Midtown Mommy-To-Be: Prenatal Workshop

Congratulations on the upcoming arrival of your baby-to-be! As your due date approaches, one of the best things you can do is put aside the to-do list (stroller research, nursery decorating, and a million other tasks that can wait) and prepare yourself for what’s to come.

You’re invited to join us on Sunday June 3rd for an afternoon workshop where we’ll do just that. You’ll gain valuable knowledge to help yourself prepare for childbirth, as well as for life at home with your new baby.

Register Today!

5 Reasons Why You Want To Have Maternity Photos Done

Pregnancy is a beautiful thing.. and along with it comes morning sickness, a range of emotions, and a change in how our body looks and feels. There are so many things to plan for and anticipate, and maternity photos may become an afterthought, but capturing the beauty of every pregnancy is special. Here are five reasons why you’ll be happy to have maternity photos done:

1. MOTHERHOOD IS BEAUTIFUL – You are beautiful! Carrying a soul inside of you is something to cherish. Pregnancy occurs only a few times in life, and it’s worth savouring the moment. It can be hard to imagine having photos taken (especially if you’re not feeling your best – with morning sickness and an expanding body), however focus on the celebration of motherhood that is growing within.

2. SHOW OFF THE BELLY – What a great excuse to show off and flaunt your belly! Make it a day of pampering, and get dolled up as a special treat, because you deserve it. Indulge in form fitting maternity wear to show off the bump. Professional photographers will provide wardrobe recommendations, and may also provide access to a collection of maternity dresses that can be worn for the shoot.

3. TIMELESS MEMORIES – It’s easy to forget how it felt like to be pregnant. Photos help reconnect your memories, emotions, and feelings. It is also a wonderful memory to show your children.

4. MOMENT OF BONDING – The photos are also for partners and any siblings to have their own moment to bond. It is a wonderful moment for the entire family to embrace the positive changes coming. For siblings, it is a great way to make them feel special, and to capture cute photos of hugging or kissing of the belly.

5. TELL A STORY – A professional photographer will make it a fun experience, and transform shots into a story that illustrates the connection and love already forming between mom and baby – all while taking best angles, depth of field, and lighting into consideration. It’s also worth looking into combined maternity + newborn photo session package options, to capture the beautiful story that unfolds once the baby is born.

**Join us for a Midtown Mommy-To-Be: Prenatal Workshop – Sunday June 3rd at North Movement Studio in Leaside. You’ll enjoy a great afternoon of learning and connecting with your fellow mommies-to-be, as well as a fun maternity photoshoot with Pictonat Photography!

Guest blog post by: Nathalie Amani, Pictonat Photography


Nathalie is a mom of two, and the owner of Pictonat Photography. She has a passion for delivering images that capture emotions and tell a story with an intimate, contemporary, and fresh feel. Her work is focused on working with people and families of all ages (maternity, newborn, family, special occasion & professional head shots).

Pictonat Photography | hello@pictonat.com | 416.951.8428

5 Useful Baby Shower Gift Ideas (that you probably won’t find on the registry)

Have a baby shower coming up? New parents tend to get so much ‘stuff’ that doesn’t actually end up being all that useful. Try to think outside the box (or registry), and make your gift something that will hopefully help make the transition to parenthood just a little bit easier for the mommy-to-be..

Here are just a few gift ideas – that she either didn’t know to ask for, or doesn’t want to just come right out and ask for:


Meal Delivery. Not having to think about what to make and prepare for dinner is huge. I’m not talking about getting ‘take-out’. I mean those meal delivery companies that lovingly prepare tasty, balanced and nutritious meals for your family, making it easy to eat well and enjoy healthy meals. It’s also awesome when guests sign up for a post baby meal train. When visiting the new baby, bring something for the parents to put in the freezer and heat up later. Don’t make mama feed you – just bring the food to her, and tell her its for them to eat another time.

Parenting Support Services.  Parents-to-be tend to focus a lot on the actual labour & delivery, but birth professionals will be there to assist and guide them through it. Afterwards, when its just parent(s) and baby, can be challenging (and most likely sleep deprived). Baby care professionals are available to help beyond the birth, and can take some of the pressure off, while parents get to know and figure out life with their new little bundle of joy (ie. postpartum doulas, night nurses, sleep consultants, lactation consultants, baby proofers, carseat installation, etc).

House Cleaning. Either by sourcing the actual cleaning service, or by offering to cover some costs towards whomever they have hired – Having someone else do the cleaning beyond the regular tidying, when parent’s are busy with a new baby, is super helpful.

12 Months and up. The majority of gifts from others will likely be somewhere in the 0-9 months range. I know, I know, when it’s so little and cute it’s damned near impossible to reach for the same item in the 12-18 or 18-24 month size. Baby’s drawers and closets will probably be OVER FLOWING with 0-3 mo items (and more than half of the stuff most likely won’t even make it on to baby before they outgrow it), and gifted clothing thins out A LOT after the first year. I’m not saying to go and get something that the child will use when they’re entering middle school – that would be crazy – but 12-24 months stuff is pretty easy to hold on to and store for the short amount of time before it’s utilized. *Also think about seasonality, and what time of year baby is going to be wearing the size you buy.

Gift Cards & Money. Gift cards to coffee shops / baby-friendly establishments / massage therapy / hair salon / spa treatments / Mommy Connections (Mom & Baby classes or CPR workshops) or other local program registrations / anything drive through / etc.. Basically thinking beyond gift cards for the baby stores, lets mama know that you’re thinking about her too. Babies (and life) costs money. Designated towards something specific, or to be used at the discretion of the parents – Nobody wants to come out and just ask for it, but money to put toward the baby’s future is generally well received.

NOTE: If you’re contemplating whether or not to get the baby a stuffed toy, the answer will almost always be “No, thank you!”

 

Say no to diaper cakes: Consider cloth diaper service gift certificates for your registry or as a baby shower gift.

Guest Blog Post by: Jamie Benson, Wonderwear Modern Cloth Diaper Service


There is a lot to think about when it comes to baby showers. If you are hosting, there are the invitations and timing to consider. What theme and games would be fun? Food and drinks… should it be catered? Who will bring what? Party favors… check. Fortunately there are many excellent resources online to navigate through all these decisions. Check out Babycenter.com as a good place to start.

green-and-blue-frog-diaper-cake-240x184If you are the mom-to-be, are you putting together a gift registry? What should be on that list? Common top 10 baby shower gift ideas include baby bath gear, baby monitor, baby bouncy seat, activity gym and baby carrier. Then there is the diaper cake. It’s cute, don’t get me wrong. But a disposable diaper cake steers new moms down the path of disposable diapers which costs more money than a diaper service while also being less healthy for the baby and much worse for the environment.

Few consider cloth diaper service gift certificates but they are a terrific idea! Add them to your registry or purchase for a friend as a unique and thoughtful gift.

At Wonderwear Cloth Diaper Delivery Service, we make it really easy to go this route. If you are the mom-to-be and want to add our service to your registry, you would typically sign up for service a month before your baby shower and we would then credit your account each time a gift certificate comes in. If it’s a surprise for someone, no problem! In this instance we set up a temporary account and then get the additional info from the new client after their shower.  We also provide personalized gift certificates for presentation purposes.

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Purchasing Wonderwear gift certificates is easy. Just go to our online store, select the amount and check out! Some savvy new moms have 6 months of free service or more by the time they start with us.

So please consider skipping the diaper cake or make-it-yourself gift idea… and purchase a cloth diaper service gift certificate instead. We take all the work out of cloth diapering and come right to your door each week with an unlimited supply of hospital level sanitized cloth diapers. Now that’s a great gift!


imageJamie Benson, www.Wonderwear.ca

Dad to 3 Terrific Young Boys | Brand Marketer | Concerned Citizen regarding Climate Change | Entrepreneur | Husband to Superstar Wifey

 

5 Things I Would Say To A New Or Expectant Mom


First, let me say; I remember when I was pregnant, becoming mentally exhausted (and slightly scared) from all the well meaning, but unsolicited, and often unwanted, advice I received. Unfortunately, most of the advice given is scary, negative, old-fashioned and “I know best” kind of advice. I can honestly not remember one person who simply told me how much fun this was going to be. Or, how delivering a baby doesn’t necessarily turn you into a shrieking, husband-hating monster. Everyone is always so happy for you, yet, they can’t come up with one positive thing to say.So, here is what I will want to say (if she asks…) to my future daughter-in-laws about how to survive, enjoy and graduate from motherhood (not that we ever stop being moms)

1.  Nourish yourself spiritually, emotionally and physically. You are about to become a mother, don’t lose yourself

While you are trying to become pregnant or are pregnant, pay attention to the little things that nourish you as a woman, a person and a friend and wife. What are the things that make you smile; make you feel happy and fulfilled? Is it time alone with

Practicing Self-Care helps you take care of you.
Practicing Self-Care helps you take care of you.

your spouse and/or friends? Is alone time important to you? Reading? Pick at least one of these and make time for it once the baby has arrived. You can do this AND be a wonderful, committed mother.

Prioritize your health. Learn what you need to about preparing for, pregnancy and recovering post partum. Find and see your local Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist. Learn about the inside of your body and pelvic floor. Do your Kegels and bind your belly immediately post partum.

2.  Treasure the moments

If you already have kids I am sure you have already heard advice like “don’t rush through it”, “enjoy, they grow so fast”. I heard it so many times, but still would think: “I wish he would walk soon”, “If only he could talk and tell me what he wants”

My oldest and I
My oldest and I

I can tell you as someone who has 4 grown children and just moved one of my youngest out – They are right! Enjoy the small moments and the wonder. I know it gets crazy at times with these little, not always cooperating, but adorable people. I now spend a fair bit of time reminiscing and enjoying those memories in my mind. You see, I listened to that advice, but not well enough. I really tried to still my day and sit down with my boys and just enjoy the story they were telling, the cuddle or simply watching them do their thing quietly, but I worried about my house-work too. Now that they are older I still look for any opportunity to sit down and enjoy time with my boys.

3.  Parent in a way that feels right for you and your partner.

I figured out early on that I really only wanted to ask for and listen to advice from certain friends/family members, namely, those with similar parenting beliefs and philosophies. So, I rarely give advice, unless asked. And I never asked for advice except from those specific moms. That way you are not getting judged simply for asking and you don’t have to listen to advice you have no intention of following. Except for from your mother and mother-in-law of course, because they will give you advice whether you want it or not. Just listen, smile and nod…and then erase from your memory so it doesn’t sneak up on you in a weak moment 😉

4.  Prioritize your marriage/relationship

Your marriage comes first! You got together and had a family for a reason, now you owe it not only to yourselves, but to yourP1000127 children to make this work. I am divorced, and I can honestly say, there is no hockey game or practice, ballet recital, or homework assignment that is more important than that. Parenting and maintaining your relationship are two equally important entities. Obviously you will meet your children’s basic needs of life and much more. Make it just as important to do something for your relationship with your spouse every day. It can be really small like sitting down for 5 minutes together – alone and just being together; a kiss and a hug at the end of every day; a sweet text to say you are thinking of each other. And yes, schedule date nights – often, even if that simply means going to bed early and not watching television… 😉

5.  Be a mother, not a friend to your children

I too often hear mothers brag about how they are “best friends” with their daughter. It is great if you are close and share and talk to each other openly, but your daughter is not your bff, nor are you hers. Being a mother is a true privilege and pleasure and a very unique place in life. You are a confidant, advisor and the one who loves them without condition or limitation. With you they are completely safe. Safe to be wrong, inconsiderate, apologetic, remorseful, wonderful, funny, goofy and so much more. There is a life long bond between a mother and child that doesn’t need the tag of “best friends” to have meaning. Because when we try to be best friends we try not to displease. We don’t say things that might upset or anger them, and thus we stop parenting. It is our job as parents to say the things they don’t want to hear when they need to hear it. It is their friends’ job to cheer them up when you do. My boys don’t think of me as their best friend. I am their mother. I am always there for them and they know that. I am their first call when they need something, or want to share an experience. I feel so lucky to be that. I know one day their wives will take that place, but I also know they will still call me and check in, because that’s what we do.

Walking behind them I could actually see their little toddler self.  I am so proud of the young men they have become.
Walking behind them I could actually see their little toddler self. I am so proud of the young men they have become.

Oh dear, this ended up being a little longer than I intended it to be, but thank you for sticking with me to the end. I would love to hear from you! What is the one thing you will tell a young mom one day?

With love, Elisabeth


elisabethELISABETH PARSONS is a pro fitness trainer, nutritional counsellor, and lifestyle coach to women. She is a mother of 4 very active boys, and enjoys sharing her life experience and knowledge about adding vitality to your life through healthy, active living.

Best Pregnancy Exercise: Trimester Specific Training

Guest Blog Post By Nikki Bergen, creator of The Belle Method: A Fitness Philosophy for Women

UntitledWe know that exercising during pregnancy is good for both mom and baby – from boosting your energy and sleeping better, to reducing the risk of gestational diabetes and joint pain. Still, the current pregnancy exercise guidelines are vague at best. “Warm up, keep your heart rate under 140 BPM, stay off your back, avoid dangerous sports and stay hydrated” pretty much sums it up.

I remember taking my first pre and postnatal certification course years ago, and the guidelines were just as generic.  I was disappointed as a fitness professional, especially one yet to have kids. There had to be more guidance.  Pregnant women in gyms were uncertain as to what was safe that they often quit working out all together.  Those who did persevere with their regular classes often received no direction other than “take it easy” while trying to self-modify the group exercises.  

So naturally I nerded out and learned everything possible about pre and postnatal fitness.  From interviewing PhD’s in women’s health and becoming a Labour Doula, to taking three different courses on diastasis recti, aka ‘mummy tummy’; the separated connective tissue that leaves many postpartum moms with flabby bellies and a compromised core.

The search for a better pregnancy workout led me to discover pelvic floor physiotherapy.  It turns out that a functional pelvic floor is pretty much the most important thing ever.  Want to prevent pregnancy back pain and reduce your risk of mummy tummy? Want your body to bounce back after you deliver your baby? Want to avoid organ prolapse and incontinence? It comes down to keeping your pelvic floor – the base of your torso and centre of your stability – strong.  It comes down to your “kegels,” and whether you’re doing them right (hint: most aren’t).

Here’s how pregnancy and the pelvic floor works: picture a bowling ball (your baby) bouncing on a trampoline (your pelvic floor). As the ball gets bigger and heavier, your trampoline needs to keep up with demands. We need to ensure the trampoline is strong enough (not too taut, not too lax) to support things properly.  Unfortunately, telling women to do their kegels just doesn’t cut it.  These exercises were originally created and taught by Dr. Arnold Kegel in the 1940s during gynecological exams. Most women today are merely guessing whether they’re doing kegels correctly, and many are forgetting to release. They’re just “holding their pee.” (Picture someone with very tense, elevated shoulders holding heavy weights over their head at the gym for minutes on end. Bad idea. Tension gets worse. Tension dysfunction  weakness.)

Pregnancy exercise must include instruction on proper pelvic floor engagement and postural alignment, coupled with key strengthening and stretching exercises to assist women through pregnancy, labour/delivery and postpartum recovery. Here’s the breakdown:

First Trimester: 1 – 13 weeks 

Issues: Your body is building the placenta and hormone levels are doubling each day. Mood swings and fatigue are common. Blood pressure is lower than usual due to vasodilation from the new hormone relaxin, which can lead to increased heart rate and dizziness on exertion.

Goal: Connect with your deepest layer of abdominals (the transversus abdominis) before this muscle stretches out from the growing baby in the 2nd trimester. Learn how to breathe using your diaphragm to help manage hormonal related dizziness and nausea.

Second Trimester: 14 – 26 weeks 

Issues: Your hormone levels have stabilized now that the placenta is built.  Blood pressure has normalized and energy levels have improved so this is the best time for introducing more intensity to workouts. The growing baby has started to stretch the transversus muscle so it may feel more challenging to connect with the deep layer of abdominals.

Goal: Add new dynamic movements to build on the diaphragmatic breathing learned in Trimester 1. Focus on preventing postural changes as the belly grows. Strengthen pelvic floor and outer hips for balance and stability, and stretch shortening muscles to maintain alignment.

Third Trimester: 27 – 40 weeks 

Issues:  In this final stage of pregnancy, your body is coping with the greatest amount of intra-abdominal pressure from the large baby. The strain on the abdominal wall and pelvic floor is significant.  Postural compensations due to this increased load can create discomfort and fatigue.

Goal: Practice releasing the pelvic floor (no more kegel lifting) in preparation for delivery. Prevent mummy tummy or diastasis recti (overstretched abdominal tissue) by avoiding front loaded positions like plank or quadruped to minimize forward pressure on the abdominal wall.  Focus on both stretching and strengthening to manage discomfort in this final stage of pregnancy.

[Here’s an explanation of mummy tummy with Dr. Sinead Dufour]

All pregnant women will benefit from following these trimester specific guidelines, regardless of their prior fitness level. Each trimester of pregnancy presents different challenges and calls for a different workout focus.

Make it a priority to take care of yourself. Try coming from a place of self-kindness. Too often the message we internalize around pregnancy is one of self-criticism and competition to “get your body back fast.” This mindset leads to negative self-talk and frantic stroller baby bootcamp injuries.  We either give up with a defeatist attitude and do nothing, or punish our bodies back into our skinny jeans.  Either way, our body suffers.

Let’s find some middle ground and work not only on that pelvic floor abdominal connection, but on that positive mind body one too.

Check out the Bump Method four-part video exercise series designed for each trimester of pregnancy, including the 4th trimester “restore your core” program to repair diastasis recti aka “mummy tummy.”