Today is Global Hug Your Kid Day! I didn’t actually have a child last year, so this is my first time acknowledging the day. If you’re not already a parent, Hug Your Kid Day may sound a bit frivolous or silly. Maybe even compared to other social content calendar dates like “National Kissing Day” or “National Ice Cream Day” but I promise you this one has depth, meaning and great importance.
Do you guys remember that old poem that became widely popular in the nineties called, “The Hug“? I know I just really dated myself but in a nutshell, it shows just how much a hug can do. Here’s a little excerpt to jog your memory:
A hug can cheer you when you’re blue.
A hug can say, “I love you so,”
Or, “Gee, I hate to see you go.”
A hug is, “Welcome back again.”
And, “Great to see you! Where’ve you been?”
A hug can soothe a small childs pain,
and bring a rainbow after rain.
The hug! There’s just no doubt about it-
we scarcely could survive without it!
A hug delights and warms and charms.
It must be why God gave us arms.
The poem continues to go on but I really love the part that says hugs can soothe a small child’s pain. As a Huggies Ambassador, I have learned a great deal about the power of hugs and touch and how vital they are to a baby’s well-being. If you think about it, mother’s have been instinctively hugging their babies since the beginning of time and finally these benefits are now backed by science. Hugging our little ones from day one can affect healthy development and even who are children become later in life.
The oxytocin that is released in our bodies while we are in an embrace can 100% do magical things. I know during my own low points with my illness or in tough times, being hugged can immediately make me feel better and even safe, if that makes sense. Thanks to the oxytocin and seratonin that’s released in our bodies when we are embraced, hugs create calmness, tranquility and wellness – no matter the age.
Thanks to the recommendation from our friends at Huggies, Réjean and I were encouraged to create a hug plan while I was still pregnant and we shared it with our midwives and doula a couple months before my due date. The Huggies No Baby Unhugged website is such an amazing resource for parents-to-be and new moms and dads. All of the benefits of hugging can be found there in addition, to the Hug Plan template that was developed by medical experts along with the Huggies team. Straight out of the womb, we both did skin-to-skin with Max as per the plan and in the weeks following I did tons of Kangaroo Care with her only wearing her Huggies Little Snugglers against my bare skin.
Now I know I am a first time mum so I really don’t have much to compare it to but I would like to think that our commitment to hugs, touch and skin-to-skin has reaped many benefits. Anyone who has been following along on my journey in motherhood can attest that this little girl truly is a really happy baby. My healthcare providers also agree and believe that our hug moments have played an important role in reducing any newborn anxiety/stress, increased my success with breastfeeding, improved Max’s sleep from infancy, and just overall better health. Personally, I would also like to believe that the affection she shows us, in the form of her baby bear hugs and slobbery kisses, can be credited to the affection she has been receiving since day one. And I honestly cannot describe the joy I feel when she wraps her arms around me.
Celebrate Global Hug Your Kid Day by giving your mini a squeeze and if you’re expecting you can always give your belly an embrace because it’s never too early to start hugging. To learn more about the benefits of hugging your baby and to sign up for Huggies Rewards, visit NoBabyUnhugged.ca.
This post is in partnership with Huggies Canada as a Brand Ambassador in exchange for monetary compensation and/or product however all views and opinions are my own.
When I think of summer, BBQ’s, patio hangs, and ice cream immediately comes to mind. If you’re a Canadian, I think you may also agree that summer is also about road trips and going to the cottage. I’ve surely done my fair share of road trips over the years and they can be fun, with the right company and music (I can’t drive anywhere without XM Satellite radio now), but I think a lot of first time parents or families with young kids legitimately fear the potential of endless cries, screams and hearing the ever so famous phrase, “Are we there yet?” I sooooo get that traveling with little ones can be stressful but trust me, it really doesn’t have to be.
We’ve done a few trips in our Buick Enclave Avenir so far, albeit short ones, and you know what? The car has really been a game changer for extended driving. It has given us the confidence to take Maxwell on a cross country adventure to New Brunswick and P.E.I. this month. I know a lot of you guys are going to think we are nuts but it’s too late. We’ve committed and it’s happening. To be honest, we would have 100% traveled by plane if it wasn’t for the Enclave but I think having a car that makes us feel safe on the road, has tons of space and allows for wireless entertainment powered by 4G LTE wireless can actually make this experience enjoyable instead of stressful. There’s a full suite of technology that has our back while we are on the road. OnStar totally puts our mind at ease. We have roadside assistance, automatic crash response and emergency services right at the press of the blue button. If we are in a bind with reception service on our phones and need assistance with directions, we can always rely on the a representative sending turn by turn directions to the car.
A luxury crossover this large for a family of three plus a dog probably seems like a bit of overkill. We may not require passenger seating for 7 all the time, but we can most definitely utilize the rear for additional cargo space especially on road trips. We looooooove that we have options with the configuration back there. My go-to is using the power fold third row to turn the bench seat into a 60/40 split. Guys, it collapses the back seat in seconds and it makes it easy to accommodate our luggage, Maxie’s stroller, travel crib and even larger toys. One of our best road trip strategy’s that has been fail proof is always having one of us sitting in the back with the baby. I speak more about this in my road trip hacks below, but it helps that our middle row has extra large captain seats with SO. MUCH. LEG ROOM. It’s unreal! You kinda don’t feel like you’re missing out not riding shotgun.
And have you ever been trapped in a car for hours having to take turns charging wireless devices, not having adequate cup holders for the all the road trip bevies or feeling like you’re just drowning in stuff piling up around you…? As in the stuff that couldn’t all fit in the trunk! Well, there’s a spot to house everyone’s cup of coffee and baby bottles plus we can literally charge every single devise we bring along in the Enclave – all at the same damn time may I add. With access to 6 USB outlets and a 120V power outlet. The new spacious designs means there’s way more room for storage in the doors plus the new available compartment located conveniently under the middle console in the front row, where Réjean stores his stash of snacks.
This upcoming trip to New Brunswick will be the longest we’ve ever driven as a family, so I will loop back in with you guys and share the experience when we are back. If you’re considering hitting the road with your mini(s) this summer for the first time, here’s some tips to take note of that will actually make the experience fun:
Plan Frequent Breaks. I learned this one the hard way on our last drive to Montreal. We may be able to drive five or six hours without stopping to use the bathroom or eat, but babies cannot. I have discovered that for daytime driving I need to plan for stops ever 2-3 hours and when traveling at night, every 3-6 hours to do diaper changes, feed, stretch legs and change clothes if necessary. That being said, when you have an extra spacious vehicle like the Enclave, you can actually save time not going into a rest stop or restaurant by doing the quick changes and feeds in the parking lot.
Tag team. This is probably the most crucial – if you are not making the journey alone. While one of you is driving, the other should sit in the back with the baby. Believe me, it makes a world of a difference and that backseat caretaker can keep them occupied, prepare bottles, attend to spit-up, and play Peek-a-Boo like I have to do for Maxwell for hours (see below). It totally takes the stress of the driver too and can minimize stops. And when the baby sleeps, whoever is in the back better get some shut eye too!
Manage Your Expectations. Do yourself a favour and don’t expect that road trip to Montreal is going to take as long as it did when you were childless and single because that is just not realistic. There’s a number of things that can go wrong; inclement weather, teething pain, long weekend traffic or construction causing lane closures. Having a sense of humour about it all can ease the tension.
Keep All The Necessities Close By. You will probably want to pack everything and the kitchen sink on your road trip which is fine, especially when you have the room for it but you’re not going to want to pull over and rummage through your luggage every single time your baby needs something like a diaper change, snack or toy. These things are inevitable so it makes sense to pack these essentials in a smaller, easy to access bag in the backseat. Things like; a portable changing pad, wipes, diapers, infant Advil, an extra blanket, pre-portioned bottles of formula or breast milk in a cooler bag, a couple small toys should do the trick for your little one. Don’t forget to pack one for the adults too with chargers, iPads, high protein snacks, sleep-aids, eye masks and earphones.
Drive At Night. I wouldn’t normally suggest this if it’s just one parent doing the drive with kids tagging along but if you have a partner with you, driving at night is a really brilliant idea. Driving at night means your baby will spend much more time sleeping and less time crying, being hungry and wanting a diaper change. It’s not the most ideal switch for the driver because night driving can be difficult and more tiring but it’s marginally better than dealing with a screaming baby with no exit in sight. There’s some amazing features in our car that provides extra safety during night drives like Lane Keep Assist and Forward Collision Alert that keeps the car safely in the designated lane and warning you of a potential crash aheadBest the driver is probably caffeinated and pulls over to rest or switch drivers because safety is the most important thing. Your best bet is to have your partner pack up the car while the other does the baby’s bedtime routine but instead of putting the baby in their crib, you put them into their car seat.
Baby Massage. You know that stiff feeling we get in our legs and back when we have been sitting in a car for hours on end? Well babies can actually become uncomfortable too after sitting too long in her car seats. Infant massage works well on long drives so read up on some techniques and be sure the implement them during the ride or while at rest stops. I like to massage Maxie’s legs, feet and arms while when I am in the back with her and often times it calms her down and can actually put her to sleep.
Take Proper Precautions. I am nuts about double checking everything before going on a road trip – with or without infant. Our Buick Enclave makes it super simple for me to check the oil level and tire pressure throughout the trip on the auxiliary panel and when fuel is getting low, I can see exactly how many km’s I have until the tank is empty. Also, it’s super important when packing to not obstruct the driver’s view, especially the rear view mirror. Buick understands the need for extra safety and had the clever idea to create a rear view mirror that turns into a rear camera in those rare occasions where the trunk is packed full. It used to sound like a “nice-to-have” feature but after a few road trips I have discovered that it’s actually more of a “need-to-have” feature.
You can follow along on our upcoming cross country adventure on my social channels and I will be doing a little recap of the trip here on the blog. To learn more about Buick’s luxurious crossover, head over to Buick.ca
I have gone over thirty years knowing exactly how my body operates. It’s been a machine that has pretty much operated like clockwork. Until I got pregnant. Then shit hit the fan and my body became unpredictable overnight with one change and after another. Most unpleasant, if I can speak candidly. Post baby; things are still somewhat strange and unpredictable. Nine months later I still feel like I am renting out this shell I call for a body. Very few women speak about what they go through physically and emotionally postpartum, so I try to address the issues I experience here because I sure as hell know I am not the only one experiencing these things. Especially when it comes to issues relating to intimate health.
So the term intimate health sounds pretty vague if you ask me, so I am just going to avoid acting coy and get right to the point. The area “down there” or what I like to fondly refer to as the va-jay-jay, is an area that probably sees the most change in women postpartum and it all stems from the vagina’s pH level. Otherwise known as it’s acidity level. Yeast and bacteria play a major part in determining vagina health. Our bodies have limited resources so only so much bacteria and yeast can co-exist at any given time, sometimes causing them to compete. Ideally, for things to be running smoothly in that area the optimal vaginal pH should be anywhere around 3.5-4.5. This would indicate the perfect amount of good bacteria and no overgrowth of the bad kind, that can cause some irritation, odour or even infection. But there are so many factors that can affect this range and cause an elevated vaginal pH level like; pregnancy, intercourse, menstruation and even the use of tampons. Wipes, feminine washes and cleansers are probably the worst culprit because they usually mask the issue instead of treating or preventing them.
I personally noticed some changes after I started getting my period five months after having Maxwell and also noticed some mild symptoms after intercourse. I wouldn’t quite call it a yeast infection because there was no discharge but I definitely something a bit off down there, so that was the catalyst behind starting to do some research on the issue and figuring out how I was going to address it. I prefer to use natural remedies when possible and only turn to pharmaceutical medications when absolutely necessary. About a month and a half ago I started to test my vaginal pH with Hydrion test strips and decided it was time for me to find a solution address the mild va-jay-jay issues I was having. RepHresh Pro-B is a probiotic supplement made specifically for women. Just one capsule a day helps create healthy flora to balance unwanted yeast and bacteria. What makes it super effective is the two strains of beneficial bacterial it contains, called Lactobacillus, that helps keeps all the bad bacteria in check. And the best part, because it’s taken orally, it’s super convenient to use and doesn’t require refrigeration like most other probiotics. It can be taken at any point during the day but I like to stay in a routine with my supplements and prefer to take mine first thing in the morning before I start my day.
RepHresh Pro-B Probiotic is available now. I grab mine from my neighbourhood Shoppers Drug Mart for $37.99 but it can also be found at Wal-Mart and other retailers nationwide. Visit www.rephresh.ca to learn more about how you can keep your intimate health on point.
This post was created in partnership with RepHresh Pro-B Probiotic and Church & Dwight, however all views and opinions are my own.
Traveling can induce anxiety but throw a baby into the mix, and it takes it to a whole new level. I was a hot mess a week before we left for Spain, trying to convince myself that packing up Maxwell’s entire room was a logical idea. Thank god I had two good friends who advised me it wasn’t and made me ditch half the items I planned on bringing along. And you know what? It all worked out just fine. We are so over this cold here in Toronto, we actually just booked our next family vacation to Mexico for my birthday and Mother’s Day. Here’s a few tips for infant travel I learned when Maxie was a newborn that will be sure to help you when you’re ready to take your first adventure with your baby.
HOW AND WHAT TO PACK
Babies don’t really need as much as we think they do so don’t even think about paying extra to pack an additional suitcase for them. Everything should be able to fit in you and your partner’s suitcases and carry on; you just need to be strategic. To make sure all the babies belongings stay clean and uncontaminated, I suggest roll fold everything and put them into zip lock bags. These bags also can come in handy for the trip back home for any items that get soiled with spit up or poop.
When it comes to diapers and wipes, just like any other mum I am attached to a particular brand. Max has been wearing Huggies Little Snugglers since she was born and on a 9-hour flight to Barcelona and long days of sight seeing, these diapers provided extra protection that gave us the confidence we needed as new parents traveling as a family of three for the first time. While changes may be less frequent during travel, it’s important to have a diaper that provides a gentle layer between your baby’s skin and the mess. When your baby is still in the stages of poo explosions, Huggies Little Snugglers pocketed waistband and proven leak lock system helps to keep messes inside where they belong. While in transit though, it’s the wetness indicator that was the real MVP. There was no guessing game when it came figuring out if Maxie needed to be changed. The minute she got a bit fussy, we immediately checked the diaper’s wetness indicator for the blue line and made a beeline to the bathroom to change her.
As an infant, babies can go through approximately 12 diapers a day and to be honest, they can take up a considerable amount of room in your luggage. We packed the daily amount of diapers plus a travel pack of Huggies Natural Care wipes inside our carry-on luggage, just in case we got delayed or something and an additional 12 with another travel pack of wipes in our checked baggage for the return flight back. We stayed in an AirB&B in Barça so we actually shipped a pack of Max’s Snugglers down to the owner of the property so they were waiting upon our arrival. I know this is not realistic in every situation. You can also always check ahead of time to see if the diapers you use are sold in the city you are traveling to so you can buy them there.
Here’s a Sample Packing List For You To Use As a Guide
Navigating Through the Airport and Getting Through Security
While most airports have a separate security for those traveling with young children, I still advise to arrive a bit early to avoid any unnecessary stress. To be honest, we have been whisked through separate security when we’ve had Maxwell in tow and it’s like traveling VIP style so I no longer get stressed about her getting fussy waiting in line ups. There’s always the dilemma amongst new parents in regards to whether or not to check the stroller when traveling. We choose to gate check ours instead of checking it in with our luggage for convenience. If this is the route you go, just ensure to bring along a stroller that can fold down in one piece. Trust me! If your stroller has to be broken down into two separate pieces, you run the risk of something going missing while in transit. Some people fear that their stroller may get damaged if it’s gate checked but I would much prefer to know I have the stroller with me and available as soon as we deplane, than running the chance of it getting lost or delayed. It also makes getting around the airport until boarding time easier. That being said, it will have to go through the X-Ray machine when you go through security. Our goal is always to travel lean, with as little as possible. If a car seat isn’t going to be necessary during your travels, leave it at home. Renting a car seat at your destination is the best way to go if you’re going to need it.
The last time we traveled I was breastfeeding exclusively but Max is now eating solids, drinking pumped milk and formula. Regulations that limit the amount of liquids you can bring through do not apply to breast milk or formula. Let the TSA Agents know you have breastmilk, and be careful of packing gel coolers they aren’t allowed through. A great suggestion that we were given is to pack your breastmilk in frozen peas for security when you travel. Don’t let them send your breastmilk through the x-ray machine.
Boarding and In-Flight
Boarding: Most airlines let families who are traveling with young kids board first, but this is a courtesy not a right. Check with the agent beforehand to let them know you are traveling with a young child and when you should board. As nice as it sounds to get situated early before everyone else gets on and not standing in line behind all the other passengers, once you are on that plane you don’t have anywhere to hide or much room to move around if they decide to start screaming. The best option is if you are traveling with your partner, have them go on early with your bags and get a seat, and then you can meet them on closer to take off.
Seat Selection: A baby under the age of 2 doesn’t require a seat, which means they travel for free – yay! We plan to travel as much as we can during this time. However, this means your little one will have to be in your arms or wrapped to you throughout the flight if you choose not to purchase an extra seat. A useful tip when booking your flight and selecting your seats, if you’re choosing two seats in a row of three, select the two end seats leaving the middle one empty. Chances are, if it’s not a full flight, nobody is going to willfully choose to sit in between two people, which will leave the middle seat empty. Huge win. On our flight down to Barcelona, we were seated in a bulk head row so I was able to request a Baby Bassinet (or Sky Cot). This was brilliant. A bassinet is secured to the wall panel for babies under 8 months in front of you so they can sleep peacefully and parents can rest, eat and drink with extra leg room. I also elected Réjean to be the designated diaper changer during the flight so I made sure he was the one sitting in the aisle seat.
Feeding: You can relieve pressure on your baby’s ears during takeoff and landing by feeding feeding them. It worked for us like a charm. However, I also advise that you have a bottle on hand as they may reject the boob on the plane. I don’t know why but it happens and I’ve heard it from plenty of other mom’s. I like to also book our flights during Maxie’s nap time so feeding during takeoff means she usually falls asleep shortly after.
Consider The Season
Before flying with your newborn or infant make sure to consider the season. You might want to avoid taking a young baby on a plane during flu season. If you must take them on a plane, bring sanitizer wipes to clean the hand rest and other areas around the seat that the baby will put their mouth on… because we all know babies will touch everything and somehow it will end up in their mouth!
If you’re headed somewhere warm, make sure to bring along a sun hat, child safe sunscreen, baby sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun and swimming diapers for the pool or beach – we have been using Huggies Little Swimmers for Max’s pool and beach time.
Don’t Be Afraid
Don’t be afraid of anything. If you need help, especially if you’re a mama traveling alone…ask a flight attendant for assistance. Also, forget the fear of what other passengers will say if your baby cries or gets fussy. You will always have your one grumpy passenger who is incredulous that babies cry and angry that it is ruining his business trip. Ignore him. Babies cry, and many people on the flight are parents and grandparents and they understand. So before you go apologizing to everyone on the plane, relax and don’t let a crying baby stop you from future travel!
“You can have it all. Just not all at once!” I’m not quite sure where I heard that for the first time. Could have been Oprah. Could have been someone’s Instagram caption. Who knows. Just kidding, it was definitely Lady O. But I never really understood what it meant until I became a mother. I am sure all you mama’s out there will agree with me, it’s bloody hard to keep it all together and I only have one baby. How the hell do y’all do it with multiples? I had delusions of grandeur that my modified mat leave was going to afford me time to do all of the things; hang with Max, learn how to edit videos, take cooking classes, host a mommy group for other new mother’s and periodically work on projects somewhere in between. Hahaha, well that has NOT been the case. A slew of amazing working opportunities have come my way and I’ve found it difficult to say no consequently creating a workload that has not only caused some anxiety but has also interrupted my ability to create a harmonious balance that I so desperately need. Taking on more than I probably should because…well, because life and bills need to be paid. But you know what? It’s f*cking tough when you’re self employed and your household requires two incomes to stay afloat. The blog and my branded partnerships comprise most of my time however, there’s also modelling gigs, consulting projects, guest speaking and commercial work also taking it’s share. So, full time hours. Full-time mommy. Struggling to somehow also fit in workouts, family time, a social life, and Réjean. Jesus, I just realized I typed out that list probably the way I am currently prioritizing them. Welp. Not intentional at all and yet another indication that I need to make a change.
That begin said, I will be going on a short hiatus for a bit, taking some much needed time to focus on my little nugget who seems to be growing at lightening speed right before my eyes. After my trip to Le Monastere des Augustines, I realized I need a proper re-set. My life and my brand is based on wellness and if I am going to talk the talk, I better be walking the walk. So, I have booked a vacation. Like, a real vacation not a press trip. I will be spending my first Mother’s Day away in México and will be drinking all of the margaritas. Our departure day cannot come soon enough, let me tell you. I also just really want to enjoy the rest of Maxwell’s first year, rather than having my head buried in a laptop or phone most of the day. Therefore, there won’t be as much action on my blog and social channels during the month of May. Unless it’s work I have already created prior or organic stuff I just feel like posting in the moment if I feel like it because exhaustion, weather inducing seasonal depression and lack of time has literally depleted my creativity. I chose a career change to be able to be my own boss and creative my own rules, so it’s about time I action a plan that let’s me have as close to everything at the same time as possible.
And yes I know, life looks glossy and perfect sometimes on the gram…but it really isn’t. I try my best to share my experiences; the good, the bad and the ugly. Do y’all remember the dog eating Maxwell’s shit the other day? If you see me killing it at work, just know there’s other things that have fallen by the waist side that week in order for me to get shit done. I don’t even remember the last time I cooked a proper dinner for our family because I just don’t have the time. That’s sort of become Réjean’s job tbh and I have had someone come in bi-weekly to help with cleaning until until a few weeks ago but I’ve fired them and realized how tough it is to fit in cleaning 1200 sqft while trying to juggle admin work and a baby at the same time. If you see me taking extra time to do cool things with Maxie like Giggly’s Baby Spa in the middle of the week, best believe that something work related was sacrificed and depending on how the day went, may have even skipped my workout.
I am not really sure what direction I will take going into June but I have a vague idea. An update will be shared once I am back in full effect. Just wanted to thank you guys for all your support. Honest to goodness, it’s all your the comments and DM’s that have gotten me through.
*Special thank you to the amazing and talented Nicole Cohen (@BlondeCoffeeBean) and Elizabeth Phipps (@Somersette_) for creating these magical images that I will not only cherish forever but is making me seriously reconsider baby #2.
For those who have wanted to details on Maxwell’s gorgeous romper from Instagram, you can find it and shop more of our faves from ultimate online baby boutique, Poppy’s Collection. Insanely adorable, it’s almost impossible to not to want everything. If I feel up to it I will share Maxie’s Mexico wardrobe which will consist of Poppy’s summer pieces.
Reading time was integrated super early in our household when I was growing up. Some of my earliest memories besides traveling with my family was connecting with my parents over books. I actually can recall vividly my mother reading to me super early on. So early, she barely believes me when I tell her. The different voices she would use for each character when she would read Robert Munch’s, “The Paper Bag Princess” will forever be etched in my mind.
When Max was about three or four months, it was my father who had told me about the importance of consistent infant reading and encouraged us to to integrate story time at home. This happen to occur right around the time we started sleeping training so reading became part of her nap and bedtime routine with us reading to her 3-4 times a day. Now 30+ years later, it has become one of my favourite ways to bond and connect with my daughter.
Story time with my parents gave me the confidence and interest to want to start reading on my own from an early age and I have a distinct feeling it will be the same with Maxwell. As parents, we have a tendency to repeat the same words to infants and babies. Not consciously of course, but if you read to your little one even for just 20 minutes a day, that’s 1.8 million new words and phrases for them to learn every year. Shocking, I know! It’s as if every single page you turn sets your child up for a bright future in school, with advanced vocabulary, language, and literary skills.
Indigo is the first place that comes to mind for books and all things reading. I can easily spend countless hours in their Sherway location and shopping online, especially since I can earn Aeroplan miles with my online purchases. We were given all the class Dr. Seuss and Robert Munsch classics at my baby shower so lately I have been focused on age appropriate books for the 6-12 month category and fell absolutely in love with Petite Boutique. It’s a line of baby books and they even have a few titles that have been designed exclusively for Indigo. Each book in this colourful and cute collection was created with babies in mind, covering core concepts like counting and colours, while engaging young kiddies in learning and literacy from day one. Maxie is OBSESSED with the touch and feel pages, mirrors and silicone buttons like in “Five Little Dinosaurs“. She is in a stage where she loves textures, which is really cute so I have to read this to her a few times in a row before sleep time so she can press and play with the dinosaurs.
I’ve been posting our story time quite a bit on my IG stories and I love how many of you have been sharing photos and videos with me of your own reading time with your baby. It’s really never too early to start reading and it’s actually recommended to begin while you’re pregnant. Babies are always listening, learning and remembering during the last stages of pregnancy. IndigoKids online is an excellent resource to assist parents on the reading journey for their children. I refer to it all the time and have found amazing tips and things to focus on while reading to Maxie. They have even gone as far as breaking the tips down into age categories; newborn, 6-24 months, 2-4 years, up to 8+ and even french immersion. I am not sure if many of you know, but Réjean is french and it’s his first language, so it’s important that M becomes fluent in it as well. We actually have a ton of french language books. I have chosen books that she knows well in English and have found the French version hoping that because she already knows the story in English, it will help her quickly learn and enjoy it in another language; like Marion Dane Bauer’s “Je T’aime Comme” and the english version “How Do I Love You“.
Indigo is a mecca of course for reading but guys, but it is SO MUCH MORE! I ordered almost all of the decor for Maxie’s nursery from Indigo via Aeroplan’s eStore and tons of my baby shower registry items were also from there. Whether you’re pregnant, just welcomed your bundle or already in the swing of things in your first year of parenthood, I’ve highlighted some of my absolute favourite Indigo items for Maxwell and her nursery that are perfect items for the first 24 months with baby.
I could talk (write) for hours about all the different things women experience postpartum but back pain seems to rank high on the list for new moms. Not really surprising at all when you think about all the demanding tasks in a mama’s day that requires bending, carrying, lifting and feeding; usually with a baby in hand, causing back muscles to work in overtime. I experienced some back pain towards the end of my pregnancy that made sleeping at night damn near impossible by the time I reached 34 weeks. Carrying around that amount of weight for 9 months can take a toll on the body, especially the abdominal muscles, which need to stretch to make room for the delivery.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to help with postpartum back pain. As soon as I was cleared by my healthcare practitioners , I made chiropractic care and functional training a priority to help with my postnatal recovery. With the help of my chiro Darcy Worthylake, I have recently introduced these 6 spine exercises to improve my back health.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that you could actually make working on back health a fun activity at home with you and your bub. Even though she’s only 7 months, I integrate Maxwell into some of my exercises at home and not only does it make it more fun for me, but it’s also a great way for us to bond. In her mind, she’s having the time of her life playing with mama while I’m benefiting by improving my core and back health.
It is surprising how by just adding a few exercises to your day can make a world of a difference giving you more support while carrying, lifting and holding your baby; whom only gets heavier as each week passes. If you’re a new mom and experiencing some discomfort due to your day-to-day tasks for your baby, there are four simple exercises you can do at home to help for post partum back pain:
Tips On How Improve Your New Mom Back Pain With Your Bub
Lie on your back, bend your knees and put your feet flat on the ground.
Place your baby on your pelvis with their back against your thighs.
While holding your baby in place, slowly push your hips up towards the ceiling.
Hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds.
Keep your abdominals tight to avoid sagging your lower back. Inhale as you slowly lower your body back to the starting position.
Repeat 8 to 12 times.
Lay your baby on the ground; face up, while kneeling in front of them.
Place your forearms on either side of your baby and lift your body off the ground.
Keep your back in neutral spine position and engage your core by contracting your abdominal muscles. Avoid letting your hips fall or stick up in the air.
Hold for 10 seconds, working your way up to 30 seconds.
Repeat 3 to 5 times.
Lying on your back, bend your knees at a 90-degree angle with your feet in the air.
Stabilize your baby so they are resting on your shins and hold onto their hands.
Engage your core and hold this position for 10 seconds, working your way up to 30 seconds.
Repeat 8 to 12 times.
Arm & Leg Extensions
Get down on all fours with your baby lying on their back and parallel to your chest.
Engage your core and slowly lift and extend your left arm and right leg at the same time while maintaining a neutral spine position.
Hold this position for 3 seconds, then lower your limbs and give your baby’s belly a tickle as you return to starting position.
Repeat on the opposite side, lifting right arm and left leg.
Repeat 8 to 12 times.
Before you begin working on back mobility or any kind of exercise, consult your postnatal practitioner and get cleared to return to exercise. For the safety of your little one, you will want to make sure that your newborn can hold their head up on their own if you’re going to include them in any of these exercises. If you experience any discomfort or pain in your back while performing any of these exercises or persist after trying them, visit your chiropractor to develop a treatment plan for your recovery.
This post is in partnership with the Ontario Chiropractic Association but all views and opinions are my own.
As a mother (new or seasoned veteran) we do whatever we can to keep our littles happy and healthy by any means necessary. The idea of our child being in any discomfort disturbs mom’s so much that we often find ourselves seeking out preventative measures for common conditions amongst babies in hopes we never have to encounter them. Funny enough, just when you think all the bases are covered, you can be hit with a little unexpected surprise leading you to spend countless hours reading comment boards and researching online.
We have been pretty lucky with Maxwell so far. I had worried a bit after she started sleeping through the night that being in the same diaper for 12 hours could cause some issues but we have been free and clear. No major concerns or issues however early on we saw the early signs of skin irritation in between her bum one day during a diaper change. My baby’s skin was nearly flawless, so to see this colour of crimson down there literally freaked me out. Terrified she was in any kind of discomfort and to be honest, worried it would soon turn into full blown diaper rash. My mother laughed when I called her on the verge of a diaper rash induced breakdown and quickly assured me that it’s a common condition that can be cleared up within a week once I incorporate a few extra steps into our diapering routine.
So, you’re probably thinking, “what are the causes of diaper rash and how do we prevent it?” With newborns extra sensitive skin, special care needs be taken to ensure that the area stays as dry as possible and moisture down there is a major culprit. It’s also common amongst babies between the ages of 9-12 months when their bowel movements start to change due to the introduction of solid foods. However, allergic reactions to soap and laundry detergent are not to be overlooked. In order to determine the cause of Maxie’s irritation, I immediately changed her laundry detergent and only used olive oil on her skin until the redness cleared up completely. Once it disappeared, I was able to re-introduce products like gentle wipes. We love using Huggies Natural Care wipes because they are safe for baby’s sensitive skin. They are made with 99% water and filtered 3 times, so we don’t have to worry about putting it on her skin. They are also hypoallergenic, fragrance and alcohol free, with the healing properties of both aloe and vitamin E.
Following these ABCDE’s of diapering can help you prevent diaper rash on your bub’s bum:
Diaper-free time once a day was one of the best thing’s I could have done for Maxie early on and we continue to do it until this day. I typically like to let her air dry in the morning when she is well rested and fed for at least 5 minutes. I find when she is cranky she doesn’t like to lay around without clothes on.
I’ve also started having her spend this time inside her activity play centre where the colours and hanging toys keep her preoccupied, allowing her to kick around sans nappies for an extra 5-10 minutes which works wonders.
If you have a newborn, chances are you have no time for a blow-out, but you can always use your blow-dryer on a cool, low setting to help expedite the drying process if there is no time for a diaper-free session.
Adding a barrier between the diaper and urine (or stool) until the irritation heals is something my doula recommended quite early on. We opted for EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). It’s natural and literally found in everyone’s kitchen pantry. I know some mother’s use zinc-oxide diaper cream or petroleum jelly and have had great success with those too.
I applied it during every diaper change during her flare-up but now only use it at nighttime or when I think she may be in her diaper a bit longer than usual (i.e. a long car ride or during travel).
Cornstarch powder. Baby powder is apparently a no-no these days as they have been proven to be harmful to baby’s skin and lungs, however cornstarch powder is still widely used amongst mother’s, myself included. I put a bit of this powder on the infected area (I also use it in her neck folds where moisture builds up from sweat, saliva and milk residue) 2-3 times a day. Pro Tip – always put cornstarch powder onto your own hands first and then apply on baby’s skin to avoid powder dust getting into the air and your baby’s lungs.
How you clean the area is extremely important. Always wipe gently and pat dry when tackling this area as rubbing can cause extra irritation. When Maxwell was a newborn, we found that putting her bottom under warm running water then using Huggies Natural Care Wipes was the best way to clean after a bowel movement.
Your baby’s diaper is one of the most important elements to this prevention equation. There has been so many advances in protection technology in disposable diapers that choosing Huggies Little Snugglers for Maxwell was a no brainer. They’re designed to feel like a hug and let your baby’s skin breathe, so it helps protect their delicate skin.
Paying attention to your baby’s patterns is one of the first things my midwives told me after giving birth and it applies to everything – even skin health. Take note of how and when your bub gets any skin irritation down there and if you find it continues or worsens, talk to your pediatrician or health care provider.
Becoming a mother means you will pretty much be wearing your heart on the outside of your body for the rest of your life. You will worry constantly about your child. You just can’t help it even if you tried. It’s an innate quality I think women have that is embedded in our DNA. It’s even worse when you are a first time mother desperately trying to learn the ropes of a new role that can be considered the toughest job on earth.
Maxwell has just turned five months and the learnings are endless. Just when you think you have mastered one thing and settled into a groove there is a sudden plot twist and you are back to square one. One of the most surprising discoveries came very early on just days after having Max. She had terrible nasal congestion that made it challenging for her to eat during her first week and putting her to lay down to sleep was nearly impossible. She screamed her head off, especially at night typically when anything gets worse. As new parents by the second night we were so panic stricken we rushed her to the emergency room. I remember the looks on the triage nurses faces as if to say, “We have another overreacting new mother over here thinking her newborn is dying” accompanied by an exaggerated eye roll. Seven hours later and we were told all was fine and that babies just have a lot of mucus post delivery because in the womb they are surrounded by fluid. Fast forward to today, we are still experiencing some nasal congestion to be quite honest and I think at this point it from a combination of a couple things. One, we live in a condo where air circulation and dryness can be much worse than inside a house. Two, the winter months don’t help either as the heating inside makes our place extremely dry. Plus, I am convinced that she is beginning the teething process, which can also create some congestion in the nasal passage.
After Maxwell’s three month check-up I began using HydraSense products to help with her moderate nasal congestion as recommended by her doctor. We love that it’s a 100% natural source with seawater with more than 70 marine trace elements. They are actually the #1 nasal saline solution brand here in Canada for children and contains no medications, additives or preservatives – making it the #1 choice for Canadian mamas. Combined with our Dyson humidifier that we have set up in our room not far from her bassinet, we have seen quite a significant difference with Max’s mucus levels.
At home we apply HydraSense’s Ultra Gentle Mist twice daily During her morning wipe down and again during her bedtime routine. The nighttime application is critical because she is generally more stuffier at night and the last thing I want is for her sleep to be interrupted because of a congested nose while we are sleep training her. The bottle may appear large and what you would expect for an adult product but the tip is ultra soft and specially designed for use in the nostrils of infants.
To administer the spray, I put her on her back and turn her head to one side and press down on the applicator for 1-2 seconds in the upper nostril. I repeat the process on the other side and generally wait about a minute or so as she sometimes sneezes everything out. If not, I then use a nasal aspirator to remove any mucus debris still obstructing the nasal passage. The HydraSense Nasal Aspirator Kit is perfect to use during those times where there is stubborn mucus that has hardened inside your baby’s nose. It was at the top of my packing list when I was preparing for our trip to Barcelona in December and I even keep a vial or two in the diaper bag in case I need to clean her nose on the go. It comes with hydraSense EasyDose vials and the nasal aspirator has a tube with a mouthpiece and a hygienic filter that allows you to gently suck out any mucus while also prohibiting it from passing through the inhalation tube. Prior to using the aspirator, it’s best to apply 1-2 drops from the EasyDose vial into each nostril (make sure to not re-use a vial after it’s been opened). Then insert the aspirator into entrance of the nose and inhale through the mouthpiece to gently remove the mucus as needed. Once finished, I gently lift her up to allow any remaining mucus to drain out on it’s own. The final step; soak a tissue or cotton ball with hydraSense and wipe around the nose. Max has gotten so accustomed to this routine that I can even sometimes get a giggle out of her when we are use the aspirator.
Check out hydrasense.ca for more information on hydraSense products. To make sure this product is suitable for your baby, always read the instructions and follow the label. If your child’s symptoms persist, please contact your healthcare provider.
This post was created in partnership with hydraSense for monetary compensation and/or product however all views and opinions are my own.
Children are considered to be a miracle and every day I count my blessings for giving birth to a healthy baby girl. That being said, there are so many Canadian families that are not as fortunate. Sometimes extenuating circumstances, like a newborn baby having to enter the NICU, can prevent a mama from giving her bub all the hugs they so desperately need when they first come out of the womb. This past summer, I watched a friend share her and her husband’s experience dealing with their son in the NICU. For weeks on end they commuted to the hospital a few times a day so she could breastfeed and they would go home at night. Repeating the cycle until their son was finally released. Six weeks later as I watched this all unfold on their IG accounts, the sound of my heart breaking was almost audible. I cannot even fathom the pain they felt. Pregnant during this time, I couldn’t imagine giving birth to Maxwell and not being able to have her at home with us during the first month. This made me wonder how NICU babies get the extra TLC in the form of hugs and cuddles at the hospital, when their parents aren’t there?
Not too long before I had Maxie, I discovered Huggies had created the No Baby Unhugged initiative which includes a volunteer hugging program that has been introduced into three Canadian hospitals over the past three years – Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, ON, Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney, NS and Victoria General Hospital in Victoria, BC. The program was started to help ensure that all babies get the hugs they desperately need – even when mom’s and dad’s can’t be there. Heart warming and very necessary, I am sure you will agree. As part of Huggies continued commitment to the No Baby Unhugged, the brand has recently announced their latest volunteer hugging program launch at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital in BC.
The newly launched program will have three dedicated volunteers available for eligible pediatrics infants and will be on hand to cuddle, rock and sing to newborns for extended periods of time. I kid you not, this has to be one of the best jobs in the world and I am patiently waiting for a local Toronto hospital to launch the program so I can get involved in some way. If this wasn’t enough already, Huggies has also come through with an additional $25k to help promote the importance of skin-to-skin and hugging by supplying the hospital with volunteer training, positioning devices, rocking chairs and more.
Want to get on board to help this amazing initiative? Simply pledge your support on nobabyunhugged.ca. By registering on the website, you’ll receive a free package Huggies Little Snugglers and Natural Care Wipes as a token of thanks and in return, they will also donate $5 to hugging programs in Canada. Let’s help spread awareness for this amazing program. Please check out this Facebook video from Huggies Canada. The brand will be donating $1 for every re-share.
This post was created in partnership with Huggies Canada for monetary compensation and/or product, however all views and opinions are my own.