies….the ones where there is a newborn and a toddler and the mother looks like Charlize Theron all the time and her husband romances her with massages and candle lit dinners, where the mum and dad can have a two hour dinner in a restaurant while the baby plays with French bread sticks, oh yes and the one where the baby sleeps all night- that’s a good one!
I was well aware that there would be conflicts of opinion as to how to bring up my child- the usual, “you are holding him too much, he should be sleeping in the crib by now, you need to leave him to play by himself so he can get used to his own company, should you really be feeding him such a big slice of apple”… You get the idea. However, never did I expect that breastfeeding would be a source of intense scrutiny. Like most mothers, breastfeeding was something I felt rather strongly about, especially once my son was born and theory turned into reality.
It was hard…my goodness it was hard. The latch wasn’t quite right and as a result my nipple was cut and of course because of the constant feeding, it was never given the opportunity to heal. It bled, and scabbed and bled some more. I cried at every feeding and the profanities that came out of my mouth should have been censored! I was tenser than a bum cheek in a bikini and felt terrible that this experience was not how I had expected it to be. I was however determined not to give up- I saw a lactation consultant, I tried creams, I pumped and spoon fed my baby (this was an experience!) and I had several meltdowns where I thought I could no longer take the pain. However, after 6 weeks, all the discomfort suddenly disappeared, and now 2 years on, I am still breastfeeding.
So… this is where the interesting part comes in. It was my sons 2nd birthday and I was Skyping with my Dad. As my son started pulling at my top, my father looked into the screen with a look of complete disgrace and said, “ARE YOU STILL BREASTFEEDING?” I rolled my eyes and said “Yes Dad”. Here is the communication that followed, via email:
‘Following our Skype, and the fact that you told me you were still breastfeeding Oliver gave me a bit of a shock as I have never heard of this being carried out so long before. I took some advice on this and what I got was that it may affect his long term development and could create some later physiological problems by you being over protective with him. So please think about it!
Love to all
It took me a few days, but here was my response:
Thank you for your email, and for your concern about Oliver, he is a lucky boy to have such a caring grandfather in his life.
I am intrigued to hear who gave you this advice? Please share.
Anyway, I have learned a lot, through trial and error (hopefully none of these decisions have delayed emotional consequences on my darling child!), through making emotional connections with other mothers and also through working with a pregnancy company – where the women have spent their entire lives studying, learning and being a part of pre and post natal care.
Now I did not at all think that I would be breastfeeding for this long…it just kind of happened, the nights when he would wake up constantly to feed, those were the times when I was counting the days til I stopped, however when his smiling face met mine every morning- I forgot about the nights and well I never stopped breastfeeding.
Unlike when he was 4 weeks old, I don’t sit around all day breastfeeding; he only feeds 2x a day, for a few minutes. Now, rather than this being his main source of food (come on, he is 2 years old and I’m not a cow!) this is a close connection that Oliver and I share in private. It’s comforting, it’s caring, it’s a few moments of quiet from the chaos outside, and well….. it just feels right.
Now I know you are a man of facts so rather than bombard you with emotional blurb, I am going to give you the hard facts… the ones you may not be so aware of- the benefits of breastfeeding are undeniable:
1- When breastfeeding, a transfer takes place, where the toddler’s saliva is absorbed by the mother, the mother’s immune system creates antibodies and at the next feeding sends updated antibodies back to the child (think antivirus software updates).
2- It has been well shown that children in nursery school who are still breastfeeding have far fewer and less severe infections than the children who are not breastfeeding. The mother therefore loses less work time if she continues breastfeeding her baby once she is back at her paid work.
3- With all the information we have at our finger tips we can be overwhelmed. However, not all of this information is from a reliable source, therefore as you know it is vitally important to be sure that this comes from a ‘trusted’ source. Therefore, some research I would like to highlight are from two very trusted sources, The World Health Organisation, that recommends 2 years + for breastfeeding: “Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond”.
They also highlight the long -term benefits of breastfeeding: “Beyond the immediate benefits for children, breastfeeding contributes to a lifetime of good health. Adults who were breastfed as babies often have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol, as well as lower rates of overweight, obesity and type-2 diabetes. There is evidence that people who were breastfed perform better in intelligence tests “.
You highlighted independence and this is a quote from the Jack Newman Clinic that I think you will appreciate:
“So you believe that breastfeeding makes the toddler dependent? Don’t believe it. The child who breastfeeds until he weans himself (usually from 2 to 4 years), is usually more independent, and, perhaps, more importantly, more secure in his independence. He has received comfort and security from the breast, until he is ready to make the step himself to stop. And when a child makes that step himself, he knows he has achieved something, he knows he has moved ahead. It is a milestone in his life of which he is proud”.
Often we push children to become ‘independent’ too quickly, to sleep alone too soon, to wean from the breast too soon, to do without their parents too soon, to do everything too soon. What it so wrong with enjoying every moment of a time which will itself pass too soon. Don’t push; the child will become independent soon enough. What’s the rush? Before you know it they will ask you to drop them off at the bottom of the street when they go to a party, because your car is too embarrassing.
Dr. Newman continues, “If a need is met, it goes away. If a need is unmet (such as the need to breastfeed and be close to his mother), it remains a need well into childhood and even the teenage years.”
I believe that we cut our children off from breastfeeding prematurely because society says it is inappropriate to do it past a year, or because we are going back to work and don’t think we can continue doing it, or because if enough people tell you something is ‘weird’ or ‘different’ well then we stop doing it.
I absolutely agree that parents need to allow children to be independent- however each child is different and what works for one child may not work for another. I do not believe that cutting Oliver off from what he enjoys, from what benefits him, and from what comforts him is a way to foster independence. When the time is right and with gentle encouragement it will happen naturally.
You always told me- “would you jump off a cliff if s/he did?” Well the same goes with breastfeeding in my mind; just because one person jumped off the breastfeeding cliff doesn’t mean that I will (cheesy analogy I know!).
Hope that’s enough reading for you Dad! Love you,
Ingrid Prince is a mother to her 2 year old son Oliver and one of bebo mia’s fabulous HypnoBirthing instructors.
Cravings for this week:
- peaches and nectarines
- coconut water
- cashew butter
- looks like my sweet tooth is starting to come back!..
Now, I’m not normally one to complain; I remember my my mom was with me at one of my postnatal midwife appointments after Caimen was born and asked if I had any more complaints to tell my midwife and before I could say no, my midwife said “Heather never complains about anything! She didn’t the whole pregnancy!”. Well that was then, and this is now.
In general, I am feeling great, in my second trimester ‘paradise’, and have expressed before how much I LOVE being pregnant. However, baby #2 seems to be taking a larger toll on my body and this blog is all about me bitching about it
My pelvis is my number one complaint. Both SI (sacroiliac) joints are well under the influence (of relaxin that is) and are making my muscles around them work extra hard. When I do something with bad form, or spend too much time sitting or bend over too many times, I get what feels like an electric shock right at the joint while my muscle spasms. I have had to alter the way I get up out of bed, which makes me look like I’m ninety years old. Seriously, Caimen actually laughed at me the other morning because of how ridiculous I looked. I can no longer sit up out of bed; I have to roll to my right side (left doesn’t work as the muscles in my right glute have to work differently and cause a spasm), push myself with my arms up to my hands and knees, crawl backwards slowly to the edge of my bed, and then perform a proper squat with perfect form to stand up.
My abdominal muscles are becoming farther and farther apart as each day passes, which means I am feeling weaker and weaker in my core. The connective tissue between my rectus abdominus bulges out in a really disgusting way when I use my abs. I was demonstrating an exercise to one of my personal training clients the other week and she said “Oh my God I can see the outline of your baby! It’s really long!” It wasn’t my baby, it was my abs separating. See creepy pic below! I was out for dinner with some friends the other night and they were asking about how I am feeling so I brought this up and showed them. Then I made them touch it. One friend said “Oh my God, why did you make us do that?”. It’s super squishy where it bulges out and I thought it was pretty funny. Especially during dinner. Don’t worry though, it is perfectly normal and I am being careful with my abs. I know what exercises are safe (or not) during pregnancy and I practice what I teach. The truth is though, sometimes it just happens and that’s ok!
I’m just going to say it – constipation sucks. It’s really shitty – actually, I WISH it was really shitty; it’s unfortunately the opposite, not shitty at all.
I could go on, but my final complaint for this post is that my heartburn is starting. This was the one biggest complaint I had with Caimen’s pregnancy, but it was pretty much my only complaint. I have only had it a few nights here and there, but I am not looking forward to it getting worse and me always being uncomfortable, tasting the awful taste in my mouth, and having to get up in the night to have some milk or bite of bread or something just to ease the acidic feeling.
I think part of what I need to do now is just slow down and actually be pregnant. This pregnancy came at a time when my life actually became the busiest its ever been! Literally, I became partner of bebo mia, we purchased Baby and Me Fitness and then I peed on the stick three days later. My business partners know all about my perfect timing I have been continuing physically at full-speed ahead and am still bopping around like I used to pre-pregnancy – I really think I just need to remind myself that I’m ALSO growing another human being, and to move and be mindful of doing so.
Heather Jones is bebo mia’s Director of Pregnancy and is expecting her second child in October.
Cravings this week:
- guacamole with lots of cilantro (see recipe below – just had to share, its THAT good!)
- mango salad; the thai/brazillian kind with cilantro
I am half-way along and I can’t believe it! I already wrote a post about this pregnancy going by to fast, so I will only say it one more time – SLOW DOWN!
On another note, I had my 18-20 week ultrasound last week. Fun times! We didn’t have the dating one so this was my first one of this pregnancy, and most likely my last unless something comes up indicating it would be beneficial for me to have another one. I was still slightly nervous that there were twins in there (only based on an irrational fear, not because they run in the family or anything) but there aren’t – just one babe ; one BIG babe.
By one big babe, I mean there might as WELL be two in there, that’s how big this baby is measuring. Before I get into how thing went, I want to say that one of my pet peeves is what I call the ‘Big Baby Scare’ that (I would say most) women get at some point, usually towards the end of their pregnancy. It can come from stranger’s comments, “Wow you must be ready to pop!” or “Are you sure there aren’t twins in there?”, but most commonly it comes from the estimates women are given from care provider’s measurements or measurements done during an ultrasound. Women hear that they are (may) be having a big baby, and get terrified. I always tell my clients about this ‘Big Baby Scare’ and not to be worried for the following reasons:
- no one can tell how big your baby is from the outside
- big bellies don’t always equal big babies; most of what a big belly is, is how the woman is carrying
- ultrasound has a large margin of error; plus or minus TWO POUNDS! That 9 pounder you were told you have could actually be perfectly average, OR it could be a mammoth, and in that case, good luck. Haha just kidding, read on…
- big babies aren’t all cranium (which is the hardest and scariest part to push out); they are mainly chubby babies and chub is squishy. A very scientific point.
- big babies can be long babies! Again, the extra weight isn’t all in the circumference of the baby’s head.
- big babies sleep and eat better, so if you DO have one, celebrate!
Its actually one of my goals to grow a nice big baby, so I’m not concerned or scared about the estimated size I was given at my ultrasound. I’m more so curious about how correct it may or may not be, and if it is correct, how it may affect my due date/delivering early/going postdate. Here’s the scoop:
My due date is October 7th, based on the first day of my last period. My cycle was SUPER regular and I have no doubt about when it started as I had been tracking for about a year and it was marked down. I went for the ultrasound last Wednesday, putting me at 19 weeks and 2 days. Multiple sources have told me that a 19-week-old baby in utero should weigh approximately 8.5 ounces. According to all of the measurements taken at the ultrasound, my baby looks to be consistent with 21 weeks and 2 day measurements, and comes in at (an estimated) 14 ounces. So, either my due date is off and I am two weeks ahead of where I thought (think) I am, OR I may have a mammoth of a child. Two weeks ahead means that I actually got pregnant when I was on my period, which I know is possible, however I don’t think that its what happened. I think I just have a good-sized, healthy baby in there!
Again, this is not a scary thing for me, but I wonder how accurate things are (there is more variability in the size of babies the further along you get in your pregnancy), and because they are so ‘off’ will I be recommended to have another ultrasound in X amount of time to double-check. I feel like keeping my original October 7th EDD. I like it. But what if the date IS off and I am now 22 instead of 20 weeks along? That due date would be September 23rd; I had Caimen 5 days early, so just doing some quick math here, if I have this baby a week (or more) before the new due date, on September 16th or earlier and have kept my original EDD, it would be considered premature labour and I wouldn’t be able to deliver at home. That would make me one UNhappy camper. If I change the EDD and go with the earlier one, then what happens if I go postdate and then the threat of an induction is looming? Unhappy camping once again.
Two weeks is a huge difference and I’m not sure what to do, to be honest. The good thing is, I have another midwife appointment this week on Thursday and will talk about it then. I will ask what they think about the estimate and about changing the date and all the possible scenarios that go with. I’m interested to see what they say!
Stay tuned for the update, check out my guacamole recipe below, and from now on I will be using the nickname ‘Mammoth’ for this baby (girl).
- 5 ripe avacados
- 1 tomato chopped
- ¼ red or sweet onion finely chopped
- BIG handful of fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 mango chopped (optional)
- 1 fresh jalapeño seeded and finely chopped (optional)
- juice of 2-3 limes
- salt and pepper to taste
Smash it up and enjoy! I like it chunky with organic blue corn chips
A few years ago, a friend introduced us to Kristine and we loved her right away. She immediately signed up for our Maternal Health Worker Program with hopes to help new parents with the challenges of parenthood. A lot has changed for Kristine since then. She had a newborn of her own, got married and came up against her own challenge, one she never expected. In 2010, at only 6 months old, her daughter Evie was diagnosed with a brain tumour. We are hoping you will help support her family by reading her story and supporting ‘Team Evie’ at this year’s Meagan’s Walk.
I remember the day I went for my 20 week ultrasound like it was yesterday. Like many expectant mothers these days, I really wanted to find out if we were going to have a boy or a girl. It seemed wildly important to have this piece of information…as soon as possible. I thought that once I knew, I would be better prepared for the baby. I could set up the nursery according to gender, I could eliminate half the names floating through my head, and I could more importantly tell our friends and family so they could also prepare….and buy the right coloured cute things babies need. You can probably already tell, I’m a bit of a Type A. I like to be organized, I love making lists (they usually have handmade check boxes beside them), and I love schedules….these things just make sense to me. So despite really embracing the miracle that is pregnancy, and fully trusting the process of baby growing, I kind of figured, well, this is something we can easily find out….so why not? In fact, I really needed this knowledge to ensure I had it all figured out. I thought that knowing the gender, I would be prepared for parenting my baby. And soon enough, a sea of pink flew throughout my house.
Throughout my pregnancy I felt great …I really did. It helped that I had a very uncomplicated pregnancy, classified by one of my midwives as “boringly normal – which we like”. I seemed to float through week after week with ease, gaining modestly, eating and sleeping well and feeling great. At 40 weeks and five days, I went into labour, and within a few hours my daughter had arrived. Evelyn was born at home, surrounded by family and midwives on a beautiful spring day in April 2010. The labour and delivery had gone smoothly, and she was a perfectly respectable 7lbs 1oz and 21.5 inches long.
Over the next six months I watched my little baby grow…shamelessly in awe of everything about her. I couldn’t get over how perfect she was, her tiny little feet, her big blue eyes and her reddish blond hair. I quickly fell into the groove of mothering a newborn, had diapers and nursing down pat. My Ergo was my best friend in the daytime for housework, and I could easily fold my stroller one handed. I watched my daughter meet milestones, and recorded them diligently in her baby book. I wasn’t perfect, but I did feel like I had it figured out. It all felt so natural, and I remember thinking on more than one occasion how lucky I was to have such a perfect family, and such a great life. That’s how things felt – perfect.
When they first told me “We found something”, my initial thought was – great. I mean, we had been in the ER at SickKids for over 12 hours…..they had been running tests and not telling us anything all day….wasn’t the whole point to find something? I guess I didn’t really understand the magnitude, but honestly, how could I? This was not in the plan, I was not prepared for this, and this was not supposed to happen. As much as we fear the worst, in the moment that the worst is happening, I think we are all so blindly naïve. Perhaps it’s a subconscious defense mechanism we all have, some kind of self preservation. I never imagined that “something” meant tumour, or cancer. Yet there it was. Evelyn was diagnosed with a hypothalamic optic glioma – a Brain Tumour. It was October 29, 2010 and Evelyn was 6 ½ months old.
That diagnosis – brain tumour – changed everything. In the course of a week, Evie had her first hospital visit, her first surgery, and her first dose of chemotherapy. We walked the halls of the hospital a little like zombies as a parade of Oncologists, Surgeons, Therapists, Social Workers, Nurses and other specialists took turns “informing” us on our daughter. We were learning a lot, a lot about someone we thought we knew everything about. Though we didn’t quite realize it, we were also being thrust into a whole new world.
It’s funny how something can be so devastating, and life changing, and horrific….and then over time become almost normal. Evelyn turned 3 two weeks ago. She is still receiving chemotherapy, and in the past two and a half years since her diagnosis, she has also had 3 surgeries, 11 MRI’s, 4 CT’s and dozens of appointments with the five departments that follow her at SickKids. That world we found ourselves in has also grown, not only to include another medical team at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Centre, but a support system of families we have met along the way, as well as many wonderful organizations who are dedicated to helping us, and our children.
It took me a while, but once I was ready to become involved in the community I had found myself in, I was shocked by a lot of what I learned. Brain tumours are more common than you think, and they were popping up all around me. It’s like once I became aware, I noticed, my eyes were opened. So that’s what I want to do – I want to open your eyes. This kind of thing, cancer, brain tumours, they happen…all the time. Brain tumours are the leading cause of cancer-related death in young people (under 20). On top of that, there are over 120 different kinds of brain tumours. They key to making treatment effective is research, and lucky for us, The Hospital for Sick Children is home to the only Brain Tumour Research Centre in all of Canada.
Meagan’s Walk is an annual event that supports Pediatric Brain Tumour Research and SickKids. It was created by a mother who lost her five year old daughter to a fatal brain tumour. Their goal is simple: to create public awareness about Pediatric Brain Tumours, and to raise money to assist in further research. How do they do it? With hugs. Every year, participants gather together for a 5km walk – the destination? SickKids. Together we stand, hand in hand, forming a giant hug…a circle of hope around the hospital. It’s a pretty powerful message to everyone inside, and it’s a pretty awesome thing to be a part of. Meagan’s Walk is doing it too….to date, they’ve raised 2.7 million dollars for Pediatric Brain Tumour Research, and the walk is getting bigger every year. The great thing about Meagan’s Walk is that not only are they doing such great work for such a great cause, but they are truly there for the families they are working to support. They are in touch, they are friendly, they are welcoming, and they are ready and willing to help us. They are an amazing group of volunteers. They are worth knowing about. They are worth talking about. They, and the kids they are helping, are worth supporting.
Paul, Kristine, Isabelle & Evie
To support Team Evie click here.
To learn more click here.
I am a little confused here. Perhaps I am not the feminist I thought I was, perhaps my choice of words are actually causing the segregation and discrimination of strong women everywhere. Maybe you, my amazing community of friends and family, can help me out?
The other day I tweeted this picture of one of my favourite woman doing what she does best: multitasking.
Yup, that is April from lil bean & green having 2 phone conversations at one time, while little kids run around EVERYWHERE! I posted this:
April from @lilbeanandgreen hard at work. 2 phone convos at once!! A little look into the life of a mompreneur!!!
Seemed pretty innocent, but soon I was being accused of discrimination and being disrespectful to April’s business abilities. I assure you this was not my purpose; in fact, I was trying to show the twittersphere how awesome she is!
So, has MOMpreneur really become that bad a word? Eek….Well don’t I have egg on my face? Here I was walking around using that word with such pride and conviction, when all along was I belittling myself and my fellow women?
To be quite honest, I think that Moms (or Dads) who run businesses while raising children are just so freakin’ cool that they actually deserve their own word. I mean, being an entrepreneur is cool, but add parenting to it and BAM…..you add a whole new level of ‘challenging’ that I would have never believed possible before I had my daughter.
I totally get what our fellow twitterer (is that right?) was saying. We should use the term entrepreneur across the board to promote equality, but I can’t help but disagree. Mom or Dadpreneurs are not equal, not even close, and the term Mompreneur is only disrespectful or discriminatory if you believe the term “Mom” is of little to no value.
The truth is, the Mompreneurs I know are amazing, hardworking, multitasking superheros who should be proud to embody the word. I know I am, and if you too want to use this title, I have compiled a list to let you know if you fit the mold:
1. Before business meetings, you stock up on goldfish crackers (or Amy’s organic bunnies)
2. Your most productive work hours are 12:00am – 2:00am
3. You often go to meetings with food/puke/poop/snot on your shoulder
4. Most of the business professionals in your life have seen your boobs (or at least parts of them)
5. Your children believe your business partner’s children are their siblings
6. Your children believe your cell phone is their sibling
7. Your staff meetings are fully stocked with crayons, crafts, modelling clay and Lego
8. You make grown up business associates in fancy suits conduct meetings at lil bean and green or a play centre of any kind
9. The term ‘hands free’ is no longer in reference to time spent on your bluetooth. It means get child care fast, something big is going down (or something needs to get done in a reasonable time frame, not the typical work while chasin’ a toddler time frame)
10. You do not get a lunch break
If you have anything to add to this list, let me know! On the flip side, if you have reason to believe I am completely out of line by using this word, let me know. There is nothing wrong with a little healthy disagreement
Cravings this week: not as many and mostly healthy!
- baba ghanouj
- ataulfo mango
So it’s taken me a while to write this post. I’ve been blaming my crazy calendar and that I have been busier in April than I have ever been in my life, however I think part of it has to do with the fact that this is a hard post to write. It’s hard because it digs down deep into my own feelings about having multiple children, and because some of the things that I feel and will be writing may come across as offensive or insensitive to people in my life. In my last post, I promised that the next one I wrote would be on the ‘pressure to have #2’, so here it is.
***Before I start, I should note that I am extremely excited about this pregnancy and baby #2; it was planned for a long time with lots of looking forward to it. In this post I am writing in present-tense about how I have felt in the past leading up to this baby and being ready for it – please do not confuse my past feelings with my current feelings towards the situation.
I am one of four (the second middle child – probably the worst position, so bad it doesn’t even have a syndrome) and we are all pretty spaced out with almost 15 years between the oldest and youngest. I wanted a big family, lots of kids, close(ish) in age; I pictured the (seemingly global) average of 2-2.5 years between my kids, and around 3-4 of them. Do you know that means getting pregnant again while your youngest is only 15 months old?! That sentence didn’t mean anything to me until I had Caimen. Now, it’s meaning is astronomical.
I’m not going to lie – having Caimen was/is hard! Ken and I went through our roughest times as a couple during his first two to three years. The issues weren’t always the same, in fact they were ever-changing. We had wonderful highs among the lows, but we definitely had our socks rocked!
I started to feel the pressure to have #2 when Caimen was around a year old – the time when it would be appropriate to start thinking about #2 if the kids were indeed going to be 2 years apart. Now this was mainly internal pressure; my family never asked when we were going to have another one, and usually family pressure is the worst for having kids. I had the odd friend who would bring it up but it never bothered me as they were close friends and I value being candid with them. I have had many strangers ask me “So when is the second one coming along?”, or say “Oh he’s two? Best to have them close together!” (insinuating that I should get on it. Literally.) These comments from strangers really bugged me. I felt like saying “You don’t know me! Who the F are you asking about my personal life, pretty much inquiring as to when me and my husband will be having sex? What if we have been trying to get pregnant and are experiencing fertility issues that I’m very sensitive about? What if we don’t WANT more than one child?!”
I know my reaction and what I WANTED to say to so many strangers may seem over the top, but I think it’s because I was fighting my internal pressures to have/not to have number two. They looked like this:
- I definitely want more than one child
- I don’t want them too far apart
- I am really enjoying just having Caimen right now – he is awesome!
- I am not ready for another baby
- I am not ready for a toddler AND a baby
- Why am I not ready? I don’t know.
This last question is what I’ve had the most trouble with over the past few years. How do so many people have babies close in age (by choice!), and I, who have loved pregnancy and babies since I was a kid myself and have dreamed of a big family, am not ready? It’s not even the choice whether or not to have #2, although Ken and I did do a fair bit of discussing it. My problem (with myself) is why am I not ready when other people are? I knew I wanted another baby eventually, but when would that be?
Then everyone around me started having their second. I remember being at playgroup one morning when Caimen was about 16 months old. I was with three other friends and we all had toddlers the same age (within 3 months of each other). The kids were playing and we were standing in a circle of four, talking. I was the only one NOT pregnant. I wasn’t even listening to what we were talking about. All I could think were the following thoughts:
- why are these mothers ready and I am not?
- am I a bad mom for not wanting another one right now?
- are they better mothers than I am?
- what am I doing wrong?
Now I know this is silly! I am a very confident person so this is especially silly for me! That didn’t change the fact that these thoughts were consuming me and coming up over and over again; every time I heard of another person pregnant with their second before me, I had awful feelings!
This is the part of the post that is going to sound offensive or insensitive to some people – my apologies in advance and it’s nothing personal to anyone in my life!
I would actually get upset (more so at myself) when I would see yet another ultrasound picture on Facebook. As happy as I was for the family, and I truly was, I was sad and angry about the situation in general; the situation being that their kids will be closer in age than mine. I had a couple of people in my life that had kids the same age as Caimen and weren’t onto their seconds yet and I mentally hung onto them like they were on the same page as me, and that made me really happy. *Insensitive warning! I was very disappointed when I found out that one of them HAD been trying for over a year without luck. The other one had experienced a miscarriage over a year ago and was trying for a while before that as well. I almost couldn’t be empathetic for their experiences (and I normally am very sensitive to issues like this) because now the thought going through my mind was “Great. They actually WERE ready before me”. Awful and ridiculous, I know.
I could go on and on about the different times I have felt like this over the years, but I am going to change pace now to finally being ready and getting pregnant, and the irony that came out of it. Ken and I decided we would be ready for #2 around the time that Caimen starts school – we made this decision a full year before we would start trying so we had a year to digest it, talk it over, and look forward to it. Making this decision lightened my internal pressure a little bit, thank goodness!
The irony that arose is that AS SOON as I got pregnant, so many of the people in my life with two kids already (mostly close in age) did the math figuring out that Caimen will be 4.5 and in school and said things to me like “Your timing is perfect!”, “It will be so much easier having your second when Caimen is in school. I had such a hard time!”, “You guys are smart for waiting!”. Um, HELLO?! Where was all of this positive feedback while I was tormenting myself for years? I actually ran into an old friend last week and was introduced to his two young daughters (3.5 and 16 months or so). He congratulated me on my pregnancy, asked how old Caimen is, and then said “I wish we would have spaced them out a little more”.
These new comments I am hearing now and the fact that we ARE ready and are currently on our way to number two makes me feel really good about ‘waiting’. We are doing what is right for our family and although I struggled with what I knew was right for us but felt wrong, I am glad we listened to ourselves. We are delighted about having another little one and Caimen being a big brother (he is over the moon!). It took us a while to get here, but I’m sure glad we’re here now.
We were honoured when Heather approached us through our blog and asked about sharing her story. After reading what she had endured as a new mother, we of course wanted to share her story in hopes that you are as inspired as we were! Thank you, Heather, for sharing your story and we wish you the best!
When my seven year old daughter is asked about my battle with cancer, her reply is always, “I saved my mommy.” The statement is so natural to her that it sounds as if she’s simply saying that she’s hungry. People don’t usually take her words seriously, nor do they realize how true they are.
Our marriage was seven years old before my husband Cameron and I considered children. At 35, I had my concerns about pregnancy and childbirth due to my age. I didn’t know how long it might take, but a mere three months after we began trying, it was official. A baby was on the way! Naturally, I was pleased, surprised and a little anxious at the same time. I was finally going to be a mommy! When I think back on how quickly I took to my new role, sometimes it’s funny. I constantly rubbed my tummy and felt thrilled with the idea that a sweet little life was developing inside of me. Countless questions whirled in my head. I wondered what kind of parent I’d be. Would I be fun, cool or strict? More than anything, I wanted to be a good parent.
Although I my pregnancy was surprisingly easy and something I could have done several times over, things got bumpy during the birth. My daughter, Lily, was in the breech position and I had to have an emergency caesarian delivery. At the time, I joked about how she would have a nice, round head. I always like to maintain a positive, upbeat attitude. The feelings that coursed through me as I finally held my daughter amazed me.
Immediately, I was determined to do whatever was necessary to give her all of the joy, security and love that she deserved. I wanted to help her to become all that I knew she would be capable of, to help her learn, to be her coach and to provide her with this incredible love that I had never felt until then. As soon as I held her, nothing else was important and my existence was centered around her. I wanted to spend forever holding her, to memorize her little face, to burn her scent into my mind and to safeguard her against all of the bad things in the world. In that single moment, everything seemed so incredibly perfect that I never could have dreamt of the nightmare that was looming on the horizon.
A little over three months following Lily’s birth, I received the life-altering news that I had malignant pleural mesothelioma. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the doctor said that unless I got started with treatments as quickly as possible, I wouldn’t live more than 15 more months. I thank the Lord for my husband’s presence during that fateful news. I was in a state of shock and all I could think of was my daughter and husband and how I couldn’t bear to leave them to suffer without me. While I was thinking of these things, my husband listened to the doctor’s information and considered the different options for treatment.
Without hesitating, he opted for the most aggressive course of treatment. As it just so happened, the best course of treatment was located in Boston. This put me under the care of one of the world’s foremost experts in mesothelioma. The procedure required me to have my entire left lung removed as well as my diaphragm and pericardium. I spent 18 days in the hospital’s recovery ward and an additional two weeks in a Boston outpatient center. After that, I spent two months with my parents, who had been caring for Lily this whole time, in South Dakota. Finally, I went back home to Minnesota to receive radiation and chemo.
Like all mothers would do, I sacrificed what I had to so that I could be around for my daughter many years down the road. In this case, that meant that I couldn’t be there when Lily turned six months old. It was an extremely difficult thing to do to be separated from my newborn daughter for an entire month, but it was the fact that she needed me that imbued me with the strength to fight my disease and the risky surgery and treatments that would follow.
When I think back on my battle with mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer that has a 95 percent fatality rate, I understand now that it took being a new mother to give me the hope and strength to push forward. The knowledge that my precious little girl would need her mommy throughout her entire life was what gave me the will to get through each day. Therefore, when my dear Lily tells everyone that she saved her mommy’s life, she couldn’t possibly be more right.
Remember this post where Adriana at UmlaPhoto captured the “day in the life” of bebo mia’s Becky during the last few weeks of her pregnancy? Well, at midnight on April 1st, little Gavin arrived and we are finally sharing his “Fresh 48″ photos! Here’s a little piece of his story from Becky, and the amazing photos from UmlaPhoto:
It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was writing my first post for the UmlaPhoto blog on my Journey to Motherhood…and now I’m here! Having a newborn who loves nothing more than to eat (and eat, and eat, and eat…) ALL DAY LONG has made for some one-handed typing to finally document his birth story, but here we are. I have written Gavin’s birth story in much more detail on my personal blog, but here is a little about Gavin’s arrival, along with our lovely newborn photos.
We had a busy Easter weekend scheduled, full of plans for family dinners all outside of the city. Feeling fine, we stuck with our plans and enjoyed a fabulous time (and fantastic food!) with our families. Until EARLY Easter Sunday morning… It was 2:00am when I felt the first little cramp. Thinking nothing of it, I tried to go back to sleep, until another came along a few minutes later, followed by another yet a few minutes later. After “timing” for a while, realizing the cramps were consistently about 4 minutes apart, I decided to wake up my husband. We both decided it would be better to hit the road for the 2 hour drive back to Toronto then, instead of waiting to see if things intensified, which would make for an even more uncomfortable drive. My mom decided to come with us and we made the long and VERY uncomfortable drive back to the city. My surges weren’t super intense, but definitely enough to make us know that this was the real deal. Once we arrived at our condo, we called Emilee our doula, I put on my Hypnobirthing CD and tried to get some rest. Emilee arrived and was there for the LONG haul! Things had slowed down a bit, so we tried doing some stairs, and I spent a lot of time rolling on an exercise ball or stretching on my hands and knees. We waited for things to speed up, but were in for a long 18 hours of early labour.
Finally, by that evening, I was starting to really feel tired and wondered how much longer I would be able to continue with things at that pace. When my surges were finally getting stronger and were 4 minutes apart again, we called our fantastic midwife Sara and she arrived to check me. I was 6cm at this point, and things were getting more intense by the minute. It seemed that as soon as I hit the active labour stage, things took off! Only about an hour later, I was 8-9 cm and my surges were a lot longer and closer together. Finally, 40 minutes before Gavin was born, my water broke, and with it came the strongest surges yet. I was told to try not to push as I still had one cervical lip left to dilate. Nice try! Once my water had broken, my body was pushing whether I wanted it to or not, and the surges were so intense it was all I could do to get through one before the next one hit in full force.
My midwives were consistent with checking baby’s heart rate and everything was going well until after my water broke. At one check, his heart rate was extremely low and it seemed to go up and down from there. They decided to call EMS for backup and Sara told me we couldn’t wait to fully dilate, I had to push past that last lip and get baby out as fast as possible. Hearing those words was terrifying, especially since I knew this was the opposite of our plan. We had just gone over pushing with Sara, and how we all wanted to do it as naturally and gently as possible, breathing baby down with her direction so there was no tearing. I knew things were serious when all of this went out the window and Sara told me to pull my knees back, chin to chest, hold my breath and push as hard as I could for as long as I could to get the baby out NOW. What felt like FOREVER turned out to only be half an hour of very intense pushing. At one point, Sara had me on a birth stool on the bed and I was so exhausted I was seeing spots and thought for sure I was about to pass out. Luckily they gave me some IV fluids which I’m sure gave me just enough to keep going. I finally believed he was actually coming out when I heard my husband say he saw lots of dark hair. And then, within a matter of seconds, our baby was born, cord cut and he was taken down to the floor where he was given oxygen. After asking repeatedly if baby was okay, my midwives encouraged me that he was responding well, and I asked if it was a boy or girl, and heard the wonderful words, “it’s a boy!”. Having felt it was a boy all along, I didn’t even have much of a reaction, I just thought, of course he’s a boy! Sara kept asking for the time of birth, and I remember so clearly hearing one of the paramedics say, “ït’s 12:00 exactly”. Of course. Our little April Fool’s Baby
One of the most upsetting parts about the whole experience was the fact that I wasn’t able to have any skin to skin time with Gavin right away, or really even see him. He was whisked away so quickly but I was thankful he was receiving the help he needed. I was able to finally hold my baby boy four hours later at the hospital, and was given the go ahead to try feeding him at 15 hours old. He latched like a champ and hasn’t stopped eating since! We are so thankful for our supportive team, and I’d like to especially thank our doula, Emilee. I shouldn’t say this, but at one point we were really considering whether or not we really needed a doula. I laugh at the thought now. Having Emilee there through my 22 hours of labour was incredible. She was there every minute to offer support, guidance, relief for my husband and encouraging words throughout the scariest moments. Along with having midwives that you like and trust, my biggest advice to expecting parents is HIRE A DOULA!
Since we had a short hospital stay for tests and observation, I asked Adriana if we could wait until we were back home for Gavin’s “Fresh 48″ photos. So 48 hours after being home, Adriana arrived to get the photos of our little man where he was born, at home. We could not be happier with the photos, capturing how completely in love we are with our son. Thank you, Adriana! Make sure you check the UmlaPhoto blog for an amazing photo collage comparing the similar poses of our maternity and newborn photos!
For those of you who hadn’t figured it out from the thousands of posts, tweets, and pins, we were invited by the awesome people of EcoParent Magazine to celebrate the bebo mia acquisition and launch the new and improved Baby & Me Fitness (check out the new site) with a party. There were cupcakes, swag, UmlaPhoto showed up to take photos, and YES, we did manage to demonstrate all of the Baby & Me Fitness classes (pre AND postnatal) in under 3 minutes as challenged. Friends, family, old and new clients came out to support us……that also felt awesome!
So what was the EcoParent Village? It was a special little place in the Green Living Show created especially for expecting and new families. A great place for eco-conscious parents to shop green & local while their kiddies play with wooden toys (really cool wooden toys!). I guess you could think of the EcoParent Village as the love child of the Baby Time Show and the One of a Kind show!
I really just want to say how much we enjoyed this trade show and I hope the EcoParent Village eventually rivals the Baby Time Show as ‘the place to be’ when you are shopping around for baby gear. We made tons of friends at the show and because one of our favorite things to do is build community, I’m going to spend the rest of this blog post doing some serious name dropping!
I do have to say our party turned out really well, but there was another company also making their big debut. Green Moms Collective launched on the Saturday night and had a great turn out. Don’t know who the Green Moms Collective is? We didn’t either, but think Mommy Connections with a green twist! It promises to be a great resource for education and community for our green living families. Look at how she wrapped her swag bags..so green (and clever):
Our neighbour at the show was Dream Child Organic Bedding. I totally fell in love with her Scooter Duvet cover and I will be purchasing one as soon as my ‘way too big for our bed’ toddler decides to sleep in her own bed. Not only does she make awesome stuff but she knew a ton about why we should be choosing eco-friendly alternatives for our children’s bedding.
A big highlight of the show was the demonstrations and play areas set up by the Toronto Waldorf School. My daughter spent at least 45 mins each day on their wooden rocking horse and managed to sit still through a felting demonstration (do you know how epic that is? I’ve never seen her sit still!). Perhaps we have a future Waldorf student in our home!
One of the coolest things in the EcoParent Village was Root Beer smelling laundry detergent. Actually, those cute little Laundry Tarts had many flavours and products to clean your clothing at just 15 cents a load….SOLD!
The Laundry Tarts shared a booth with Monkey Doodlez, one of our favourite brands of swim diapers (on the off chance you were looking for some really awesome swim diapers for the upcoming summer season!). People ask me almost daily what swim diapers to use in the Baby & Me Aquababies class and I always say Monkey Doodlez!
Of course evymama had a beautiful breastfeeding lounge for nursing mamas. You can always count on them to support you as you feed your little ones. I tried feeding my toddler in the lounge but she didn’t approve of the mannequins. I ended up feeding her at our booth with 1/2 my shirt over my head wishing I was wearing a beautiful (discreet) breastfeeding dress from their store.
Last but not least was a wonderful woman we plan to have as a regular guest blogger. Her company, Counting Butterflies, works to create and enhance strong bonds between parents and children with a special focus on children who have difficulty regulating emotions as well as many other challenges. We like to think bebo mia works to create these bonds in the early stages (pregnancy, birth & 1st year) and we are so happy to have someone to recommend to families as their children grow.
Overall we had a great time at the show and hope to see you there next year!!
Cravings this week:
- bean salad (my stepmom, B’s, home made recipe)
- orange juice
- cottage cheese
- still on the mustard train
A client of ours recently described time as melting away, and I couldn’t agree more. I was 13 weeks on Monday this week, which means I’m entering into the second trimester. WHAAA?! You mean I am 1/3 of the way through this pregnancy already? SLOW DOWN PLEASE! I have been looking forward to being pregnant again for so long – what seems like forever actually – that it can’t go by too fast. It just can’t. Since I can remember, I have wanted to be pregnant – like I’m talking since I was a child (my parents were worried about me at one point or another). My pregnancy with Caimen was so wonderful that I literally couldn’t wait to do it again! The BABY part on the other hand is why our kids will be 4.5 years apart; although I was ready to be pregnant again soon after he was born, I wasn’t ready for the baby at the end of it. Until now :) *** Stay tuned for my next post on the pressure to have #2!!
Now that it’s here, it’s almost over! Ok, a little exaggeration there, but it’s still going way too fast for me already. I LOVE having a big belly. I LOVE feeling a baby move inside me. I LOVE treating my body well and nourishing life with healthy choices and lifestyle. I LOVE not ever being hungover!!! ;P I feel like I could do it every day (and would if my last name was Duggar) although the reality is that Ken and I are probably only having two kids. Ken is reading over my shoulder and telling me to remove the word ‘probably’, but I am keeping it because although I am planning on and will feel set with two, accidents happen, lol. I am confident that surrogacy is in my future, but that is a whole other long post that I will get into later!
To change topics, I had a midwife appointment today – yay! They always make me so happy. Going to the midwife clinic for me is like a treat; something I look forward to in my calendar. Both my primary and secondary midwives were off-call this week so I saw a midwife who is not on my current team, but who was my secondary with Caimen and was present at his birth. It was really nice to catch up with her and reminisce about ‘last time’ and how the last 4 years have been. I heard the heartbeat for the first time which was fun (I declined the first ultrasound as it is mainly for dating purposes and my cycle was so regular that we are going with and trusting the EDD based on the first day of my last period). You can hear it in the video as my midwife finds it, then listens to the placenta, and back to the baby. I wanted to record it for Ken and Caimen to hear as I went to the appointment alone, and then thought it would be cool to share in my blog as well!
Everything is right on track and my next appointment is in another 4 weeks. I am really hoping that it doesn’t fly by and I am able to enjoy and make time for this part of my pregnancy every day. Currently, I try to make it a routine of talking to this baby (girl) when I’m in the shower. I feel stupid, but I do it and always feel good after. I’ve seen three beautiful and healthy babies born in the last week and its really pumping up my maternal hormones. Soon one of those squishy things will be mine! Just not too soon I hope
Heather Jones is bebo mia’s Director of Pregnancy and is expecting her second child in October.
We’re following up with Becky’s “Journey to Motherhood” project with UmlaPhoto. Head over to the Umla blog to read the beginning of the story. Here is a review of their first maternity session and the fabulous lifestyle photos of getting ready for baby!
When Adriana first approached me about a photo series, I was almost a bit hesitant. This seemed a bit too good to be true. As a photo nut, who spends way too much time on Pinterest and photography blogs looking through amazing maternity and baby photos, to have the opportunity to get these photos of ourselves and our little pea was incredible! I asked Adriana what she had in mind for a maternity photo session, like where we should go, what we should do. She made it pretty easy on us by saying that her lifestyle photography focuses on a “Day in the Life”, so we should just go about our day and do the photos in our condo! At 37 weeks pregnant, not having to leave the comfort of our own home was music to my ears, but I also wondered what we could do to make our daily routine a bit more photo-worthy. While trying to figure out dates, St. Patrick’s Day was fast approaching and with ambitions of cooking a cute, festive breakfast, we booked the session for the Sunday morning of St. Patty’s day.
Dressed in green (apparently not intentionally!), Adriana arrived as I was scrambling to get everything ready and make our “day in the life” look a little more put together. With dishes drying in the sink and breakfast supplies on the counter, I gave up and embraced the fact that if we were really going to capture our daily routine, this was it! We settled comfortably into mixing up pancakes while Adriana snapped away with her camera, chatting away the whole time making it almost unnoticeable that this was a photo shoot. At first, it was hard not to think about “posing” but Adriana’s laid back approach made us all but forget that a camera was on while pouring pancake batter into the shape of a shamrock. Of course, it had to be caught on camera that my husband’s pancake art turned out better than mine…
I had planned a few of our baby prep chores that I thought might be fun to photograph, so we ventured into baby’s room and Adriana did well to squeeze into the tiny space to capture us putting on the crib mattress pad and change pad cover. Baby’s laundry still needed to be folded, which made for some really fun photos! Some of my favourite shots are definitely the ones outside on our balcony. Though it was chilly, the sun was out and I didn’t mind the need to cuddle close to my baby daddy for warmth! When Adriana first proposed the “day in the life” idea, I said something along the lines of, “we’ll have to make things a bit more interesting than us sitting around on our laptops!” Turns out, that photo of us (and of course my bump!) with our laptops is probably one of my favourite shots of the day, because it really is typical US. It was so fun to have these photos of the two (almost three) of us in our own environment. We were definitely anxious for a first peek at the photos!
I was a little surprised when Adriana told us to find a date for her to come by our place to personally show us a slideshow proofing of our photos, as part of the full UmlaPhoto experience. This was definitely above and beyond my expectations, as I figured she’d just send along a link to our photos and that would be it! Exactly one week later, Adriana arrived with her iPad and showed off our photos which had been compiled into a stunning slideshow with integrated quotes and music. Putting music to photos completely enhances the experience and made it that much more special seeing the photos for the first time. Thinking back to how many different things she had photographed at the session, I was curious to see what ended up being the best of the best. I was really pleased that we ended up with photos of pretty much everything we had done that day, really giving a snapshot of our “day in the life”. Adriana provided us with many ways of sharing the photos with our friends and family, and I can’t wait to show them off!
Stay tuned….soon enough we’ll be ready for photos of our little pea outside of the belly!
‘Cravings’ this week:
- greek pasta salad
- beaners and wieners (if you know what this is, I love you 10X more)
- hard-boiled eggs
- lots of mustard on any sandwich
- homemade balsamic vinaigrette with lots of vinegar and lemon
I have started to feel a bit better this past week or so! I have been able to enjoy my healthy foods again, and feel a lot better all around because of it. The evening nausea is starting later into the day, and isn’t as intense which is a huge relief, and also right on track for how far along I am. My fingers are crossed that it will be totally gone as I transition into second trimester over the next couple of weeks.
The disappearance of the nausea isn’t the only thing I am crossing my fingers about though… Ok, I’m just going to say it. I am hardcore rooting for a girl! My son Caimen tends to refer to the baby as his sister most of the time, and deep down inside of me, I hope that his creepy kid sense that many kids have is right this time around. I know you’re not supposed to say this, but I will be a little disappointed if its another boy. Sorry, disappointed is a strong word; I will be devastated.
Now that I’ve made jokes about it, don’t take me too seriously! I am definitely hoping for a daughter, however a brother for Caimen would be just as loved. He would just have to get used to the name Coral and wearing dresses – that doesn’t mess kids up, right?
Our plan is to not find out this baby’s sex at the 20-week ultrasound. We found out with Caimen and it was exciting and we went right out and bought a bunch of baby boy clothes! We enjoyed finding out halfway through with him because we felt it better prepared us as first time parents, we were able to name him for sure, and bond with him a bit earlier on by visualizing our future, etc.
As a doula, having attended many births since my experience with Caimen, I have really enjoyed the moment when the baby’s sex is called out right after birth to a family who didn’t know what they were having (other than a baby). A while ago, I decided that I would like to keep #2 a surprise, and now here we are! For me, there are a few reasons for this decision:
- to experience both finding out and not finding out
- we don’t need to be as prepared this time around as whoever it is can wear lots of Caimen’s old clothes
- to avoid too many pink, blue, or gender-stereotypical gifts
- I am really looking forward to Ken being the one to call out either ‘girl!’ or ‘girl!’….
- I will be less ‘disappointed’ finding out it’s a boy with my baby on my chest instead of with 20 weeks to go and all the time in the world to stew about it
As I think you may have gotten the hint by now, I am going to wrap up with a few things. First, going forward with these blogs, I believe in the power of positive thinking and will be referring to my baby as ‘she’ and ‘her’ even though we are not finding out, and won’t truly know until I give birth. Second, I love my son more than anything and wouldn’t change anything about him for the world.
Those of you who know me well know that I am somewhat of a health nut in some people’s eyes. I love eating healthy, love the taste of healthy foods and how they make me feel. I’m a runner, I love weight training and exercise in general; if it’s active, count me in!
These last few weeks of my pregnancy have had me living in someone else’s shoes – someone who doesn’t like vegetables and has a highly processed, high sodium, carbohydrate diet. The whiter the food, the better! I have been pretty nauseous starting around lunchtime, and it gets progressively worse into the evening and nighttime. I can tell that I’m hungry, but can’t decide what I want. All I know is that salty, savoury foods are where it’s at for me right now. I want salt and vinegar chips, olives and grilled cheese! Ken came home one night last week and I was eating salt and vinegar chips right before dinner. It was such an odd sight for him to see that he called his grandma and they had a good laugh about me, the health nut, ruining my dinner with potato chips.
Even though my diet is crap for the time being, my activity level has been consistent and being active actually helps me to feel better! It gives me something to focus on which distracts me from the nausea, and increases my appetite so that I am able to get some good food into my system.
I haven’t been running, which I miss, especially now that the weather is warming up slightly and the sun is shining more brightly. Since my knee injury back in the fall, I have come a long way in my recovery but still not quite enough to go for a long run. During my pregnancy with Caimen, I ran very regularly all the way up until I was 6 months pregnant, and only stopped because my round ligaments were starting to feel the strain of my bouncing belly with each step.
I am still enjoying my circuit training that I do at home and with my personal training clients. I also teach a prenatal bootcamp with Baby & Me Fitness on Monday nights which is great because I get a good workout in myself. I really enjoy having something big, a challenge or event, to look forward to as well. In the past year and a half, I have run two half marathons, a 10km race, and I did Tough Mudder in August 2012 which was my favourite event so far. I was planning on doing it again this summer, but I can’t now that I’m pregnant! Something tells me that army crawling in mud and rocks under barbed wire, ice bath dunks, hauling logs up ski hills and electric shock obstacles plus more (all spread out over 17km of running) isn’t the best thing for my baby
I do, however, have something to look forward to that will be an appropriate challenge while pregnant. I am doing the CN Tower climb on April 27th and am really excited about it! I have done it twice before so I know how intense it will be and will be able to go at the pace my current body can do. I am doing it with bebo mia as we are creating a really fun team of parents and parents-to-be! Check out this link to learn more and join me if you can!
To wrap up, I am really looking forward to feeling more back to normal – hopefully the nausea and food aversions disappear when I hit the second trimester! Until then, keep your fingers crossed for me and stay tuned!
When we posed a question about Hypnobirthing on our Facebook wall, we were met with quite a positive response from those who used this technique during their births. Our friend Adriana, of UmlaPhoto, was eager to share her experience with you. No two birth stories are ever alike, and we love hearing and sharing the unique experiences our clients and friends have had. Here is Adriana’s story of her daughter’s Hypnobirth.
“When I was pregnant with my daughter Hannah back in 2008, I was determined not to have an epidural. And I have to admit that my desire was driven by nothing more than an extreme fear of a big, giant, needle being jabbed into my spine. That fear was only magnified by hearing various horror stories, including sticking the needle into the wrong spot in the back, temporary paralysis, and (though pretty minor compared to the others) the effects of the drug wearing out prematurely. It was definitely not for me.
It was one thing to not want an epidural, and an entirely different thing to have a plan on how to avoid it altogether. I did not have a plan. And then I discovered Hypnobirthing. I first heard about Hypnobirthing when it was mentioned at a Yoga class that I was taking through Baby & Me Fitness at the JCC at Bloor & Spadina. It sounded intriguing and just the thing that I needed. As luck would have it, I found out that one of my prenatal fitness instructors at the time (bebo mia COO Natasha) was co-teaching a Hypnobirthing class. I signed up right away.
The classes were wonderful. What I liked most of all was the fact that the classes taught me how to keep calm. I must tell you upfront that I was NOT a happy pregnant woman. Sure, I was thrilled and grateful to be pregnant; I just didn’t like being pregnant. My pregnancy also coincided with a very stressful time in my life, so I was by no means super-calm at that time. However, once I started practicing the daily affirmations and the breathing techniques, I found that I became a much calmer person. This was definitely needed, because we were also in the midst of kitchen renovations and were living with no kitchen for three months.
I went into labor with Hannah one day before my due date. Once the contraction intervals were close enough, we made our way to the hospital. I’ll never forget the drive to the hospital. It was 2am on a warm August night. The drive to the hospital was eerily calm. There was a bit of a mist in the air, and we were one of the few cars on the road at that hour. It made for a quick drive to the hospital. The pain was intense, but I was determined to keep it at bay. I stayed in good spirits by practicing my breathing, as we’d done in class. As the pain intensified, I broke into falsetto singing during my exhalation, much to my husband’s amusement.
When we got to the hospital, the nurses had me lie on a bed so that they could check to see how dilated I was. I was also asked if I wanted an epidural. I proudly declined. I could tell by the look on the nurse’s face that she thought, “Oh, one of those.” I also suspect that she thought that I would change my mind. I was determined to prove her wrong.
While I waited, my water broke. It took me a few seconds to realize what had happened, as I had thought at first that I had peed myself. When the nurse checked me, I was only 2.5cm dilated. They couldn’t send me home, however, because my water broke AND I was GBS positive. Instead, the nurses started me on antibiotics and told me to go for a walk. I didn’t make it very far before the intense pain took over. My husband and I had debated getting the backgammon set from the car, along with the other goodies that I had packed, like playing cards, my pilates ball, and my stack of pillows. All of these lovely items were in the car, which was parked all the way on the OTHER end of the hospital, I might add. Hannah, however, had different plans for me. The pain reached a point where I could barely even talk. I have to admit that at this point, the pain was very strong. So strong that I couldn’t think straight, and my calm breathing wasn’t helping much with the pain. I remember sitting next to my husband, telling him that I didn’t think that I could make it without the epidural. And he said something to me that I’ll never forget: “I know that you can do this. You’ll never forgive yourself if you end up getting an epidural.” He was my champion. He was my strength. I needed that.
My attention soon turned to an overwhelming urge to go to the bathroom. I remember being taught in Hypnobirthing class that laboring in the bathroom was common. I also remember thinking, “Eeew!” Well, there I was, sitting on the toilet. The only place in the world that made me feel like I could manage my pain. And then came pain like I’d never felt before. Think of your worst period pain, and multiply that by 1000. From the bathroom, I cried in pain. My husband came to the door and asked if I needed help, and I said yes. Next thing I knew, a nurse was in the loo, pulling me off of the toilet and onto a bed. I was 7cm dilated, and this was barely an hour after they initially checked me.
The nurses whisked me into a room. It didn’t take long before I was fully-dilated. They asked me again if I wanted an epidural. I’d gotten this far without an epidural, and I wasn’t about to give up. Besides, I found that at that point, the pain didn’t even bother me; all of my efforts were focused on getting that baby out. The next little while was a blur to me. I remember my husband, who had originally told me that he had no intention of peeking under the hood, excitedly telling me that she was crowning.
I did try to breathe the baby down, as I was taught in class, but I ended up switching to “traditional” pushing, as the baby was not moving along originally. Next thing I knew, Hannah was out, and my abdomen just deflated like a balloon (a mighty flabby balloon, I might add). I finally met my baby.
This is by no means a “by the book” Hypnobirthing story. And this is not a Hypnobirthing failure, either. Because when you look at it, the end result was exactly what I wanted, and it was all due to Hypnobirthing. Just look at what I accomplished:
- The Hypnobirthing breathing techniques and affirmations kept me calm throughout my pregnancy
- The Hypnobirthing breathing got me through my initial labor pains
- Hypnobirthing class encouraged my husband to be my advocate/champion. And he was just that, as he encouraged me to keep at it sans epidural even when I wanted to give up
- I ended up delivering Hannah naturally
I am so glad to have found Hypnobirthing, glad to have had wonderfully supportive teachers, and most importantly, a supportive husband who helped me get through the tough times in order to ensure that I had the birthing experience I had envisioned.”
Adriana is a lifestyle photographer and owner of ÜmlaPhoto (www.umlaphoto.com). She lives in Toronto with her husband of 10 years, Ian, and her daughter Hannah, age 4. She is an avid baker, runner, and rock climber, enjoying weekend family outings to the local climbing gym. When she’s not out and about taking photos of the sweet moments around her, you can find her on her blue kick scooter traveling the streets of Toronto.
Thank you so much to Adriana for sharing your story! For more information on Hypnobirthing, check out our Pregnancy Class page or contact email@example.com with questions or to register for our next session.
While walking home with my daughter today, hurrying to get out of the winter wind, I noticed a double running stroller outside on the sidewalk in front of the local mini supermarket. Now, seeing as I live downtown Toronto, I was thinking how brave it was for someone to leave their stroller outside, since there has been a huge problem with stroller theft for the last few years. As I approached the stroller, I realized that the stroller had not one, but two sleeping toddlers in it. I slowed as I passed the supermarket, looking for a parent that may belong to the children (hoping to catch a caregiver’s eye and express my disdain for their parenting choices). However, there was just a lone clerk at the checkout counter and not another adult in sight!
It boggled my mind for the remainder of the afternoon. I posted it on my Facebook, curious to hear what other parents had to say about this risky behaviour, and I was directed to an interesting blog about stroller parking in Denmark.
Danish parents frequently leave their sleeping babies outside of restaurants and coffee shops in their prams. They feel the cold makes for better sleeps, and it allows parents hands free time. The parents try to position themselves in the shops to keep an eye on the pram. However, there is an etiquette around it, and as a patron enters the establishment, they will let parents know if there is a pram with a stirring baby, signalling for the parent to check on their little one.
This is a lovely idea in theory, but there is a safety issue in a lot of cities and towns in North America. I mean, just this week, a child in my daughter’s class was attempted to be bribed into a van with chocolate by some man with a mustache. At least a 5 year old can resist and run; these babies in strollers are just sitting ducks.
Interestingly, a Danish mom visiting the United States attempted this practice in NYC, and found herself arrested. So, assuming it is legal in the city or town you live in, what are your thoughts on stroller parking outside of business while you are inside?
Thanks to Joanna Goddard and her Cup of Jo blog with so much information and great photos about the Danish practice of stroller parking.
Bianca Sprague is bebo mia’s CEO and co-founder and the mother of 5 year old Graydon.
As the Director of Pregnancy for bebo mia, I thought it would be fitting for me to write about my pregnancy and birth. But before I get into THIS pregnancy, I want to start at the beginning……the birth of my first son.
His name is Caimen and he was born on March 6th, 2009. It’s hard to believe he will be turning 4 in less than a month! Caimen arrived in an atypical fashion for many reasons, which I will go through now. My EDD was March 11th, which puts my little man 5 days “early”.
#1) Most first babies are born after the estimated due date; the statistical average is 7-10 days postdate.
On the morning of March 5th, I got up out of bed, went into the bathroom, and as I was sitting down on the toilet, my water broke! How convenient that I was over the toilet
Like any other first time mom, I had doubts of what was actually going on – denial, not wanting to get my hopes up, who knows! So I walked around bottom-less for a while to see if it really was my water breaking (and not just pee!). I was making puddles on the floor while cleaning up other puddles, and I STILL wasn’t quite convinced it was amniotic fluid. Looking back, it seems so silly of me to have had any doubts at that time.
#2) The majority (85-95%) of labours begin with signs of early labour (cramping, loss of mucous plug, upset stomach, etc.); waters breaking (membranes rupturing) first before any of these signs only happens 5-10% of the time.
I called my midwives who said that they would be over in a few hours to make sure it was amniotic fluid, and to just go about my day as I normally would.
#3) When labour starts with a rupture of membranes, contractions typically start within a few hours.
My contractions didn’t start. Do you see the trend forming here so far? The midwives arrived in the afternoon and confirmed that yes, my water had in fact broken. They gave me some homeopathics to take to get contractions started, and some suggestions of things I could do, like going for a walk, eating a spicy lunch, nipple stimulation, etc. Ken had rushed home from work in the morning already, and we had a long day ahead of us, waiting for things to get going. What a boring day it was! We didn’t really want to go anywhere too far from home, and we found it hard distracting ourselves although we were giving it our best effort.
By the time evening rolled around, my midwives checked in on me again and talked to me about the fact that if contractions hadn’t started by the next morning (24 hours after my water broke), I would have to go to the hospital at that point for an induction. We were planning a homebirth and the LAST thing I wanted was an induced, hospital birth. I was sad and angry and worried!
Ken and I got up in the morning, and with still nothing going on, we reluctantly made our way to the hospital. My midwife hooked me up to the monitors and said Caimen was doing great and that I actually was contracting slightly, but it was so mild that I couldn’t even feel it! She checked me and I was 1cm dilated and 50% effaced which I had been for the past week, so no surprise there.
My midwife asked if I was ready to be induced, but we were still in triage. I said “Where? HERE?!”. It turned out that there were no rooms available yet and I was going to have to stay where I was in the tiny curtained-off triage bed. No thanks! Ken and I gently said that we were going to go back home, and try again to get labour started naturally. My midwife “disagreed” while nodding her head yes, and we came up with a plan that we would be back by 4pm if absolutely nothing had changed. She gave me a big stretch and sweep, and sent us on our way.
The car ride home SUCKED – I was uncomfortable from the stretch and sweep and was feeling sick. I was very glad to get home and have a light lunch. I called my friend Olivia and asked if she could drop off her breast pump for me to use to try to get my oxytocin flowing. She came right over and I swear, I had my first real contraction while she was at the door. “You don’t look too good” she said. I said goodbye to her and immediately went to lay on the couch. Something was definitely going on!
#4) Most first time mothers experience 12-24 hours of early labour characterized by mild, short, irregular contractions, followed by an average of 12 hours of active labour characterized by regular contractions which increase in intensity, duration, and frequency. The pushing stage follows active labour and takes 2 hours on average for first time moms.
My contractions started with a bang, and we started timing them right away, at 1:08pm. Within 20 minutes, they were already 2 minutes apart and 90 seconds to 2 minutes long. I was trying to follow the 4-1-1 rule my midwives had given me, but I never had it! I was freaking out – this was way too intense for early labour and I wasn’t handling it well because I thought I had a typical 12-24 hour labour ahead of me which would only get more and more intense. Ken was calling the midwives and I was crying, pacing the halls, asking him to tell them not to come here but to meet us at the hospital because I was going to need an epidural (which was SO not in my plan!). I really could have used a doula at this point to help calm me down and explain what may have been happening – I kick myself now for not knowing what a doula was at the time!
Ken did a great job of calming me down though, and the midwives arrived quickly. I was already naked at that point and Ken was filling up the birth tub. They checked me right away and I was 4-5cm and 100% effaced – holy crow! They asked me what I was at the hospital and I said 1cm, 50%. They didn’t believe me. After realizing that things were going quickly, I got into a good groove and settled right down into my labour. Once I got into the birth tub, I didn’t get out – I laboured in there with my eyes closed most of the time (see pics below) and made lots of birth sounds. I was feeling calm and confident and totally gave in to my body and the process of birth – it was incredible!
At the next exam the midwives did, I was 8cm. About a minute after the exam, my body started pushing! It was a huge surprise to the midwives and me, so I was checked again and I was fully dilated, with just a tiny anterior lip left to go (the anterior lip of a woman’s cervix is always the last part to dilate). My midwife instructed me to push past it with a little help from her fingers (ouch!) and then it was gone too! I pushed like The Hulk (literally, Ken said I have never looked so ripped and veiny in my life) and 23 minutes later at 4:38pm, Caimen was born! From my first real contractions to baby born was exactly 3.5 hours.
Atypical as it was, I wouldn’t change anything about it. It was an incredibly empowering and positive experience and as crazy as most people think I am when I say this, I can’t wait for round 2!
My sweet little angel is 31 months. For those of you who don’t want to do the math, that’s around two and a half years. Some days, these two and a half years seem to have gone by in the blink of an eye. On the “black rings under the eyes” days, they have seemed to last forever. You see, I was breastfeeding Amelia on demand all day and ALL night up until about a week ago.
Let me rewind a little and let you know that we do co-sleep and that I adore breastfeeding. In fact, when our breastfeeding relationship comes to an end, I know I will shed many a tear. For the most part, breastfeeding at night was easy. She would roll over, mumble, “Bom bom mamma” (Bom-bom being her term for the breast!), and we would have a cuddle and a feed and then drift back to sleep. In the few months prior to weaning her off the breast at night, we even had an agreement. When I would say, “Mama needs to roll over and go to sleep”, she would de-latch and roll over on her own.
I imagine this pattern could have gone on for many more months….or dare I say it…years?! However, there was something in me that thought she was READY to go a full night without feeding. There was something in me that KNEW that I was ready to sleep longer, uninterrupted stretches at a time. I also knew that at two and a half, these night feeds were a habit rather than a need.
As a Breastfeeding Consultant, I was aware of the options or paths that I could follow on my night weaning journey. I recommend Dr. Jay Gordon (http://drjaygordon.com/
As a La Leche League leader, I also knew that another approach was to literally close up shop when it was dark and open up again when it was light. I felt that Amelia was old enough to be rational about it and wanted to give her a reason as to why we wouldn’t be feeding at night – we went with this route!
I will say that I was overly ambitious in my process. I actually wrote a rhyming children’s book (just 8 pages but it’s rather cute and catchy). I added pictures of Amelia and my breastfeeding journey and had everyone read it to her and discuss the pictures and concepts so that she understood what was going to happen.
The first night that I said she could not have “bom bom” was really traumatic. I was So. Very. Close to giving in and allowing her to breastfeed. I’ve never let her cry without comforting her at the breast so it was heartbreaking for both her and I…or maybe just for me. I have a feeling she was half asleep.
The second night she protested just a little. Honest-to-goodness, by the third night she was sleeping for far longer stretches and upon waking, if it was still dark, she would ask for water and a tickle (our agreement). Now, upon waking, when the sun is just barely up, she exclaims, “It’s sunny outside….time for Bom-bom”. And I, thankful for a divine night’s sleep, reply with, “Yay!…let’s do it”.
While we were ready to night-wean, I know that we are far from ready to wean altogether. I’m thankful for more sleep and am thankful she is happy to comply. But I’m most thankful that we continue on this breastfeeding journey together…loving and learning along the way!
Taya Griffin is a Mother, Homeopath and Breastfeeding Consultant. She teaches bebo mia’s prenatal breastfeeding classes (www.bebomia.com) and has a private practice helping mothers reach their breastfeeding goals (www.tayagriffin.com).
We have compiled a list of the Top 10 Sleep Questions we receive. Sleep can be one of the biggest challenges for new parents, and our Sleep Expert, Brandie, is here to help you every step of the way. Check out her answers to parents’ most popular questions, and good luck on your personal sleep journey!
1 – I have a question and it’s probably the most frequent. When I had my twins, I was told to let them cry it out, which did work but it feels like making them do that has affected our relationship. Now I have an almost 5 month old son. I have grown a little frustrated. We do co-sleep which I love, but I want to be able to put him to bed and have some of my own time when all 3 are asleep. But he keeps waking up because I’m not there. So the big question is, how does one begin sleep training and at what age?
I do not advocate sleep training and am a believer that sleeping through the night is a developmental milestone, just like walking and talking. We do our best at setting our children up for healthy sleep habits by creating an environment conducive to sleep, and by showing them that they can trust us to answer their needs. One of the sleep facts that every parent needs to know is that babies have different “sleep personalities”. While some can sleep independently, others are higher-needs and demand to be with mom. Some can be extremely persistent and even if the parents do sleep train, it does not always work in 3 nights like the books promise. There is plenty of research that proves that our persistence to get babies to sleep independently is not natural and can cause negative effects in the attachment relationship (as you noted you experienced with your twins), and in areas of emotional and cognitive development, such as impulse control. The more persistent the personality, the more opportunity for fostering that strong character, if we respond with sensitivity. The good news is that it is never too late to foster attachment, and repair any damage you think may have been done.
You’ve indicated that you love to co-sleep, which is great! That is the way nature intended it, and there is no reason to rush him sleeping independently. If you can let go of your expectations of your 5 month old sleeping independently, and be present in this season of dependency, you will see it will come all too soon, where he is full of security and independence. I would suggest that you continue to be responsive, but look at other windows of opportunity for you to have alone time. Balance is critical so you can continue to function at a high level during the day. I would suggest working on building other attachment relationships so that your son can be put to bed by someone other than yourself. With practice, he will get more and more comfortable with these other caregivers and it will afford you some freedom. If you are open to having others feed him with a bottle, that allows you to go out at night, knowing the caregiver can feed him at his wake up(s). If you feel anxious leaving the children home at night, perhaps you can build attachment relationships with others that will allow you more freedom or ‘you time’ during the day.
So often, parents deep down would like to sleep close to their babies, just as the babies want to be with them. Society and media paint images that we feel pressured to fit into, but it is interesting to note that this fascination with independent sleep is a phenomenon unique to our small section of the world.
2 – Hi there, my 9 month old, once a good sleeper (down by 6.30-7, dream-feed then sleep thru til 5.30-6) has started waking multiple times per night, routinely around 1.30am and nearly every 2 hrs thereafter, and cries until we go in and pick him up. Usually it has to be me rather than my husband to settle him down. This is killing us and I fear it will continue when I have to go back to work. We don’t want to sleep train but are getting desperate. It is also taking a major toll on our relationship as we (mostly me) are so sleep deprived. Help!!
Anything more than 5 hours straight is considered “sleeping through the night”. So your 9 month old sleeping from 7pm-1:30am is actually completely normal for a non sleep-trained baby. Actually, there are many parents I know who have never had more than 3 hours in a row until their baby reached toddler-hood! What makes is so difficult is that he was sleeping all the way through and it has changed. Change is incredibly hard, as it is thrust upon us, making us feel out of control and afraid of things getting “worse”. 9 months is an extremely common age for sleep disturbances, because it is one of the most exciting times of development (preparing to walk). As their bodies and brains grow and their world expands, separation anxiety flares up to counter their new skills and keep them safe. I never recommend traditional sleep-training, but especially would not with a 9 month old, as this is such a sensitive time.
I always advise to never make a decision out of fear, but with LOVE top of mind – then you will never go wrong. You are probably right that when you go back to work the sleep disturbances will continue. This is normal as your son will be missing you and will have to, over time, learn that when he cannot see you, you will still be back. The answer is not to sleep-train him so he gives up all hope of you coming to him at night. My suggestions to you are to look at what temporary changes you can make to your sleeping arrangements so that you can get through this phase as healthfully as possible. Can you sleep closer to your baby or in the same room once 1:30am hits? You will still have time alone in the evening for one on one with your partner, but simply move rooms for the second half of the night. Make sure it is a comfortable place for you to sleep. I would also recommend you go to bed an hour earlier (for now). Schedule weekly dates out with your partner to foster your relationship and de-stress. I just blogged about this topic recently, you can check it out here:
3 – What can my husband and I do to help our newborn turn the corner on day/night confusion? We try to stimulate her during the day and keep things mellow at night but she still wants to be wide awake 1-5am (and mama is beat!). Related question: is there any kind of routine you recommend for newborns re:bedtime/sleep? Thank you!
The first four months are a phase of complete disorganization for baby as they learn how to be out of womb. During this time, baby is soothed by having an “external womb” created through lots of baby-wearing, white noise, and motion. You are doing the right thing by keeping the environment more active during day, and reducing light and stimulation at night. If you can sleep when baby sleeps (take lots of naps) and let go, just temporarily, of thinking that sleep has to happen in 8 consolidated hours at nighttime, you will make it through this time. During the wake up time from 1-5am, try your best to stay in the room, keep lights low and keep it boring. Baby will be less compelled to wake if the party is over. In terms of routine, one I recommend is taking a tour around your home about 90 minutes prior to bedtime, and saying “Goodnight” while you dim and turn off the lights around your house. This 90 minute window is good to ensure the body’s natural melatonin is kicking in for sleep. Then engage in quiet activities, and the last 30 minutes prior to bed have a set series of events that you keep consistent. E.g. bath, books, massage, lullabies. If she wants to go to sleep before your routine is finished, that is absolutely fine.
4 – I’d like to know when and how I can get my 4 month old to sleep through the night. Also, her naps are a mess. Lately she wakes after just 30 or 40 minutes and I can tell she isn’t well rested.
4 months is one of the toughest times in baby-rearing, mostly because all the books are telling us that they begin to sleep through the night at this age… and then we wonder what is wrong with our baby or our parenting when they don’t! Not yet sleeping through the night is completely normal at this age, so your first goal is to let go of that expectation, because unmet expectations cause you stress, and a tense energy at home makes it even harder for baby to trust sleep. At this young age, baby would probably still sleep best being worn in a carrier while you go about your day, or napping beside you in bed. If you know your baby wakes at the 30 or 40 min. mark you could try to sneak in with them and provide them with the comfort measures you used to help them to sleep so they do not completely wake up. It is common for babies to come out of one sleep cycle at this time and have difficulty entering the next, so if you are there to help them back to sleep they could stay asleep a little longer.
5 – I am in desperate need of some help! I am a first time mom and my son is 2 months old and still will not sleep anywhere but on my chest. I am really desperate. I have tried laying him down when he is just about to sleep but he wakes right up and nothing will sooth him unless you pick him up.
I remember being in your shoes exactly. What you are going through is 120% NORMAL. If more people shared that fact, rather than perpetuating this myth of solitary sleepers in cribs, we would all be a lot better off. The first four months in a baby’s life are complete chaos, as he is trying so hard to get used to this crazy world. He wants and needs that womb environment to help keep him feeling secure and to keep all the noise out. At 2 months old you just need to do whatever you can to help him sleep. Enjoy his portability, and enjoy taking him out and about in a good ergonomic carrier. He can sleep on the go! Don’t worry about making him go in the crib; most babies do not last 15 minutes in the crib when they are this little. And try to take the pressure off yourself and just enjoy a nap (or three!) with him. If you are looking for a book recommendation, I suggest “The Baby Sleep Book” by Dr. Sears.
6 – My 11 month old fights sleep. He has a terrible time relaxing into sleep. Baths do not help. Baby massages do not help but instead agitate. Quiet walks don’t help. He’s obviously tired and will start to fall asleep as he nurses but as soon as he realizes he’s falling asleep he stiffens and barrel rolls and cries. He falls asleep on the boob but it takes about 45-60 mins, every 15-20 mins he will fall asleep and stiffen. About 2 times a week he will fall asleep peacefully and easily. We are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and eat plenty of greens and fruits and veggies. He falls asleep fairly easily during walks but it’s not always convenient to walk him to sleep. Suggestions? I’ve never been more sick than I have these last few months and I attribute it to lack of sleep. Desperate for advice.
Great job in ensuring you are eating healthy! So many of us miss this important aspect of our lifestyle. It sounds to me like you have a more anxious sleep personality on your hands, and I have several recommendations for you to help with this:
- you will need to work at recognizing his sleepy-cues so that you catch the sleep wave before he catches his second wind.
- you did not mention what his naps look like, possibly he is napping too much or not enough. There is often a period of about a few months where naps can be volatile as baby is getting ready to walk and they get ready to drop their evening catnap. During this period before they are ready to drop their evening catnap, they often need to go to bed later, so perhaps he is not quite tired enough. I would experiment with both (3 naps and 2) and see if that helps.
- go technology-free (no computer, phone or TV) for the 90 minutes prior to bedtime. Many babies are sensitive to all the “blue light” and activity generated by these things. Keeping lighting as dim as possible during these 90 minutes can really help relax everyone.
- while you are at it, you may want to try a complete TV fast for a week!
- have your partner try putting him to bed regularly for 1-2 nights and gain additional ways of falling asleep other than nursing.
- managing your own stress through meditation is extremely important. If you are stressed during bedtime, your baby 100% feels this and will have a harder time settling.
7 – Our LO is 13 months and wakes up at least once in the middle of the night to BF. We both wake up for awhile while LO is feeding but eventually fall back asleep. How much sleep is enough when it is being interrupted?
You might be surprised to hear that the idea of consolidated sleep is a rather new concept, and segmented sleep is the historical norm. It was not until the industrial revolution that we began consolidated sleep as work schedules demanded. In fact, in most cultures around the world, families are not bothered to be woken at night, some have an hour or so talk in the middle of the night, and are of course sleeping together. Businesses also shut down for siesta in the afternoons. These more natural sleep patterns have been even argued to be more ideal than the consolidated, and helps to better regulate stress.
Humans vary in their specific needs for sleep, and this also changes when we are going through change, illness, stress, etc. (Just as it does for babies!) and so I cannot give you an answer of how many hours you need specifically, but if you feel rested and are functioning well, you are doing fine. It is as important to also be looking at diet, adequate intake of antioxidants (9-13 servings fruits and veg per day), and stress management through meditation, yoga etc.
8 – Is it ok to let your baby cry itself to sleep? Our pediatrician told us we need to let him self soothe but I feel like I’m an attachment style parent and can’t stand to do this. We co-sleep some too.
Being a parent is tough as there are countless decisions to be made and each of us must look at the pros/cons and research, and make the decision that is best with the knowledge, tools and support around them. I represent the views of Attachment Parenting, as the science behind it made the most sense to me. I am very passionately opposed to leaving a baby to cry alone.
There are two schools of thought in the medical community around babies and sleep:
Behaviourists prescribe Cry-It-Out (CIO) and modifications of that approach because it works, in that it effectively and quickly changes behaviour. When responded to less and less, a baby ceases to cry. Many parents are told that they are teaching them the “skill” of self-soothing through CIO, however we know that babies and toddlers learn through example. They learn to truly soothe themselves later in toddlerhood from being taught through comfort that sleep is a safe place to go and to remain in.
This is where Developmentalists come in, who are concerned not as much on changing behaviour quickly, but with long term optimal brain development. There is no question that babies and kids thrive when responded to day and night.
If you look at sleep training books, they will lean on the science of how sleep is necessary for brain development (baby), and lessens depression (mom). What they don’t say is that it is normal for babies to wake frequently and even beneficial for brain development as they need REM (light) sleep to help process the days learning, as well as needing to enter light sleep to regulate breathing and organ function.
When you look at science against traditional sleep training, you see brains flooded with cortisol and other data that gives real, black and white cause for pause versus anecdotal data from random moms reporting baby is so smiley now that they sleep “better”. Below is an article from Psychology Today that shares the science. When doing your research, be sure to also look at how studies were conducted – for example, a study was done to prove CIO is safe, however the measures they used to prove this included surveying the mothers to ask them about their bond with their baby. I feel that psychological observation would have been a more accurate measure. Additionally, the control group of the study was likely also sleep-training their babies, since that is common practice.
9 – I have a question for Brandie Hadfield. I breastfeed my son & he loves to be breastfed to sleep. He is 7 months old now, and I have to go back to work in 5 months. I’m really concerned about his dependency on the breastfeeding to put him to sleep, & I’m afraid whoever will care for him when I go back to work will have a difficult time getting him to sleep. I’ve tried keeping him awake at the breast, then when I think he’s done, I will take him off & pace & jiggle him a bit. He screams & hates it. I don’t want to let him CIO at all, but I’m concerned that he may do it for his other caregivers while I’m working. I will have to work nights so I need him to either a) sleep through the night (which I know isn’t realistic for a 1-year-old) or b) not need to be breastfed to get to sleep & not need it to get back to sleep should he wake up. He refuses my milk other than from my breast, he will take a sippy cup with a bit of juice or water but only a few sips. He wakes up every hour from 8-11, then he’s asleep for 3-5 hours, then he’s awake between 7-8am. We bed-share but I’m also trying to get him to sleep in his crib in our room as he’s gotten more active & kicks us at night. Should I wait a few more months & try the no-breastfeeding sleep approach again? Should I keep trying now?
I am so glad you have the perspective to understand sleeping through the night for a breastfed one year old is not realistic just yet. You are being very proactive to look at how to get your son to fall asleep different ways for when he is with care-givers. My suggestion for you is to allow someone else practice at getting him to sleep, once a week, then twice, and three nights and so on. If you have a partner at home, that would be a great option to have him or her put your son to sleep. Have some milk pumped for him in a bottle in case he gets hungry. Whoever it is, they need to have a strong attachment to him, which can be accomplished through care-giving at non-nap times until you are sure he has grown to be attached to the person. Now, when that person puts your son to sleep, it is a good idea if you can not be there. The reason is that your son will protest, and the caregiver will know that you are “an option” to settle him, so they may not give it the work truly required. Remember, even you have had tears and struggles getting him down. This is NOT the same as crying-it-out. He is in the arms of someone who loves him very much. He is safe and he is not alone.
10 – (age 6.5 months) We co-slept with our baby in bed and bassinet until 4.5 months old, then transitioned her to crib in her room. Things were going fine until about 2 weeks ago and now if we try to get her to sleep in her crib she cries hysterically. So she has been sleeping on our bed (with barriers so she wont roll off), then with us when we go to bed. She has also been waking a lot and cluster feeding at night. So needless to say this mama is not getting much rest. My husband is a shift worker so I’m finding it hard to let her cry it out as I’m trying to let him get enough sleep too during the night and day.
The Baby Sleep book has a wonderful picture of all the many seasons of sleep with a baby. It is so much more realistic than our image of baby sleeping through the night in their own crib. In reality, the best place for your baby to sleep is the place where EVERYONE sleeps best. This may be close to you for now. In terms of the cluster feeding, there is a reason for this, although he cannot tell you the reason why. Imagine our babies could talk, they might say, “Mama, there is a flu virus my body is trying to fight, so I’m going to need to nurse more tonight for the antibodies, ok?”. Or, “Mama, I am starting to crawl, and it’s exciting, but a little scary too. Would I be able to sleep with you tonight to keep me feeling safe?”.
My husband works very long hours and shift work as well, so I can tell you from personal experience it can work to still have a family bed. Be sure to install black-out shades (or pin a blanket up), use white noise, and ensure your bed is a safe place for baby. If you and your husband are not on the same page with this however, you can transition your daughter’s room into a place for you to sleep as well. Remember this is just a “season” and you will have your marital bed back before you know it! In the meantime, be diligent about carving out “couple time” and date! Even just a “couch date” when you are both tired is a nice way to ensure you have some time for adult conversation.
Here is a link for safe co-sleeping guidelines:
BONUS – Our older daughter will be 2 when the little one arrives, and I have no idea how I’m going to function after waking through the night to breastfeed and then getting up at 7 with my 2 year old. It was soooo hard last time – and I had the luxury of sleeping when the baby sleeps. How will I deal with two??
I can assure you that you will get through this crazy time, as long as you are diligent about taking care of yourself. The biggest difference between this day and age and generations before, were that we had an “attachment village”. Sisters, Aunts, Uncles etc. would be coming over to pitch in. Now we need to be more conscious to ASK for help, and/or create our own villages so that we can remain balanced. If you do not have close friends and family around to offer support, you can enlist the help of a bebo mia postpartum doula as a way to get assistance at home so that you can join your toddler for their nap, and not feel like you have a million things to do. Your doula can also play with your toddler and do light housekeeping or run errands while you nap with your newborn. You might be surprised that you adjust and are not as tired as you were the first time around.
Brandie Hadfield is bebo mia’s Sleep expert and Wellness Coach, certified through Dr. Sears. For more information on how to get a good night’s sleep, visit the bebo mia sleep page or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I have a very active 5 year old, which means lots of bumps and bruises. During her latest accident (a header out of the bathtub), Gray woke up unable to move her head without crying. She gingerly walked to school, and I promptly made an appointment for immediate attention from Dr. Adrienne McRuvie at OMA Chiropractic in Riverside.
Lovingly and gently, ‘Dr. Adrienne’ (as my household calls her), gave Graydon her adjustment using the low force, gentle joint mobilizations and hands on muscle release therapy they use. Graydon skipped out of the clinic a happier, more mobile kid and slept well that night after 2 nights of not sleeping.
I cannot say enough about how wonderful chiropractic care is for the whole family, starting from birth. If you are finding your baby is fussy, having a tough time nursing or sleeping, or had a forceps/vacuum delivery, chiropractic care can make a world of difference.
Bianca Sprague is bebo mia’s CEO and co-founder and the mother of 5 year old Graydon.
My thoughts on Honey Boo Boo…
Firstly, I am one of the few who are confident enough to admit to watching TLC’s Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and secondly, I think that they are a really wonderful and loving family! At first glance, the producers do a good job highlighting the socalled redneck, ‘lowclass’ life of the rural Georgian ShannonThompson family, but after you agree to disagree on pedigree, one has to acknowledge that the parents are really handson, caring, and everpresent in their granddaughter and daughters lives.
Most impressively, the Mama, June, has put all monies earned by TLC (approx $15,000$50,000/episode) into a trust fund for each daughter for when they turn 21. In the meantime, with the exception of the purchase of a 2005 Expedition, not a dime is seen or touched. They continue to live off their regular income from (step)father, SugarBear’s, contracting job, bingo winnings, and child maintenance cheques from the biological fathers of 3 of the girls. Their $80/week food budget for a family of 7 is impressive. Yes, it means a lot of couponcutting and pasta, but they eat all their meals together.
The family supports one another in their hobbies and activities, they do outdoor excursions together weekly, and give back to their community with charity events. Yes, they eat roadkill and flatulate anytime, anywhere, but the love in their home is obvious and big!
Written by Bianca Sprague, bebo mia CEO and co-founder.
As I stand at my counter, painstakingly hand washing the load of sippy cups, a thought came to my mind: “How long should these things even hang around?” I mean, some of them have nooks and crannies that even the best dishwasher just cannot reach. When each new addition joined our family (referring to the cups) we vowed to use them for water only which makes cleaning them a non issue. Oh, how quickly that fell by the wayside. So as I am scrubbing and digging into the crannies I wonder, “should I just be throwing this thing out?”.
Then, I get a request from one of my three kids for “chocolate milk in my blue sippy cup please”. Great, just as I was ready to let one go, it becomes in high demand. Each of my three kids were able to drink out of a glass long before a sippy cup, which makes me wonder why we ever invested in the newest, coolest version of these sippy cups; insulated, straw, spout, plastic and stainless steel. They all haunt me, they fall out of our kiddie cupboard (where all the plastic dishes live) every time it is full and they refuse to get completely clean (even after following the manufacturers recommendations). “I will just get rid of them all” a rebellious voice inside me shouts. All my kids are TOO old for them anyway.
But wait….what will the kids drink from when snuggled up on the couch watching a movie or lying in bed sick? How will I bring drinks with us to the mall? Who will clean up all the spills?
PS. After writing this, I called Playtex to see if they had any recommendations for how long these cups should hang around and I was told that as long as they are working, I could keep on using them but if I WANTED I could replace them after 1-2 years. Tommee Tippee plays it a little safer, recommending to replace their zippy cups every year.
Our Top 5 Sippy Cups:
1. Pura Kiki Sippy – Want a zippy with a lifetime warranty? Here it is! 100% plastic free stainless steel with a medical grade silicone nipple. Safety aside, this product also grows with your baby (nipple to sippy to water bottle) and is compatible with nipples from other feeding systems (such as Avent and Dr. Browns).
2. Boon Swig – I would like to give a big kiss to the person who decided to attach the cap to this sippy cup. Not only is it a brilliant idea but its cute too, since you can interchange the colours. The Boon Swig is lightweight, easy to hold and comes in straw or spout options. If you have purchased Boon products before, this will be an easy sell as their products are really great.
3. Tommee Tippee Explora - I don’t know how they did it, but this is leak proof. A really cool thing with the Tommee Tippee is that you can put their first sips spout right on their Tommee Tippee bottle. The idea behind the Explora is for the next step when toddlers are ready for cup drinking. They come in a lot of cute designs as well!
4. Thermos Foogo – Choose from the BPA free, leak proof straw bottle or the stainless steel soft spout zippy cup (also leak proof). Some toddlers love straws, some toddlers love handles and the Thermos gives you lots of options. Cool tip – stainless steel insulated cups and bottles keep drinks cold on hot days!
5. Zoli Baby Bot – Ok, I have to come clean here. It is not exactly spill proof but my daughter liked it so much I had to add it. This sippy has many other features that make it great, like easy to grip handles and a weighted ball at the end of the straw so your toddler can get to every last drop. The lid is also built in to cover the straw and protect it from dirt when its dropped (or thrown).
Written by Jennifer Paredes, Director of Parenting
At this point, I would consider myself a baby carrying connoisseur. I
was am just like any new mother whose nesting urges caused them to go a little overboard before their baby’s birth. Like many other soon to be mama’s, my big ticket item was a stroller. Not just any stroller, but THE stroller.
I can now tell you that at 18 months old, my daughter has been in that stroller a total of 5 times. I hate it, she hates it. I live in the city, where dragging that huge #$% thing around fills me with anxiety. Navigating the small corridors of any mall or lugging it up the steps of the TTC was just not an option for me. I know that at the time I write this blog, there is a huge TTC vs Strollers debate. Let me be clear, I believe in EQUAL rights for ALL tax paying city dwellers, including moms with strollers. It just wasn’t for me.
What did I do instead? I carried her. I started with a ring sling, moved up to a wrap and currently cart her around in a carrier. Up until last week, I was SURE my baby carrying career was coming to a close. My back was aching, my daughter’s legs were dangling, and we were just not enjoying it anymore. But then I received my latest Chimparoo shipment, complete with their newest Baby/Toddler Carrier, THE TREK.
Admittedly, bebo mia has always loved the Chimparoo wraps. In fact, we love them so much that we became distributors. However, I was concerned when they came out with this new carrier. What if I didn’t like it? Would that change the way I feel about the company? Would I still be able to endorse them?
Then I tried it on and it was L.O.V.E.
Here is why:
I am so
happy elated with this product so far, and so is my daughter. Even if you have a newborn or are expecting a newborn, this product is perfect. Had I known I would be carrying her well into toddlerhood, I would have invested in this carrier to avoid multiple purchases. The Beco and the Ergo (which I also loved) just didn’t quite cut it once she passed 20 pounds.
Blog post by Natasha Marchand, bebo mia CEO
For more information on the Chimparoo Slings or Carriers contact email@example.com
Your body changes a lot in pregnancy, making clothing a challenge. It can be frustrating when each trimester requires slightly new duds. Fear not! Rather than buying a new wardrobe every 3 months, we have some great maternity suggestions so you do not overbuy and some tips to prolong use of your pre-pregnancy clothing. Keep in mind the seasons and what your daily lifestyle looks like when reading our suggestions. i.e. office job, versus having the ability to get away with stretchy pants or jeans through the day.
Some people wonder why they would invest in clothing that they will wear for only a few months. The reality is, you will still be wearing your maternity clothes after you have your baby. Your body can take 6-18 months to get back into shape, depending on your weight gain in pregnancy and lifestyle after the birth. So keep rocking those stretchy pants as you take a stroll with your baby!
If you are working with a limited budget for your maternity wardrobe, check out the online Second Peek Maternity Boutique for a great selection of pre-loved clothes at reduced prices.
You do not need very much during this time – although, you may need a new bra during your first trimester as the girls can get noticeably larger! As you’ll quickly discover, stretch fabrics will be your best friend through your pregnancy. Long tops with leggings can keep your little bump under wraps if you are waiting to announce your news and can help you feel a bit more comfy if you are battling nausea all day long. If you feel up to it, slip on workout clothes, which usually have more stretch and can prompt you to stay active and try to keep up your rapidly decreasing energy levels.
Belly bands are a great way to extend the life of your pre-pregnancy pants. They offer good support while allowing you to keep your fly open, giving you a few more months of belly growth.
As you start to share your exciting news and marvel at your growing belly and baby, have some fun with your wardrobe by adding a cute novelty shirt like this one from Motherhood Maternity.
What to buy:
- a pair of dressy pants
- a pair or two of casual pants if the belly band is no longer working for your old jeans
- some stretch pants like lululemon (pick a nice black pair you can dress up or down) or the H&M mama leggings.
- 3-5 pairs of undies
- 2 or 3 tops, again lululemon has great tanks that are baggy around the middle
- 1 or 2 classic, wear anywhere dresses – high waisted dresses are always in style and are available almost anywhere (no need to hunt for maternity)
Where to go:
- Evymama – we heart them!! They are in the East and the West end of Toronto now!
- Kick Maternity – in the West end – they have a great selection
- Belly Maternity – Midtown Toronto – beautiful high end fashion
- Rhonda Maternity – Downtown – also beautiful, high end fashion
- Thyme Maternity – found in most malls
- H&M – not all of the stores carry maternity wear, so call ahead!
- Motherhood Maternity – found in most malls
- Old Navy – great for the basics with maternity jeans and tees at affordable prices
Your belly is taking up a lot of room in your clothes now! We highly recommend layers as your body temperature increases.
If you have not done so already, we suggest putting away your high heels and going for something flat or a low heel. Your feet can swell during this time, so you may have to get creative if you can’t wear Uggs and Hunters all the time!
You may need a new bra at this time as well. We would advise that you wait until after your milk comes in before buying a good nursing bra or two. In the meantime, you can pick up the cotton, comfortable, and affordable nursing sports bras like Bravados (available to purchase at Moms to Be and More or other vendors in your area.)
In this time, do something monthly to make you feel pretty! Get a manicure, pedicure, massage, or your hair done. It is important to give yourself lots of self care as it can take a bit to get used to your growing and changing body (not to mention it may be a little while before you feel up for these things once baby arrives).
Visit our Pinterest page to get more ideas for outfits to style up your growing bump! If you’re looking ahead to life as a nursing mother, take a look at our Breastfeeding and Stylish blog post. Happy Shopping!
I have to share my story with you, and how proud and thankful I am to be joining the bebo mia team as their Wellness Coach and Sleep Expert. It truly feels like I’m “paying it forward”, as this level of support just wasn’t there for me when my son was first born.
I’ve always known my calling in a vague sort of way.
I knew that the most important thing to me was my own family, and if I could somehow reach other families, how rewarding that would be.
I’ve known for as long as I can remember that good health and happiness are achieved through proper nutrition and exercise, as well as spiritual and emotional growth.
I have a heart that sees the good in everyone, that thrives on helping others pursue their dreams, goals, and even small pleasures of day to day life.
I am fascinated with psychology from all angles and while dreaming of one day getting a degree in psychology, I have studied wellness coaching, emotional intelligence, and human resource management.
So how did I marry all of these interests into a fulfilling career? My husband (long before he was my husband) once gave me this great advice: “take care of your passions, and your passions will take care of you”.
Now, I am a stay at home mom, I am also a working mom, and I balance the two because they are my passions. With any spare time I might have, I volunteer with Attachment Parenting International and run a local support group for new families, because that too is my passion. I refuse to say, “I’m busy”. We all have the same amount of hours in the day, and I know many who are doing even more with their time. I am certainly GRATEFUL to have these opportunities, and it is from the place of gratitude that abundance appears. When we perpetuate a frazzled mindset by repeating how busy we are, we are putting up a wall that refuses to let anything else in, even great opportunities.
My call to action is this: make a list of everything you are grateful for, and try to get to 50. Then begin each day by re-reading your list, and operate each day from a perspective of abundance rather than “busy”. Lastly, remember to take care of your passions, and I promise they will take good care of you.
I received the following testimonial from a client, who I gave a free consultation to. She did not need my full services, just a coaching conversation, and I expected nothing in return. Referrals and inquiries are coming my way in true abundance, as I believe so wholeheartedly in the services I am sharing.
“I just wanted to drop a line talking about how wonderful my experience was with you, and how much you helped me recently. When my usually “perfect” sleeper decided that bed time would be 10pm instead of 7:30 I started considering “cry it out”. After all, most of my friends have done it…and they seemed to be getting lots of sleep. Since I had gone back to work, I also felt the pressure to have baby free work time in the evening so trust me, baby and I were both feeling the stress.
When you took time out of your busy schedule to talk to me for over an hour, not only did you make me feel cared for and supported, but you never made me feel silly about all the questions I had. I felt like your advice came from a place of understanding. I loved that you let me feel relaxed and empowered, rather than giving me a list of things to do. I truly felt like being happy, relaxed, and “normal” was just what I needed, and to remember to be patient, and wait for my baby to ease back into her bedtime routine.
It took less than a week for her to go back into her normal rest pattern, and to be honest the extra cuddles were kind of nice while they lasted. Thanks again for all of your knowledge and support, and for making me feel like I am doing a good job, I really appreciate it!“
Where did I start my journey to this place of abundance? As a sleep-deprived mom, just like many of you. Where did I end up? With integrity, positivity, and love, I reached my calling. Thank you.
Sleep expert Brandie Hadfield is a Wellness Coach certified through Dr. Sears and is in the process of accreditation through Attachment Parenting International. For more information on Sleep Consultations or Sleep Seminars visit us here.
Like any mama, I believe my daughter is the brightest, most outgoing and funniest toddler in the whole world. So, imagine my surprise when I traveled home for the holidays, expecting everyone to marvel at my parenting abilities, to instead be dealing with an extreme state of the clingies. She literally would not let me out of her sight! Even going to the bathroom without her was out of the question.
To all those who were witness to her desperate cries for “mum”, it would appear that I have created a monster. Advice started to come from all sides. Everyone who laid eyes on her had something to say, most commonly along the lines of, “she needs to learn ….(insert what my toddler needs to learn here)”.
My holiday became a battle of advice vs. what my instincts were telling me. Do I walk away and teach her that she is fine without me, or do I hold her just a little tighter until she gets used to the new environment.
So what did I do? I phoned a friend. Nadia from The Educated Parent had been working with children for years and is a Professor of Early Childhood Education with her Masters of Teaching. I figured she could give me a little guidance, so I’m sharing with you her list of tips should you come across a similar situation in your travels:
- Meet the child’s needs. They are being clingy for a reason. Perhaps they are feeling overwhelmed; most people get a little overwhelmed over the holidays, especially around larger groups. Respect their boundaries, listen to what they need, and the clingy-ness will pass sooner.
- This behaviour could also be a sign of the child’s temperament. Perhaps they are slow to warm to new situations. Regardless of the reason, the little person needs reassurance.
- Manage your expectations of what your child will be comfortable with in new situations. The parent, or parents, should be prepared to keep the little one close and not push them into uncomfortable situations (ex. “Don’t be shy, go say hi to Auntie.). Sometimes this may offend others, but your child’s comfort is most important and most people will be more understanding than you may have thought.
- It is helpful to prepare your child for what’s coming up. Involve them in your plans, telling them, “We are going to Grandma’s and there will be lots of people there who will be really excited to see you!”. It may be helpful to show your child photos of people, and tell them stories about each one.
- Talk to your child about how they might feel: “Sometimes when there are lots of people around, you might feel a little ______ and that is okay. I will always be nearby”. It really is okay for them to feel shy or overwhelmed, as everyone feels this way at times.
I know it sounds counterintuitive, but after hearing Nadia’s words I allowed myself to listen to my instincts and stay close to my daughter. If felt so much better to be with her and listen to what she needed, and by the end of the holiday she was happily sitting in her Grandma’s arms, with me close by of course. So, as the holiday season approaches and we are all thrust into large family gatherings or holiday trips, please try to remember that your little babies are in fact little people with real feelings which they may yet to be able to understand.
By Natasha Marchand, bebo mia CEO
- By Heather Jones (Birth Doula, Director of Pregnancy for bebo mia)
WARNING: This post includes detailed photos of birth/crowning with client permission (and encouragement)
I dislocated my patella three weekends ago. One of the first thoughts that went through my mind was about my doula clients and their fast approaching due dates (my trip to Mexico coming up was only ahead in my mind by a millisecond!). How would I attend a birth with an injury? I’d have to miss them maybe, and that thought was incredibly disappointing. This is the second time I have done this to my knee and I am familiar with the healing process: 6 weeks in a soft cast and on crutches followed by intense physiotherapy for 6-8 weeks; in other words, too long!
As it turned out, one of my clients went into labour 36 hours after I hurt myself and there was no way I could go. I missed her birth (the secondary doula went) and I was not only disappointed, but pissed off to be quite honest! I was mad at my body and myself for what felt like failing physically when I am in good shape and my muscles are strong. Why me? Why now?
I had other clients approaching their due date and was determined to be there to support them. I let them know what had happened and made sure they were comfortable with me coming in my cast, reassuring them that my support would not be compromised much and to not worry about me. They were fine with it and for that I am truly grateful because their birth experience was one I would NOT have wanted to miss! Here is the story of Joanne, Moe and baby Ariyan, told through the beautiful photographs I took throughout the birth.
Joanne and Moe are amazing. They are incredibly down to earth and very welcoming, making people feel cared for and truly valuable. If you have a chance to get to know them, I highly recommend it!
They were expecting their first baby and wanted everything that was the healthiest and most natural for Joanne, her labour, and their baby. They studied and practiced Hypnobirthing and one of their wishes was a home birth. I was lucky enough to not only BE there supporting them, but was asked to photograph the labour and delivery as well.
Below are pictures of Joanne labouring, birthing, and the first moments of becoming a family of three. What I want you to focus on while looking through the pictures is how relaxed and calm Joanne is through the whole thing. Utterly amazing; prepare to be inspired!
As a parent, 9 times out of 10, the first question you get asked is, “So, how is he/she sleeping” – or something to that sentiment.
Often, when you honestly shrug and say you aren’t sleeping well, or admit that your baby is still nursing all night long, there is an awkward pause, silence, change in topic… Sometimes you will get some advice to follow a particular book or sleep training plan.
My advice is different. And it boils down to this: Your life looks different right now. Don’t fight it, be flexible.
Yes, I know, many of you really did follow such-and-such a book or plan, and it worked for you, and baby sleeps through the night and life is good. But there are more parents out there that also tried that book or plan, or five books and three plans, and it didn’t work, for whatever reason. This is for you. After all the books, plans, tears and anxiety – what worked for me and countless other moms, is a shift in expectations.
I started with Dr. Sears “The Baby Sleep Book”, and because things were not “solved”, I read every other book written on babies and sleep. Then, after I sent some desperate texts to some trusted mom friends (who then actually came over to my home to level with me), I realized something. My baby not sleeping through the night was not the problem – the real “problem” was that my life didn’t look how I had pictured it, and that scared me. I was acting out of fear instead of tuning into my instincts and to what my baby was telling me. I re-read “The Baby Sleep Book” and this time, I got it.
Once you come to that conclusion, I promise things will get easier. I have an 8 month old baby who still nurses all night and I wake up every morning feeling rested. OK, I admit I still go running for the coffee maker, but I wake up happy and able to pursue my passions and enjoy my family.
10 Tips for Coping with Sleep Deprivation:
- Dr. Sears says that you should teach your child a “healthy attitude about sleep”. When you’re NOT teaching your child a healthy attitude about sleep is when your blood pressure rises when baby wakes up early from a nap, and you are angry at the little one. When you are stressing out about every nap and bed-time, your baby can sense your stress.
- Be Present. Remember your baby is only human and they are not waking up early or staying awake to spite you. The day/week/year/your life will not be ruined by a cranky baby, even though it might feel like that now. If today was the end of the world and you had just one day, how would you spend it with your baby? Believe it or not, the hardest times will be looked back upon with warm nostalgia.
- Just roll with it. If you have the option to cancel or change plans because you didn’t sleep much the night before, do it. Take a breath and ask yourself, “What can I change to make today a better day?”. It’s true what they say, “sleep when baby sleeps”. Enjoy a nap or three with your baby, and just get through the day. Go to bed early.
- Relax. Sometimes you can’t sleep when baby sleeps, because you are too wound up (or caffeinated) to do so. So do something else that relaxes you – talk to a friend on the phone, watch a TV show, knit, or read. When bedtime comes, I don’t suggest logging all your wake-up calls (unless you are doing so because you suspect a real issue which you want to discuss with your doctor). Looking at the clock and waking up fully to document every feeding or diaper change will only make you feel less rested and more out of control.
- Unplug. Stay away from your computer or cellphone as much as possible. Sometimes it is nice to take a break and check your Facebook, but if you are checking your phone every 20 minutes for example, it’s time to unplug.
- Have an Alfred E. Neuman attitude. “What, Me Worry?” Don’t act out of fear, this time in your baby’s life is so fleeting. Your child will not be permanently damaged because you took a nap with him, or let him sleep in the stroller.
- Be proud. There is no shame in having a wakeful baby. In fact, there is a lot of literature stating that babies are MEANT to wake up through the night as a survival instinct. So, don’t feel badly when you are asked how baby is sleeping. Just smile and say, “Like a baby!”.
- Find out where you and baby sleep best. Another tip straight from Dr Sears’ “The Baby Sleep Book”. This could be an arrangement that changes day to day, week to week, month to month. You could sleep best with baby beside you in bed, but as baby becomes more active, a side-car arrangement might work well. Again, it is important not to be disappointed if what you pictured does not end up working.
- Exercise. You might be thinking, “Are you crazy? How can I exercise when I am getting no sleep?!”. However, being active has many wonderful benefits, including improved quality of sleep. You are also more readily able to relax. Commit to doing one thing a day – a walk to the park could be all you are up for. Then, as your body permits, take a fitness class or go for a jog. I love going to “Belly Boot Camp” or Baby & Me Fitness and recommend you try a class! Such a great way to do something for yourself while spending quality time with your baby. Remember to get clearance from your doctor before starting any fitness program.
- Eat Pure. Balanced nutrition is the best preventative medicine there is, and will make a world of difference in your ability to handle the stress of motherhood and interrupted sleep. When you are getting ample nutrients from clean eating, and enough fruits/veggies, protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats, what you are doing is loving yourself and your family by equipping yourself to best handle what comes your way. Dr. Sears says we should take an Omega 3 supplement daily if we can’t get 2 servings of fish (preferably wild salmon or tuna) per week. Other than that, he says a whole foods supplement like Juice Plus+ really helps bridge the gap between what we are supposed to eat and what we are able to eat each day. I can tell you from personal experience that feeling happy to greet my baby after being woken up every 45 minutes during teething is way easier because I nourish my body as I deserve.
- Outsource. Feeling too tired to clean, cook or even get dressed? We can help you with that! Our postpartum doulas can help you with anything from light housework to baby care so that you can take some time to yourself and sleep, even overnight. There may also be some simple changes you can make during the day and through the night to help baby (and you) sleep better. Our sleep expert can guide you through gentle suggestions and simple solutions for a good night’s sleep without the tears that come with most sleep training programs.
These tips are not always easy to put into practice, but I do hope they help you to gain some perspective and balance and joy. Think back to when you were young, staying up all night long to talk to the love of your life, and you went to work on no sleep. This is just another crazy time in your life, with the new love(s) of your life!
Brandie Hadfield is bebo mia’s Sleep expert and Wellness Coach, certified through Dr. Sears. For more information on how to get a good night’s sleep, visit the bebo mia sleep page or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We often joke that all you need for baby is a king size bed and a sling, but realistically, we know that getting ready for baby is exciting, and so is the shopping! That being said, we want you to spend your money wisely and avoid big ticket baby items that take up space but rarely get used.
By the time your baby is born, you should have a few essentials like diapers (if you plan to use cloth, you may want to try disposables until the poo turns yellowish), some cotton sleepers, a car seat and a place for baby to sleep (if you are co-sleeping please make sure you get the information to do this safely). Try to resist the urge to run out and by everything on that ‘must have’ list, because you may find you can get by just fine without it.
Many pregnant women ask us what breast pump they should choose, but we truly feel it is best to wait until after the baby is born to make this decision. Breastfeeding and milk supply may come easily for you, in which case a hand pump may be enough to fit your needs. If you are returning to work early or need some extra help with the baby, an electric pump is important (we love Medela).
How will you transport your little one? We think a great stroller that fits your urban, suburban, or rural living style is needed (think small if you take public transit a lot). Find one with lots of storage space underneath the seat, a feature often overlooked but SO important.
Another must have item is a wrap and/or carrier. Babies want to be held ALL THE TIME when they are little, so these can be a real lifesaver. We recommend Chimparoo (which bebo mia retails) or the Ergo carrier. A spacious diaper bag gets your and baby’s things from point A to point B, C, D without leaving anything behind. Don’t be fooled though…you can use ANY bag as a diaper bag! Just throw in this Skip Hop Pronto and voila, your favourite bag is your diaper bag.
bebo mia feels that reading to your baby is crucial! Start to compile a great collection of books. You will need cloth and board books for little ones and wonderful picture books with stories you love to read over and over with your baby and toddler. What are the best toys? Most things lying around your kitchen are what your baby will love for the first year or two, such as bowls, pots & pans, measuring cups and whisks. Throw a towel on the floor of your kitchen, put some water and large spoons in the bowl and let your little one play for hours (well, minutes if you’re lucky).
When you get to the solid-food eating phase, a clip chair (Phil&Teds make a few great options) saves you space and money! They keep your toddler sitting up with you and they can move around to restaurants or to other people’s homes with ease. You can get some small spoons, but glass bowls and tea spoons work well too. If you’re looking for guidance with this stage, check out bebo mia’s Peas on the Ceiling class.
The biggest and most essential component in getting you through the first 12 months? Help! Another set of hands to relieve you, support you, and be there with you and your family during this major transition time. Gather a list of who is willing to help you , when, and with what and keep it posted on your fridge. Call on these people for food, babysitting, or just to keep you company. We promise, it’s the best thing for new parents! bebo mia offers 24/7 care for the first 6 months – the best investment or gift you can get!
We know there are tons of amazing things in the beautiful baby stores found in most towns and cities and you will enjoy shopping for your baby –but just remember, focus on the essentials…everything else is just a bonus!
I used to have a major love affair with the television, but we broke up recently. Like most break-ups, we flirt here and there for old-times sake, but today it has hit me how I have fallen completely out of love, and I have to do the old kick to the curb.
The good times…
When I was a kid, I got a TV in my room, just like most kids. My earliest memories are very fond. I still remember the Sunday night movies (back in the 80′s we didn’t have a zillion channels, and the movie-of-the-week was a special occasion). I remember watching “Snow White”, “Annie”, and “E.T.”, which are some of my favourite movies to this day. I loved the old retro cartoons that you had to wake up super early to watch (before your parents got up), like “Hercules”, followed by “The Wizard of Oz” cartoon. As I got older, my mom was really good about limiting television to specific family friendly shows. I have very fond memories of Thursday nights, when I got to stay up until 8:30 to watch “The Cosby Show” with my mom. We had a tiny little 13 inch TV at the time.
Then, we got a little co-dependent…
As a pre-teen with budding allowance for privacy, I began sneaking in late night TV, watching after I was supposed to be sleeping. I had anxiety from the normal pre-teen adjustment period, and started to rely on TV as a way to fall asleep. My dad would fall asleep to the TV back then as well, which is likely where I got the idea. TV at that time was “Baywatch”, “Studs”, “Married with Children”, “90210″ and “Melrose Place” to name a few. In my days of being bullied, I turned to TV even more as an escape from reality, and went so far as to scour the TV guide (remember those?) to plan my day around. That was when TV and I got a little codependent.
Fast forward to adulthood, and I still needed TV to fall asleep all the way to my early 30′s. My poor husband would have to wait for me to fall asleep before he could, because he would have to turn off the TV. Then I got pregnant, and decided to take my maternity leave one month early, in July. During the record-setting heat wave, I wiled the days away, super pregnant, hot and tired, by watching sitcoms like “Golden Girls” and napping with the TV on in the background. August 21 came and I was in labour! I insisted on borrowing the “Three’s Company” box set from the hospital to help take my mind off the contractions. Yes, part of my labour memories consist of contemplating the promiscuity of Jack, Chrissy and Janet.
Then, my beautiful baby boy was home with me. I remember Conan O Brien offering comic relief as I figured out how to nurse, the television providing a warm glow as I worked on ensuring a good latch. I remember the H&M commercials and Joe Fresh commercials, and how similar they were. ”Which commercial concept came first?”, I wondered. And during colicky evenings, I could count on the “Law & Order” theme song to bring me a nostalgic comfort.
When did the love affair stop? It’s hard to say when, as it wasn’t something I decided to do at any particular time. At some point, Julien became aware of the images on the screen, and it just stopped feeling right to have it on. It also felt disrespectful, as he quite obviously preferred me to be engaged and interacting with him, than with the TV. Plus, I was sleeping when he slept, both for naps and bedtime. I had also added my course and studying and reading to my plate, so there just wasn’t any time for TV anyway. Today, I really would not have time to pursue everything I am involved in if I was watching the average amount of TV that the typical Canadian watches (22 hours a week!).
What would a break-up be, if you didn’t hook up for old time’s sake?
Then, I began planning for my trip to Dallas last month. I was really stressed that my 14 month old would not sit still for a 3.5 hour plane ride. I thought the iPad and TV were the only answer, so I began teaching him how to watch TV, so that I would have a couple reliable programs I could show him to keep him entertained. It worked, as he loved Baby Einstein a lot. And I have to say, it was cute to see him sitting still for 30 minutes and excitedly pointing at the animals. It was a nice break during my day as well, when I could just put my feet up for a bit and not think. So the trip happened. He slept one whole way, and the other was awake for half, but was much more interested in books, play-doh, and mommy’s improv puppet-show. Go figure. All that training for nothing . We came home to a non-functioning DVD system, so when he would ask “Vee-oh, vee-oh” (video), I told him there were no more videos. He was fine with it. And I’m more than fine with it.
Since quitting TV, I have noticed I have much more time for life. Working, planning, loving, playing, resting, thinking, connecting. Just being. Living life. My limited time with my husband is spent in conversation now. It is like we are “dating” again! I do not worry nearly as much. I don’t have the 6:00 news feeding me stories of sadness and fear that are un-actionable by me. I keep up to date by conversations with people and through the Internet. I’ve also regained my truest self. This is best explained with a nutrition analogy. There is something called “metabolic programming”, where if you eat pure, you gain your “wisdom of the body” and you crave healthy food. You un-junk your body and your body then rejects junk. That is what has happened with my brain! It is un-junked, aaaand I fall asleep easier and sleep much better.
Now, it is a struggle to watch a full program. My mind always goes to other places and I think “why am I forcing this?” and I turn it off.
What prompted this blog entry was that my son went down for his nap, and I thought, “Well I haven’t watched TV in a while, maybe I should treat myself!” I turned it on, and on the screen was the image of a perfect bedroom, on some talk show. My mind went immediately to a place of self-criticism– a faint whisper in my self-conscious said, “Oh my room isn’t that nice”, “Could I afford a room that beautiful?”, “Am I capable of keeping my room that pristine?”, “Oh that’s so out of my reach”. YUCK!! I turned it off, because rationally, I know how much I love my home and my room and my life!
When I do consultations with clients in regards to their baby’s sleep, I always suggest a TV fast. By allowing your body to wind down without the TV stimulating you, you will sleep better. Equally as important is the TIME you will regain by doing something nourishing for yourself and the relationship with your partner! Even if that is just going to bed earlier yourself. Or blogging
Information technology is an incredible thing, when used appropriately. For example, looking at images of beautiful rooms is wonderful– when you have first decided independently that you would like to make some decor improvements and go on a website for some inspiration. It is when we become addicted to the TV as a silence-filler, and as a soundtrack to your daily life that it becomes a problem for so many people, old and young alike.
What could you do with an extra 22 hours this week?
My challenge to you is to go on a TV fast for one week
If you have kids, do what Dr. Sears recommends and trade TV time for active play time (1 hour playing outside buys 30 minutes of TV). Journal the changes you notice on how your day unfolds before you. Compare and contrast. And decide for yourself how much of a role, if any, TV should play in the memories that make up your life story.
A few months ago, bebo mia hypnobirthing clients Hubert & Zara welcomed their baby girl into the world in a rather unexpected place..Montreal. They were out of province on business when their little one decided to make her entrance! Below is the story of how they stayed calm and made this surprising experience the best it could be.
“Baby made a surprise early arrival on Fri. Aug 31st @ 10:12 am
Hubert and I were in Montreal for a short 2 day work trip when my
water broke at the hotel the night of Monday August 27th. We didn’t want to
chance coming home and giving birth on the road so we checked into a
hospital to make sure I was ok.
Without our midwives and without our family or anything familiar
around us, we relied greatly on our Hypnobirthing techniques to stay calm
during this unexpected situation. We still wanted our natural
Hypnobirth and we even brought our package with us to practice while
we were away. Good thing we had it with us!
At the hospital, it was difficult to keep everyone on our birth plan
since it was an unfamiliar hospital and we had a hard time
communicating with many of the staff. Oh, and with the staff changing
every shift, we kept having different people who didn’t actually
respect our needs for a calm, quiet place to birth. Many nurses and
doctors we dealt with even told us flat out that they didn’t have time
to read our birth plan and didn’t care about it. But Hubert was my
Silver Back Gorilla and did so much to advocate for me despite
resistance from “ego driven” hospital staff. We played our
affirmations and kept calm as much as possible.
We left the hospital after realizing that being there was halting the
natural process of opening up…..different people coming in and out,
being loud, etc. We opted to check out and go back to the hotel
until I felt the surges happening closer together. We realized that the baby was safe
inside me and that there was no infection so I felt better to leave
the hospital environment.
By Wednesday, the surges were close together and we were happy to be back in the
hospital…but it didn’t happen that quickly. It took all Wednesday and Thursday to
get to from 1-7cm – I blame it on the constant monitoring (20 mins on
the monitor every hour on the hour) and all the ins and outs of
hospital staff which kept stalling my flow. I was exhausted by
then. All day Thursday, I remained at 7cm so early morning Friday
(at 1am), Hubert and I opted to take some Pitocin and we feel the
decision (although not our ideal) was the best we could make in this situation.
I had no pain medication and was going into my zone, breathing my baby down
with Hubert’s support. The staff kept making him feel unwanted and
they were quite dismissive to him, but he stayed right there by my
side and we kept on with the Hypnobirthing techniques all the way to
The baby crowned and I was not afraid of the “ring of fire” at all! I
wanted to get baby out already and see him or her. Hubert held the
mirror for me and I saw the top of baby’s head and that gave me
incentive to keep pushing on. When the head came out, I had a little
more in me to push and all of baby came too. Hubert and I reached for
our baby and he announced that it was a baby girl!! **Looks like we
were a class of all baby girls at Hypnobirthing**
She lay on my chest and within 30 seconds, she went to my breast and
started to feed. She was super hungry! I was elated and on a
high from what we just witnessed.
Although it was a challenge to keep our birth plan intact amidst the
environment we were in, we kept as close to it as possible and in the
end had the most incredible experience bringing baby into our world.
Baby is doing extremely well! She is perfect!! We named her Ocean.
We hope she is fluent in French when she starts to speak.”
Thank you for sharing your story about this unexpected, yet amazing experience! Congratulations to Zara, Hubert and baby Ocean, and cheers to Hypnobirthing!
Find out more about Hypnobirthing classes and schedules under Pregnancy Classes on our website or contact us at email@example.com for more information or answers to your questions.
So, my 5 year old (pictured above ) turns into a crazy, unrecognizable monster after even the smallest amount of sugar, thus making me dread the Hallowe’en experience. There is typically a mountain of treats that comes into my home which I would rather not have her ingest. I never knew what to do with this. She started at a wonderful, holistic alternative school in the city this year which supports eating well and avoiding processed foods. Enter the Switch Witch.
The Switch Witch is a good witch (aka Candy Fairy, Great Pumpkin, etc. for less scary words) and she lives off candy. She will take all the candy the kids collect once they go to bed Hallowe’en night and leave toys, books, and other gifts instead. The more candy you leave, the better the gifts are from the Switch Witch.
This year was our first S.W. year, and I have to report, my little one was thrilled to wake up to the Playmobil set she ‘always wanted’ after trading her Trick or Treating haul. And really, it is a win win because now I get to eat my favourite chocolate bars once she goes to bed! She was allowed to keep a few pieces from her candy mountain, giving her the feeling that she has won the lottery – candy AND toys/books…
To learn more from this natural mama we love, visit her website.
Among the fun and festivities of the fall, Thanksgiving, and Halloween, October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. This is something that is so often not spoken about, as so many are unsure how to support friends or family who have experienced a miscarriage, or lost a baby.
In the past few months, we have followed Kelly’s story of training for her first “Give It A Tri” triathlon, while fundraising for her friends Tim and Lindsay who lost their baby boy, Damian, and subsequently started Damian’s Campaign in his honour. You can go back to Kelly’s first blog and read more about Damian’s Campaign here. In honour of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, we encourage you to revisit Kelly’s journey, and enjoy this, the final chapter of Kelly’s triathlon for Damian’s Campaign:
The day before the race I was very nervous. It was all I could think about. I kept looking at the clock, counting the number of hours. But, I was also feeling excited. I had trained hard and was ready to do it. Thankfully, it was a warm, calm and clear morning so I didn’t have to stress about choppy water, my biggest fear.
There were a variety of people, all chatting and smiling and thankfully many were in the same position I was and had never done a triathlon before. But, as the time got closer and I racked my bike and got my timing chip and body markings, I got more and more nervous. As I walked to the beach where I would swim with Danielle, my trainer, my stomach was flip flopping. The buoys that I had to swim around looked so far away. As far as I was concerned this would be the biggest challenge and I had poured all my energy into training for the swim. Matthew and my family were just about there (it’s hard to get 2 little boys and grandparents up and to an island beach via ferry for 8am). It’s probably a good thing they weren’t there when I had to get into the water or I would have been a mess. I felt like I was on the verge of tears. Not because I was scared, but because of all the anticipation. At 8:15am the announcer called the women in my age category to enter the water and gave us some final instruction. Before I knew it, he was saying “90 seconds ladies”. It was time to perform. I faced the challenge ahead and when I heard the shot ring out, I jumped in. The first 25 strokes or so were fine. It was a little difficult swimming with all the people around me, but I found my spot and continued. When I looked up to find the first buoy however, it still looked VERY far away and I was surrounded by people. I had to find a pace and fast because there were women in front, beside and behind me. I had to keep going. Then, I got kicked in the side by someone doing the breaststroke. Then, a strong swimmer came up beside me and kind of pulled my shoulder as she went past. I gulped the water and stopped and choked and a bunch of others went around me. I was a bit panicked and I still wasn’t half way to the first buoy. I held back a while longer and let the first pack go around me. I mentally told myself that I was doing it. It was happening now and that I knew I was okay. I put my head down and found my pace. I got out of the water with about 20 people behind me. Finally, the part that was scaring me most was over. As I ran up the beach I saw my oldest son (about to turn 5) and my dad cheering. It was an amazing feeling! I still feel so good about the example I was setting for him. Now I was ready to bike.
I got to the transition area and before I knew it I was on the road. After pouring my heart into the swim training, the bike was definitely very difficult. I was pretty exhausted about halfway through and a lot of people had passed me. At one point, there was nobody else around. I mean nobody. I thought to myself “have I gone off the course?” But, a couple minutes later, I saw the pylons for the end of the bike portion. As I jumped off my bike to run it into the transition area, my knees completely gave out. Danielle had warned me that I would be feeling wobbly after the bike but, I didn’t realize how wobbly. I’m lucky that I didn’t fall. I hobbled past my family and Danielle and an unexpected friend had arrived as well. I took off for the run. Well, in my mind I wanted to take off but, my legs were very shaky. I really couldn’t seem to make them move. As I left a grassy area to get on the road, things felt better, but I still had a long road ahead. I had certainly done some running before, but not after a 400m swim in the lake and a bike race. Two laps later, I was on my way to the finish line. I was almost done. It seemed to creep up on me. Was Danielle really there yelling “500m to go Kelly” “Push It” “You’re Almost Done!”? As I looked over and saw my boys on the sideline smiling and clapping, I realized it was done. I ran through the finish line and heard them announce my bib number: “428 has crossed the finish line”. I was panting, laughing, crying, and celebrating. I left the area to find the open arms of Danielle, my family and friends. I am proud to report that I completed the triathlon in 1 hour and 27 seconds. A personal best
I’m also happy to report that after all that training, I decided I should put it to good use and did a second “Give It A Tri” in Guelph Lake the following weekend. It was a much harder course with lots of big hills on the bike course and it started in the heat of the day at 1pm (that’s my excuse anyway. I completed it in 1 hour, 2 minutes and 38 seconds. But, plan to “tri” it again next year.
It was a lot of hard work to get to this point. As you will recall, in the beginning it was all I could do to avoid the food temptations and get to the gym to do some moderate exercise twice a week. It was really tough to be motivated enough, especially at the beginning, as the reality of the triathlon seemed so far away. I received endless support from close friends and family and received emails and phone calls from people I hadn’t heard from in years. Some of the best words of encouragement came from people that told me I inspired them or that hearing Damian’s story had touched them and made them count their blessings. That is priceless. I can’t thank Tim and Lindsay enough for allowing me to be part of their amazing campaign. I had a goal to raise $2500 and surpassed that target by raising $3150. My fundraising page will soon be replaced with Tim and Lindsay launching this year’s Damian’s Campaign to coincide with Damian’s 2nd birthday with an overall goal to raise $50,000. If you would like to contribute please visit Damian’s Campaign at Holland Bloorview.
All of us at bebo mia send our most heartfelt congratulations to Kelly for totally rocking this exceptional personal challenge and act of kindness and support to her friends Tim and Lindsay in honouring their son Damian and his campaign. For those of you who have followed Kelly’s journey and have donated to Damian’s Campaign, we thank you! If you would still like to learn more about Damian’s Campaign and how you can contribute, please visit Kelly’s link to the campaign at Holland Bloorview. Let us all be reminded, especially this month, that there is no greater loss than losing a child. If you would like more information on bereavement services, or bebo mia’s Grief and Loss Workshops on supporting friends or family through times of loss, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bebo mia was lucky enough to sit down with Deepa Maceachern, former bebo mia client and the mother of adorable 17-month old Andrew. The last time we saw Deepa was just after Andrew’s birth– a birth so extraordinary that it ended up in the papers! We wanted to ask her a few questions about her pre and postnatal experience, in particular why she decided to prepare herself for her breastfeeding experience.
Deepa, why did you decide to take a prenatal breastfeeding class?
It was important for me to breastfeed Andrew and to learn as much as I could about the overall journey. Not only would breastfeeding be highly nutritious for him and reduce my risk of breast cancer, I also wanted to create a strong mother-baby bond.
Besides a prenatal breastfeeding class, were there any other classes or workshops you attended or books that you read to prepare for motherhood?
To prepare for the birthing experience, my husband and I took the Hypnobirthing course and had hired a doula, both through bebo mia. Another fabulous resource were the instructors and other expectant mothers I met through prenatal fitness, many of whom I continue to chat with. I have also frequently referred to Dr. Sears’ books and website.
What is your advice for a mother as she begins her breastfeeding journey?
I highly recommend engaging a breastfeeding consultant immediately after giving birth and a for few days thereafter to ensure that the latch is as best as it can be and that any potential breastfeeding issues are dealt with at the onset. We were working with Taya Griffin and she thankfully quickly identified that Andrew was tongue-tied. Also, enjoy these precious moments (day and night) that you will be sharing with your little one!
Thanks for sharing your experience, Deepa! For more information on our services, including breastfeeding education and support, check our website or contact email@example.com.
Congratulations, you are having a baby! As you embark on that little adventure called “parenthood”, there are so many preparations to be made. One by one we cross the “need to do’s” off our list….
Baby Registry completed. CHECK.
Doula interviewed and chosen. CHECK.
Prenatal Childbirth Class booked. CHECK.
Breastfeeding preparations started…..Ummm….HUH???
In my practice as a private breastfeeding consultant, I see time and time again that mothers put a great deal of thought into the many things their baby may need in the early days. They also put much energy and effort into their pregnancy and planning for their birth. They may also intend to breastfeed, as they know it is best for them and their new bundle of joy. Yet, many have given little thought as to how to get breastfeeding off to the best start and what to expect as time goes on.
Knowledge is power and preparing for your breastfeeding experience should be an important part of your pregnancy. A wonderful way to do so is to attend a prenatal breastfeeding class. A knowledgeable instructor can help you make important decisions that will impact your breastfeeding success. A good breastfeeding class should be evidence-based, should include hands-on practice and should discuss the following:
- How to get off to the very best start in the hospital and at home
- How to lead your baby to comfortably latch and drink effectively
- How to know whether your baby is getting enough and whether breastfeeding is going well
- How to avoid or overcome breastfeeding challenges
There are a number of other ways to prepare for breastfeeding if you are not able to attend a class. Most prenatal books have a small section on breastfeeding. They are worth the read. There are also fantastic books specifically about breastfeeding:
- Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding – Jack Newman & Teresa Pitman
- Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers – Nancy Mohrbacher and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding – La Leche League International
The following websites are also excellent resources and include many helpful handouts and videos:
Breastfeeding can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Armed with the information to get breastfeeding off to a great start, you can avoid pain, supply issues and the uncertainty that may come in the first few days after birth. This will leave you with time and energy to enjoy every minute of getting to know your amazing baby!
Taya Griffin – Homeopath and Breastfeeding Consultant
Taya Griffin is a Mother, Homeopath and Lactation Counsellor. She teaches bebo mia’s prenatal breastfeeding classes and has a private practice helping mothers reach their breastfeeding goals.
A Guest Post from Denina at Little D’s Baby Carriers:
Happy International Babywearing Week! At Little D’s Baby Carriers we are thrilled to celebrate this week with Bebo Mia. We are offering a 10% discount to everyone who posts a photo of themselves babywearing on the Bebo Mia Facebook Page! We will also be attending a babywearing walk in High Park to celebrate with other Toronto BW-ing mamas on Saturday October 13 at 10:30 am (meet us at High Park subway station by the collector’s booth).
I don’t know about you, but I fell in love with babywearing after I wore my first stretchy wrap. I have used SSC (soft shell carriers) and ring slings, but nothing is as cozy as the stretchy wrap. If you are thinking about babywearing, or if you have tried it but had a poor experience and aren’t sure what to do next, then I recommend trying a stretchy wrap.
The stretchy wrap is excellent for newborn babies and recommended specifically for preemies. If you already have a Little D’s stretchy wrap, you can get good use from it until your baby is about 25 lbs (we have tested it for safety up to 35 lbs, but by then you will probably find it uncomfortable to carry your babe on your front). Stretchy wraps are practical because they are one size fits all with no need to adjust straps and buckles.
Once you’ve tied one on a couple of times, stretchy wraps are quick and easy to use. They also wash and travel well – just roll it up and put in in your diaper bag! In fact, I have found that men and women of all different shapes and sizes enjoy the feeling of the stretchy wrap and never complain of discomfort or back pain, so I think it’s a perfect way to start your babywearing career. Stretchy wraps also make excellent gifts for expecting mothers!
What was that? You are no longer expanding your family, and your children have already outgrown your old stretchy, but miss its softness and warm comfort? Don’t worry! We have created 6 great no-sew craft projects for you to up-cycle your old stretchy into new and fabulous accessories that you can continue to love for years to come!
Over the next 6 weeks, Little D’s will be releasing a 6-part video series with ultra-cool, super easy, no-sew craft projects you can do with your old stretchy wrap. and you are one of the first people to hear about it. So, to celebrate International Babywearing Week, we are releasing Part 1: The hobo infinity rag scarf, right now for every Bebo Mia subscriber to enjoy!
Part 1: The hobo infinity rag scarf
Well, maybe it is a bit dramatic to say a Facebook posting saved my life, but it certainly did talk me off some proverbial parenting ledge.
There I was, trying to nurse my daughter to sleep. I had been trying for over an hour. She was certainly enjoying herself, nursing when she wanted and then rolling over me, back and forth with a giggle. This all would have been funny had I not just finished arguing with my husband over the state of our disheveled house.
All I really wanted to do was to get her to sleep and then slowly sneak away to fold some clothes, but it didn’t look like that was happening anytime soon. What was actually happening was a fast and furious decline of my patience. Every time she jumped up to stand on the guard rail or slide off the bed, I got more and more upset.
Of course my mind went way off track to where it often goes in the darkest hours of the night. “Why am I still nursing my toddler to sleep? Why can’t I just put her in her crib at 7, close the door and have a night to myself? Why did I set her up to be sleeping with me until she goes to university?”…and so on and so forth.
Eventually she started to settle, but the nursing continued. It looked like this was going to be another all night buffet for my little one. I lay there annoyed with myself, my baby and my current situation. And that’s when THIS posting came up on my iPhone:
I instantly began to cry.
I instantly remembered why I nurse her to sleep, and why some (most) things fall to the wayside.
I instantly remembered why I begged and pleaded for this opportunity.
I instantly remembered that this too shall pass, and that when it does I will miss it.
I instantly turned off my phone and cuddled in for the night.
Written by Natasha Marchand, co-owner of bebo mia & mother to gorgeous Miss Sadie Lorraine!
There has been an interesting shift in the modern family in the last decade or two, particularly in the last few years. According to Census Canada, same sex marriage has almost tripled in the last 5 years! The 2011 census found that there was 64,575 same-sex couple families. Now, not to say all these couples want to go forth and reproduce, but for those who do, we have some great information for you.
This week is LGBTQ Fertility Awareness Week and you can read fabulous articles by experts in their fields. Find the schedule here. One such contributor is Rachel Epstein, an LGBTQ parenting activist, educator, researcher, and coordinator of LGBTQ Parenting Connections.
bebo mia has specialized training in support of the modern family, and wants to care for you and your little one. If you are looking at surrogacy, adoption, or IUI/IVF, we can support you through this potentially overwhelming, but wonderful time. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help you.
As a side note: a book we love – The New Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth by Stephanie Brill
There was this amazing book I read during the early days of trying to conceive. The book used being stranded on an island as a metaphor for infertility struggles. I remember thinking how truly accurate that metaphor was. I felt stranded, alone, isolated, and was often caught staring off into the distance at my friends on the mainland. I hated my island, I was miserable there and could not wait to get the *bleep* off.
Fast forward 4 years and here I am, my own feet firmly planted on the other side, baby in one arm and the map of my escape route in the other. It wasn’t easy to get here, and I’m not sure I ever want to go back. What I am sure of is that I want to help as many people cross those rough waters to get to this place. After all, I did it once, so I must know how right?
What I forgot was how unfair that little island can be. I forgot that sometimes, even if you follow a ‘fail proof’ escape plan, there are no guarantees. I forgot that no matter how hard you swim, you still may not make it to shore. I forgot what life was actually like on that island.
This is why I am here writing a letter of apology to my friend. The friend that I so desperately want to join me on the mainland. It is easy once you are here to forget the doubts and the sadness that come with trying to conceive. I think you block it out like any traumatic life experience, and before you know it you are just like everyone else who hands out advice like “just stay positive, it will happen!!!”.
So to my friend, I am sorry I have been so optimistic, so full of positive thought, so sure this was your time to cross. I am so sorry you are yet again staring at the single line of another pregnancy test (or another negative phone call in this case). Most of all, I am sorry that I forgot what it’s like on that foul island and did not support you in the way you expected from someone who has ‘been there’.
I was quick to assume that because I got off and because you followed similar directions, that you would get off too. But this is simply not true. I forgot to remember that everyone finds their own way off the island and everyone reserves the right to tread the waters lightly so to not have their heart broken. Although I know without a doubt you will get off the island by any means possible, my job as a friend was to allow you the freedom to tread the waters lightly and feel any emotion (positive OR negative) without reservation.
I’m afraid all I have done with my incessant positive words is given you further to fall, a larger pool of despair in which to swim. It was easy for me to be positive, to know that you will one day be here with me, because you are my strong, determined friend that would never take no for an answer. But I did not think of the consequences and that was not fair of me.
My job as a friend was to sit and allow you to feel whatever emotions you need to feel, to let you feel doubt, worry and fear. To be there alongside you when you feel positive AS WELL as when you feel like curling up in a ball and crying. For this I am truly sorry, my friend, and I vow to remember my time on the island and treat you like the strong, determined but also venerable person I have loved all these years. Most of all, I am sorry you ever had to step foot on the island in the first place.
As parents, we want the absolute best for our children. If not ‘the best’, then at least a little more than what we had growing up. For parents with new babies or young toddlers, the thought of searching out the best school may seem a bit premature, but it’s never to early to start researching your options.
Choosing your child’s education path is one of the biggest decisions a parent needs to make. There are different options available to parents, but not everyone knows or understands them all. Around the time baby starts walking and celebrates their first birthday, as parents, you need to start discussing and planning what type of education you want for your children. There are a few things you need to keep in mind when choosing the best school for you and your children: understand your child, make a list of things that are important in a school, begin evaluating potential schools and visiting them and, if appropriate, involve your children in the decision making process.
Public or Catholic?
The first and most common option is whether to put your child into the public or Catholic school board. Now, both of these options begin the year your child turns four. So, if little Sadie was born anytime in 2008, she would be starting school this September for both the public and Catholic school boards. Little Sadie would be in a classroom with other students all of the same age and this would continue year to year. The Catholic board differs in that parents need to provide a baptism certificate for one of the parents and the child, and will have to fill out a form stating that their property taxes are directed to the Catholic board. Children may register for both school boards free of cost.
French Immersion or Francophone?
Within the two school boards mentioned above, there is also the option to register your child in a French Immersion school. This means that the students will learn to speak French and will be taught subjects in French. Correspondence in these schools between parents and teachers is commonly in English if the parents are English speaking. This program can start in Kindergarten but can also start in later years. There are also private French Immersion schools. Children enrolled in a Francophone program generally speak French or have at least one parent who does. Correspondence between parents and teachers is commonly done in French.
Another popular option for parents is to enroll their child in Montessori school. These schools are private and tuition needs to be paid. One benefit is that their programs begin at a much younger age, most taking children at 2 1⁄2 years. The Montessori education is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits and respect for
a child’s natural psychological development as well as technological advancements in society. In the Montessori environment, classrooms have children of mixed ages, students choose their activities within a prescribed range of options, there are uninterrupted
blocks of work time with specialized educational materials and there is a Constructivist or discovery model where students learn concepts from working with the materials as opposed to learning through instruction.
A Waldorf education is another option for parents when deciding on what type of education they want for their child (again tuition needs to be paid for these schools). Learning is interdisciplinary, integrating practical, artistic and conceptual elements. The Waldorf approach emphasizes the role of the imagination in learning, developing thinking that includes a creative as well as an analytic component. The goals are to provide young people with a basis on which to develop into free, morally responsible and integrated individuals.
There are also various alternative type schools based on religion, talents, interests etc. Most of them are private but there are some options provided from the public school boards. Each alternative school is unique with its own approach to curriculum delivery and often requires a volunteer commitment from parents. Parents should research their options to find the right fit for their morals and philosophies.
And if none of these options are right for a family, there is also the option to home school. Parents take direct responsibility for their children’s education instead of sending them to a school. Parents do not need to be trained teachers and there are no legal avenues parents need to seek out. They just need to decide which approach they would like to take (although each parent’s approach can land anywhere on the spectrum). For example, there is a more structured approach in which the family follows a grade based curriculum using textbooks and worksheets. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there is child-led learning which is less formal and is integrated into daily life.
So, while making a decision may seem daunting, talking about it, knowing what is important to you and researching your options early will make this decision a little less stressful. Some parents spend some time researching each schools EQUA results to find the ‘best’ school for their kids, but remember it is not always about the grades!
Two years ago, I was blessed to witness the birth of a beautiful baby girl. Little did I know that years later, her Auntie would offer me insight into a world I have had a hard time understanding. Her name is Suzanne Shub and she lives in Brazil, a country that has the highest cesarean rate in the world. The cesarean rate is not high because the women in Brazil are designed in a way that makes vaginal birth impossible, but because they are choosing cesareans. More than half of all babies born in Brazil are delivered by cesarean, a figure that rises to 82 percent for women with private health insurance. Lately, the news has been getting out to other parts of the world that the women of Brazil are rebelling against the surgery’s popularity.
I wanted to hear from an inside source what was really going on. Were women choosing cesarean or were they rebelling against it? I contacted Suzanne to find out. Not only did she live in Brazil, but she has a pretty amazing job. She, and Vívian Scaggiante, own the company Além D’Olhar Fotografia, a company that specializes in birth videos and photography. Here is what she had to say about birth in Brazil:
“Most of our work over the last 3 years has focused on filming and photographing births in an attempt to encourage couples to recognize how important and beautiful natural childbirth can be. In February, we put our video of Sabrina’s home birth on You Tube and it went viral. In less than 2 weeks, more than 1 million people all over the world had watched the birth of Sabrina’s son Lucas.
We were contacted by news stations from all over the country who were interested in interviewing the birth team (a midwife, a neonatologist and a doula) in order to find out more about home and humanized birth (HUMANIZED BIRTH = birth that respects both mother and baby). They even began to question the high cesarean rate in Brazil.
Before we knew it, the weekly national television show ‘Fantástico’, watched by Brazilians from São Paulo to the Amazon, did a story on Sabrina’s home birth. They sought the opinion of a well known obstetrician who voiced his support for a woman’s right to choose where to give birth. This was enough for the Regional Medical Council in Rio de Janeiro to make a complaint against the obstetrician in an attempt to forbid doctors from performing home births. On Monday June 11, hours after this news had made it’s way to the internet, women across the country organized marches in 24 cities for the following weekend.
All of this upheaval marked the beginning of a string of conferences and lectures focusing on humanized and home births, and the issue became international news when it appeared on CNN.com at the beginning of this month.
On August 5, another march was organized in Rio de Janeiro in response to an announcement by the state’s Regional Medical Council, stating that doulas and midwives would no longer be permitted to accompany a woman in a hospital birth. Many private hospitals in the state of São Paulo are following suit. This means that a woman is no longer allowed to bring her humanized birth team into the hospital, which would ultimately give her more of a chance for a natural birth.
What can be done? Couples must be well informed about the reality of their pregnancy and when it is truly necessary to have a cesarean. Doctors in all private and public hospitals should be penalized if they do not respect a woman’s choices during her birth.
Spread the word about what is going on here in Brazil. Help make a change! Every woman and baby deserves respect!”
- Suzanne Shub
Let’s listen to her, and let’s help make a change. These women are choosing cesareans because their other options are being stripped from them. Their choice is cesarean or vaginal birth without the freedom to move, without a supportive birth team and without much hope for success. Not much of a choice! We need to take a stand for the women in Brazil as well as for the women in our own countries. As birth professionals, we see little bits of this seeping through the doors of our hospital rooms. It has to stop here. Spread the word!’
“So many people (both men and women) were telling me that I wouldn’t do a natural drug-free birth and that I would be screaming for the epidural. I blocked each and every one of them out mentally and followed my birthing path. It definitely wasn’t easy and I had an active labour for 5 hours. At one point, my midwife told me that I should consider pain medication and I refused profusely. As soon as I got into the jacuzzi and remembered my Hypnobirthing cues, it was smooth sailing. I even fell asleep in the tub through some really intense contractions. I strongly believe that no one knows your body like you do and that our willpower is a great source that we need to tap into. More women need to feel empowered and supported with their choices.”
Dorit wasn’t always so confident about her birth. She asked just as many questions as the next pregnant woman. But now, I didn’t even have to hear her voice to recognize the change in her since this birth. Her words are full of confidence and pride, proving that she listened to herself and found her inner strength.
That is what birth is all about. It’s about learning what YOU are capable of. It’s about learning to making decisions that are right for YOU, no matter what anyone else says. It’s about learning that YOU have all the power and knowledge you need to take on your new role as parent. That’s how a mama bear is born, deep in the trenches of birth where you must listen to yourself and believe in yourself to get out.
After reading these words, I know without a doubt that Dorit will continue to tap into that great source of power she found in her birth. That she will take this power into her role as parent and be the best mama bear she can be. Congrats Dorit, you did it!
Graydon has been losing her teeth earlier than most, so by 4 years of age, she had shed her baby teeth and was sporting two too-large-for-her-mouth adult teeth on the bottom. Well, this week, after much wiggling and some help with a bucket of rocks (to understand watch this clip), Graydon now has a MASSIVE gap in the front of her bouche.
With baby tooth in hand, Gray asked me if she hid the tooth, would she be able to keep it for a few days. Wanting to get the tooth for cash swap taken care of, I educated her on the wise ways of the tooth fairy – she will always find the tooth! That night, Graydon and I tucked her little cotton tooth fairy doll under her pillow with (I believed) the tooth inside. As we had just arrived back from Vancouver, Graydon was on Pacific standard time and was singing to herself still at 11:30pm, hours after going to bed. By 1 a.m. I was exhausted, the singing had stopped and I headed into Graydon’s room to make the swap. As I fumbled in the dark for the tooth in the doll, I came up empty handed. I went back into my bedroom to find my cell phone to use as a flashlight and I searched around the bedding for the stray tooth. In doing so, I woke Graydon and I had to tuck her back in and sooth her back to sleep. Once asleep, I went back to my search. The floor, under her pillows, in the sheets, behind the bed, and in the cases. Now, Graydon’s queen-sized bed has all white bedding and loads of big down pillows, so the hunt was a challenge at best!
Then it hit me. Graydon hid the tooth somewhere else and now my search radius has spread to her whole bedroom (and possibly the entire house). With my cell phone as a guide, I went through her favourite bedroom squirreling places and again, found nothing. I was trying to think like a 5 year old. How would I trick the tooth fairy? I was coming up with nada.
It was now 3 a.m. I had accidentally woken up Gray at least 6 times, and was panicked how the morning was going to look. Graydon now had a pile of change under her pillow and I had no tooth. Did she hide it? Did I drop it and she would find it and be confused why the tooth was still there and yet she got money? Would I ruin the magic (and authority figure) of the Tooth Fairy? I called my friend in a panic (yes, in the night). She advised me, in the most matter of fact way, how I would fix this – lie! I had not even thought about this in my exhaustion and distress. Of course, I could make up anything and she would believe it. So, I wrote a note from the Tooth Fairy advising Gray that she (the Tooth Fairy) had dropped the tooth upon her departure and would Graydon help her find it. This covered all my bases, and added a nice humanistic touch to the flawless magical beings that do such wonderful tasks in the night and provide such glorious gifts for which we parents do not get credit for at least a decade or two.
So morning came, and Graydon happily bounded into my room with her 3 dollars in change, and all was well (except for the tired Mommy).
Where are we now? Graydon and I still have not solved the mystery of the missing tooth, even after stripping her bedding. However, the magic of the Tooth Fairy lives on!
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Tomorrow is the big race and I hope I’ve saved the best story for last. Swimming. When I decided to do this triathlon, I knew from the start that the biggest challenge for me would be the swim. I didn’t learn to float swim until I was 10 years old. I had never had any childhood swimming lessons, and I didn’t really even like swimming. I like floating on an air mattress in the water. So, with this challenge ahead, I had to heavily rely on my trainer, Danielle. If you recall, she was the one who convinced me to do the triathlon in the first place. She kindly agreed to meet me at the pool in her apartment building at the end of March 2012. On our first meeting, she asked me to jump in and swim the way I normally would so she could see my skills. I carefully climbed into the pool down the ladder, being careful not to get my hair wet, and then dog-paddled half way across her 20m pool. She called me back and said “Ok, I can see we have some work to do here”. That’s when I knew I was in trouble. The last time she said those words, I couldn’t walk for a few days with muscle aches in places I didn’t know had muscles. “First,” she said, “you are going to have you get your hair wet”. She tossed me a swim cap and some goggles and said, “put these on, hang on to the side of the pool, and blow bubbles. When you need a breath, tilt your head while keeping your cheek and ear in the water and do it again”. We did that for 45 minutes. I was exhausted and light headed after that session. The next several weeks, we met 2 or 3 times per week to work on basic skills. The first few times I couldn’t even make it to the end of the pool without panicking and grasping for the edge of the pool. But, as I’ve learned over the past year of training, anything can be done with perseverance and practice. So, by the start of the summer, I was regularly at my local community pool swimming laps. Now, I can comfortably swim a kilometre or more. It’s almost become therapy. Deep rhythmic breathing and your mind can go blank. I have to say I’m really enjoying it.
During one of my sessions in the pool with Danielle, she suggested that I visit her and her boyfriend in Port Elgin where they were spending a lot of time this summer. Once again, in her chipper and positive way, she said “It will be fun! You bring your husband and the boys and they can go to the beach while we do a mini triathlon”. Again, I’m not sure she’s getting me, I’m more of the sit on the beach type than the mini triathlon type but, with the event not even a month away, I agreed. So, off we went the following week to Port Elgin. The morning of the mini tri came. First hurdle: jump off the 15 foot wake wall into Lake Huron. What!? No Way!! I like to ease in on the ladder. But, after she counted me down, I jumped into the cold water and had overcome my first challenge. We swam around some rocks and she pointed to some buoys which seemed tremendously far away out in the very deep water. She began to swim and so I followed. Then, came the dreaded sentence I knew was coming. “We are going to swim around those buoys and then back into the beach. It’s 400 metres” My eyes bugged out, knowing that with all my practice in hand, I had the skills to do this but I was scared, very scared. It was cold, dark and deep. There was no edge to swim to if I got into trouble. What if I swallowed water, or got a bunch up my nose like I usually do? I usually go to the side and cough and sputter and then continue. I had to do it, I had come all this way and my husband had agreed to use a precious long weekend in the summer to spend with people he’d never met and watch the kids so I could do this. She counted me down again and started her stop watch. Off I went. I was overwhelmed at first, and I kept thinking inside my head “I’m not going to be able to finish this distance. What if I can’t finish, I’m in deep water“. But, slowly I found my rhythm and kept swimming. Then I started to think, “the faster I’m done this, I’m out of the water”. Before long, she told me to turn into the beach and finally the water got shallow and I could see the bottom clearly and knew it was almost done. When we got out of the water and began running up the beach toward our bikes which were waiting on the beach, she told me I did it in 11 minutes and 30 seconds. A very good time. We biked 8 km after that. I did okay, except for going a little too hard and not having enough juice for the run. I blame the 40 degree temperature. I did it all in 55 minutes.
When we got back to her place, I was on a high. I felt so good about completing it. Mostly, it felt great doing the swim which I had been dreading. It was my first lake swim ever, and I did okay. Now, I discovered that my challenge would be the run. It sounds like a short distance but, after the swim and bike portion, it’s really tough, especially in the heat. But, running is one foot in front of the other and can be done with determination mixed with a little dizziness and nausea.
So, where are the stories of suffering that my previous posts have had that make you laugh, you ask? Well, after lunch and a rest Danielle suggested that we walk back to the beach and do just a bit of swimming. It was the main purpose of my visit after all. Off we went with swim caps and goggles in hand on a sunny afternoon, among kids licking ice cream cones and families packing up their beach toys. When we got in the water, it was a slightly better temperature than it was in the morning, but the water was choppy. So choppy that it was white capping. Anxiety set in when I was chest deep. I started to swim to the buoys as instructed. She knew I was scared this time because I made no jokes about it. I was very clear that she should be right beside me. After about 20 strokes out, I saw a man in a rubber dingy with his daughter. I heard him say to Danielle “she can hold on the boat if she needs to”. That made my heart sink, because now he had confirmed what I was feeling. I wasn’t doing well, I was panicking. I had no timing, water was splashing all around me and I was sucking in water and coughing. And now, it was beyond the point where I could stop and stand up and turn back to the beach. I was about 50m from the buoy. It was deep here and the panic was sucking all my energy. After what seemed like an eternity, I got to the buoy and I couldn’t believe my eyes for a few reasons. First, there was a dude out there, just hanging out in the water with these waves all around, throwing us back and forth. (Now remember, this is a recollection from a gal who thought she was going to drown. Danielle assures me it wasn’t quite as bad as my description, but agrees it was very choppy water). Second, I was now clutching this buoy for dear life that was 100m or more from the shore and all I could see were waves. This part is hard to admit, especially for public reading but, I was in tears. I was gripped with fear and panic and didn’t know how I was going to get out of the situation. Kindly, the man and Danielle pried me off the buoy and took me by the underarms and swam with me for a bit. Once we started back, it was a lot easier swimming because the waves were at my back instead of my face and I began to calm down and swim on my own. I thanked the man and he went off, probably to tell his friends about the girl he saved in the lake. We walked back to the house and I was really worrying. Now, I had no confidence and all I could think was “what if it’s like that on race day”. When we got home, I spoke with Matthew, who, as always, calmed me down and told me that I needed more lake practice. He said “you have the swimming skills now, all you need is a bit more lake practice to be able to overcome the fears you have in your mind about it”. Once again, he was right. So, since then, I’ve been back in the lake 3 more times. Twice it was pretty wavy, so I didn’t go in the deep water, but got a better sense of what it feels like to be in rough water.
Yesterday, I went to the spot on Toronto Island where the triathlon is being held and did a big swim. The water was calm and fairly warm, so I’m feeling okay. I still have moments of panic when I think about the swim and huge race before me. It usually sneaks up when I’m on the couch watching TV or sitting rocking my little guy to sleep. I’m working on putting those fears to rest so that I can feel excited and proud of all that I’ve achieved this year.
I truly never thought I would do anything like this and now the time has come. The race is August 25 at 8am. I need to do a 400m swim, a 10km bike and a 2.5km run. I have no idea what my time will be, and even though the race isn’t over, I have done what I set out to do. I trained for a triathlon and put it to good use by raising money for wonderful cause. If you have enjoyed my stories and found an ounce of inspiration, and would like to donate, please click the link and donate what you can.
The morning of the race, I felt a nervous excitement and had Matthew drop me off. It was overcast and rainy. I told Matt that if it was really difficult with the kids in tow and raining he didn’t need to be there. “Besides”, I said “Look, there are thousands of keeners all ready to rock this run”. “I will be fine, Right”. I found my assigned start area. I was ready to run my first 5km race.
As the horn blew to signal the start, the crowd slowly moved forward. There were lots of supporters cheering. After I crossed under the start banner, I knew the time was ticking and now, I wanted to do well. The first kilometre or so felt good physically. Emotionally it felt great to be with all the runners and hearing all the cheers of support from strangers. Then came the challenge. I was winded, thirsty, I had a cramp in my side and was running out of steam. I thought I must be at the half way mark or so, then I saw the sign at the bottom of a hill I was about to run up. I was only at the 2km mark. “Oh No” “I’m not going to be able to make it”. Is all that was repeating in my head. I have 3km still to go. Then came my relief, there was a guy standing half way up the hill with a sign that read “you are all nuts for doing this”. I laughed, and it allowed me to keep going. I slowed down, and slowly made my way to the top of the hill. I decided that I would stop and walk for a minute or two when I got to the top. After a 2 minute walk, I started running again. I was relieved to see the water station up ahead, and more people were walking around me now. Wanting to keep going, and feeling like a pro, after my energy burst, I decided I could take the water and drink it while I ran. They do it on TV in big races. That’s certainly not something the real runners practice. I thought, “even if it spills, it will cool me off”. My mistake was assuming it was water. I tipped back my cup and spilled the whole thing over my face and chest by accident. I know, you are laughing now. But, it’s seriously tough to drink and run. I challenge you all to try it. Now I was covered in sticky juice and I hate Gatorade as it is. So, at the next opportunity to grab a drink, I asked if it was water. She said “yes” This time I stopped instead and drank it back. I didn’t see any garbage cans close by and felt bad about littering and there were cups all over the ground. But, we are taught not to litter right? So, I asked one of the people where to put my cup. She said “just toss it”. She must have thought I was crazy. Maybe I am.
I continued around a bend, and after a few minutes, I saw the sign that brought on an unanticipated gush of emotion. It said “500m”. There was a person on a loud speaking saying “way to go runners” “thank you for your support” and “you are almost there”.
Tears filled up in my eyes. It wasn’t the distance I ran, it wasn’t the crowds of people lining the street (although that really helped) it was the sense of achievement I felt.
After I cleared the crowd, I realized that I had not made a very good plan with Matt. Even if he was here with the boys, I would not find them without a meeting spot. Also, because I was running of course, I had no phone to call him and no money either. I walked aimlessly for a bit trying to figure out what to do. I could take a cab, or the streetcar without money, I didn’t even have change for a payphone. Are there any payphone left anyway? So, I walked along and started to head for home. I knew it was about 7km away. I was not pleased at the least that I now had to walk 7km home. Thankfully, I turned down a street and saw a row of school buses with runners lining up beside them. “They have buses” I’ve never been so relieved to see a school bus. We boarded the buses and headed back to the start point. Now my walk would be less than a 1km, I could handle that. On the bus ride, the lady beside me was looking up her time on her phone. I didn’t realize that was possible or how to do it so I asked her to look me up. I ran it in 35 minutes. No world records broken but, a personal one for sure. I did it. Now I knew, with the right training, I would be able to do the “Give it a Tri”.
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Continuing with her goal to raise money for Damian’s Campaign and to complete her first triathlon, Kelly journals about training for the RUN component. Her first obstacle? A 5k marathon!
It was summer and I was feeling motivated. I got to the gym regularly and while I wasn’t seeing the pounds and inches roll off, I was definitely feeling a lot more fit and had more energy. So, with confidence backing me, I signed up for a 5km run at the end of October.
For most people, a 5km run might not seem like a big deal. But, I had never run that distance in my life, not even on a treadmill, and had never run in a race. The idea was that I needed to experience the competition aspect and see how it felt if I was going to do a triathlon. Signing up was the easy part. And, as the saying goes, all good things come to an end.
You know how they say that you shouldn’t run the day before the competition and should eat a high carb meal? I took that to a whole new level. I hadn’t run for over a month, the only thing running in my house were our noses. The boys both had colds back to back and so, of course, I got back to back colds. I was eating everything in sight and lack of sleep and low energy killed any motivation I had previously had. I had nobody to run with, and no idea what to expect.
I had a client that I been showing homes to periodically and through conversation found out that he was doing the 21km course of the same race. He asked if, after a day of showings, I wanted to pick up our race kits together. I had kind of decided that I was going to drop out of the race but, wanting to impress my client, I agreed. I didn’t have to actually show up on the day. On the way over, I told him “to be honest, I didn’t realize I had to pick up a kit”. He looked at me as if I had two heads and explained that I had to register, get my shoe tag that would give me my race time, race number and t-shirt. As we entered the hall, I was shocked by the thousands of motivated runners all there to register for what was sure to be torturous.
The evening before the big day, I discussed my options with my husband and was hoping he would say that I shouldn’t do it, considering I hadn’t been running at all. Surely, he would agree and I could feel better about dropping out. No such luck. He said, “If you don’t do it, you are going to be sorry” and “worst case scenario, if you have to, you can walk a bit”. I knew he was right, I had to do it and asked him to meet me at the finish line with the kids. They would be my motivation if I had none of my own…..
Will she be able to complete the race? We will find out next week.
If you would like to cheer her on and donate to the cause please visit the Holland Bloorview website.
Kelly, a very brave and hilarious friend of bebo mia, has decided to raise money for Damian’s Campaign by participating in her first triathlon while we read (and laugh) along with her. Below is her first blog post, there will be many more to follow until the big triathlon in the fall!
Exactly a year ago, my youngest son was 17 months old and had started daycare. I decided that it was time to get back to my real estate career, which I had been away from for a few years since my first son, about to turn 5, was born. First things first, I needed to get back to my former self in both body and spirit. So, while I put the wheels in motion to start the real estate business, I got a personal trainer. Since becoming pregnant with my first son, I had put on 30 pounds. I’ve never been the athletic type so this was going to be an uphill battle. In fact, it was going to be war, me versus food and the gym.
It was a brutal workout the first time I met Danielle. I had exercised a little during both my pregnancies, more so during the first pregnancy when I joined “Baby and Me Fitness” but, let’s be honest, yoga isn’t exactly a high endurance activity. I thought I was in better shape than I actually was. While I was being punished at the gym, with a glowing red face and barely enough air to drink water at the end of the workout, Danielle told me about the triathlon she was about to compete in. I thought “this chick is nuts…she actually sounds like she is looking forward to this”. Race day came at the end of August and Danielle came in 9th overall. I was so impressed, before I could put the words back in my mouth they came out. I said, “I would have loved to have done a triathlon when I was your age”.
What was I saying?! I wouldn’t have loved to do a triathlon! Why am I lying to this nice girl? Maybe because I wanted to sound more athletic than I ever really was? Maybe because I knew that ship had sailed long ago and there was no risk in such a ridiculous statement? Then, she said it: “You should do mini triathlon next year, the ‘Give it a Try’. It’s a 400m swim, a 10km bike ride, and a 2.5km run”. I laughed, and told her, “Listen, for one thing, I can’t really swim unless you count the doggy paddle, I haven’t been on a bike since 2004 when I went for a leisurely ride while on vacation, and my 38-year-old knees crack every morning as I walk down the stairs”. She said, “Nah, you can do it, I’ll train you.” I told her I would think on it, and hoped over the next few weeks if I didn’t bring it up, she wouldn’t either.
That September, friends who had tragically lost their baby boy, Damian, a year earlier sent an email describing the launch of “Damian’s Campaign” in honour of their son. They were raising money for a neonatal unit at Sunnybrook and were reaching out to friends and family for donations to their campaign.
When Damian died, it was a reality check on the important things in life. They had brought our group of friends closer than ever and put life’s small challenges into perspective for many. I had two healthy boys and couldn’t imagine their pain. I was so inspired by their actions. What an amazing, selfless act during such a difficult and personal time. Where did they find this spark to help others and honour Damian in doing so? All of this in spite of their grief. It was when “Damian’s Campaign” came to a close and over $100,000.00 was raised through personal and corporate donations that I decided that I could do more in my own life. I told my husband that next year I would do the “Give it a Try” and raise money for Damian’s Campaign. As usual, my wonderful, supportive husband said, “That’s a great idea. You have a lot of work ahead, but you can do it”.
As the reality of my commitment set in, I got a little nervous to say the least. What in the world was I thinking? I can barely get my butt to the gym for an hour twice a week, and I’m just getting back to work. I have 2 little boys, my house is in a constant state of renovation, I have enough laundry piled up to clothe an army. It was with all this in mind that I decided that I better keep my big mouth shut as to my intentions for the next couple of months until I ascertained that I could actually do such a thing. And so it began…
Stay tuned to see if Kelly can brush her laundry aside and jump on her bike. This year Damian’s Campaign is raising money for Holland Bloorview, A Kids Rehabilitation Hospital that would have been there for Damian and is there for so many other children in need. To support this hospital please click here.
It has been one month today since the passing of my father and it has been a really hard time for me and my family (not to mention so many friends and my family’s community). I find myself today sitting in the sun on the patio of a beautiful café in Chicago, Illinois feeling remarkably still and reflective. 31 days ago I arrived in Vancouver in time to say good bye to my dad (I am not sure if he heard me or not), and after he passed, I did what I do best; I made a list of things that needed to be done and got to work. It kept me busy and allowed me to make sense of something was so baffling so hard to comprehend. One of the jobs I took on was to put together a slide show of photographs for the memorial.
I always knew I had wonderful parents, but it was not until I looked at 64 years of photographs that I realized how ahead of his time my dad was. There were photos of my dad wearing each of us in the very tacky 1970’s brown corduroy carrier that saw 1000s of miles and many years of wear. It was just regular. It was an interesting discovery for me after so much noise-making went into the recent “Are you Mom enough” Time Magazine cover article. My parents never did anything to prove how good they were as parents, they just did it because it felt right and it was best for us.
My parents tackled the Health Ministry on several issues like birthing us at home (at a time when to do so was illegal) and skipping vaccines and fluoride treatments. After that battle they took on the Education Ministry when they pulled us out of school and opted to homeschool us through the 1980’s and early 90’s. My parents practiced bed sharing and the true definition of attachment parenting versus the helicopter co-dependency we see with moms/parents and their babies/children today.
Instead of going to church, every Sunday (rain or shine – and in Vancouver, it was mostly rain) my parents would round the four kids up and we would hike one of the paths in Golden Ears Provincial Park. It was magical. In hindsight I realize what an important ritual it was for my family.
In the summer we would be loaded up in the big blue 12 seater Dodge Van and would spend the better part of a week or two watching the Provinces and States fly by out the window while listening to cassettes of The Rolling Stones or Bruce Springsteen. If we were lucky, we were allowed to stand on the cooler between the front seats and stick our head out the sun roof while my dad would ramble on the CB radio (God bless the 80’s).
I learned many interesting and wonderful skills from my dad: to ride a motorcycle by the time I was 8, shoot any gun with amazing accuracy, understanding of the combustion engine, historical understanding of the history of World War I and II, to use forensic pathology to solve a homicide based on real crime photos, to understand maps, to slalom water ski, to solve complicated logic problems in my head, and the gift of loving to learn to name a few.
My parents made sure that we never went without, that we were never judged for our choices, that the stresses of work and life never seeped into their time with us, that we explored and tried everything, that we were active in our community, that we loved and respected one another, and that we knew we were true gifts to them both.
My dad, Thomas Eaton Sprague, was one of the most amazing men I have even met and he was a wonderful father, husband, brother, son, lawyer, and friend. Words do not describe how painful his passing is. To be honest, I cannot even process it and still reference him as if he was alive when speaking with my friends. I am still not yet prepared to let in the true depth of my loss. I want to thank everyone for all their help, love, support and kind words this month. Special thanks to the amazing bebo mia executive team for picking up all my pieces this month!
I think my mom said it best in her tribute to my dad:
At his core, Thom believed that the true measure of a man’s character lies in how well he treats his family, his friends and the people he works with. He believed aman should work hard and take care of those he loves and is responsible for. He believed that a good man showed up when asked and helped out when needed.Thom valued reliability in others more than anything and aspired to consistently exhibit the same throughout his whole life. It simply broke his heart when hebelieved he hurt or disappointed me, his family, his friends or his clients.
Thom made no apologies for his belief of what a man’s responsibility in the world is – be strong, work hard, take care of your people and your home – period.He was fiercely proud of his role as a father and cherished the whole concept of fatherhood. He loved his children with all of his being, and he never once believed that their care was more my responsibility than his own. In truth, Thom loved all kids: especially babies. And how they loved him, for a wide variety of reasons, but mostly because he listened to them, told them stories and taught them things he knew they would love to know.
He would tell you men, young and old, that you have no other purpose on earth than to love and take care of your people. Respect them, be gentle and kind to them, work very hard and do your absolute best for them. I believe he would also tell you to make sure you take care of yourself. Eat well and often, stay fit and healthy, have hobbies that spark your passions and interests that ignite your imagination. And he would counsel you to share your burdens – to not bear themalone, hold them in or believe they would be a burden to your loved ones if made apparent. You are not weaker in their eyes or less esteemed for doing so. On the contrary, you are vital and worthy of their care.
Love you always dad,
Hypnobirthing or Hypnotherapy is a unique method of relaxed, natural childbirth education, enhanced by self-hypnosis techniques. This allows women to use their natural instincts to bring about a safer, easier, more comfortable birthing.
A doula is the only person that you will consistently see through your pregnancy, labour and delivery and they remain on call for you 24/7! Imagine, you have a knowledgeable and maternal savvy best friend at your beck and call!
Ok, so we are well aware that a picture of a dad wearing his baby in a sling is not nearly as risky as a mom breastfeeding her 3 year old while he stands on a wooden chair, but for some men, wearing a sling would be the equivalent of wearing a 3 layered tutu. In fact, in 1980 a picture like this may have sparked the same controversy as the cover of TIME magazine did in 2012, especially if it came with the tag line ‘Are You Dad Enough?’
So, ARE you dad enough?
What is the mark of a good dad? Is it a man who happily slings his child to his back to let his baby mama get some rest? Is it a man who ‘brings home the bacon’ or takes the kids to soccer practice on the weekends? Is it a man who chose the career path of stay-at-home dad (SAHD) or a single father?
It is nearly impossible to dictate what makes a good dad, as each family dynamic is unique and ever changing. What is clear is the fact that the stakes of parenting have become dramatically higher over the last few decades. There is more demand for double incomes, childcare cost is astronomical and many couples become parents with little or no support from family. The idea of ‘it takes a village’ has all but completely disappeared.
The way we see it, there are 3 jobs that need to be done once baby arrives: parenting, earning money, and cooking/cleaning. That’s right, three major FULL TIME jobs and only two people to do them. With only two parents (in most cases), it is hard to find enough time in the day to fulfill each job requirement, so quite often, something’s got to give! Four feet trying to fill six shoes usually results in a messy-ish house, anoverwhelmed parent, or a child craving attention. This dynamic can also cause one (or both) parents to become resentful if they feel they have no time for themselves. In this day and age, families function most effectively when parents are equal in taking time away from home, work, chores and raising their child(ren).
This is where the TIME magazine article really irked us. The author swayed between the benefits (long term emotional health and well being) and downfalls (huge dedication and sacrifice on the mother’s part) of attachment parenting. The article never once mentioned the importance of fathers (or partners) except in a side bar article titled, ‘The Detached Dad’s Manifesto’ which encourages dads to take a step back because, “children can – and often do – get by without a father in their lives at all.” This point is so irksome because we feel as though it is a step BACKWARDS when we need to be two steps forward in this increasingly demanding society of modern parenthood.
Well, we know at least one dad (and I’m sure there are several million others) who believe their role in a child’s life is integral, and not to be taken lightly. Brian Russell, member of Dad Central and president of local fathering program Dads Today states, “Dads are doing more these days. Though it may not be equal with moms, in general, they are sharing more of the responsibility, caring for the kids more, shopping, bath time, reading, homework etc.”
Brian, whose email footnote is ‘fathers leave their footprints across the hearts of their children’, also admits there are challenges to the increased interest in parenting. “It’s a balancing act. Fathers are very busy these days with work, home life and community involvement”. His personal challenge is being away at work knowing he is missing out on special moments that happen at home. He makes up for this by being fully present when he is home. “I love being engaged in their lives. When I am home, I make my wife and daughters my priority”.
Julian Coutts (featured above) was ready for a child in his life, but admits that when it comes to doing things directly for his child, his wife Rebecca does more. “We never really divvied up the responsibilities. We just deal with them as they come up, plus my wife makes it really easy for me.” He states, “I am the bread winner of the family. We have things we each do more of but we have both done all of the responsibilities solo at one time or another and could do them anytime if needed or when requested by the other”.
When Kevin and Sarah came to bebo mia looking for doula support, they seemed to have it all together. Sarah had hired midwives and was nearly finished her birth plan, while Kevin was arming himself with as much knowledge as possible. He read the standard “What to Expect” books, attended prenatal classes and sat at the receiving end of many cautionary tales from other parents. He was hoping for the best and expecting the worst. Now father to 1 year old Brooklyn, Kevin has this to say about the experience:
“Although nothing could completely prepare me for the actual experience, once Brooklyn arrived I was overjoyed to find it was less challenging than my prenatal research had led me to believe. All of the disjointed pieces of information that I’d gathered were cobbled together with a ton of flying-by-the-seat-of-my pants moments to create some sort of semi-competent father. Of course, it hasn’t always been easy but it has always been awesome. In short, I can remember that being Brooklyn’s father felt natural to me from the first time I held her in the hospital. I’ve been unwaveringly captivated by her ever since.”
Brooklyn, who was born with the Houdini-esque ability to escape from every swaddler known to man, has always been the light of her parents’ eyes – but like Kevin said, it has not always been easy for the pair. In the early months, Sarah was diagnosed with postpartum depression. It was during this time that Kevin stepped in and took on more responsibilities as far as caring for Brooklyn. They would even co-sleep on the nights when Brooklyn was teething or sick. Now, months later, they have found a way to share the responsibilities equally and Kevin shares how he and Sarah have even found ways to make time for themselves:
“Now that we have our parenting legs underneath us, we are focusing on supporting each other as spouses, and not just as Brooklyn’s parents. We also give each other the gift of time. Saturday mornings are for Mama to do what she wishes (sleep in, gym, etc) and Sundays are for me. We even decided to shell out for a biweekly housekeeper and that has been a lifesaver.”
So, there you have it. Testimonials by three totally amazing, yet very different fathers who are leaving their footprints across the hearts of their children (take that, TIME magazine!). Some of you may be fabulous in different ways from the above examples but you should never question whether or not you are “dad enough” to your little ones. Rest assured that if you made it all the way down here to the bottom of this article searching for ways to be dad enough, then you ARE dad enough!
I have a little obsession. Nursing wear.
If hospital scrubs and crocs with socks are the first things to cross your mind then think again!
I am talking about clothes designed specifically for the breastfeeding mother. With discreet flaps and zippers that open up, diagonally, or sideways these shirts, dresses and sweaters (I’ve yet to find a hot little jumpsuit!) only expose the nipple making it oh-so-easy for baby to latch on and feed, anyplace and anytime.
My obsession began after my first purchase – an angel sleeve, black, Peek-a-boo T-shirt. I was working at Evymama, an amazing nursing and maternity boutique, with my Amelia at the time. She sat in the carrier while I worked and drooled at the beautiful nursing wear. I wanted it all.
The fact is that we should all feel comfortable breastfeeding in public. The reality is many mothers still find it an uncomfortable experience. The bottom line is that nursing wear makes breastfeeding discreet, easy AND stylish. No more covers over baby’s head making everyone too hot. No more pushing and pulling your pre-pregnancy shirts so buttons pop off and collars are completely misshapen.
So here are some of my favorite brands and styles:
Boob – A Swedish brand that has been around for some time, Boob’s fabrics are incredible. I’ve got a stunning knitted sweater that you honestly cannot tell is a nursing top. Now I want one of these shirts!
June and Dane – A Canadian brand, June and Dane has a stunning line. They even have a nursing cocktail dress complete with a beaded collar. Do I have one? Yes!
Heather Lehman – To be honest, I’m still waiting for a Canadian store to stock these shirts. They are gorgeous!
If you aren’t able to purchase a shirt or dress for each day of the week here is a great DIY site so if you are just around the house you’ll have your breasts oh so handy for that demand feeding.
Editors Note: bebo mia has long been a fan of Momzelle, they are local, bilingual and have great customer service. This tank is one of my favourites, and the model is a bebo mia team member!
Taya Griffin is a Mother, Homeopath and Lactation Counsellor. She teaches bebo mia’s prenatal breastfeeding classes and has a private practice helping mothers reach their breastfeeding goals.
On mother’s day at 6:30 am I got a call from my baby sister. Now I love my sister, but 6:30 am on almost any day in my world is too early for a call, especially a Sunday. Needless to say I was not my bright sunny self.
“I just called to wish us a happy mother’s day” she said. Half awake and barely intelligible I thanked her, and then asked her why she couldn’t have waited till a reasonable hour or texted me, or something. I blame my slowness on the early hour because she then had to repeat herself. “Yeah but I called to wish US a happy mother’s day!”
As the light went on in my brain, I started to gush. They had been trying secretly for a few months, which seemed like forever to them, but up until then, hadn’t had much success. Beyond that, it seemed everyone at her work place and in their life (with the exception of myself) was pregnant, many who weren’t even trying, and weren’t necessarily happy about it. It was torturous for her to want so bad to be something that someone else didn’t want to be.
We chatted for a few minutes and then I bounced around the apartment for the rest of the morning. How could I possibly have gone back to sleep after that? Being a doula, she had tons of questions for me, some great ones that made me have to think and research, and others that just made me shake my head and laugh. Through it all, the excitement they felt was contagious.
She was blessed with the families’ pregnancy warning system, also known as throwing up pretty much immediately. Not only did this suck, but it meant that she had to tell her boss very early in her pregnancy that she was pregnant. She was running out of excuses for the multiple trips to the bathroom, and why she couldn’t shove the appliances around as she had easily done before (she works in the appliance department of a chain store). She also, because she has never been able to keep a secret, decided to tell the family.
I was looking forward to being her confidant through the process, to answering her questions, especially the off-the-wall ones, and to being there to support her through the birth if that’s what she wanted. We were all completely floored when at 11 weeks she went for an ultrasound, only to find out that the baby had died several weeks earlier.
This led to a devastating time for her and her husband, and the rest of our family for that matter. Another sister was 6 months pregnant at the time, and she was still surrounded by baby bellies at work. Not only that, but everyone knew that she was pregnant, so she then had to explain that it was no longer the case.
Having been her sounding board over the past many months, as she’s grieved, and is still grieving, as she has struggled with wanting to try again, and her partner not being completely on board at first, as she has struggled with fears, and pain, and hope, I’ve had an interesting perspective on having a baby die.
There are some things I have learned:
1) Never say I’ve been there. Every experience is different, and every process is different. You have never stood in the exact same place as that person, so you just can’t understand.
2) Grief is different for everyone. It’s very hard as a couple to grieve a baby as one partner often wants to talk, and the other just can’t find the words. We all cope differently, and if you are going to be the sounding board, try to see both sides. It’s so important for a couple to grieve together, so making suggestions about common ground is always much more helpful than belittling the other partner for not stepping up.
3) The words you use can have a huge impact. They didn’t “lose” a baby. They were n0t responsible for the baby dying, like you would be for losing your keys, and the baby won’t be found again.
4) You cannot replace a baby. As a friend often says “if your mother died, no one would say that’s ok, you can just go have another one”. Unfortunately, when a baby dies, the consolation is often “you’re young, you can have more”.
5) Having a baby die is one of the most isolating experiences. The idea terrifies most people, and because of that they don’t know what to say. You don’t need to say anything other than “do you want to talk?” What you do need to do is make sure they know it’s ok, and listen. It’s not about you. It’s not about how you feel; it’s about listening to them and validating their feelings.
6) Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. I can’t tell you the number of times my sister has complained that no one says anything about the baby. Even acknowledges that she was pregnant. They do however ask if and when she’s planning on getting pregnant again.
7) It’s hard when you are excited about your life, to think of how it might impact someone else’s. For weeks, she couldn’t look at my pregnant sister, couldn’t visit, and honestly had a hard time just talking to her. It was very difficult after the baby was born. It reminded her of what she did not have that she so wanted. This is no one’s fault, but it helps if you tread lightly, and realize how difficult it must be.
8.) Be Gentle. One of the hardest experiences for my sister was when her husband’s sister announced that she was pregnant. A small head’s up would have prevented some very hurt feelings, and possibly some crying in her mother-in-laws bathroom. Let them know privately ahead of time, and then they can grieve, and still be able to be happy when you make the announcement to the group.
9) Don’t forget the partner. Just because he’s a boy doesn’t mean he isn’t hurting and doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t be acknowledged. They’ve walked the gauntlet of one of the worst parenthood experiences. I’ll call him on father’s day. I’ll have my daughter make him a card.
10) Acknowledge the loss on the big days. I talked to her in January when she would have been due. I secretly pray for another 6:30 call from my sister on mother’s day (although honestly I pray that it comes sooner, and perhaps not quite so early). If it doesn’t come however, I might just set my alarm for 6:29 and call her. She’s just as much of a mother as I am, perhaps more. She deserves to have that acknowledged. The baby deserves to be remembered.
As I was doing the final edit of this, somewhere around 6:30pm on Mother’s Day, (the one that comes in March ), my baby sister called me to say she was six weeks pregnant. Here we go again….
Angelina Kiwanuka-Quinlan is a bebo mia labour and postnatal doula specializing in care of multiples.
I had every intention of beginning to type this blog with two hands. Computer ready, tea made and a toddler happily busy with her duplo, I sat down in anticipation of a few moments of quality writing time. However, an empty, available lap proved far more tempting than a few plastic blocks, and before I could protest, there she was… breastfeeding. Oh…and having a chat.
I don’t think that I ever thought about breastfeeding a toddler. When I first started breastfeeding if you had handed me a walking, talking little person it would have been the strangest experience. But my baby started out 8 pounds, 7 ounces. A wee little lady. And we both continued to enjoy everything about breastfeeding. The closeness, ease in getting to sleep, help for ouchies (and boredom), not to mention all the health benefits for both Amelia and myself. As we move swiftly toward her second birthday, she shows no sign of slowing down or stopping. And here is were we get to the heart of this blog (thankfully back to typing with two hands!) and the question I am most frequently asked – “but how long do you intend to feed her for?”
My answer – “For as long as she would like”.
So how long will or should that be? Katherine Dettwlyer, a remarkable anthropologist, wondered what the normal weaning age of human babies would be if they were allowed to wean when they felt ready, as opposed to when society deems them ready, these days in Canada, usually around the year mark.
Examining the breastfeeding and weaning behaviour of non-human primates (those animals as close to us as is possible) she worked out that the natural weaning age would be between 2.5 to 7 years old. She looked at the milestones non-human primates met before weaning and compared it to when us humans would meet the same milestones. She found that non-human primates:
•Nursed until they got their first permanent molars = 5.5- 6.0 years in humans
•Nursed six times the length of gestation = 4.5 years in humans
•Nursed until they quadrupled their birth weight = 2.5 – 3.5 years in humans
•Nursed until one third of their adult weight = 5-7 years in humans
•Nursed until about half-way to reproductive maturity = 6-7 years in humans
Therefore a natural weaning age of around 2.5 to 7 years old.
There are a few things about breastfeeding a toddler that are challenging. The need for it in the most inopportune places, the feeling that one’s body is not quite one’s own, late night and very early morning snacking, etc. But for the most part, it is a beautiful, intimate experience often laced with humor, laughter and joy. The best is when I’m brought a toy truck or fire engine and told,
And now I am definitely not blogging. I’ve got a fire engine to breastfeed.
Taya Griffin is a Mother, Homeopath and Lactation Counsellor. She teaches bebo mia’s prenatal breastfeeding classes and has a private practice helping mothers reach their breastfeeding goals.
One of the questions our team get regularly when they announce they are a Pregnancy Support Practitioner/doula is: “is that like a midwife?” Now, if one is rushing to catch a train, they may answer yes, but the truth is, they are very different. A bebo mia Pregnancy Practitioner (aka doula) is there to offer informational, emotional and physical support during your pregnancy, labour, delivery and postnatal period. The practitioner/doula does not perform medical exams or procedures on their clients. However, they will be able to discuss results and go through the pros and cons of available treatments or actions.
A doula is the only person that you will consistently see through your pregnancy, labour and delivery and they remain on call for you 24/7! Imagine, you have a knowledgeable and maternal savvy best friend at your beck and call! Your bebo mia Practitioner/doula is there for you when you or your partner need her. She is there to take care of you, as well as your support person. This allows your partner or spouse the opportunity to take a nap, eat, use the bathroom, time contractions, update the family, be with other children (if you have them), shower, etc. AND you are still being supported during this important time.
A Pregnancy Support Practitioner or doula does not replace a doctor or midwife! Rather, they work well together as a team. Your midwife is responsible for the mother and baby’s medical well being, charting, tests, etc. Midwives arrive typically in late active labour (while your doula arrives in late early labour or early active labour), and remain with you until the baby is born. During this time the doula supports the labouring woman while the midwife performs procedures, charts, answers her pages, and works out the plan with the secondary on the file for the delivery.
A doula and a midwife make a beautiful team for home and hospital births.
To set up a consultation or to find out more information about our Pregnancy Support Practitioners (doulas), contact bebo mia at 416.363.2326 or firstname.lastname@example.org
So I may have jumped the gun last post when I bragged about the baby putting herself to sleep. We had a good run of amazing nights but then she got hit with a really bad flu bug and everything fell apart (thanks winter!). We are slowly but surely picking up the pieces and getting back to the routine but it’s really frustrating that all the hard work was wasted. Another bump in the road – I’m back to work, not full-time, but I’m working more than I had planned at this point and it’s starting to mess up her schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to be back to work, but it can be a bit much with a baby strapped to your chest most of the day.
As promised, here are the little solutions I tried to help Sadie drift off to dream land, the no-cry sleep solution is full of suggestions but I picked the ones I felt I could fully commit to with out compromising our style of parenting. Some worked, some were an epic fail:
1. Creating a Routine – Up until now I had been pretty spastic with naps, she usually has 2 a day but other than that I had been pretty frivolous when it come to time and place. Now my days are a little more scheduled and I book my meetings and playdates around her nap. Her 1st nap she is in the sling while I walk to some destination, and her second nap is in bed with me. Her afternoon naps went from 20-30 minutes to over an hour just by following this routine (I still have to sleep with her though).
2. Bedtime Routine – Creating this routine was a sheer testament to the fact that every baby is different. We tried all the routines suggested in the book, tried and tested by many of our friends, but nothing seemed to be working. Reading and bath made her way too excited (bath time is her favourite) and baby massage was not going to happen. We ended up putting her in her pyjamas long before bedtime (so she wouldn’t get riled up) and slowly turned down the lights until it was time for bed. In bed we played her lullabies while she stared at her mobile. For some reason this calmed her down enough to peacefully breastfeed and fall asleep much faster.
3. Introducing a ‘lovey’ – like a doll or blankie was a huge no no, all she did was chew on it until she was wide awake once again. A pacifier was also an option but she just plays with them, she prefers her 140 pound mama pacifier.
4. Diminish Sucking to Sleep – Humm, that was a good seqway. This is by far the hardest suggestion in the book for us. Sadie loves to fall asleep nursing and loves to stay attached even after she’s asleep (just incase she wakes up). The book suggests I pop her off once she has stopped ‘drinking’ but 9 out of 10 times she fusses until she is back on for comfort sucking. You are supposed to repeat this over and over again until they fall asleep but sometimes I am just too tired for this and it can make her really upset. I will be working on this step for the next 10 days and get back to you. One trick the book suggests is to lightly press your finger under their chin once you pop them off, which worked a few times!
So its pretty much back to the drawing board for us, now that she is feeling better we are going to start all these steps over again. This time I will FULLY commit to diminishing her need to suck to sleep, if she will allow it. She runs the show after all!
‘MY BABY JUST PUT HERSELF TO SLEEP AND IS SLEEPING ON HER OWN!!!!’.
Ok, so I have to confess I read ahead in the book, I was desperate for some small things I can do NOW to help with this situation. I’m hoping these small things have led to THIS moment and that it’s not just a fluke – ’cause I could get used to this. But I digress, before we get to the nitty gritty I have to rewind back to the folded page and do the work. The next step in this program is to answer some questions to assess the situations effect one’s life. Below are the questions AND my answers:
Q: Am I content with the way things are, or am I becoming resentful, angry, or frustrated?
A: It depends on the day (or night). Some days I am so happy to ‘have’ to go to bed at 7pm and cuddle with my little one. Usually I’ve had a long active day and bed seems like the perfect place for me at that time. Then there are days where she refuses naps and nights where she will just NOT STOP nursing, I desperately want to have some time to myself, but it just seems impossible. I can get really frustrated and impatient with her – which is not at all how I want to feel towards her.
Q: Is my baby’s nighttime routine negatively affecting my marriage or my job?
A: You betcha! Going to bed at 7pm can seriously put a damper on your relationship. I miss my husband and the nights we spent together. I knew life would change when I had a baby, but I would really love to spend at least a little bit of time with him…alone. As far as work goes: I am a business owner so I do not get Maternity Leave, and even if I did, I probably wouldn’t take the full year. I love my job, I crave the work, I am lucky to have an amazing business partner to pick up my slack but I would be so happy to contribute a little more. I must have been delusional when I thought I could be back to work by this time – I honestly thought I could work during naps and after bedtime!
Q: Is my baby happy, healthy and seemingly well rested?
A: Yes, she is happy (almost) all the time. She’s growing like a weed and hitting all the milestones. To look at her you would never know how little she sleeps during the day.
Q: Am I happy, healthy and well rested?
A: Is this a trick question? I’m exhausted! I have not slept longer than 1 or 2 hours in 6 months. Although, I do have to admit that I am happy. I have wanted this for a long time and there are days where I cannot believe my good fortune. A few months back, the answer to that would have been no, at that point I was too wrapped up in what ‘should’ be happening that I was not paying attention to what ‘is’ happening. Once I accepted this routine as the new way of life for me, I could finally relax and stop watching the clock. I could grab a latte while on one of my many ‘nap walks’, or I could catch up on some reading while lying in bed with her. Once I stopped resisting, I became happy again. I know it sounds funny to want change if I’m happy now, but I wish to be happy AND well rested. As far as healthy goes, I could stand to do a few more squats!
Q: Based on facts, what is a reasonable expectation for my baby at her age?
A: Two naps with total length of 3-4 hours, 10-11 hours of broken nighttime sleep (waking up about every 4 hours to nurse)
Q: What naptime, bedtime situation would I consider acceptable?
A: 2 naps a day, one in carrier one in the bed (with me some days, without me some days) – I’d love these naps to be at least one hour in length. As for bed, I would like to read her a book, give a little baby massage, feed her and put her down to sleep. I could then spend a few hours by myself or with my hubby and curl up with her when its bedtime. Waking up 1 or 2 times during the night to feed feels acceptable to me at this point.
These questions were easy enough to answer, but the real doozie of a question lay hidden quietly in the text of the pages and it went a little something like this: “In your heart of hearts, is your baby’s sleep habits truly upsetting you, or do your problems lie more in the perception of those around you?”. Such a good question, one that took me a very long time to answer. While I truly believe I need more sleep, I also believe I wouldn’t want it half as bad if I knew I wasn’t alone. Everywhere I go I hear stories of babies who slept 10 hours a night by this age. I have grown tired of people asking me if my baby is a ‘good’ baby which is really code for ‘does your baby sleep through the night?’. I do not consider Sadie a ‘bad’ baby because she wants to seek comfort from her mommy after a long day, I just consider her a baby. Whenever I mention bed sharing, nursing down or carrying my baby, I am told that I am spoiling her and creating bad habits.
So yes I guess a lot of my reason for wanting to change our situation is because I’m tired of feeling like I’m doing something wrong and that is why my baby does not sleep well yet. I think in a perfect world (a world where I did not have to work or clean or shower), I would be quite content to have her attached to me at all times. The truth is, I do not live in a perfect world, not by any stretch of the imagination. I’m tired and need to make some small changes for me… at least I hope I am doing them for me.
It’s bedtime for me, I promise part 4 will have information on what has brought us to this one beautiful night.
I would like to start my blog series by first saying how totally and completely blessed I am to have Sadie - she is one of the funniest people I have ever met, shes curious, happy and full of moxy…I just wish she would sleep the tiniest bit better. Even in her early newborn days she was described by her midwives as a ‘snacker’ which means she ate small bits and then napped small bits round the clock, which meant very little sleep for me. Everyone told me it would get better at 1 month, then at 3 months, but here I am at 6 months with no end in sight. During the day she gives me long stretches of time without eating, but at night its back to snacking virtually all the time. I would, at this point, describe myself as the human pacifier.
Her naps are not ideal either – she very quickly got used to my carrier and prefers her naps in there, which was fine when she was 6 pounds. Now she’s nearing 20. I have been working hard to do at least one nap in a bed but, as with night time, she requires the human pacifier to be with her, and even then she may only nap for 30min, if I’m lucky. I hear glorious stories of babies who take 2 hour naps, 2 times a day – I can tell you that is not my little miss. I’m happy with 2 hours in a whole day.
Ok enough complaining, let’s get to the task at hand, the first thing required of me by the ‘No-Cry Sleep Solution’ was to track her sleeping habits for a 24 hour period. The book has charts and graphs for me to fill in but I thought I would just summarise it for you. Here it is:
9:50am – nursing in my lap, 30min
12:00pm – Carrier, 40min
3:30 – Carrier, 1.5 hours (this was special!)
7:00 – start bedtime routine
7:30 – start nursing her to sleep
9:20 – finally sleeping
10:20 – wake up to nurse
11:00 – sleep
1:00 – wake up to nurse
2:22 – sleep
3:40 – up to nurse
4:40 – sleep
6:15 – up to nurse and kick her feet around
7:00 – up for the day.
That’s right, read it and weep (for me, and for yourself if this looks familiar). She spent around 5 hours nursing (nursing/sleeping) and around 5 hours actually detached from me for sleep. The longest stretch I got the whole night was 2 hours, and I was grateful for that! I really do love sleeping with my little one but I am not sure how much more of this I can take. I worry she is not sleeping enough and I’m worried for my sanity.
My goal for us over the next 30 days is simple, to have us both sleeping through the night (which by definition is a 5 hour stretch). Oh – and I would like to be able to put her down and leave the room for a few hours too – right now I go to bed with her at 7pm!
So what’s the next step? I’m not so sure… I was told by the author not to read ahead until I recorded the sleep habits. I’m going to take the next few days to read the book, figure out a game plan, and get back to you. Fingers crossed that this works!
As one of bebo mia’s co-owners and founders, Natasha thought she had this baby thing licked…..until her baby came along. Now nearly six months old, her daughter Sadie barely naps, nurses to sleep and wakes up countlessly through the night.
Exhausted and nearly at her whits end she’s asks friends and family for advice only to hear the inevitable “she will never learn to sleep on her own unless you let her cry”. However Natasha, a devoted attachment parent and long time follower of Dr. Sears doesn’t feel the cry-it-out solution is whats best for her and her little one. After all, she knows for a fact the little miss would win the battle and it would be her ending up with eyes full of tears, it’s happened a few times in the car.
But each and every sleepless night brings Natasha one step closer to her boiling point, one step closer to doing, what is to her, the unthinkable……letting little Sadie cry herself to sleep. In a last-ditch attempt to gently get this strong willed baby to sleep she has purchased The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley and endorsed by Dr. Sears.
Over the next 20 or so days Natasha will attempt to read and follow the solutions laid out in this book. The following blog series will tell the story of baby Sadie who went from waking every 1/2 hour to sleeping through the night (we hope).
It’s become a bit of a party trick – not eating my placenta – but rather showing off my prints, dehydrated artwork and capsules that were produced as a result of my placenta encapsulation.
It was during a conversation with my birth doula, Bianca Sprague, that the subject was initially raised. We were discussing the third stage of labour, delivery of the placenta, and I joked that we were going to eat it. Bianca lit up at the mention, and suggested that bebo mia encapsulate it for me.
Encapsulate my placenta?
My first thought was having it bronzed…. and then Bianca explained that bebo mia arranged to have it steamed with Chinese herbs, sliced, dehydrated and subsequently ground into a powder and placed in capsules.
Placenta = gross!
I struggled with the concept initially, and then I dove in and began to research!
The general consensus for those who took their placenta capsules experienced:
- no post-partum depression
- increased milk supply
- shortened lochia cycle
- a boost in energy
- improved ability to cope with stress
- replenished iron deficiency and anemia
Considering that I was going to be a first time mom, due late January (when I would undoubtedly hide indoors for at least a couple of months to avoid the cold,) I feared post-partum depression. Combine that with a family history, and I was sold. The encapsulation fee was a small investment – and an insurance policy – on my overall physical and emotional health.
The encapsulation service took a couple days to complete, after which my placenta was returned to me. I received placenta artwork, (which included a section of umbilical cord dried into the shape of a heart,) a placenta tincture I could later use as a remedy on both myself and my child, and 2 jars of placenta pills.
It became a bit of a morning joke, my placenta pills and a glass of juice would appear bedside for me to take. I called them my crazy pills, because without them, (and I did experiment to see what might happen if I didn’t take them) I was definitely more emotional, hormonal, and weepy.
When I was upset or fatigued (or bitchy), my partner would gently ask if I had taken my placenta pills and I would emotionally reply that I hadn’t and needed a few extra. Not only were they my crazy pills, they were a relationship saver!!
And so, I ate my placenta! And I’m glad that I did.
For a very funny male perspective, and educational video on placenta encapsulation, I suggest you read Joel Stein’s article, “Afterbirth: It’s What’s For Dinner”
Tuesday night, bebo mia attended the Women’s Health Summit hosted by Bryce Wylde. The event provided a venue for women of all ages to hear informative and thought provoking discussion on the subjects of heart disease, breast cancer and sex.
Dr. Alvin Pettle kicked off the breast cancer topic with a live demonstration of a breast exam – on Bryce Wylde!!
We learned of a case of a mammogram coming up clean, and yet a patient pressing for answers regarding a lump she had found. The lump was in her left breast, in the 2 o’clock position (upper left quadrant) during a seated breast exam. The patient was then moved to a lying down position and the lump remained in the 2 o’clock position – it didn’t move!
According to Dr. Pettle, cancer doesn’t move during this change, it holds fixed to its position. It may also appear on the breast as an irregularity or indent when the arms are lifted overhead. Dr. Pettle then sent his patient for a thermography scan, and the only hot spot found on the scan was the lump. It was subsequently biopsied, removed and the patient remains cancer-free and in good health.We walked away from the seminar empowered and informed.
We now know the best time to complete a breast self-exam is during menses, and to compare results month to month. If any changes are observed – get it checked out. If the diagnosis comes back clean and you have a gut feeling that something isn’t right – press forward and demand more testing from your health care practitioner. Be an advocate for your health.
As women we often leave our health at the bottom of the priority list, as we are busy taking care of everyone else. Let’s change this reality. Just as on an airplane, let’s put on our oxygen masks first – without them firmly in place, we won’t be around to care for the friends and family we hold so dear.And here, a little food for thought – no pun intended!
Sayantani DasGupta shares a very funny perspective on how man might behave if he could lactate (not to take away from the men who can actually produce milk that is). Enjoy!
The bebo mia family grows bigger every time a baby is born and this year we have grown more then we could have ever expected. To celebrate we decided to throw a Happy Halloween Party, we also wanted an excuse to see all the bebo mia babies in cute little costumes! The party was so successful we have decided to make it an annual event, there are even whispers of a holiday party!
If you do not like cuteness stop reading now ’cause below are some of the cutest babies we have ever seen. Enjoy the photos and HAPPY HALLOWEEN to our growing family!
bebo mia’s newest bear cub
a ladybug and a cat hang out, that happens right?
the cat found the mouse, and the princess found a cookie!
the first pumpkins to arrive
two skeletons in the bebo mia closet
blue eyed bumble bee, so gorgeous!
a bumble bee that looks just like dad
this lil’ monkey really wanted this camera
there’s a new sheriff in town
did you ever wonder what yoda looked like as a baby?
this giraffe costume at least makes US smile!
Dorothy gets her apple
the pumpkin patch
you cant see it here but this Jessy had the best cowgirl boots
kitten (that’s actually her nick name)
the group photo
I remember the days, the days just before AF (Aunt Flow) arrived, when I couldn’t decide whether to buy an econobox of tampons or an equally large box of home pregnancy tests. I would try my best not to get my hopes up, but any little sign (sore boobs, a slightly queasy tummy, being 4 hours late) would get me dreaming again, only to be shot down by AF and her evil plot to ruin my weekend.
I was sure my AF showed up each month just to add insult to injury. Not only were my hopes dashed but I was also feeling an inhuman amount of pain. I couldn’t decide what to cry over, the stabbing pain in my stomach or the disappointment of another month down the drain.
Eventually I became desensitised to her arrival, it was no longer a shock to me. In fact, I actually came to a breaking point and decided it was time to let ol’ AF know who was boss. 2 years into my TTC (Trying to Conceive) journey I decided to welcome her and treat her well for the days she was with me. After all It couldn’t hurt, and who knows, maybe it would piss her off enough to stay away for say…10 months?
I began getting up a little earlier on the days she visited to meditate, nothing crazy, I just sat by myself in the living room with a herbal tea and breathed a little slower. Then I moved into a series of poses designed to alleviate some of the symptoms that often come with Auntie Dearest.
These poses really helped me in the months leading up to my first positive pregnancy test. I’m not going to lie, I still had cramps but they lessened and became a lot less emotional for me (and my husband). Below are some of the poses I used, in the pictures there are bolsters, blocks and straps but you can use anything you have around the house, like pillows, blankets and belts!
Reclining Bound Angle – I used this pose to open up my hips and increase blood flow, it’s also good for decreasing anxiety and depression (much needed!)
Supported Child’s Pose – Balances the endocrine system and alleviates cramps, I would often put a hot watter bottle on my lower back ’cause it felt so nice! This pose is also very calming.
Supported Wide Angle Forward Fold – Also circulates blood into the pelvis and alleviates cramps. Pile the blankets as high as you need!
Supported Fish – This is a good counter pose for the above forward folds, It’s good for regulating hormones and can help to slow a heavy menstrual flow. I usually did a child’s pose after this or hugged my knees to my chest because it felt nice on my back.
So there they are, my favorite AF yoga poses. It is important during this time of the month to take it easy, slow down your yoga (or any other activties) and let your body do its job.
If you would like to know more please contact me at email@example.com You can also take a look at the services our fertility department has to offer or sign up for our most popular program luno mia – a six week fertility yoga program.
Pictures provided by Naomi Greenberg of Mahavta Yoga, our beloved and talented Fertility Yoga Teacher.
With my background in Holistic Nutrition, I understood the importance of delaying the introduction of solids with my son. Elliot was 10 lbs at birth, and had breastfed to 14.7 lbs by 7 weeks – he’s a solid little boy!
From a very early age, Elliot was joining us, in arms, at the table for our meals, in an effort to create a positive family atmosphere surrounding meal time. Before long, he was sitting with us at the table in his Bumbo playing with toys, and shortly thereafter, in his high chair. It didn’t take long for Elliot to realize what was going on – delicious aromas would waft from the kitchen, and our family with sit down and eat whatever I had crafted for our dinner. Elliot was sitting up in his chair, intently watching food move from our plates to our mouths, salivating, reaching for whatever dish may be nearby, and growing angry that we weren’t sharing!
He exhibited all the signs of a child ready to start solids, holding his head up, sitting up, showing interest in foods, reaching for them, salivating, and being more than double his birth weight….It was time and I was nervous. I had a fear of exposing Elliot to something that would cause him digestive distress, have him choke, or worse – have a life long allergy. It felt like a lot of pressure.
I called in reinforcements, my good friend Meghan Ford, who shared an abundance of knowledge and personal experience and reminded me, above all, to have FUN with it!
Such a simple, refreshing piece of advice. Have fun! And I must say, I did just that.
I chose to delay introducing grains, as they were more likely to cause digestive distress and
started off with the basics: fruits and vegetables – as an allergy to those was less likely. Banana was first with no ill effects…then 3 days later avocado with the same success! I started to breathe a little easier and continued, every few days, with a new fruit or vegetable (always organic of course!). I was still breastfeeding a lot, as Elliot’s exposure to foods was mostly about tastes and textures at that point. He wasn’t consuming any real quantity of anything. And the facial expressions along the way were hilarious – so keep your camera nearby as there will be much to capture. As I continued to play with the introduction of fruits and vegetables, I started to adjust the textures of purees from smooth to lumpy, and eventually to small pieces Elliot could pick up and feed himself. This worked for Elliot and I, and he had a few teeth to utilize, so for us, it made sense. It may not work for everyone, so please follow your parental instincts and adjust accordingly. You know your child better than anyone.
Sitting at the table with us one evening, Elliot was around 6 months old, I passed him a piece of stewed beef I had cooked with our dinner. He closed his fist around it and tried to stuff the whole thing in his mouth. Unsuccessful with is first attempt, he opted to gnaw away at it in delight. Shortly thereafter I also shared chicken, salmon, and in time for Thanksgiving – turkey.
Around 7 months old, I decided to play with rice and opted away from rice cereal. It actually shocked me that the ingredient labels on organic rice cereal contained wheat AND dairy! Inspired to find something better, I picked up Brown Rice cereal by Bob’s Red Mill that contained brown rice and nothing else. I cooked it up, mixed in some pear and Elliot didn’t like it. My winning streak had come to an end. So I made a slight change in direction and at my local, favourite health food store (The Wholesome Market on Queen Street East) bought numerous brown rice products including rice bread, rice cakes and rice puffed cereal. I was back on track with my little man – he currently loves rice cakes dipped in hummus!
Elliot and I have learned a lot along the way – he has learned that he can feed himself, spit things out, throw food on the floor, and shout for more.
I have continued to learn that as a parent, we cannot control our children especially where their diets are concerned. We can only try (and possibly fail), and continue to provide healthy, balanced, nutritious options.
For those of you interested in learning more about introducing solids, what to introduce, when and why – bebo mia runs a Peas on the Ceiling series with upcoming start dates available on our website (http://www.bebomia.com/)
What is the deal with push presents (or gash gifts -
for those who have had a surgical birth)? The
tradition of gift-giving to mothers after they have
their baby(ies) has roots in parts of Asia and
Europe, but has gained in popularity in North
America in the last 20 years. The term ‘push
present’ was first used in 1992 in the U.S. and
spread like wildfire since.
Some people feel that the post-birth gift is given
due to the guilt that men feel, because the women
they love had to go through the 9 months of
pregnancy, sickness, and changes to their bodies,
not to mention the emotionally and physically
challenging experiences of childbirth. Others had
a more positive view of the gift; it came from the
awe and gratitude of witnessing the awesome
experience of childbirth and the power they saw in the women they loved during the birth. bebo mia
likes the idea of the latter. We love to think that these gifts, according to the 2007 survey by
BabyCenter, that 38% of women get, come from a play of love and admiration, rather than guilt.
Seeing as there are no guidelines around what kinds of gifts to give, we thought we
would help you out with a couple ideas:
Erin Tracy Designs, located out of Liberty Village, has exclusive, simple and elegant jewellery that
cannot be found anywhere else. They do beautiful custom work and the materials used are unique
and Japanese inspired. You can find jewellery made from concrete, gold, silver, diamonds, coral,
acrylic and wood. The pieces are worth a visit through the website or a trip to the studio -
Erin Tracy Designs have something for any budget! Our favourite? – the Fira Dome Ring.
Call or email to book an appointment (416.220.6508 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
You want another idea? Try a bebo mia postpartum doula or night nurse. Help your partner smile
after finally allowing them to enjoy a full night’s rest. See a happier mom after a day full of napping,
good food, baby support and a bath, after being taken care of by our fabulous Parenting Team.
Call or email today to book a push present/gash gift she will remember (416.363.2326 or
Baby-wearing is a great way to connect with your baby, and for him/her to feel safe and comfortable. Newborns love to hear your heartbeat, and feel your body heat. It’s an easy way to get in some skin to skin time, and also leaves your hands free for doing almost anything! Going on walks while wearing your baby is also very nice, as it allows you to be closer, and you don’t have to push around a big stroller!
Our personal favourite is the Chimparoo. And no, not just because of the cute name! It’s 100% Canadian made, and comes in stretch organic cotton or woven organic cotton for extra stability. With no buckles or straps (that could break or dig in to you), there are many ways to wear it, whatever you find easiest, most comfortable, and/or your baby enjoys the best. Most of the positions cover your whole back and shoulders, offering more support – therefore more comfort – than other carriers with just two shoulder straps. Either your secondary birth doula or your postpartum doula can bring it to your home for a quick demo, and if you purchase it from Bebo Mia, you save on the shipping! What more could you ask for? http://www.chimparoo.ca/en/home.asp
The Ergo sells their original carrier for $115 on their website. They also have other options to choose from, such as performance, sport, and organic. It can be worn wherever is most comfortable/suitable to your and the baby’s needs; the front, back or hip. One of our clients recommended it saying, “The baby seemed very comfortable and at ease in the carrier, and the movement seemed to soothe her.” http://www.ergobabycarrier.com/
Mei Tai carriers are the traditional Asian carrier design. It is a rectangular or square piece of material, with ties on each corner. It can be worn on your front or back, and be used from newborn to toddler. Since Mei Tai is not a brand name, but instead a certain style, there isn’t a link here.
Pouch slings and ring slings are similar to each other, in that the carrying position is the same (they are both over one shoulder, and the other side is around the opposite side across your chest, ribs, and back), but the difference is that a pouch sling is a stretchy piece of material in a tube-like shape, and a ring sling isn’t connected at the ends, but instead has a ring that the material gets tied around to lock it in place. They are great for breastfeeding in public, as the baby doesn’t need to change position, and it offers you coverage if that’s what you’d prefer.
One of the more popular carriers on the market is the Baby Bjorn. It is 100% cotton, and machine washable. As they baby gets older, you can fold down the head support, and carry him/her facing forward. Although it is easy to use, people have been known to complain of shoulder and back pain. Even when used with the back support, it is common to still experience discomfort. It’s important to note that this option may not be the most comfortable for the baby, as it can put pressure on his/her hips, potentially resulting in hip displacement. ‘Babies R Us’ sells it for $149.99 http://www.babybjorn.com/
Bag slings get their name because they look like bags! However, they are not recommended, because they have been known to cause suffocation in infants. The sling naturally pushes the infants head toward their chest, and it is easy for their face to get pushed up against the material, and also the top edges touch together and close overtop of the baby, cutting off fresh air supply.
If you have your sling and you are not sure how to use it, or you would like to sample other ones before investing in one, we offer a class called ‘Kangaroos Have it Right’. For only $95 you learn about attachment parenting, how to use your sling, and the class teaches new parents all about other wraps, slings and carriers. The class also includes other useful information, such as co-sleeping.
If you do choose to carry your baby hands-free, please remember to practice beforehand (even more beneficial when somebody helps you) and read the instructions very carefully. Babies who cry in carriers usually do so because they can feel whoever is carrying them is nervous about doing so because they don’t trust the carrier. But still, it never hurts to make sure there isn’t a squished foot somewhere, just in case!
This is what Infertility Awareness Week is all about: shedding light on the subject so that even if you have not walked the infertility walk, you can talk the infertility talk and be a better friend to someone who could really use one. Below is a list of information I wish my friends had known when I was going through infertility. I hope this serves as a tool or a guide for anyone who knows someone dealing with this diagnosis. May you be the reason they finally come out and tell their story; may you be the reason this topic becomes a little less off limits.
1. Be an open ear: The first thing your friend will need is someone to listen to them. Chances are they have bottled up some pretty heavy stuff that will need to be unloaded on the first willing participant. I can not tell you how happy I was when someone would JUST LISTEN; no advice, no anecdotal evidence, just an open ear. Which coincidentally brings us to our next piece of information:
2. Lose the advice: Whenever I would tell someone what my husband and I were going through, the first words out of their mouth was a piece of advice. “You just need to relax” or “you need to go on vacation” were the most common, (and if I was lucky I would get some advice on sexual positions to try – eek!). None of this advice is helpful. In fact, all it does is make one feel as though they are at fault for their struggles. The truth is, they probably have a real physical reason why conception has been a challenge so the advice of “legs up the wall” for 45 minutes after sex is probably not going to help a blocked tube. If you wish to give advice, make sure it is SOLID advice based on fact.
3. Remember them: On important days, such as mothers day and family day. These days can be extremely difficult for woman who are desperate to have a family. You may want to send along some flowers or even a bouquet of ovulation predictor kits (infertiles go through these like water). Chocolates are good too….preferably dairy free as chances are they have long ago cut dairy (along with many other things) out of their diet.
4. There is no such thing as JUST adopting: Don’t ever say this! While it may be a viable option, it is just that, an option. Just like every option, the pro’s and con’s need to be weighed before making a decision – adoption is not one to be taken lightly. Besides that, adoption is not easy either; it takes a lot of time, a lot of money and for many, a lot of heartache. It may also not be the way your friend had envisioned starting their family. They may choose this road, but if they do they will first need time to mourn the loss of a biological child – one that has their eyes, their sense of humor and their talents.
5. Practice Kind Pregnancy Announcements: I can not say this enough, surprise baby shower invitations and ultrasounds on facebook can be very hurtful. I am not saying you should not be happy for yourself or other pregnant friends and family members, but be responsible. Contact your infertile friend and let them know there is an invite in the mail or that a BIG announcement will be made at the next dinner party. They will be grateful to have someone soften the blow. For myself, this could have saved me from a lot of hours crying in random bathrooms.
6. Please don’t offer your children: PLEASE! We will take them. No matter how unruly you think your children are being that day, please do not offer them to your infertile friend. All you are really saying is, “Look what I have and you don’t”. Your infertile friend would give ANYTHING for what you have, and is probably in the process of doing so. In the same vein, do not offer your uterus or your husband’s sperm, unless you really mean it. You may also want to shy away from comments such as, “well, at least you can sleep in”. Like I said before, your infertile friend would give ANYTHING to wake up to someone calling her mama.
7. Try your best and don’t give up: To tell you the truth, being a friend to someone who is trying to conceive or going through infertility treatments is NOT easy. Somedays it may feel like you can’t do or say anything right; something that would cheer them up last week can make them burst into tears this week. This is because the ups and downs of infertility are ongoing: 2 weeks of trying, 2 weeks of hoping, followed by days of loss (on a never ending cycle.) If your infertile friend has become upset with you or has decided to build themselves a cave of solitude, just let them know that you will be there for them when they are ready to come out. Trust me, your efforts will not go unnoticed, and soon your friendship will fall back into place.
In a nutshell, what I am trying to say is be there for them, listen to them and when in doubt, ask them what they need in that moment. I wish things could be a little easier for people struggling with infertility as well as for their friends. However, like any other diagnosis or illness, it can be very hard on everyone involved. Right now, my hope is to spread some awareness around infertility and how to talk about it, so no one ever has to suffer in silence again.
Working with pregnant families, we frequently hear anxiety-filled complaints of there not being enough time to get everything ready before baby comes. We would like to offer some help prioritizing what really needs to be done.
Your baby doesn’t know if she has a 3 piece bedroom set assembled in the nursery or that his Dwell bedding is on backorder. Babies require very little! They need something to eat (boobs….. no assembly required), somewhere safe to sleep, a sling or carrier to be worn in, a carseat, a few cotton sleepers, and some diapers. Really! That is all… oh, and someone to hold them – all the time.
Now we appreciate that between Babies ‘R Us and your local baby boutiques you will acquire so much more, but you do not need it before you deliver. You do not know what your birth and postpartum period is going to look like. So let’s first see what happens, and then purchase according to need. For example, you may need an electric pump due to your milk supply (or lack thereof) but you will not know this until day 7 or so after you deliver. On the flip side, you may spend $600 on an electric pump before you give birth and you discover after delivering that you produce enough milk to feed an army of babies, in which case you could hand express or not pump at all.
We see many parents buying bassinets, play yards, cribs and co sleepers prenatally, which is premature, as you cannot predict what will work for you and your newborn! It is purely trial and error. Your baby may love co-sleeping (please contact us for safe co-sleeping instructions) and now you have a bassinet taking up precious floor space in your bedroom and turning into the master bedroom catchall rather than infant sleeping quarters.
You may order a fancy jogging stroller only to find out you do not like jogging with your baby, or buy bottles, warmers and sterilizers only to have your baby never use a bottle. You get where we are going with this – instead of scanning lists of mom-must-haves-for-2011 or of toys that have been recalled, enjoy your pregnancy and last bit of hands free time (for a while anyway)! Visit friends, take prenatal classes (knowledge is power as you enter the world of so many unknowns), SLEEP, and enjoy time with your partner and loved ones.
When it comes to baby products, less is more! Your bank account and living room floor will thank us later.
Visit www.bebomia.com/classes to explore how we can help you with: your prenatal education, having the birth experience you want, and support when you bring baby home. Call or email if you have any questions or to book your free consultation. 416.363.2326 or email@example.com
We appreciate that when most of our clients get the 2 pink lines on the pregnancy test and immediately: a. move, or; b. renovate. Thus, their physical environment gets tossed into chaos and upheaval. This can make even the calmest person go a little crazy – not to mention that we do have some pregnancy hormones at play here. It is important that you can keep your cool with a lot going on around you (because wherever you are birthing, there will potentially be a lot going on!) So, while you are dealing with dust, boxes, movers, realtors and/or contractors, we want to help you stay cool, calm and collected to keep those stress hormones down for you and your baby’s sake!
bebo mia offers HypnoBirthing®, a birth education program that teaches you to replace fear and tension with confidence and relaxation. The skills learned in this 5 week class are amazing when applied to your labour and delivery (whatever birth goals you have.) Hypnobirthing is the gift that keeps on giving! The relaxation and calming tips and tricks learned from your Hypnobirthing Practitioner can also be applied during the regular stresses of being a new parent and the ins and outs of life. Whether you prefer a weekend day class or a weekday evening class, bebo mia has one to suit your busy schedule. Please check out our Classes Page to find out more information, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask any questions or to register.
Happy Birthing!Photography by Krista Fox and Melanie Galbrand-Chen at Verve Photo Co.
If you have ever dealt with infertility then you are familiar with the question ‘why me’. After every negative pregnancy test, every loss, every failed treatment ‘why me?’ is the first question we ask. Why is it so hard for ME to get pregnant? Why is it so easy for everyone else? Why have I been chosen to walk this long and hurtful path?
As a child I was asked what super power I would choose if I could, now that I am grown up I think I would choose the ability to answer the elusive question ‘why me?’. There are a number of reasons why this is not possible, the first being the difficulty to name this super hero and the second being the consequences to knowing the answer before we should.
Over the last few years I have asked myself this same question over and over again, only to find myself at a loss. Is this a test for me? Am I to learn something from this? Is it true that whatever doesn’t kill us will only make us stronger?
In our support group I have heard us all try to answer these questions over and over again, I have even heard some answers. Maybe this journey will make us better parents, parents who really know how badly we wanted children and really feel lucky for have been given the opportunity (should it arise). Maybe our relationships need more work before a baby can be thrown in the mix, after all if your dealing with infertility for years and your still together, you have probably built some pretty amazing communication skills. I have even heard it said that “All the mothers in the bible who were once barren went on to have the best children” so who knows, maybe we will get better behaved children out of all this? Fingers crossed!
I do not know if any of the above is true, all I know for sure is what I have learned on my own path and my own struggles. I know that I have spent a better part of my ‘honeymoon’ period making myself and my husband miserable. I know that I have been just a shell of a person for 2 weeks out of the month and a sobbing mess the other two. But I also know that I have learned more about myself over the last 3 years then I have in my whole life.
I don’t know if self realization was the purpose of my journey but it was certainly a silver lining on my dark cloud. I could never really understand why I, a doula, a childbirth educator, a prenatal fitness instructor would have been handed this fate. I spend all day educating woman and their growing baby bumps, yet I could not even conceive. I mean isn’t that the very definition of ‘those who can’t do teach’? I felt like a walking failure.
Now I know that if it was not for this pain and loss I would have never realized the need to step back from my role as a doula and lay my tracks on another path. I would have never learned how to properly care for myself, to nurture myself and put myself first from time to time. I would have never created a fertility support group, a fertility yoga class or studied hypnosis for fertility. I would have never met the wonderful, amazing, talented women who have walked this path along side me. I would not be who I am today.
So do I look at this journey as a gift? I don’t know. Do I think the answer to ‘Why Me?’ is ‘because I’m the luckiest girl in the world’. I don’t know that either. All I can say is that we all have the ability to decide how we look down this path, how we view it and how we feel along the way. There will always be days when I will look at this journey as a punishment, but I hope there are more days that remind me how much I have gained along the way. I know that there will never be a super hero who swoops down and shows me why this path has been chosen for me, so instead I will choose to view this as a blessing, even If I am not so sure. And yes, I know this is easier said than done!
Natasha Marchand is the Director of Fertility and Co-Owner of bebo mia. After nearly 3 years of trying (and a perfect combination of assisted reproduction and complementary medicine) she is finally pregnant with her first child. Noticing the lack of support for woman/couples with IF problems she has created programs to help herself and others in similar situations.
If you are looking for more support on your fertility journey please take a look at bebo mia’s support groups and yoga classes.
I was once asked if I had gotten to that sweet spot during a breastfeeding relationship where one “fell in love with breastfeeding”. I looked quizzically at this person as if what she said was the most asinine thing one had ever heard. In love with breastfeeding?!? Who ever is in love with breastfeeding? I always just saw breastfeeding (up to that point in my life) as a job that needed to be done and moved on from quickly. It was a chore, albeit a rewarding one (my daughter was gaining weight quickly). But that is how I saw it. This is my journey through my eyes, the eyes of a mother (wanting the best for her children) and that of a birth professional (with her reputation on the line).
My name is Amanda Burke; I am the extremely proud mother of 3 amazing little creatures; Amy, our eldest (8), Julianne, our middle (2) and Kieran, our baby (61/2 months and counting). I am also a 6 – year veteran in the field of family support; I am a Doula, Childbirth Educator and now owner of the largest Doula practice (bebo mia) in Toronto and quite possibly Ontario. My journey with breastfeeding is one of hills and valleys, failures and victories.
We begin in 2002; I was 22 and thrust into motherhood (unexpected, unplanned, unattended accidental homebirth at 36wks pregnant). We had brought home a very wee baby (4lbs 4oz) after an epic 10days ordeal and were treated to the revolving door of family and friends. About the 3rd day home a visit from a Public Health Nurse was the make or break point with my breastfeeding relationship with my daughter. We had not been breastfeeding at this point however the nurse insisted that with a little guidance we could get this up and running. So she decided that this was my moment to make it happen, my moment included being observed by my husband, my mother (granted she had been nursing babies since 1980), my 2 younger brothers (10 and 8) and my very good friend from high school (male, gay but male). I was shell-shocked from my birthing experience, our first 10days postpartum and now I have to whip out my boob in front of an audience? I was extremely nervous and uncomfortable and unable to express these feelings. The nurse never offered to take me to the bedroom or asked how I was feeling about what was going on, the environment or anything else. Needless to say that was a complete and utter (udder? LOL) disaster and something I was never to repeat. We immediately went back to formula and at 12months switched to cow’s milk. Amy developed wonderfully and she is a blossoming young lady and I marvel at her daily. But I often think of that moment with the PHN and wonder how different things could have been had she just tuned into what was happening, tuned into me and what I needed in that moment (a quiet, private room). I would have loved to say I breastfed my 1st but alas I cannot.
2008 after several years of stalled fertility whether medically or just the Universe saying, “you need more time”, we gave birth to our second daughter. Julianne’s birth was as different from Amy’s as you can get; I was now a birth professional (3 years in the field), I had chosen midwives and I was having a homebirth. Well the homebirth was not to be (PiH meant a hospital birth, which turned into an induction with Pitocin and eventually an Epidural). Julianne like her sister before her decided that at 37wks she was done gestating and out came what we believed to be (according to the scale) a wee thing at 5lbs 6ozs. With the help of our support team: midwives and doulas we managed to get Julianne latched and it felt normal and comfortable and I was determined to make this work! I had a plethora of theoretical knowledge, I had helped over 40 families establish and maintain breastfeeding relationship, so in my head I thought, “and how hard could this be”. The days after Julianne was born was a struggle; she had a small little rosebud mouth and I have ENORMOUS boobs!!! It was a terrible combination, so at the end of the first 24hrs I caved and gave her formula in a bottle. I thought to myself “great, another failure”. We arrived home 2days after her birth and I was quickly out to Wal-Mart to buy a pump, this kid was going to get breast milk even if that meant I was going to pump and finger feed her until she grew enough to handle my over abundant ta-tas! That is what I did, for 3 days I would pump and finger feed and pump and finger feed and supplement with formula. By the end of that week I was exhausted and on the verge of a breakdown, my midwife arrived at my door and I couldn’t even say hello without tears welling in my eyes. She asked me what was happening and I told her about the pumping and finger feeding and formula routine. She asked me if I wanted to breastfeed, I broke into tears and says “yes, desperately”. And then she asked “what would make sense to right now?” I said, “giving her a bottle” and Lisa nodded. I gave Julianne a bottle of pumped milk and of course she downed it in seconds and I felt this huge weight lifting. So later that evening, it was time for bed, I gave Julianne 50ccs of milk (all I had left); she drank it and was still wide-awake! I looked at her and I got nervous; “what do I do now?” I thought. So I picked up my precious baby, swaddled her as tightly as I could and I nervously put her to the breast … she took it!! So that was the start of a brand new routine: bottle, swaddle, and boob. Eventually we eliminated the swaddle and the bottle and before I knew it I was exclusively breastfeeding. All was well; at our 6wk discharge appointment from the midwives Julianne was 12lbs 4ozs!
Julianne and I worked together for 7months; I continued to struggle through either vasospasm or thrush (both undiagnosed) with pain so intense at times that I was going cross-eyed and curling my toes, a spirited baby who never liked being covered up so nursing in public was always a chore (would often glare at people, thinking “I am covering up for YOU”). I also was often left to feel alone and sad; no one had ever spoke of the loneliness that comes with breastfeeding. No one ever tells you how breastfeeding, especially in the beginning, is a lonely and thankless job (a baby never says “thanks”). I just looked at it like a job, you and me kid we got 20mins to get this job done. I know it sounds harsh that I limited her to 20mins but really if I fed her any longer she would become this spewing disaster. And finally at 6.5months I decided I was done. I wanted my “freedom” back; I wanted to sleep through the night (granted that didn’t happen for another 6months). She was very interested in food and we did somewhat of child-led weaning, she discovered new foods at her pace all the while being supplemented with formula. Julianne is now 2 and she is bright and vibrant. I appreciate the challenges we went through and I am proud of my efforts.
Enter Late 2009 Early 2010: We are caught off guard by a surprise pregnancy 13months after Julianne. It took many, many weeks to get my head around the idea that we would be welcoming another baby into our family in August 2010. At 23wks we discovered we were having a boy, which was exciting after having 2 girls. At 34wks we learned that Kieran was breech (sigh), another plan for a homebirth dashed. We worked for 5wks solid with homeopathics, acupuncture, moxa, meditation, swims in the pool and finally a failed ECV. On August 24th 2010 we welcomed our son (lofty 7lbs 7oz) via scheduled surgery (I have run the gamut on birth experiences). Leading up to his birth I spoke with dozens of people and many warned me about the challenges of breastfeeding after surgery … NO WAY, NOT THIS TIME!! So less than 20mins in recovery I had a baby on the boob! It was the first time that it felt “natural”; I was so deliriously happy and relaxed. That night I just laid with him all night, just staring at him and any time he wanted to nurse I was right there. I never had to resort to formula, a bottle or tube. It was him and me. I called a good friend 4 days after baby, in tears, why did my son only eat for 5mins? Why did my son sleep for 2hrs after every feed? She chuckled and told me that I should be thankful and keep that piece of knowledge a secret.
Kieran only ever lost 2% of his body weight after birth, got through his meconium in 12hrs, by the 6th day of life he was 7lbs 9ozs. He continued to gain steadily. He is a boob monster all the way; he will opt for me rather than a soother or his thumb or fingers. He is currently 4 ½ months and is probably 17lbs. He is my greatest victory, after 8years I have finally done it! I have finally breastfed a baby successfully from the very 1st moment of life! I enjoy the quiet moments he and I have; I enjoy nursing in public (I no longer glare at people because I just don’t care what they think anymore), I enjoy knowing that all of his weight gain is based solely on the nourishment I have provided him. I have fallen in love with breastfeeding!!!
During pregnancy…“drinking may produce a false sense of security and cause you to become careless about your health – to be careless about what you eat, to stay up too late or in some other way endanger your pregnancy. But if you are used to alcohol, a limited amount will do you no harm.” This advice comes fromThe Canadian Mother & Child guide produced and distributed by Health Canada. One might guess that this was from the 1950’s and be surprised to learn this expert advice comes from the Canadian Government ‘s 1977 edition. It is safe to say that most adults would be clear on the fact that drinking alcohol during pregnancy is not recommended, not for the social reasons set out by Health Canada in 1977, but rather to avoid the risk of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (or FAS.)
There are some less obvious shifts in trends relating to pregnancy, labour, delivery and newborn care over the last 2 to 4 decades. Frequently, the expecting parents are noticing a pattern of conflicting information between what the books are saying and what their parents (the Grandparents-to-be) are advising. The Grandparents-to-be are speaking from their experiences 20-40 years prior, and these happenings can be very outdated. To avoid any of the inevitable conflicts, re-educating those family members that will be supporting the new parents is a really good idea.
The changes in maternal and paediatric health care are not the only things that need to be clarified before baby’s arrival date. The expecting parents and their parents also need to be clear on what role the latter are going to have and what is expected with regards to their grandchildren. This clarity is important for everyone involved. For the most part, parents make a choice to take on the role of ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad’; however, grandparents innately adopt the title, whether they want it/are ready or not.
Recently, I was talking to a couple moms (who were sisters) and their mother. When I asked the Grandma (“Gammie”) if she felt that she was respectful of her daughter’s parenting wishes regarding their 3 year olds, she answered confidently, “Why, yes! Of course!” but then followed it up with a less confident, “Right? Am I not, girls…?” Her daughters exchanged glances and raised their eyebrows at each other. The sister-moms both started listing examples of how their mom did not fully follow the desired rules they had with their children. Their mom, Gammie, looked hurt and vehemently defended herself. This was a good starting point for them to have a retroactive discussion that could have proactively occurred at day one (or before the babies even arrived) thus avoiding this resentment and hurt feelings.
Clarity around expectations of grandparents is important for all people involved. I have heard from many clients about situations where Grandma’s House is perceived as a free 24/7 day care facility – which can throw a kink in retirement plans if childcare wasn’t intended to be in the daily routine for the new grandparents. Again, with some open communication and clear boundaries, a strong team can be set up to raise healthy, balanced children as a family.
bebo mia has created the A Little Rum Goes A Long Way class to get those Grandparents-to-be up to date, and on the same page as the expecting parents. Some of the curriculum includes, supporting the parents-to-be with their parenting choices, what is good and bad ‘spoiling’, creating and working within boundaries set by the new parents as well as current labour and delivery practices and protocols (thank goodness, no more shaving and enemas when you walk in the hospital door in labour!) This class is done privately and can include the expecting parents in the class as well. For more information or to schedule a private class, please contact email@example.com or call 416.363.BEBO (2326)
Photo Credit: flickr
bebo mia takes great pride in their team and thought it would be a fun venture to feature a Doula (or staff member) each month. Come back month after month to check out another one of our wonderful staff members!
This month we have chosen Heather Jones; she has been a Doula since November 2009 and has been attending births ever since, with many more coming up in the New Year. She is our senior most mentored Doula; since joining our team in May she as been invaluable not only to us but to our clients as well. She was keen to help us out over our very busy summer and again for our busy Holiday season, as well as stepping in to help out several postpartum families. Thank you Heather and please keep up the awesome work!
If you are looking for a caring, enthusiastic and knowledgeable doula, look no further, she really has a natural gift for supporting new and growing families. To learn more about Heather, please read on to her exclusive bebo mia interview.
bebo mia: Why did you decide to become a Doula?
Heather: After a very positive natural birth experience of my son (March 2009), I felt that it was important to share it with as many people as I could.
bebo mia: How do you view birth?
Heather: I see it as one of the most beautiful moments in a family’s life. I believe it to be a natural process that everyone is capable of (with adequate support). It truly can be both a challenging and empowering experience.
bebo mia: What have you learned in your time as a Doula?
Heather: I have learned so many things but the most important lesson is to expect the unexpected and to be prepared for any situation. I have learned that each woman and each experience is individual and to accommodate those individualities. I have also learned about how much negativity surrounds childbirth and that without fear women can have a positive experience (as she defines it).
bebo mia: What tip(s) would you like to share?
- Trust that your body knows what to do; we have history behind us to support normal birth.
- Avoid negative birth stories; movies, tv, books and instead surround yourself with positive ones.
- Educate yourself but not to excess. Remember we are our own best teachers, so trust your own instincts.
- If you have questions that you are embarrassed about just open up and ask. You may be surprised not only by the answer but the fact that you are not alone.
- Ask for help. I feel that this is important not only through the pregnancy but through the birth process as well and most importantly during the early days of baby being home. We are not meant to do this alone, so don’t try to be a superwoman; there is no shame in asking friends and family for support.
Bebo Mia: Thank you Heather for sharing your thoughts on birth and your journey to date as a Doula. Congrats again on being our Featured Doula of the Month, you deserve it!!
A few things Heather’s Clients have to say:
“Heather was able to give me the support that I needed, whether it was a change of a position to ease my labour, a glass of water to drink, and her hand to squeeze. She was there for me in every way imaginable and was a great comfort right until my baby Klara was born.”
- Sandra Zunic
“Heather’s professionalism and confidence put us at ease through the ups and downs during the birth of our daughter. We couldn’t imagine going through it without her.”
- Lindsay Beckstead
bebo mia’s Director of Parenting and Holistic Nutritionist Kelly Maslen shares her knowledge of toxins and the effects they can have on you, your fertility and your family.
There are many man made chemicals that can disturb the hormonal system within our bodies that we are exposed to on a daily basis, some of them come from fuel, pesticides, cleaning agents, and plastics. Although these synthetic chemicals have made our lives so much more convenient they also have the ability to create a very unhealthy environment for ourselves and our children.
Chemicals that we are exposed to are called hormone disrupting chemicals because they mimic hormones and are not easily broken down by the body, they remain and can accumulate within our fatty tissues and can be difficult to eliminate from our bodies. A women’s fatty tissue is concentrated in the breasts, ovaries and placenta during fetal development, also it is found in the brain and used in our bodies as padding and insulation. In the case of chemicals they are not stopped by the placental barrier, there are certain chemical compounds called hormone disruptors that are being transferred from mother to infant.
Hormones are potent organic compounds that deliver messages all over the body, cell to cell. Some examples of hormones are adrenaline responsible for the fight or flight response, insulin that helps regulate blood sugar and thyroid hormones that regulate metabolism and brain development. Hormone disruptors can carry the wrong message to the cell and can wreak havoc on our competent, effective body.
When our hormones are out of balance they can do more then urge us to eat a tub of ice cream or cry during a commercial. Hormonal imbalance can contribute to diseases like endometriosis, breast or prostate cancer, lowered sperm counts and our ability to fight off disease.
There are many things we can do to decrease our exposure to harmful toxins such as:
- Eat a diet low in processes, hydrogenated, and animal fats. Include good fats such as olive, sesame, walnut, and flaxseed oils. Organic oils are the best choice.
- Buy natural shampoos, pure natural soaps, creams and oils from your local health food store. Extra virgin coconut oil is an excellent way to stir fry your veggies or moisturizes your dry skin.
- Don’t use chemicals in the garden, there are many natural alternatives, check with your local gardeners and ask for their organic fixes.
- Use natural cleaning supplies such as lemon, white vinegar is great as a disinfectant or grease remover, salt and baking soda for scrubbing and removing tea stains.
- Don’t microwave foods in plastic and try not to store foods in plastic or aluminum foil. Use glass containers.
- While breastfeeding do not go on a diet to lose weight a recommendation form the World Health Organization. The weight will balance over time naturally and enhancing weight loss can stir up many toxins in your body and can be expressed into your breast milk.
- Consult with a holistic nutritionist to find alternatives to harmful chemicals and expelling toxins from your body.
Information and education on chemicals used in our products can be overwhelming, however knowing how and what to avoid can make a difference in your health, your children’s health and the health of our planet. Taking little steps day by day introducing organic foods, and purchasing less plastic can become routine and easily integrated into your lifestyle.
You know that Treehouse is on way too much in your house when the only words you can think of to introduce your new site comes from the mouth of 5 year old Daniel Cook; “Here We Are!”
After many, many months of writing, editing, plunking in pictures and text; www.bebomia.com is finally a reality. bebo mia really wanted to come out of the gate with something new, fresh, modern and hip and we believe that our website achieves just that. We have gotten awesome feedback so far and are always open for more.
bebo mia began as a whisper almost six years ago; Amanda thought the idea of Doulas working collectively was necessary for the success and strength of the birthing/family service field. When she shared this thought with others it was often met with reservation and the ever spoken “Doulas just don’t work that way” comment. Undeterred Amanda kept on and in 2006 met Natasha at a HypnoBirthing for Doulas training. Amanda mentioned to Natasha about her idea of Doulas working collectively and with bright eyes and oozing enthusiasm Natasha said “how do we make that happen?” It took another 4 years to find the team that would become the “Core Four”.
Kelly was next to jump in, excited about the idea of having reliable back-up and the opportunity to explore other possibilities including her passion for postpartum care. Only a few short months later she met up with Bianca at a Doula Speed Dating Event. Bianca was quickly on board and and completed the team with a driven passion to change the way we as Doulas are viewed by the medical establishment and the general population.
And that is where we are in 10months; we created and launched a website, hired 5 amazing staff members (check them out on our “About Us” page), branded ourselves and are quickly being recognized as that brand. We are bebo mia; the driving force in Toronto and your one stop shop for all that is fertility, pregnancy and parenting related.
Please enjoy your time on our site; check out our awesome classes and services and please check back from time to time for new and exciting workshops and blog entries. And if you are interested in what we have to offer; whether you are looking to start a family, are already pregnant or a Doula looking for a great mentoring program feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
The bebo mia team