Your Baby’s First Week

by Kama Lee Jackson, B. H. Sc. (midwifery), owner of Bloom prenatal and postpartum education and Coordinator, Mommy Connections East Toronto

After the excitement of labour and birth, you suddenly find yourself alone with this new human, midwives, doctors, and nurses all gone. ‘How can this be?’ you think, as you look at tiny stranger in your arms. ‘How can I be in charge of this creature when I have no idea what I’m doing?’

The good news is that your baby and you will probably spend most of the first 24 hours sleeping. Although it’s tempting to just stare at your beautiful baby for hours on end, you really should get some sleep. It’s a necessary way to start the babymoon, the period of laying in, bonding as a newly shaped family, and recovering your energy.

But, what next? Here’s what you need to know for your baby’s first week.

Your baby’s colour

What it looks like: A newborn’s hands and feet are usually much paler than their torso and face, even looking a little bluish.

What’s happening: There is some incredible stuff going on inside your baby’s little body. From the moment they start breathing air, everything inside starts to change – the blood vessels that brought them oxygen through their umbilical cord aren’t needed anymore and start to shut off. The pressure in their lungs is now different. Their heart structure actually changes, changing the way blood is pumped through their body. So, as their insides morph and change, their blood is sent to those areas that need it most – their internal organs while the parts of their body that don’t need as much – their hands and feet – get a little less.

When to act: If their abdomen or face turn blue, that is cause for immediate concern and action.

Your baby’s sounds

What it looks (sounds) like: There will be some strange sounds coming out of your newborn in the first few days. By far the most alarming one sounds a lot like a cat trying to bring up a giant hairball. Or, like an exorcism. I always act this out when I’m teaching my prenatal classes (it’s one of my most charming moments) so that parents understand what it sounds like. If you’re not prepared for, it can be a terrifying thing to hear coming from little angelic bundle.

What’s happening: Your baby’s lungs in utero were full of fluid and the little munchkin is just clearing it out. If you hear this noise, just roll him/her onto her side and rub her back as she works it out.

When to act: If your baby seems to be actually choking and struggling for air, it is cause for immediate emergency action.

Your baby’s breathing

What it looks/sounds likeMuch like the scariness of the exorcism sound described above, a newborn’s breathing pattern can also be a little frightening if you’re not expecting it. Your little muffin might be breathing, breathing, breathing and then… STOP….. long pause….. and breathing, breathing,  breathing. It’s that stop and long pause that can be, understandably, alarming. Don’t panic: wait a few seconds. Again, I demonstrate this for clients in my classes (it’s a bit more charming than the hairball act).

What’s happening: As their insides get organized, their breathing does too. This means that, unlike our breathing, which is rhythmic and regular, a newborn’s is erratic and irregular until they get it sorted.

When to act: If your baby appears to be actually struggling for breath, it is cause for immediate emergency action.

Your baby’s eating

What is looks like: Your baby just wants to be on you all the time, sucking non-stop. You don’t even think he’s actually getting anything from your breast and is just soothing himself.

What’s happening: Just that. Your baby was literally a part of you a few short hours ago. Your breathing, your sound, your warmth, the smell of you – YOU are your baby’s home, and what your baby needs and wants. About all that sucking: before your breast milk comes in (usually around day 3), your baby will be getting colostrum (a.k.a. liquid gold). It has everything your baby needs and is highly concentrated so he doesn’t need much.

BUT – even when your baby isn’t ‘eating’ it’s no reason to take them off the breast. The act of sucking is, in itself, performing an important function. It is stimulating the release of hormones that lead to the production of breast milk. So, the more baby sucks, the better it is for you milk production. Not only that, but it also releases oxytocin, that amazing happy hormone that made your uterus contract in labour. In the postpartum, it still keeps your uterus contracting and reducing the risk of hemorrhage. All that oxytocin also reduces the risk of postpartum depression, and promotes bonding with your baby.

Your baby’s pee and poop

What it looks like: In the first 24 hours, your baby should have one pee and one poop. Because your baby hasn’t consumed much liquid yet, the first pee will be very small and probably be tough to detect in a disposable diaper. Rip off a small piece of toilet paper and put it in the diaper to make it easy to detect the pee.

Your baby’s poop for the first few days will be a very thick, black, tar-like substance called meconium. Meconium is the product of what your baby ingested in the womb. And that stuff is suuuuuper sticky.

Use this pro tip to save you and your baby’s tush some grief: before you put on their first diaper, rub some olive oil on their skin over the entire area. The meconium will slide right off and you won’t need to scrub that tender skin. Reapply olive oil for as long as the meconium sticks around, which will be for a few days or until your baby’s tummy starts processing its new diet.

Your baby’s warmth

New parents are often tempted to overdress a baby, especially in our cold winters. The thing is, if a baby is too warm (or too cool), it can interrupt their sleep patterns. Sleep patterns are connected to eating needs so everything gets out of whack. Babies need one more layer than you do – no more, no less. So, if you wear a t-shirt and a light blanket to sleep (2 layers), then your baby needs to wear 3 layers – perhaps an undershirt onesie and two sleepers, maybe a light cap too. However, don’t use blankets or loose-fitting clothing for your baby.

 

My self care survival guide through the holidays

By: Dr. Emily Howell, BPHE(H), DC, FCCPOR(C)

Chiropractor and speaker who loves to bake, exercise, travel, tries tomeditate and is the mother of two crazy beautiful school aged kids

We all feel the stress and pressures as the holiday season approaches. After 13 years of practice I always see a rapid increase in my patients coming into my office with stress related injuries as the weather cools down and the holidays approach at the end of the year. Recently, I went out with my best friend and saw :A Bad Moms  Christmas”. It really struck a cord with us both – highlighting the crazy expectations we feel of having to create “perfect” family occasions and creating lifelong memories for our families which leads to so much pressure that we can never live up to! After being a mom myself for over 8 years as well as running my own business, I’ve been working on taking better care of myself and simplifying things. I try to only do more of the things that I enjoy (baking, decorating, seeing a festive show with my family, meet up with my friends, the Santa Claus parade, etc.), and minimize the rest (cooking, malls, buying gifts for every single person I’ve ever met, etc.)!

Here is my personal holiday survival list – I hope it helps you!

1. Exercise
I include time weekly for cardio, yoga and some full body weight training. Even a quick walk at lunch or a shorter workout is better than getting nothing in! Get it in whenever you can.
2. Sleep
This is a MUST for me and the last thing I give up. I will often “reverse sleep in” and go to bed an hour early to guarantee that extra sleep. It’s so key to help fight infections floating around, keep your sanity and wake up more refreshed to face the day. I also try to make sure my kids get lots of sleep as schedules change through the holidays.
3. Good healthy food and lots of water
Meal planning, or a home delivery meal services have saved a lot of us, as well as a slow cooker and batch cooking. Pot luck events help, so you can plan to bring something healthy that you know you and your kids will eat! Drinking lots of water daily to offset dryer indoor environments once the heat is turned on. It can help to offset dry skin, digestive problems, fatigue and dropping energy levels. Making sure you have a good base will help you to indulge occasionally without suffering too much!
4. Moderation
I know…letting loose can be fun but I often find now that my system gets really upset when I overdo it and it’s just not worth it the next day. So a little is ok, but I can’t overindulge like I used to!
5. Create a team of care providers to take care of you
We can’t pour from an empty cup! I see my ND (who prescribes the right supplements when my diet falls short), my family MD and endocrinologist (for annual check ups), my dentist, I see my RMT and Chiropractor too. This time of year can be very upsetting for people, so also make sure to find help of a counsellor or psychologist etc. if you need to work through things for your mental well being. Book your appointments now – if you do it ahead of time you are more likely to get the days/times you want.
6. Time with friends and family
Book fun ahead of time, including an activity you actually enjoy otherwise it just doesn’t happen. There are lots of great family friendly events going on around the city. We love the Santa Clause Parade, seeing a show, a cookie baking day or going downtown to see the decorated windows. This can also be with your biological family or your chosen one.
7. Dress appropriately for the weather
I see this often when the seasons change in my office. You can be stylish and warm! Our bodies need layers and comfort in these chilly Canadian seasons to avoid muscles tightening up and throwing us off.
8. Taking time off work
We are given vacation for a reason, please use it! Even for us self-employed folks. So many of us don’t, but it is essential to step back and pause. We usually come back to work more refreshed and productive.
9. Gifts
I try to buy local or online. Nothing is more stress inducing for me than malls during the holidays!. I also give my phone to my kids when we are in stores, so they can take pictures of what they want and I don’t hear constantly “I want”. I can then take my phone out for shopping and have my list in pictures. We have also stopped buying gifts for the adults in our families and opted to just buy for the kids (within a budget). We’ve also requested or try to give smaller items or experiences instead of more stuff, since city living has forced us to keep things simpler and to regularly declutter!
10. Meditation, Gratitude and simplifying
Meditation is what has gotten me through some really tough times. Practicing gratitude regularly has also been shown to make us happier. At our house we started a tradition of taking turns at dinner time to say what we are grateful for. It can be as simple as just breathing for a few minutes at bedtime, or thinking of three things you are grateful for each day. I’m also working on simplifying…our schedules, our house and my to do list. This might even allow us to actually slow down enough to enjoy the holidays. Pick your favourites, cut the unnecessary items and
say “no” sometimes. It’s hard at first, but gets easier as you do it more and may lead to you having happier holidays!

I hope these ideas help you enjoy your holidays, instead of just surviving them. Happy Holidays!

Day 7 of the 10 Days of Giveaways – No More Guilt

 

Let’s make it through to the New Year without feeling guilty, shall we? NO MORE GUILT. Even with all the parties, the drinks, the rich foods, the desserts, the eggnog, the cookies, the treats, and the chocolate…you can do it. And you can get your kids through it too without gorging on too much junk food and feeling bad about it (and maybe sick too).
I’m not suggesting you avoid any of the delicious items you crave during the season. I’m simply going to give you my top five ways to have it all in a realistic way. You can maintain balance through the holidays. It’s possible.

#1: Don’t Go Hungry
I literally mean don’t GO hungry. If you’re heading to a holiday party, cocktail party, or function, have a little something to eat before you go that contains a little protein and fibre. This could be a small salad, veggies and hummus or even an apple with some nut butter. We all know we make better decisions when it comes to food when our stomach isn’t growling. Ever grabbed that bag of chips when grocery shopping on an empty stomach? Yah, THAT. Avoid it by eating a small snack and then you’ll be able to resist piling everything on your plate.

#2: Plan Ahead
When it comes to kids and parties, we all do it. We put out the chips and popcorn and candy before the meal is even served and then our kids go all crazy and eat EVERYTHING and don’t eat a lick of dinner. If you’re concerned that snacks at a party will be unhealthy, or that your kids will only eat cookies, bring something! Plan to bring a fruit or veggie tray and let your kids know they have to have some of the good stuff before the bad stuff. Same goes if you’re hosting an event, have a healthy option so parents and kids can make better choices and leave it up to them!

#3: 80/20
I live by the 80/20 rule every day and this allows me to eat the birthday cake and have the wine and NOT have the guilt that usually comes along with it. 80% of the time, I eat as healthfully as I possibly can. I drink water, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and make good decisions. This leaves the other 20% of my life to enjoy some treats and not worry so much. So if you start doing this now, you can allow yourself to “let loose” at a party and not feel bad about it the next day because you’ll get right back on track.

#4: Have the Treats
This goes hand in hand with #3. If your Great-Aunt only makes her special one-of- a-kind shortbread cookies that no one else makes and you can’t get them anywhere else and this is your only chance…well EAT THEM. And enjoy them! The Holidays don’t have to be all about food but there is something special about certain holiday treats that are only available NOW. They don’t sell eggnog in July…just sayin’.

#5: Every Day is Another Chance
So you made some bad decisions? Drank too much? Let your kids eat the Gingerbread house for dinner? It’s ok. Every day is another chance to start again and make a change. Have a really great breakfast. Find something green for lunch. Remember to hydrate. And take a deep breath.

You can make it through the holidays this year without gaining weight, without feeling sick, and without feeling guilty. Be aware of what is going on around you and how you feel. Enjoy yourself. Don’t stress! Plan ahead. And remember to smile and have fun! The holidays are only here once year and you deserve to enjoy them. Happy Holidays!

Curious about what Nutritionists tell their one-on-one clients? Get ALL THE SECRETS in The Nutritionnaire’s 14 Day Difference. Two weeks of secrets, delivered directly to your inbox. Everything you wanted to know about how to get healthy this year. Simple changes. BIG impact. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, strike out sugar, or simply eat better, the 14 Day Difference is for you.

Win the 14 Day Difference program PLUS exclusive access to the Nutritionnaire’s Member Only Forum on facebook with weekly facebook live videos, answering all of your burning questions (valued at $29.99). To enter tag a friend on Facebook, share this post and follow us on Instagram.

Day 6 of the 10 Days of Giveaways – Musical Gift Guide

The one thing I did with both of my kids was music classes – it’s like the universal love language amongst the under five crowd. Alison Porter, owner of Love Notes Music, shares a really wonderful gift guide and overview of the instruments your kids might like. This post is a real treasure. Speaking of treasures Alison is giving away a 12 week class (usually $276) – and you can join as early as January. For your chance to win make sure you tag a friend on Facebook or follow us on Instagram.

 

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As the director of an early childhood music school that readies children to play an instrument I often get asked at holiday times to recommend places to buy glockenspiels, xylophones, hand drums, drum sets, ukuleles, guitars, keyboards, shakers etc. for young children. So here it is – my musical gift giving guide for parents of 0-5 year olds which will cover all those topics.

The first thing I always tell people is please, if you are looking for a real instrument for your child to play, for the love of Pete, do not buy the cheapest thing going! Cheap instruments sound bad, go out of tune easily, can be harder to play and you run the risk of turning your child off of playing an instrument because the instrument itself will hold them back and deplete their enthusiasm very quickly. In some cases you don’t have to spend much more to get something decent and your ears and your child’s long term joy will thank you in the long run.

Now, if you have a 3-year-old or younger who is rough on toys and you think the instrument will be used as a hammer as often as it lends itself to a tune, by all means get the cheapo uke or glock.

Also, FYI, none of the raft of links I’ve posted here are affiliates, i.e. I don’t make any money off them so click away with full confidence that I actually just LOVE these products and shops.

UKULELES

You can’t go wrong with a uke! This mellow little sweetheart is very popular these days and it also happens to be the perfect entry level instrument for kids. Soft strings, small stature, great price point. I highly recommend Kala ukes (and their sister brand Ma-Kala) – great tone and durability. These American made beauties come with glowing reviews from top uke players, guitar shops and ukulele teachers alike and start at about $75.

Kala and Ma-Kala ukuleles and can be found locally at 12th Fret Guitars, Cask Music and online at Empire Music.

GUITARS

The go to name for smaller guitars is Beaver Creek. Every teacher and guitar junky I talk to agrees on this. Beaver Creek makes ½ sized classical guitars that have nylon strings which go easy on small fingers. They also come in fun colours – pink, blue, ultra-hip sunburst and au natural.

Beaver Creek Guitars are available locally at 12th Fret Guitars and Cask Music and online at Cosmo Music.

GLOCKENSPIELS AND XYLOPHONES

In my early childhood music classes I have spoiled myself and the kids with top-of-the-line glocks and xylophones by Studio 49. These are classroom grade instruments with beautiful tone and tuning. They ain’t cheap though. I have tried out dozens of mid-range metal glocks and I just cannot get excited about their tinny sounds – and so many of them are poorly/haphazardly tuned! My advice is to stick to their mellow wooden cousin the xylophone or just get a really small and therefore quiet glockenspiel. Good brands to check out for toy glocks and xylophones are Plan Toys and Djeco.

The Studio 49 glockenspiel and xylophone I use in my classes are available online at St. John’s Music. Plan Toys and Djeco instruments are available locally at Silly Goose Kids and Treasure Island Toys. Also, for a not too pricey personalized and hand-made glock try Cake In The Morn.

HAND DRUMS  

Hands down, my favourite hand drums for kids are by Remo. Everything from their cheap and cheerful “Lollipop Drums” to their huge family sized “Gathering Drum” is quality. They’ve got soft mallets, kid friendly designs and a great reputation among early childhood music educators.

Remo Drums are available locally at Long and McQuade and online at Empire Music.

EARLY CHILDHOOD MUSIC TOYS

My go to one-stop online shop for early childhood music toys is the Canadian-owned Empire Music. They carry clavés, harmonicas, wrist scarves, egg shakers, triangles, gift sets, and so much more. Locally, Silly Goose Kids and Treasure Island Toys both have nicely rounded out selections for 0-3 year olds and Long and McQuade has a solid selection for 3+ years in their percussion department.

DRUM KITS

Drum kit for you kid eh? Brave you! For the little drummer in your family you can’t beat Westbury RB Junior drum kits. They’ve got replaceable and tuneable skins (there’s that sounding better thing again!) and all metal parts.

RB Junior Drums are available locally at Long and McQuade.

KEYBOARDS

For keyboards, I wanted to get the skinny from a pro, so I talked to Larra Debly, owner of local music school Sweet Music Lessons to get a solid recommendation. Larra said to look for a keyboard with “weighted keys” to simulate the feel of a real piano. She also warned that If music lessons are in your child’s future to look for a keyboard without too many bells and whistles as they can be a tad distracting. (drum beats, orchestra hits, flutes and choir voices oh my!) However, if you are looking for something a little less serious check out Mastermind Toys locally and online for a wide variety of keyboards – they even have one shaped like a cat and also a cool gigantic foot piano!

A wide selection of keyboards with weighted keys are available locally from Long & McQuade.

Is your kiddo addicted to making music? Why not try out a free trial class?  At Lovenotes School of Music parent/child music classes our expertise lies in building solid musical foundations for 0-5 year olds in a fun and nurturing environment.

 

Day 3-5 of the 10 Days of Giveaways – Stocking Stuffers

 

We’ve got an amazing selection of stocking stuffers from our direct mail friends, plus a special self care gift from our friends at BSide Beauty. This one is so jam packed we’ve decided to spread it out over the whole weekend, so you have plenty of time to enter to win all these goodies. The deadline for entries will be Monday 11th December 2017. You’ll find all the details on how to enter below, but first let’s introduce you to our friends and their amazing products.

Last week a friend was telling me about how she worked for Arbonne and got a Mercedes – crazy eh? I can see why direct sales companies are so successful – they take away any and all need to actually leave your house. With small kids at home wandering around a mall is absolutely not something I do these days. I asked my friends from Arbonne, Beauty Counter, and Young Living to give me their top stocking stuffers. The great news is that you can still make purchases and get them in time for the holidays.

First up: Erin from Arbonne

If you want to fill your own stocking – Glossed Over Lip Gloss – Cardinal, it’s red of course!  Then for a little sparkle the Sheer Glow Highlight Stick  After all of your parties are done you will need a little downtime perhaps in the tub with the door locked!  The Rescue and Renew Soak will remove the impurities and will cleanse the skin.  And finally for the kids, who doesn’t love the smell of cookies?  Have a little fun in the tub with our Sugar Cookie Bath Time Gift Set! And we’re giving this all away!

Giveaway: We’re giving away all of this in today’s giveaway. See details below on how to enter.

To order contact Erin Binns at erin.binns@gmail.com or visit www.erinbinns.arbonne.com

Next up: Jocelyn from Beauty Counter – Beautycounter’s mission is to get safer skincare into the hands of everyone.

Clean Slate Holiday Duo ($58) – Our activated charcoal set. Start your day with a clean slate.
Cleansing Balm ($94) – My 6-year old daughter calls this “magic” as it soothes any itchy eczema areas she has so quickly, that the irritation stops and literally disappears.
Better Baby Care Set ($70).  A trio of baby bath-and-body formulas and an exclusive, limited edition buddy crafted by kids brand Finn + Emma. Includes Baby Gentle All-Over Wash, Baby Daily Protective Balm and Baby Soothing Oil.

Giveaway: Beautycounter’s Rejuvenating Radiance Serum helps even the look of skin tone, improve hydration, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles thanks to a combination of vitamin C, mixed fruit acid complex, and algae and marine extract. Lightweight and easily absorbed, the formula is a must for layering under your moisturizer. See details below for how to enter to win.

To order contact Joceyln Rose Settle at jocelynroseyoga@yahoo.com or visit beautycounter.com/jocelynsettle

 

Third up: Lourdes from Young Living on the Danforth

Young Living’s Premium Starter Kit, a fantastic gift for the whole family. Equipped with a diffuser and eleven premium essential oils and blends that will not only pamper but help relieve cough and cold symptoms.

The Desert Mist Diffuser – Give the gift of relaxation with a gorgeous Desert Mist diffuser that comes with a bottle of Young Living’s Lavender and Citrus Fresh. This multi-purpose diffuser is a humidifier, atomizer and aroma diffuser.

Young Living Plus+ Dietary Oils for Cooking – Add a drop to water, holiday baking, your pasta sauce and favourite savoury dishes. Young Living’s Plus+ dietary line has been approved by Health Canada for cooking with and ingesting.

To order contact Lourdes Calderon at lourdescalderon@hotmail.com or visit https://www.myyl.com/lourdescalderon@hotmail.com

Giveaway: Young Living Lavender oil and Carrier oil.

And last but not least, BSide Beauty

BSide Beauty offers an array of services for all your beauty needs. We offer manicures, pedicures, makeup application, lash extensions, threading and full wax services – plus a bar menu you’ll love.

And on Tuesdays between 10am and 2pm, you can bring your baby (between 0-8 months) and get a 25% discount! Now that sounds like some guilt free self care!

Today’s giveaway is a massive gift pack overflowing with amazing products from these four friends of ours. To enter, tag a friend on Facebook. For an extra entry, tag a friend on Instagram. (Both people must be following Emily D Photography.) You have until Monday 11th December 2017 to get your entry in and encourage all your friends to do the same!

Day 2 of the 10 Days of Giveaways

Blanket Scarf

Day 2 and next up are our friends at Smithery!

Smithery is an e-boutique based on the principles of personal styling to simplify shopping and make fashion more inclusive. One of our biggest style tips is to always think about your outfit in threes – the 3rd piece is the easiest way to take two basics and turn them into a LOOK. That includes vests, cardis, statement necklaces and the go-to 3rd piece of the season…the blanket scarf. And – bonus!-  it’s especially giftable because you seriously can’t have too many (not in Canadian winters!) and they fit all sizes.

What to think about when picking out a blanket scarf? Here’s a few starters:

  1. What colour is her coat: if you know what her jacket looks like, pick a scarf that will be a happy match. That can mean incorporating the same shade or picking a shade that is brilliantly contrasting.
  1. What is her colouring: Warm skin tones look better with warmer shades and cool skin tones look better with cooler shades
  1. What would she love but maybe not buy for herself: That’s the fun of gifting! A wild card can turn into the compliment magnet she never knew she was missing.

Every Smithery blanket scarf comes with a box of Teapigs loose leaf tea and styling tips. We’re calling it the cozy pack and it’s back for it’s second holiday season because styling the blanket scarf can sometimes feel elusive. But it’s not! The easiest and our favourite simple way to style it is below:

The Triangle

  1. Hold it open as a full square
  2. Fold the square in half to make a triangle
  3. Place the point of the triangle in front of you and hold the ends in either hand
  4. Cross the ends behind your head and pull them around to the front
  5. Tuck them under the scarf and adjust so you have some breathing room around the neck

Follow along with these step by step visuals from littleloveliesblog.com

How to Style a Blanket Scarf

Once that’s down, there are so many other ways to make the blanket scarf work for you.  This pinterest board will get you inspired!

Win this blanket scarf to gift (or to receive!). To enter hop on over to Facebook and find the Day 2 Giveaway posts on both the Mommy Connections East Toronto and Smithery pages and tag a friend in each. Have your friend follow our page for another entry and follow us on Instagram.

 

10 Days of Giveaways

 

We have ten days of exciting giveaways that are all local and easy to get this close to Christmas. We’ve tapped into the collective knowledge of our many presenters who have been generous enough to provide a ton of giveaways and even more great information.

I’m so OVER all of the American gift guides – I mean seriously – you find a ton of cute things, go to buy it, get it delivered and then have to pay duty. I’m sure it’s clearly indicated but who even has time to read those details ;-).

With my own laziness in mind and a commitment to supporting the female run businesses I know and love I thought I’d take you along for the ride. These gifts are things that either I or my family has loved. All of the gifts we’re giving away are both beautiful and useful.

So, for the next week and a half I’ll be sharing a ton of my favorite things – it’ll be like my very own opinion festival and, in exchange for your attention, I’ll be giving something away every single day either on Instagram or Facebook.

GIVE AWAY #1:

Our first giveaway is a $500 gift certificate with me, Emily D Photography. To enter hop over to my Instagram or Facebook and tag a friend on the giveaway page. You will get one entry into the draw per person you connect us to. If your friend decides to follow us on Instagram or Facebook that also counts as another entry. Get an extra entry if you join my photography newsletter.

Juice and Java Cafe becomes Sponsor of Mommy Connections East Toronto

We are excited to announce a new partnership with Juice and Java Café.

Moms at our Beaches location will enjoy coffee during class and a spot at the community table reserved especially for them after class to continue the conversation over coffee or lunch.

A great family friendly spot in The Beaches, with high chairs, a collection of children’s books, and the deal breaker for moms and babies – a changing table! Not to mention lots of yummy menu choices from baking to sandwiches and soups, smoothies and of course, coffee!

 

Find Juice and Java Café at 2102 Queen Street East, at the corner of Wineva.

Ask for Helen and tell her you’re from Mommy Connections! She and her staff will be happy to help you with your stroller and will take care of you.

Are you worried about being ‘Mom shamed’ in our classes?

I bought the Mommy Connections East Toronto franchise a few months ago. If you knew how many people assume that our groups are like the wild wild west with everyone judging and shaming one another you’d be shocked. I was shocked (and still am, to be honest).

Because nothing could be further from the truth. Our groups are made up of grown women who are kind, articulate and madly in love with their babies. As far as I’ve been able to tell, they don’t have time for mom-shaming and are the farthest thing from the negative stereotype that people envision when they picture a ‘mom’s group’.

Mommy Connections classes are warm and welcoming. After the initial awkward conversations and feelings of insecurity pass, hilarious stories emerge about trying to balance it all (and feeling like we’re utterly utterly failing).

I bought Mommy Connections because when I read the partnership agreement and poked around on the website I realized that MC was, first and foremost, about connecting Moms to one another. Sure we have amazing presenters who stuff Moms full of the best and most informative information about sleep, books to read, caring for your mental and physical health, baby sign language, etc. And, we give away the best swag bag in the business. AND you get a beautiful photo with your babe, taken by yours truly. But all that aside – the core of what w do is connecting Moms to one another to create community.

 

A Personal Story

Motherhood is truly the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. I look at my kids and wonder what I could have done to deserve such incredible gifts. But, as every parent knows, motherhood is terrifying. When my daughter was in utero (my first), we found out that she had a kidney issue. For 20 weeks of my pregnancy, I had no idea what to expect – would I get to hold her when she was born? Would I go into early labour? Would she need to be in the hospital while I was discharged?  And if so, then what? Would I sit in a chair by her bedside? For how long – a day, a week, a month?

Well, I’m happy to report that she was perfect beyond all measure. She did have an operation at a few weeks old but she was, and remains to be, perfect. But I started my journey into motherhood with a ton of stress and uncertainty, and a whole bunch of people saying things like ‘you should’, ‘I told you so’, ‘that’s bad for you’ – you know… well meaning, good-natured advice.

But that’s not what I heard. In my hormonal haze, I heard ‘you’re bad at this’, ‘you’re doing it wrong’, and ‘you’re going to hurt her’. Lucky for me, when faced with criticism I get really sassy about it.

So, when people wouldn’t zip it about our co-sleeping arrangement I told them that, if they were so concerned, it was their duty to call social services and handed them my phone. That stopped the chatter 😉

 

The Bottom Line

At Mommy Connections you’ll find a place to giggle about the fact that you have no idea what you’re doing – but  who cares. Everyone else is feeling the same way you do, so consider it a weekly vacation from the madness of life at home with a new baby.

Please accept this invitation to participate in our programs without fear of being judged for your decision about how you feed your baby, put your child to sleep, when you choose to potty train, or whether you let them leave the house in silly costumes – in-person classes aren’t the internet chat groups. These classes are made up of bright, articulate, child-loving mothers who so desperately want what is best for their baby – and each other. What you can expect is a warm place to land with copious amounts of coffee and a few extra arms that will willingly hold your baby when we sense that you might just need a hot minute!

Our fall session starts the second week of September – and we still have some spaces available. To register for classes and take advantage of $15 off please follow the link.