Weaning for work

The other day at the park, I had the same conversation I’ve had many times before with a random mom. It always catches me off guard and I might seem rude but really I just don’t follow the logic.

Blah blah blah.

Me: “Yes, I still breastfeed them both.”

Her: “Oh, I had to wean mine because I went back to work.”

Me: awkward, confused pause. “I work.”

Her: “I couldn’t pump at work.”

Me: “I don’t pump at work.”

This really isn't so bad, is it?

This really isn’t so bad, is it?

Do you see where this is going? The thing is, even if you are not a full-time stay at home mom, you can breastfeed your children as long as you/they want. And you don’t have to pump at work if you don’t want to. Pumping is not something I personally enjoy. If your kids are close to a year, as most kids are when the majority of Canadian women go back to work, I don’t necessarily see the point of the hassle. They will get enough breastmilk after work and possibly through the night. When your not around they can drink water or goat, cow, almond, hemp or coconut milk.

Breastfeeding is about supply and demand. Even if you work 9-5, five days a week, if your baby ain’t suckling, you ain’t producing.

There’s an adjustment period so you could find a way to slowdown the breastfeeding sessions in the weeks leading up to your return without full-on weaning. I managed to get by by just going to work hand expressing enough to relieve the pressure and prevent a blocked duct but not create more demand during those particular hours. Easy peasey.

To that mom I was talking to, I don’t judge you for weaning your kid. But for future reference, you didn’t have to just because you went back to work.

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Overcoming depression, breaking the cycle

Guest Post by Cristina Cavalieri D’Oro

blogDepression/suicide has been in the news lately after the death of the wonderful actor Robin Williams. I wanted to share my personal experience with this and what I did to overcome it in the hopes that it will help anyone who might be experiencing this right now.

I was diagnosed with depression in my teens/early twenties and eventually overdosed on prescribed medication (luckily I made it back!) I was stuck in a vicious cycle of anger, loathing and self-hate. I hated the person looking back at me in the mirror and I wasn’t living the life I wanted.

Not surprisingly, I ended up in an abusive marriage that was just reflecting what I was feeling about myself. It wasn’t until I got out of the role of being a ‘victim’ and taking responsibility for my life, where I was, how I was feeling and where I wanted to go, that I really started seeing changes, I learned how to forgive and love myself.

I decided to make a difference in my life and started reading Louise Hay’s book, ‘You can heal your life.’ It was the first book that got me on this journey of self-healing. I also changed my diet and lifestyle COMPLETELY from a full junk food, processed diet to a more whole food based diet. I stopped drinking (escaping) and took charge. I seeked the tools that I needed for my personal healing and decided to invest in myself fully (and still do).

How did this all happen? By FIRST making a choice to do so. Not doing something because someone told me to do so or for someone else but really ME deciding that I wanted to change – letting go of all the mental shackles that were keeping me down, that were put there and that I had decided to keep consciously and subconsciously. Was it easy? No. Was it worth it? Hell yeah!

This is why I’m so passionate about providing healthy foods for our children, these chemical refined foods affects our behaviours, affects our moods, and our hormones.
This is why I’m also keen on parenting differently. When my kids hit a sensitive spot in me and my initial reaction and urge it to scream, to yell, to just want to grab them, I take a moment to breathe and remind myself what these words and actions will do to these little people. How it will affect their confidence and their self-worth. I am doing it differently not because I think I’m better than anyone else but because I’m CHOOSING to break this cycle and do the work to keep improving myself which will them reflect on my children and the world.

If I need help, I get it. If I have a million excuses as to why I shouldn’t, I crush them. If I slip, I get back up and keep going forward.

This is an ongoing process and is life.

- pick up an inspirational book
- call someone POSITIVE
- make a list of all the things that you’re grateful for
- surround yourself with high energy people
- change your diet
- question your thoughts and beliefs
- energy attracts energy, work on your mindset

EVERY person is different and affected in different ways but the bottom line is the same. Getting the help you need is a must but the first way to any sort of lasting healing is MAKING THE CHOICE to value yourself, MAKING THE CHOICE to love yourself, wanting to make real change and putting the effort and investment in yourself. After that the pieces will fall into place, there will still be times when you fall but a lot more times of getting back up and leading you to the road of doing what you came here to do!

This is how depression was a wake-up call for me. I hope that this might help and inspire anyone who is going through this right now. To seek the right tools for your healing and self-growth but most importantly to make the initial CHOICE to start loving yourself unconditionally and to know that you are sooooo worth the effort!

Because I’m so damn glad I did and I’m still here to be able to experience all this love!

Cristina is a health coach based in Montreal. Visit her at For the Love of Greens.

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Momzelle Christine review and FREE $25 giftcard!

nurse1 I’m in a stripey mood these days. The last three dresses I’ve bought were striped. Babe has similar articles of clothing as well and I think it’s funny/awesome when we match.

Because I’m feeling so stripey, I was thrilled to receive a Momzelle crimson striped Christine shirt in the mail last week. Up until now I’d been wearing Size S but discovered XS is a better fit for me. A nursing shirt isn’t something you want drooping in the front–otherwise what’s the point?

This Christine v-neck is definitely not one of Momzelle’s new models. In fact, it’s one of the oldest! It was one of the first four styles Momzelle put on the market–the style Christine (co-founder of Momzelle) made for herself to nurse in public after her daughter was born (seven years ago).

“Really it was the style that started Momzelle because Christine’s midwife raved about the top and that encouraged Christine to start the business,” said Sara Scharnitzky, Momzelle’s Social Media Coordinator (and wife of co-founder Vincent– She’s also the pretty model on the fridge magnets we all have on our fridges!)

Honestly I think it’s the one nursing shirt you could own if you only owned one nursing shirt.

nurse3Christine comes in a variety of striped and solid colours. The shirt opens from the bottom panel which divides the shirt under the bust. This is my favourite type of opening because with it, you get so much coverage up top–which is sort of the point of a nursing top, isn’t it? I gave a number of shirts and tanks “made for nursing” that I never really understood the point of. If they open from the top down why not just pull your boob right out?

nurse

He’s nursing!

nurse2

She’s nursing!

I’m working a lot these days–away from the kids, so I’ve been wearing nursing attire less and less. But since receiving Christine in the mail it’s been my go-to when I head out with Babe and Bug. If it’s dirty, I go for my favourite shirt on the planet, the discontinued Momzelle Black Hummingbird T.

If you’d like to by your own Christine v-neck (or any other Momzelle shirt) enter the Rafflecopter below to win a $25 Momzelle GC. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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8 Reasons to Cosleep

Guest post By Dr. Jack Wolfson

BedsharingFor millions of years, moms have slept near their offspring. Modern society has gotten away from co-sleeping and bed sharing for a variety of reasons. A recent study prompted the media to have a field day describing co-sleeping as dangerous. Bed sharing can be dangerous if parents are under the influence of alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, and illegal drugs. Additionally, chemicals found in conventional mattresses and laundry detergents are a major concern. Lastly, soft mattresses, pillows, and blankets present a danger.

If done safely, co-sleeping/bed-sharing is one of the best things you can do for the mental and physical health of your child.

Let me share with you eight reasons to co-sleep.

  1. It is what nature intended. A bird does not build another nest for its babies just as our Paleo ancestors did not find another cave for their children. All animals keep their young very close. Parents who put their children in another room are not putting the child’s interest first.
  2. Keep the baby close to breastfeed. Infants need nourishment throughout the night. It is normal for babies to wake up every few hours to feed to fuel their growing brain. A mom is less likely to get up to nurse if the baby is in the other room. Co-sleeping is easier on mom and the baby who doesn’t have to spend time crying.
  3. Lower risk of infant death and SIDS. If a child is in trouble, it makes sense that the closer a parent is, the more likely the parent will be able to help. If the child is choking or sick, mom/dad can be there to do something.
  4. Any nighttime danger to a child is reduced if there if a parent close. Babies and children have perished in fires, have been sexually abused by visiting relatives, have been abducted from their bed, have been attacked by pets, have suffocated after vomiting, and have died or been injured in various ways that could have been prevented had a parent been nearby to help.
  5. Raise more confident children. When a child is left alone to “cry it out” it leads to a sense of abandonment. Comments during the night from my seven year old son include “cuddle me”, “hold me”, and “scratch my back”. I cherish those moments.
  6. More time with your children. They grow up so fast and will be on their own before you know it. Co-sleeping is like a second lifetime with your child. If you work all day or you kid is in school/daycare, you have the opportunity to spend the entire night with them.
  7. More rest for mom and dad. No need to run to another bedroom to console a crying child.
  8. Better relationship with you and your spouse. Feel confident you are doing the right thing and are amazing parents. Intimacy can be difficult at times but those moments are special knowing the incredible family you both have created.

 

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The portable family bed

2014-07-24 23.51.41We recently took a vacation to Ottawa, where I’m from. In seven days we visited all kinds of friends and family and stayed at four different houses!

While nighttime for Babe wasn’t always smooth sailing (she really wanted to fall asleep nursing) I’m still amazed at how easily my two kids adjusted from house to house. I think a big part of it is that we just moved our family bed from house to house.

Whether we were sleeping on an air mattress, a pillow top double bed, on a mattress on the floor or our usual Queen at my cousin’s house, we all huddled and cuddled and cozied together.

The family bed isn’t always ideal or easy but for weeks like this one it sure is handy. Actually you know what? I take it back– The family bed is the best decision we ever made!

Posted in Bed Sharing, Co-Sleeping, Sleep | Leave a comment

More Women Turning to Hypnosis for All Phases of Child Birth

Guest Post By Colin Christopher

When you say the word hypnosis, many people instantly think of people in a stage show being magically transformed to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do. But the truth is hypnosis is much more than that, and carries many benefits throughout all stages of pregnancy, helping women to cope with everything from morning sickness, pain and the actual delivery.

The Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Kate Middleton, underwent hypnotherapy to treat food aversion and morning sickness related to her pregnancy. Since then, expecting moms everywhere are wondering if hypnosis is right for them. The simple answer is yes because after all, hypnosis is an all-natural therapy, but if there are any medical complications related to your pregnancy and your doctor doesn’t want you to do it, always take his or her advice.

Medical professionals have used hypnosis and self-hypnosis techniques since the 1930s to help expecting moms achieve physical comfort and relaxation. Other benefits to hypnosis for pregnancy are shorter labour and quicker recovery; it can help a woman sleep better and deeper; it can lower blood pressure; it can help keep the mom to be in a more positive state of mind and also avoid postpartum depression; and it can help alleviate heartburn, nausea and morning sickness.

When starting out, it is best to use hypnosis in the afternoon or evening when the physical symptoms are less. This helps the patient stay more focused and relaxed. Hypnosis can be done with a certified clinical hypnotherapist, and similar self-hypnosis techniques can be used alone by the patient. If you decide to work with a professional hypnotherapist, it is highly recommended you make sure they are certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners, or similar organization.

How it works

The process usually begins by having the patient lie down and begin taking slow and even deep breathes for about five minutes. With the patient fully relaxed, the hypnotherapist will then proceed to offer suggestions out loud. These same suggestions can be made by your spouse or a trusted partner.

A few examples:

- Your stomach is calm and relaxed.
- You are calm, relaxed and feeling strong.
- Your baby is calm, relaxed and healthy.
- The more relaxed you feel the calmer and more comfortable your stomach feels.
- The more comfortable your stomach feels the easier it is to focus your mind and remain calm and clearheaded.

- As you feel your head clear, you feel that you can eat what is nourishing to you and your baby, and as you do, your stomach feels calm and comfortable.

These are just the most common suggestions that are made during hypnosis, but you can replace these suggestions with some that are more personalized to your situation. If you’re worried that you won’t be a good mom, for example, come up with suggestions that reinforce the reasons why you will be a good mom.

Additionally, the hypnotherapist or spouse can reinforce the suggestions physically, by putting their hand on the woman’s stomach. As they put their hand on the stomach (or instruct the pregnant woman to use her own hand), they make a verbal suggestion by saying, “Any time you don’t feel well, you feel better when you put a hand on your stomach. When you put a hand on
your stomach it feels calm and comfortable and your mind becomes clear and focused on your health and well-being.”

This physical touching combined with the suggestion forms an association, so even when the pregnant woman is not hypnotized and she begins to feel nauseated, she can trigger the subconscious suggestions with the simple physical touch of her hand.

The reason hypnosis works so well is because the conscious mind acts as a gatekeeper to the subconscious mind, and under hypnosis we can make the conscious mind inactive, allowing us access to the subconscious mind. This allows us to get deep into the part of the brain that deals with the reactions to stress, pain, emotions and more. In a sense, hypnotherapy can reprogram your beliefs that birth will be comfortable, easy and exciting.

Many women are apprehensive at first when trying hypnosis, and for that reason it’s important they know they are always in control and will never do anything against their will. A person under hypnosis can come out of it whenever they choose. In most cases, after the first session, most women are eager to get back to a hypnotic state because it makes them feel better, more confident and relaxed about their pregnancy.

Colin Christopher is a clinical hypnotherapist certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners. In his clinical hypnotherapy practice, Colin works with expecting mothers to make pregnancy relaxing, less painful and more enjoyable. He is author of the book Success Through Manipulation: Subconscious Reactions That Will Make or Break You. Visit www.easybabybirth.com, http://www.colinchristopher.com/, and www.stmbook.com

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We night weaned! (Again!)

2014-01-28 17.09.36Imagine this post was about night-weaning my 16 month old Bug. It’s not– it’s about night-weaning his 3.5 year old sister!

Until about a month ago I was nursing Babe to sleep every night and nap and quite honestly hating it. On top of it, she’d wake multiple times to nurse, as would Bug. I spent hours, daily, nursing two kids to sleep and spent my nights rolling back and forth nursing whoever asked. It sounds crazy. It was. And now it’s done. These days Bug nurses throughout the night (he’s getting four molars!) but I don’t even care. Nursing one child all night is a walk in the park!

I was nursing Babe through the night  because it was, believe it or not, the easiest option. Before Bug was born we successfully night weaned our 2.5 year old in anticipation of Bug’s arrival. But when he was born I somehow started nursing her again–all night.

Her world imploded when her brother arrived Earthside. Maybe it was guilt or maybe fatigue or ambivalence. However it happened I started nursing her at night again for a full year! Then I decided not to anymore.

There wasn’t much drama, but cutting out nursing at night wasn’t the first step, it was cutting out nursing her to sleep. I still do it once or twice a week when Papa is at work but our new routine has changed my life– it’s changed all of our lives.

Now Babe gets five minutes of milk in bed then she falls asleep as Papa reads to her. Sometimes it takes a long time. In the beginning she really wasn’t into it but now she looks forward to it. And tonight, she even cut her five minutes short.

“There’s no milk left,” she reported. “Let’s save the other side for the baby.”

I don’t know when Babe will wean but on nights like tonight I finally see that one day she actually will.

 

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How to Practice Safe Sun

Summer weather has arrived and it’s time to lather on the sunscreen, right!? Well, maybe not.

Despite consistent sunscreen use, the rate of new melanoma cases – the most dangerous type of skin cancer – continues to increase.

Experts debate whether this is due to the harmful chemicals found in many sunscreen products, a lack of UVA protection, the decrease in Vitamin D production, or a false sense of security which may be encouraging people to spend more time in the sun.

Whatever the reason, sunscreen should be chosen carefully and used in combination with other protective measures. Read below for my ‘safe sun’ tips!

Guest Post by Megan Pennington

1 – Don’t get burned

Studies show that people who spend more time outdoors, but do not get a sunburn, actually decrease their risk of developing melanoma. Staying inside all the time is not the answer!

2 – Wear Clothes/Accessories

Even on overcast days, UVA light can still cause skin damage. Shirts, pants, sarongs, hats, and sunglasses all provide excellent protection.

3 – Find Shade

Sit under a tree, or create your own shade using a big umbrella or canopy. This is especially important for the little ones.

4 – Don’t Forget Vitamin D

Vitamin D production requires short periods of unprotected sun exposure. See my article on Optimizing Your Vitamin D to ensure you’re getting enough, as this may be a key factor in cancer prevention.

5 – Diet Counts

Antioxidants found in certain foods can help protect against sun (and other environmental) damage. Such foods include colourful fruits and vegetables, cocoa, green tea, and fish.

 6 – Use Sunscreen – With Caution

Most commercial sunscreens rate Moderate to High risk for your health! (See Skin Deep ). When prolonged sun exposure is inevitable, check out EWG’s Sunscreen Guide for details on how to choose a safe and effective sunscreen.

Megan is a Naturotherapist, Registered Dietitian and Certified Health Coach based in Montreal. For more information, check out www.mpHolisticNutrition.com

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Why I shaved my head

babe3The other night, I put the kids in the bathtub and shaved my head. #5, #4, #3, #2.

It was not a very meaningful moment, though I sort of expected it to be. I’ve given myself haircuts (much less drastic ones) before and wept in the mirror. Not this time. I cleaned up and went about my evening.

It really was a test to see how attached I am to my hair–to my appearance. And it would seem I really am not. I used to be. Most people are, I think. I spent so many tears, crying about bad haircuts and how ugly I looked. Bad dye jobs, difficulty getting my curls straight enough. I had an undercut, a mushroom cut, a mullet, extensions, red, blue, green, purple, black, brown, orange, dreadlocks… Seriously, name it.

My grandma always said, “Your hair is your beauty.” I wonder if she still thinks that. Over the years she’s allowed it to be its beautiful white self. No orange dye, no perm! She hasn’t seen my shaved head yet. I don’t imagine she’d like it. Though she always talked about how round my forehead is and now it’s even more visible.

I had short hair as a teenager and always felt more masculine than I liked. But a couple months before I shaved it, I cut it fairly short and still felt feminine. How can you not feel feminine when you’ve given birth twice recently and you’re always breastfeeding?! I feel quite feminine now, even with this shaved head.

When I say I shaved my head for Babe, I mean this. She is gorgeous. Blue eyes, blonde ringlets. She gets multiple comments a day from strangers and non strangers about her looks.

“Comment t’es belle”
“Look at that beautiful hair”

And so on. Like it matters! She’s starting to ask if she “looks beautiful,” usually with regard to the outfit she’s chosen. Like it matters.

Papa and I repeat. “Yes, you look beautiful, but it’s more important to be nice (or gentle or funny…)

I want my kids to know their hair is not their beauty. Their soul is, their heart is. Nothing else matters.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Profile of a Modern Mother: 8 Facts That Will Surprise You

Guest post by Dr. Eve Feinberg

Since the first official Mother’s Day in 1914, the profile of a modern mother has drastically changed. The statistics show that women are avoiding marriage, delaying childbearing, utilizing fertility technology to become pregnant, freezing their eggs to stop the biological clock, and using donor eggs to have children.

Here are eight facts about modern mothers that will surprise you:

1. The modern mother may not be married.
According to the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, 48 percent of all first-time births in the United States are now to unmarried women.

2. The modern mother is older.
Older women have shown the highest increase in birth rate. According to the CDC, the birth rate in 2012 for women ages 40-44 was 10.4 births per 1,000, the highest rate reported in 33 years. The birth rate in 2012 for women ages 35-39 increased to 48.3 births per 1,000. Birth rates among women in their early 20s hit a new record low, and births declined among women ages 25-

3. The modern mother is familiar with fertility treatment.
Approximately one or two of every 100 babies born in the U.S. is born as a result of advanced fertility treatments.

4. The modern mother may be a stay-at-home mom.
Pew Research recently found that the number of stay-at-home rose to 29 percent, up from 23 percent in 1999.

5. The modern mother may work full-time.
When mothers with children under age 18 were asked whether they would prefer to work full time, Pew Research found that mothers preferring full-time work has grown to 32 percent in 2012 from 20 percent in 2007.

6. The modern mother may have conceived using in vitro fertilization.
IVF is responsible for over five million babies born since its inception. According to the latest findings from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, 61,740 babies were born as a result of IVF or other fertility procedures in 2012, the highest number in history so far.

7. The modern mother may have frozen her eggs for future use.
Women choosing to freeze eggs and stop the biological clock continues to grow in popularity, particularly since the American Society of Reproductive Medicine removed the experimental label from the procedure in 2013. Doctors estimate that over 5,000 babies have been born with eggs frozen for fertility preservation.

8. The modern mother may have children from donor eggs.
In 2012 16,858 embryos were created from donor egg and used in fertility treatment, up from 11,627 in 2003 (SART).

Author Bio: Dr. Eve Feinberg is a Reproductive Endocrinologist and Medical Director for the Center for Fertility Preservation at Fertility Centers of Illinois. She has helped countless couples and individuals achieve the dream of parenthood, and personally overcame infertility to have a family. www.fcionline.com

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