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This blog is about life with a baby. It's not always what you expect and there is definitely no job description. Every baby is different and unique which is why motherhood can be so scary, fun, terrifying, exciting, and rewarding all at the same time.

Be sure to also check out our Travel Blog where you can share and read stories about travelling with the family.


We encourage you to share your experiences - by sharing your experiences and commenting on other posts, you may be helping other moms.


  • Monday, March 08, 2010 12:32 PM | Joanna

    Rules for Postpartum Guests

    I got the following list from my midwives during my pregnancy. I find these quite humorous, probably because I have heard stories from friends (new parents) of appalling behaviour by their postpartum guests. One new dad told me that his in-laws insisted on waking up their newborn every time they came to visit so that they could hold him! 

    Below, I  include the introductory note by the midwives that accompanies the list. Enjoy, and pass these on to your expecting mommy friends or better yet, to their friends and relatives (or yours if YOU are expecting)! :-)

    A NOTE TO POSTPARTUM GUESTS FROM THE MIDWIVES
    Since  this mother and newborn are spending their first few precious days at home together instead of in the hospital, there are no hospital rules to prevent excessive or inappropriate visits. We outline here, some fairly common sense "rules" for postpartum guests. Though we present them with good humour, please take them seriously. Help to make this postpartum recovery as smooth as possible.

    DOs
    DO call before you come by, and arrange to visit at a time convenient for the parents. Evenings,  which may be more convenient for you, are usually the worst time for parents.

    DO keep our visits short. 15-20 minutes is good.

    DO bring food offerings. Suppers particularly come in handy. You may bring frozen dishes or plan in advance to serve an entire supper.
    DO praise the new parents about their growing parenting skills.
    DO offer your opinion when it is asked for.

    DO offer to wash some dishes, to take home some laundry, to run the vacuum.

    DO offer to look after older siblings.

    DO respect the parent's need to do their own things their own way in their own time.

    DO listen raptly to the birth story.

    DON'Ts
    DON'T bring the whole family and settle in for the afternoon.
    DON'T accept offers of tea unless you make it and clean up afterward.

    DON'T tell the parents that you hate the baby's name.

    DON'T smoke.
    DON'T give unsolicited advice.

    DON'T expect the new mother to leave the room to nurse her baby.

    DON'T ask to hold the baby. Wait for an offer.

    DON'T visit if you are feeling even a tiny bit under the weather.

    (First posted on: The Working Mama, February 8, 2010)
  • Friday, January 29, 2010 1:59 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    I am a breastfeeding mom -- and proud of it! I know the benefits of breastfeeding and was lucky enough to have been given all of the support and resources that I needed to help me breastfeed successfully. I was lucky, and I hope that other moms will be just as lucky in having all of the support and resources that they need as well. I support breastfeeding and believe that there is nothing better for our babies.

    Are you a breastfeeding mom?  Have you ever stopped to wonder why the "formula feeding mom" next you isn't breastfeeding?

    Was it by choice, or could it be due to a lack of knowledge about breastfeeding? Could it be that she didn't have the resources or the support that she needed? Does she have an underlying health problem that makes it unsafe for her to breastfeed?
    Maybe she tried various methods, but was unsuccessful. Maybe her doctor told her that she couldn't breastfeed due to health reasons. Maybe she has a condition that makes it impossible to breastfeed.

    These are all very real reasons why some moms, unfortunately, are not able to breastfeed successfully.


    The story that hurt my heart is of one mom who tried everything to nurse: she saw the lactation consultants, she tried pumping, and she went to clinics. Nothing worked. This mom was also suffering from Postpartum Isolation, loneliness and depression. One day, she walked into a room and started feeding her baby and was called a "MONSTER!"

    Why? Because she was formula feeding.  
    Was that fair?  Should we do this to our fellow mothers just because they are not as lucky as we are? 

    When we see another mom bottle feeding, would it not be more helpful to give that mom some support? To tell her about the benefits of nursing, and try to find out her reasons for why she was not successful? Shouldn't we give her more resources, and point her in the direction of what worked for those of us who are successful?   Maybe she was not aware of the breastfeeding clinics available, or maybe she didn't know about some of the breastfeeding myths out there.

    Would it not be more effective to encourage this mom to try harder next time, if she has a second child, by being supportive instead of resorting to name calling, judgment and criticism?  

    If you are not sure how to broach the topic, you can use these Three Easy Steps to Discussing Breastfeeding, an adaptation of Best Start’s Three-Step Counseling Program©:
    Step 1: Ask open-ended questions about breastfeeding.
    Step 2: Affirm the mother’s feelings.
    Step 3: Share appropriate information and refer mother to a breastfeeding expert.
    For more information on the steps, visit www.beststart.org/courses
     
    It’s sometimes easy for us to feel that we are better than other mothers just because we breastfeed. But motherhood is not a competition – it’s a sisterhood!

    So let’s stop the judging. Yes, breastfeeding is superior, by far, to formula – there is no comparison. But a breastfeeding mom is not better than a formula feeding mom.
    We should all make a conscious decision to be more empathetic towards our fellow mothers. Remember, most of the time, we do not know why a mother isn't breastfeeding, and she may have a very good reason. So let’s not make assumptions anymore.
    Parenting is challenging enough without feeling like we have to compete with each other. 

    -Claire

  • Saturday, January 23, 2010 9:13 AM | Claire (Administrator)


    We've all heard the term a mother's love is the strongest love of all and a mother loves her child unconditionally. 

    I would agree that I love my daughter unconditionally and as mom and daughter we have the strongest bond (especially since I'm her primary caregiver). but does that mean that dads do not love their kids unconditionally? 

    I sometimes wonder if sometimes we are not being a little unfair to dads when we assume that just because we are the mom, we automatically get the right to say we love our child more.

    In my case, I'm more patient, more affectionate, more touchy feely toward Katelyn than my husband - that's my personality. I feel I have a stronger bond with her because of the amount of time we spend together and because she is really apart of me.  But I cannot say with certainty that I love her more than he does.  We just display our love in different ways. 

    I think sometimes as first time moms we get caught up in little statements we've been hearing over the years and other stereotypes in the media.  It does not diminish our love and our bond for our child even if we admit that other caregivers whether it's dad or grandparents love our child just as much as we do.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on this posts, even if you disagree

    Happy Bonding!
    -Claire

  • Friday, January 22, 2010 11:26 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    Are you an attached parent? What do you think of the name of this parenting style "attachment parenting".  What is attachement parenting?  A lot people are confused about what it means to practice attachement parenting.

    I've met new moms who think that to practice attachement parenting is to have your child attached strongly to one parent and now one else.

    Fact: Attachment parenting involves having the child attached to one or more caregivers so that they are provided with a safe, loving and secure environment. I myself practise "attachement parenting" I didn't know that there was label for this until I was asked. " do you practise attachment parenting?"  

    I did what most moms do without realizing there was a label for this -

    • I slept with my baby for the first 4 months
    • She was held constantly, also b/c she didn't like to be put down
    • after the initial 4 months, I took my baby to bed with me, when she wouldn't sleep in her crib
    • I attended to her when she cried or was upset
    • I wore her in a carrier (actually still do when she will let me and she's 2)
    • nursed ( this one begs the question, are you not attached b/c you were not able to nurse)

    So when I was asked If I practice attachement parenting, I said yes without even thinking about the label, aren't all parents attached to their kids?

    But lately, someone asked "but, I thought you practised attachment parenting" this in response to me going away on vacation without my two year old and I did sleep training when she was 19 months old.

    My answer is yes, I very much practise "attachment parenting", but I do not want my daughter to be attached to just me. I want her to be very attached to her dad and grand parents as well other family members

    So in a sense, my idea of attachement parenting is getting my child attached to other people not just myself, so that in the event that I am not around, her environment will still be loving, safe, familiar and secure. So she spends a lot of bonding time with just dad, and she also spends bonding time with just grand-parents.

    The fact is attachment parenting does not mean that you get your child stuck to your person and never leave their side. It does not mean that you have to co-sleep, it does not mean that you have to wear them in a sling! These are great if it's something you and your baby enjoys, but it's not a requirement to call yourself an attached parent.

    Now the issue of sleep, as a parent, you know your child and you know if there are being affected by lack of sleep.  So if you choose to sleep train your child (after 6 months of age) for the benefit of your baby, yourself and your family.  Does this make any less attached to your child? 

    There is a lot of information including the definition of attachment parenting and the philosophy on the following sites:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_parenting

    http://parenting.ivillage.com/baby/bparentstyle/0,,489j,00.html

    I would love to hear comments about this posting.  Agree or disagree - What is your perspective on this? 

  • Thursday, January 21, 2010 2:16 AM | Claire (Administrator)

    Parent Concern: MY 3 YEAR OLD IS VERY CLINGY TO ME. IF I TRY TO LEAVE THE ROOM, HE SCREAMS AND TRIES TO FOLLOW ME. HE IS ATTACHED TO ME AT THE HIP, EVEN AT HOME. IS THIS NORMAL? WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    GENERAL
     It can be quite unsettling and burdensome to have a young child attached to you at all times, particularly when you are trying to get things done.
     Clinginess is a common phase in the early years of life including the preschool age. It typically presents around the age of nine months, peaking at 18 months and becomes less intense over time.

    WHY IT HAPPENS
     The causes for clinginess are unique to each child since children handle stress differently. However, common causes may include:
     Illness (e.g. ear infections)
     Temperament (i.e. impulsive desires to be attached to the caregiver)
     Late walker (may be a cause for excessive clinginess)
     Traumatic experiences (e.g. parental divorce, hospitalization, illness or death of a parent, natural disaster)
     Distressing separation or threats of abandonment
     Sudden transitions (e.g. arrival of a new baby, moving to a new home, new day care center)

    WHAT TO DO
     In the beginning, you should try to ignore as much of the clinging behaviour as you can.
     Provide great amounts of physical attention (e.g. hugs, kisses, physical contact, and reading books) that will help your child be more secure.
     Allow your child to play independently, but ensure times of social interaction with you and others as well.
     Play hide-and-seek games. Gradually extend the time that you are hidden from view and use the same phrases when you leave and come back from hiding. This helps your child understand that you will always return to him.
     If you need to separate from your child:
     Prepare your child for separation. For example, when he goes to the day care, make sure you introduce him to the teacher before leaving him there on the first school day to help ease the transition.
     Create goodbye rituals like offering a kiss or hug before you leave. You can also try giving your child a small, special stone that he can leave in his pocket as a symbol that you are always there. This can help build your child’s confidence.
     Always be consistent and leave. Do not communicate your own anxiety about leaving since this will certainly not help your child’s anxiety. Reassure your child that you will see him later, say goodbye and leave.
     Find a potential substitute that your child likes and trusts such as a babysitter, friend or sibling.
     When at home, tell your child to play with toys or games to keep him interested in an area in the room while you are in the same room doing something else. This will offer similar support, but not exactly following you everywhere you go in the home. Be sure to talk to your child while you are doing your own activity to encourage moral support. Maintain comforting contact when you are out of view (talk or sing to him). 
     Also when at home, be consistent in telling your child that he cannot come with you into the shower or bathroom. Let him know in a firm tone that you will not be long and tell him he can play by himself in his room or your room or with other family members while you are in there. Offer rewards for the first few times until he lets you go without a fuss.
     Be patient with your child. Offer love and support, especially since he will eventually outgrow it.

    WHAT NOT TO DO
     Make sure you are not dependent on your child’s dependence, unconsciously encouraging it. Become aware of your own role and the part you play in your child’s dependence and clinginess.
     Do not rob your child of confidence by being overprotective or offering too much reassurance. Try to find the balance between allowing your child to grow independently while using your help and guidance.
     Do not share your anxiety with your child since he will feel it and become anxious himself.

    Additional Concern: If my child still clings onto me despite all my efforts, what should I do?

    Conduct your day calmly with your child by your side. Let him hold onto you so that he can see that his efforts to gain attention by this manner fail; he is likely to then give it up.
     Remember that some degree of clinginess is common well into the preschool years.
     Excessive clinginess can be a sign of separation anxiety disorder or other disorders. Consult a health professional should you have any further concerns.

    About Dr. Levy

    Dr. Maurice Levy is a Pediatrician with 30 years of day-to-day medical experience in hospitals and a pediatric primary care office.  He is the Former Chief of Pediatrics and an active staff member at North York Branson Hospital,Toronto including multiple responsibilities on hospitalized newborns,infants and children and dealing with staff pediatricians along with a multitude of health problems to include nutrition, development and more. At Present Dr. Levy is Head of Research at the Pediatric department at North York General Hospital,Toronto.

    Dr.Levy also  has an active pediatric and consultation practice in Toronto, there will be a book on Development and behavior on babies and children coming soon

    For more toddler tips and information for the Dr. Levy's books can be found at www.babyandtoddlerhealth.com

     

  • Sunday, December 20, 2009 9:05 PM | Claire (Administrator)





  • Wednesday, October 21, 2009 10:22 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    Parent Concern:
    MY TODDLER REFUSES TO DRESS UP IN THE MORNING, CAUSING US TO RUN LATE EVERY MORNING. SOMETIMES, SHE WANTS TO DRESS HERSELF BUT IT TAKES HER FOREVER! WHAT SHOULD I DO? HOW CAN I SPEED HER UP IN DRESSING HERSELF? 

    Dressing
    Dressing is a common concern of parent-child struggles and a source of frustration for both.

    • Many children enjoy some self-dressing by the age of two years. Many dress themselves by ages 4-5, but you cannot expect quick results.
    • Your child’s readiness for learning (and wanting to learn) to dress herself will depend on development, behaviour and mood. Keep in mind that the ability to undress usually precedes the ability to dress; so you want to help your child first learn how to undress.
    • Parents need to realize that independent dressing is a learning experience and that the child will make choices and mistakes. Your child may (a) refuse to dress; (b) insist on dressing herself; and (c) take off clothes when starting to dress or a combination of these.

    Why is Dressing Difficult?

    • Freedom and independence are a part of growing up. As your child is growing from a dependent baby to a confident toddler who is ready to take on the world, she will naturally want as much control as possible over her life and will express a desire to dress herself.
    • Self-awareness is growing and she will have favourite outfits to wear by the age of 4-5.
    • When she knows you want her to do something urgently, she will resist the most.

    What to Do

    A) 

    • If you have enough time, let your child try to dress herself. Ask her if she needs any help.
    • If you have enough time, give your toddler plenty of time to do what she needs to do to get ready. You can pick out clothes ahead of time on the night before, if a particular outfit is the source of conflict. Wake her up earlier if you need to since toddlers do not respond well to being hurried.
    • Provide a selection of two outfits. This will empower your little one with choice and gives her a sense of control while allowing you to set your boundaries at the same time. This provides your toddler with independence and the chance to learn how to make appropriate choices. While offering two choices, say “you can wear either overalls or sweater and pants”.

    B)

    • If you do end up being in a rush, then you can explain your position: “Mommy needs to leave early today for a meeting” and then say “would you like help getting dressed just this morning?” This shows your child that she needs to get ready quickly (maybe she can dress herself another morning). Wake up earlier if you need to, since toddlers do not respond well to being hurried.

    C) 

    • If your toddler takes off as soon as dressing time begins, then turn it into a peek-a-boo game. Put your face through his shirt to peak-a-boo or you can try to sing a song to get him in the mood of playing.
    • Make dressing a fun activity by playing games rather than running away. Power struggles usually dissolve with laughter.

    D) Others

    • Do not express a bad attitude when it comes to dressing your toddler. Children may cry as a result of their parents’ behaviour.
    • Use tact; do not say that a shirt’s tag is on the front instead of the back when she puts it on for the first time.
    • Encourage team work. Allow your child to take over and let her participate in choosing outfits and getting dressed. Maybe she refuses to because she does not like the clothes you are picking out for her; let her choose (within reason).
      Make your child’s clothes accessible. Place clothes in the lower drawer so that she can reach and help herself to feel more independent. Place clothes in the higher drawers when clothes are inappropriate, so that they are not easily accessible.
    • Acknowledge sensitivity. Some children with sensory problems absolutely refuse some clothes; some get irritated over a scratchy tag. Hypersensitivity to labels, seams or socks are common. Luckily, this sensitivity is outgrown by age 6.
    • Do not let your struggles get to the point of anger. Sometimes, you just have to get her going and dressed; take charge before you lose your patience.

    TIP: Practice Dressing
    You can give your child some extra hands or experience by providing specifically designed dolls or fabric books that allow her to practice zipping, buttoning, snapping and tying.

    Additional Parent Concerns
    Any recommendations for clothing?

    • Since toddlers are incredibly active, use clothes that do not restrict movements or clothes that your child can easily get tangled in or trip during play.
    • Make sure her clothes are not too small or too big.
    • Comfort is important, so offer pants or jeans with elastics waists.
    • The easiest clothes to put on or off include t-shirts, track suits, dresses, and so forth.
    • Look for clothes with big buttons that are easy for your little one to grasp.


    About Dr. Levy

    Dr. Maurice Levy is a Pediatrician with 30 years of day-to-day medical experience in hospitals and a pediatric primary care office.  He is the Former Chief of Pediatrics and an active staff member at North York Branson Hospital,Toronto including multiple responsibilities on hospitalized newborns,infants and children and dealing with staff pediatricians along with a multitude of health problems to include nutrition, development and more. At Present Dr. Levy is Head of Research at the Pediatric department at North York General Hospital,Toronto.

    Dr.Levy also  has an active pediatric and consultation practice in Toronto, there will be a book on Development and behavior on babies and children coming soon

    For more toddler tips and information for the Dr. Levy's books can be found at www.babyandtoddlerhealth.com.

  • Tuesday, October 20, 2009 11:22 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    A Pain Free Mommy is a Happy Mommy:

    Dealing with back pain, neck pain or foot pain on a daily basis is not only annoying... it can affect the way we parent. This was definitely true for me.  After pregnancy, our alignment sometimes changes, not to mention the trauma of labour, all of this can leave us with an aching back.  In the beginning the pain didn’t bother me much, but as my daughter got heavier, I noticed that my back would hurt and sometimes even my neck and shoulders.  Everyone told me I have to position her differently on my hips, switch sides when I carry her... tried that and it didn’t work, then I started getting massages that still didn’t work... then someone told me I should try orthotics... and finally something actually worked. Not only did my back and neck pain go away, I was able to go to jogging again b/c the tingling  sensation in my feet (which happened after 15 mins of cardio activity) went away as well. So I could actually work on getting rid of the last bit of pregnancy weight.

    Could custom orthotics be right for you?  Well, did you know that most postural problems begin in the feet?

    Our feet stand for only 3% of our body size and they have to carry all our weight (which in many cases is a little over what we want it to be). It is common to compare our body to a house, if the foundation is not in place it will effect the whole house. Our feet are the foundation of our body, any misalignment can cause a series of side effect like: feet pain, knee pain, low back pain, Etc.

    Not all orthotics are the same... I remember the first time I showed Lilac & Allen my “orthotic Insoles” the ones I paid $200 for, they looked at me and said... Claire, that’s a weapon... Orthotics are supposed to be soft and comfortable not hard and plastic.  The genius at Elite Foot clinic has been using a patented system invented by the Averbuck Family in Israel over 30 years combined with patient’s follow up questioners to over 15,000 patients which showed an overwhelming 95% success rate
    .
    The Averbuck system was also used by the “Wingate Institute” in Israel to research the affect of orthotics on elite athletes. The results of this research were astonishing, they showed an improvement of between 7%-12%  in oxygen consumption (almost impossible to achieve in athletes in the top of their game).

    This system is the only one of it’s kind and Elite Foot clinic guarantees results. If they do not solve your pain within three months, you get your money back 100% no questions asked.

    So the next time you go to pick your baby and feel that pain in your back, knees, shoulder or neck... remind yourself that there is a solution, so that you can really enjoy picking up your child, maybe even doing salsa babies... most people see me with Katelyn in my hand a lot!  She is almost 2 and half but I still carry her in my carrier while hiking for 4 hours, I pick her up all the time, walk with her in my hands all b/c I took the time to get that first FREE consultation and solved my pain.  Holding your child close, picking them up for a quick kiss or hug whenever you feel like it is all a part of the bonding process.

    For more information about Elite Foot Clinic and the Averbuck System visit www.elitefootclinic.com

    As an added bonus all LWAB members receive 10%!  An added incentive to solve your pain today!

    Please Note:
    I tried orthotics from Elite before they became a sponsor of LWAB. I found that their system works and it solved my pain. If you do decide to try the Averbuck System, we would like to hear your opinion to give anyone interested in trying orthotics more than one review of the product.  If you tried it and didn't like it, we want to hear that too-- we always aim to give our members more than one opinion on a product or service.

    Thanks,
    Claire

  • Thursday, October 01, 2009 3:21 PM | Joanna

    The fall season is upon us which for many of us moms, also means the return of the flu season. And of course, everyone (well, almost everyone) is starting to be worried sick about their children potentially getting sick with the H1N1 flu virus (or swine flu). A couple of my mommy friends have asked me "I'm thinking of vaccinating my child against the swine flu? What do you think". I cringe when I hear this because I personally believe that this vaccine is potentially dangerous. But such health matters are a personal decision and you, as a parent, need to be comfortable about your decision. I've said the same about standard immunizations. I do encourage parents to read other arguments and do their research. I've listed some sources below. Read, listen, and what you do with the knowledge and how you let this new information influence your decisions is up to you.

    In the U.S., I know that certain states will make vaccination mandatory. And in both the U.S. and Canada, certain groups (such as health care workers) will be required to be vaccinated. As well,  pregnant women and young children are encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible. As an expecting mom, I am thankful that I live in Canada. But still, you never know. I hope and pray that H1N1 vaccination does not become mandatory for us.

    What's your opinion? Will you vaccinate yourself or your children? Feel free to leave a comment here or start your own conversation in our forums.

    ARGUMENTS FOR THE VACCINE:

    Interview with Dr. Ann Schuchat from the CDC

    Chief Science Officer Dr. Anne Schuchat answers parents’ questions about the 2009 H1N1 flu and the vaccine to protect against it. Children aged six months through 24 years are recommended to receive H1N1 flu vaccine.


    This mother posted some info she found on the CDC and from her pediatrician.


    ARGUMENTS AGAINST TAKING THE VACCINE:


    What To Do if You are Forced to Take Swine Flu Shot

    Interviews with Dr. Russell Blaylock, a retired neurosurgeon who speaks of the dangers of the H1N1 vaccine.


    Warning: Swine Flu Shot Linked to Killer Nerve Disease

    In this article: A warning that the swine flu vaccine has been linked to a deadly nerve disease has been sent by the UK Government to senior neurologists in a confidential letter.

    The letter refers to the use of a similar swine flu vaccine in the United States in 1976 when:

    • More people died from the vaccination than from swine flu
    • The vaccine may have increased the risk of contracting GBS by eight times
    • The vaccine was withdrawn after just ten weeks when the link with GBS became clear
    • The U.S. Government was forced to pay out millions of dollars to those affected

    Concerns have already been raised that the new vaccine has not been sufficiently tested and that the effects, especially on children, are unknown.

    Flu Vaccine Exposed

    Perspective: Studies show that flu vaccines are unsafe and ineffective.

    This presentation by the Thinktwice Global Vaccine Institute includes a visual depiction of flu vaccine production -- how the flu vaccine is made and what it contains.

    Another Shocking Warning About Swine Flu Vaccine

    Many Health Workers Won't Take Swine Flu Vaccine

    ==

    This blog post was first posted on The Working Mama.

  • Thursday, September 10, 2009 3:15 PM | Joanna
    Not only can you connect with fellow moms and converse on a variety of topics, we also have expert advice from a Naturopath, an Organics Expert, and a Pharmacist!

    Have a burning question for these experts? Visit our Forums page, scroll down to the "Ask the Experts" section, and post away.


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