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Dr. Aliya

Babies + Kids

3 Things Every Parent NEEDS to Know

Congratulations…you’re officially a Parent! That’s Parent with a capital “P”!

Because being a Parent is awesome…..but also being a Parent is hard as hell.

You welcomed this precious little baby into the world and oh man, it was cute as a button, smelled so dang good and was itty bitty teeny tiny! You thought to yourself, I got this!

And you do “have this!”

But also, more often than not, you don’t.   Parenting is tough shit.

I wish someone had taken me aside and told me some of the hard truths of my new role as a Parent.

Parenting is a journey and sure, you may have felt prepared at first, but chances are there will be something that throws you off your game and you’re left with a jaw dropped “WTF?!?”.

Yep. That’s being a Parent.

But here are three nuggets of advice I want NEED to share with you, my fellow Parent:

1. Lower Your Expectations

I’m serious.

Don’t expect a lot from yourself OR your partner for that matter.

That’s because most days taking a shower will be a huge accomplishment…and it is.

You’re in survival mode for the first few (read: several) months.  Also, all of things you expected your partner to do or the things they had done before are NOT fair game anymore.

But hey, as a bonus, if you don’t expect a lot and then stuff does get done it’s like Christmas morning!

 

2. You’re not the same person you were before kids

You will never be the same person you were before kids. Let that person go. Because the truth is, you just can’t be the same. You’ve got a tiny person that needs you for everything and you’re priorities will be different.  That’s the other thing, your relationship will not be the same either (more on that in another post!).

The problem starts when new Parents try their hardest to be their “before kids” selves. It’s not possible, friend.   And the more you try to be your BK (Before Kids) self – the harder life will be. Embrace your AK (After Kids) self for all that it is – compassionate, empathetic, nurturing, responsible, protective, and loving!

You are one hell of a person – and I promise you’ll love the new (Parental) you!

 

3. You will never be prepared. ever.

Your diaper bag could be the most organized, most well stocked baby bag on earth, there could be a Wal-Mart in that bag….chances are your baby will need the one thing you didn’t pack.

Yup.  That’s the world of these magical, unpredictable AF babies.

You’re going to forget things. You’re going to screw up. And you’re going to be “that Parent” at some point. We are ALL “that Parent” at one time or another.

I’ve yet to meet a Parent who’s got it all together, all the time. Even us “experts” are just making it up as we go along.

But you’re also going to learn a ton and you WILL figure it out.

It’s a steep learning curve and you learn new things every day for the rest of that baby’s life. It’s life long, it never ends and it’s the best ever!

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So listen, I’m not an expert in all things babies by any means. But the above three nuggets are things I’ve learned on my own the past 3.5 years and things I wish someone, anyone, had told me. So I’m sharing them with you.

But in the end, this shit doesn’t matter. What matters is the smile on your baby’s face when they first really see you, or the laughter or joy they get from just hanging out with you!

That’s the good stuff that makes the other stuff totally worth it!

Being a Parent is the most important job in the world and you just landed the gig!

Challenge accepted.

 xo

Dr Aliya

Health + Wellness, Uncategorized

My FAVE *New, Trendy* Exercise Equipment

October?! WTF?!?

It’s Fall and that means back to school (love!), routines (love!) and getting back into working out (meh…).  After having my second baby, it has been a bit of a struggle to get back into a regular exercise program/routine.

There are a few things that have helped me get started!

First of all, I’ve started working out from home.  I can get my workouts in and out of the way without leaving the comfort of my home!  Plus, nap times are great times to get a good sweat on!

Second, I go hard.  If only have 20-30 minutes, I make each second count!  This means, high intensity interval training (HIIT).  Honestly, 20 minutes of HIIT elevates my heart rate, and gets my body working and muscles toned!

And lastly, I try to focus on exercises that have the most bang for my buck!   I’m always looking for new ways to give my body an amazing workout.  Sometimes this means using different pieces of equipment that help to add some level of intensity and variation to my workouts.

Check out my latest video below where I share my fave fitness essentials that will help keep you workouts effective and fun!

 

Health + Wellness

My Morning Skin Care Routine

Mornings are super crazy at our house!

Between getting the kids dressed and putting breakfast on the table, I barely have time to put myself together. To keep things simple, I rely on these 3 awesome beauty products to help my skin feel nourished and healthy (even on 4 hours of sleep!).

Here’s what I use:

  1. Pure and Simple Sensitive Skin Face Wash – daily
  2. Wildcraft Buff Face and Body Scrub – every other day
  3. Wildcraft Regenerating Cell Face Serum – daily

Check out my video below for all the details!

xo

Dr Aliya

Health + Wellness

3 Acupressure Points for Stress Relief

Feeling stressed out?  Do you ever wish there were a simple way to ease your tension and stress?

Guys, there is!

It’s called Acupressure and it works wonders!   I’ve been teaching my patients acupressure points for years and it’s been a great tool to help ease a lot of common discomforts that you can do on your own.

Watch my video below to learn the 3 easy stress relieving acupressure points that you can start doing NOW!

Health + Wellness

5 Easy Exercises for Busy Moms

Guys!  It’s the beginning of the month and I’ve decided that this month I’m going to focus on being more active on a daily basis.  It’s super hard to juggle mommy-ing, work, household chores, errands, etc.  The to-do lists are endless!

But this month, I’m making myself a priority and taking an hour each day to do something active for me.  Not only will this help me physically, but it will definitely help me mentally as well.

To do this, I reached out to my friend, fellow mom and fitness expert Lara Marq.   Lara is a mom of 2 and specializes in pre and post natal fitness.  We sat down to discuss what it means to get back into working out regularly post-baby and she put together this amazing 5 exercise workout for me!

The beauty of this routine is that it literally takes less than an 30 minutes to complete and requires no gym equipment!  She based on my needs as a mom, cleared of any pelvic floor dysfunction and/or abdominal separation.  It also has a modified version for anyone getting back into working out after baby.  Check out the video below!

** Remember to always check with your health care practitioner before starting any new exercise routine, especially post-baby**

Babies + Kids

Baby’s First Library

 

Our family is big on books. It’s one of our go-to quiet time activities. We actually have a name for it – it’s called “Library Time”.

When my daughter Rose was teeny tiny – we started incorporating story time into her daily bedtime routine. It was a way for us to wind down with her and gave both me and my husband some time to just “be with her” when the kerfuffle of dinner and bath time was over and done for the day.

She loved it and we loved it. And so “Library Time” was established.   And to perfectly honest, we also quite enjoyed reading some of her books – they were as much for us as they were for her!

Our six months old son William is no different. This kid loves being read to and developmentally its never to early to start exposing your baby to the world of books and reading.

Reading aloud to your baby is such an amazing shared activity that you can continue for years. It’s a great way to teach your baby about communication and enhances their vocabulary skills. It’s also a wonderful way to introduce concepts such as numbers, letters, colours and shapes.  Black and white books are especially awesome in the newborn stage when contrasting colours help stimulate baby’s early vision.

One study found that babies whose parents read to them  scored higher on language tests when they reached 3 years of age.   Ah…I love brainy kids!

 

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Here are a few of our favourites that are a great addition to Baby’s First Library!

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury

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Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

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Mrs Mustard’s Baby Faces by Jane Wattenberg

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Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

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On the Night you were Born by Nancy Tillman

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Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox

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Black & White by Tana Hoban

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Of course there are so, so many great books out there for the 0-6 month age range!

Does your little one have a favourite book? I’d love to hear what you guys are reading!

 

 

xo

Dr Aliya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Babies + Kids

Swaddling: The Do’s and Don’ts

As if being a new parent isn’t hard enough without the constant controversy over a whole host of baby-related topics from breastfeeding to co-sleeping to babywearing!

It may take a bit of time, but I find most parents end up learning to trust their instincts and doing what is best for their babies and for their families.

Swaddling has been one of those hot “baby” topics recently and everyone and their mother has an opinion!

For newbie’s, swaddling is an age-old technique used for many moons in many cultures. It involves snugly wrapping baby to help him feel safe and secure. The idea is that being wrapped up snug can stop your baby from being disturbed or awakened from sleep by his own startle reflex.

The startle reflex (occurs in infants and disappears at 4-6 months old) causes babies to make sudden jerky movements in response to being startled – sometimes to loud noises and sometimes to nothing at all. It’s a protective mechanism but becomes super annoying when baby wakes herself up from deep sleep. Ugh!

Swaddling lessens and even prevents the effect of this reflex, essentially keeping baby cozy, secure and sleeping. Swaddling can also help settle babies down when they are over-stimulated.

Sounds like a dream, right? Although the benefits to swaddling are pretty amazing (I mean, why wouldn’t you swaddle?!? A sleeping baby rocks!), there is also some debate about the safety of a swaddle.

But from what I can gather (after reading a ton of articles), if you follow the infant safe sleeping guidelines, which includes safe swaddling technique, set out by Canadian Pediatric Society, you will provide a healthy, happy and safe sleep environment for your baby. Even if you choose to swaddle. The details can be found on the Canadian Pediatric Society website here.

Following the infant safe sleeping guidelines will provide a happy healthy and safe environment for your baby

I’ll simply say that if you choose to swaddle your little nugget, following these basic Do’s and Don’ts will help keep your babe safe and snug:

Do’s

Do use a light weight blanket to keep baby from overheating

Do always place swaddled baby on his/her back to sleep

Do leave two fingers space between chest and swaddle

Do provide baby enough room to move legs and bend at hips

Do have a trusted expert teach you how to swaddle properly

Do switch to a sleep sack when baby starts to show signs of rolling (see below for my sleep sack suggestions)

Do follow the safe sleeping practices outlined on the Canadian Pediatric Society website.

Don’ts

Don’t swaddle using a heavy thick blanket to swaddle

Don’t swaddle too tightly around chest, hips and legs

Don’t leave the swaddle too loose so blankets come undone and could potentially cover baby’s face

Don’t place swaddled baby on his side or tummy to sleep or nap

Don’t continue to swaddle when baby starts initiating rolling

swaddle will2

A few months ago, we were looking to transition our little babe Will from his swaddle to a sleep sack. I was on the hunt for a sleep sack that would be cozy but also light weight and would be a smooth transition for our little guy – who absolutely loved to be swaddled in snug. I came across the Nested Bean Zen Swaddle and Zen Sack!

Best. Thing. Ever.

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Ok so here’s why I absolutely love this sleep sack.  Both the sack and swaddle come with this gently weighted center that’s like a super lightweight bean bag built right in. Basically, it simulates a mama’s soothing, comforting touch on the baby’s chest with a lightly weighted pad.

The Zen Sack had William sleeping longer!

The first time we used the sack, William napped like a star! He fell asleep super easy and stayed asleep for longer. Plus, they now ship to anywhere in Canada!

Um, can we say #MomWin?!

Follow my latest post on instagram for a code that gives you free shipping! Yay!

Happy Sleep Mamas!

Xo

Dr Aliya

 

Health + Wellness

Celebrating Mamas Every Day for May – #MomADayForMay

If you’re new here, welcome!

This post is a bit of a summary of my #MomADayForMay series I did on my instagram feed (@draliyavisram).  Every day in May I highlighted a mom that I admired and respected.  Women who are game changers and who aren’t afraid to admit they’ve made some mistakes.  Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves that there are other mothers out there that are just like us.

So here they are!  My #MomADayForMay line up:

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May 1 Trisha Enriquez, @nottummymommy

My first #momadayformay is dedicated to the always humble, forever gracious and truly lovely Trisha of @notummymommy.   Trisha was one of the first mamas I met in this “instagram-world” and I was immediately inspired by her openness and her drive to help mamas feel better.  Trisha is a certified Nutrition Coach and Pre and Post Natal Fitness Specialist. She’s also a mama to the sweetest little mini.  Her 4 week fitness and nutrition program is so realistic and has really helped me in my journey back to getting fit and healthy post-baby.  She is one of the best people I know and sincerely believes in helping other women reach their goals.  Moreover, her superwoman ability to juggle work, family and her passion motivates me daily!   Thanks Trisha for being one fit mama!

 

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May 2 Farah Nasser, @farahnasserglobal
You most likely see her everyday on TV delivering the day’s news with style and ease.  But tome, she’s more than a news anchor. She is an amazing mother of two, an active member of our community, a leader in her field, a wonderful role model to so many young girls and I’m so proud to also call her my cousin. We grew up together and she always knew how to push the boundaries, even as a rebellious teen.  She makes wearing both the career woman hat and the attentive mama and wife hat lookeffortless and always manages to spend time with her close friends and family despite her crazy busy schedule. Farah is on a mission to change the world for women in media and I am so excited to see what she does next. I love you, Cuz!
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May 3 Cat and Nat, @catandnat
This dynamic duo has been on my list of “mom-spiration” from day 1 and so it makes sense to include them in my #MomADayForMay shoutout.  Cat and Nat are mamas that are keeping it real. They share everything that we moms are too afraid to talk about or even admit. Usually, at some point during the day while juggling the kids, household stuff and my career, I find myself in a situation thinking “What would Cat andNat do?” And inevitably the answer is always, “RELAX – as long as the kids are smiling or laughing – you’re doing good”. Their #momtruths are like food for my mommy soul and their unapologetic take on motherhood is so relatable. Thanks Cat and Nat for  your honesty, authenticity and for being so damn funny!
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May 4 Emily Weinmann, @ushappyfour
This lady is one of my favourite people of all time – not only is she a truly beautiful human (she has has two tiny beautiful mini humans) – but she is also the super mama behind the East Toronto Young Mothers facebook community of which I am fortunate to be a part.  The group provides an opportunity for parents to share advice, exchange resources and support one another through this  roller coaster ride called “parenting”. Honestly, it’s like asking advice from 4,000 of your closest friends who are going through it all with you.  It’s my village and Emily is at the heart of it. She is one of the most compassionate and kind-hearted people I know and I feel truly grateful to have met her.
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May 5 Lara Marq, @laramarq
It’s Friday (yay!) and I’ve always loved ending the week with a bit of sweat session before settling in to enjoy the weekend.  So it’s fitting that today’s #MomADayForMay is one of my fitness motivators – @LaraMarq.  Lara is all things health & fitness.  She’s a personal trainer, a spin and pilates instructor, a wellness advocate and a mama of 2 sweet babes.  And by the way she’s killing it!  She does it all and I can honestly say she gives me my daily dose of motivation to get the “job” (aka the workout) done.  She’s also one of the sweetest, most down to earth mamas around.  Keeping kicking butt lady!
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May 6 Tania Joy Antonio, @taniajoyantonio
My #MomADayForMay shoutout is the soulful mama behind the book The Affirmation Station.
This book belongs on every child’s shelf and I can’t believe I didn’t pick it up sooner.  Tania’s book empowers children and adults alike to think positively and compassionately and encourages affirmations as a daily practice.  I literally just started reading it and I’m astounded by the impact it’s had on my life already, especially as a mama.  I can’t wait to share this book with Rosie and Will and I know that it will empower them to love themselves, each other and others wholly and with gratitude.  I sincerely encourage everyone to pick up her book today! Life changed.
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May 7  Stacey Lipstein, @TinyHouseMama
You know that feeling when you meet someone and you instantly feel at ease talking to them about this, that and the other?!  Well, that’s the feeling I had when I first met Stacey – @tinyhousemama.   She’s the co-owner of the super stylish, super popular @fusshairstudio in #Leslieville and mama to the sweetest little boy.  Stacey is one of the funniest people I know and  manages to balance a crazy successful business with family life with grace, honesty and a lot of laughs.
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May 8 Zehra Allibhai, @zallibhai
She’s a mom of 2, a personal trainer, an advocate of family fitness & health and a confident, strong & inspiring Muslim woman so it’s not surprising that Zehra Allibhai is becoming a star in the fitness world.  She is my shout out for today’s #MomADayForMay, and honestly she has become one of my mama role models.  As a Muslim woman ( I don’t wear a hijab), I often find myself feeling a bit uncomfortable in the social media world.  Zehra sets a positive example for other women and she isn’t afraid to put it all out there.  She is doing some truly amazing things and she has easily become my insta inspo on a daily basis.
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May 9 Joy McCarthy, @joyoushealth
This woman is a true inspiration to thousands of people who have transformed their lives by reading her books, following her simple recipes and tips and being motivated by her positivity and warmth. Joy McCarthy of @JoyousHealth is my #MomADayForMay today and I can honestly say that she is my health and wellness guru. She is a certified holistic nutritionist, brilliant author of two successful books and mama to sweet Vienna.  Joy has this ability to make simple foods taste delicious with easy to follow recipes for the whole family!  Rosie loves her Strawberry Chia Pudding!  I am so proud to call her my friend.  Thank you Joy for inspiring us to eat well to live well!
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May 10 Vanessa Falsetti, @josephineacreativelife
Here’s the thing about this Insta world – it’s actually a lot smaller than you think.  Over the last couple of years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many mamas that are doing some pretty creative and amazing things online. Vanessa is one of them!  She is a mama of 2, a writer, a teacher and the woman behind the prettiest lifestyle blog @josephineacreativelife. I kept meeting Vanessa at various “mama events” all over the city!  She supports so many women in this blogger world by just being present. She is the loveliest of mamas and she shares her tales of motherhood and parenting on a daily basis.
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May 11 Jessica Glaze, @jessicaglaze
Life is crazy with 2 kids – daycare drop offs, breastfeeding, nap schedules, bedtime!  But this lady makes having 3 kids look like a cake walk!  @jessicaglaze is my #MomADayForMay today and her littlest one is just a couple of months old. Jessica’s blog is true honest depiction of what being a mom of 2, then 3 is all about.  I love her mom hacks and her tips on home organization – they make my life’s chaos a bit more manageable. She’s also one of the sweetest mamas and her ease and style inspire me to take things day by day.  Maybe it’s true what they say…”3 is the new 2”?!?
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May 12 Tina, @mombossof3
Tina isn’t just a mom of 3 adorable little boys, but she’s also fearless leader of the “Marmy” (aka Mom Army).  She is a mommy vlogger who keeps things real by sharing her daily ups and downs with her followers and her videos are a hilarious depiction of true #momlife! I love her honest approach to motherhood!  We recently did a collaboration together and I’m so excited to share our video with you today….head over to my youtube channel (link in bio) to see the full video.
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May 13 My Mom, Yasmin
This woman has taught me what it means to be a strong, brave mother for my children. She has taught me to face adversity and how to rise above it with grace and compassion. My #MomADayForMay today is none other than my own mama – Yasmin. (She hasn’t found her way to Instagram yet). If you know our family, you already know how strong she is and what she has been through over the course of her life. The challenges and hardships that she has overcome in the last several years and particularly in the last year. And how she’s always managed to see the l light and positivity in every situation and circumstance. Mom – you are one tough chick and I feel so truly blessed to be your daughter and to have you in my life.
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May 14 – YOU!
Today’s #MomADayForMay shoutout is to YOU – all of the moms out there!  The messy hair, sleep deprived, spit up stained, carpooling, crazy busy moms.  To the moms who stay at home and to the moms who go to work.  To the grandmas, the stepmoms, the foster moms, the surrogate moms and the moms-to-be.  To the moms we’ve sadly lost and to the moms who’ve lost little ones.  And to the dads who are also moms.  My father used to say “Everyday should be Mother’s Day” – he was a very smart man!  Hope you have a very Happy Mother’s Day!
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May 15 Rebel Mamas, @therebelmama
The aftermath of Mother’s Day…cards have been read and displayed, flowers have been received, brunch has been eaten and moms continue to be moms.    Today seems like the perfect day to shoutout @TheRebelMama for #MomADayForMay (ah yes, we’re doing this for the whole month!).  The Rebel Mamas are a sisterhood of modern day mamas who aren’t afraid to say and do what they want.  They are out to revolutionize the way mamas “ought” to behave.   Just because we are moms doesn’t mean we can’t follow our dreams and have successful careers and fabulous adventures and FUN! Thank you Rebel Mamas for being straight up, hardcore, no bull sh*t b*tches!
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May 16 Ana, @bluebirdkisses
Although I haven’t met Ana of @bluebirdkisses in person, I feel like I already know her!  Her posts are so honest and real and come from the heart.  I often feel like she’s talking direclty to me which also makes her super relatable.   Also, her home is super swoon worthy and her 3 boys are super cute!
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May 17 Dr Sapna, @drsapna
She’s a businesswoman, a mom, an entrepreneur, a colleague and one of my besties. Today’s #MomADayForMay is a shout out to my dear friend @DrSapna.  Dr Sapna is one of the most driven and hardworking mamas I know.  She has created a full service health clinic in the downtown core where patients can receive a wide variety of health services all under one roof!   She’s also a mom of 2 sweet babes and has been one of my biggest fans throughout my career. Encouraging and supporting me since the day we met I feel so lucky to have this inspiring woman in my life!
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May 18 Taya Griffin, @tayagriffin
This woman played such a key role in my first few weeks as a mama that I had to include her in my #MomADayForMay shoutout.  @TayaGriffin is a lactation consultant, a homeopath and a mother of 2.  She has helped so many new mamas, giving them the skills and confidence to breastfeed their babies successfully.  Taya is so supportive and nurturing and her gentle guidance helped me find my maternal “groove” which helped me connect with my babies.  Above all, I love that Taya respects each mama’s nursing goals whatever they may be and has been and continues to be such a crucial lifeline in those early days in motherhood.
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May 19 Lydia, @fancy_gray
This mama is beautiful both inside and out and her feed is absolutely lovely. Lydia of @fancy_gray is today’s #MomADayForMay.  Mom of 2, Lydia is so inspiring yet so down to earth. From overcoming some pretty serious health challenge in her first pregnancy to designing her own unique jewellery line – Lydia is a true model of mama strength. (PS her jewellery is super pretty – you may want to check it out!)
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May 20 Angela Liddon, @ohsheglows
One of my favourite weekend activities is cooking with my little lady.  She’s a bit of a whirlwind in the kitchen (and outside of the kitchen) but she is a true lover of food!  A few years ago, I discovered a cookbook that changed my life and the way I prepared meals for my family.  My shoutout for today’s #MomADayForMay is @ohsheglows author, blogger and  mama of 2 – Angela Liddon.  The Oh She Glows cookbook is now a recipe bible in our house.  I knew it was a keeper when I made one of her vegan recipes and my husband (a meat and potatoes man) wolfed it down completely unaware that it was meatless.  Her recipes are super yummy, easy to follow and kid friendly!  Thanks Angela for an inspirational cookbook that has us eating well and feeling glowy inside and out!
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May 21 Dr Sue and Dr Sapna, @restoreintegrativehealth
These two lovely ladies are the co-founders of @restoreintegrativehealth clinic in Toronto.  Their vision to bring various health practitioners together to practice in a collaborative way provides patients with a holistic approach to health and I’m proud to be a member of their team.  Drs Sue and Sapna are compassionate naturopathic doctors, partners in business, busy mamas and health advocates.  They’ve created a warm and comfortable space that welcomes the whole family!
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May 22 Lynne Newman, @lynne.newman
You know that feeling when no matter how hard you try you can’t seem to keep your head above water? Like you’re drowning in a sea of to-do lists, chores, work, kids and life!  I’ve been there and @Lynne.Newman was one of my lifelines.  She is my #MomADayForMay today.  Lynne is an occupational therapist, a birth doula and mama to 2 little lovelies.  But to me, and to other mothers, she is much more than that.  She is my motherhood mentor, my parenting coach and my constant reminder to sloooow down and keep things simple.  Often, in our fast paced, busy world we forget to connect to the little moments in life that inspire creativity in our little people.  Thank you, Lynne, for allowing me an opportunity to create space within my life!
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May 23 Tracy Moore, @thetracymoore
This woman has been one of my female role models since before I even had kids so I’m excited to shout out @thetracymoore as today’s #MomADayForMay.  Tracy is the host of Cityline – a show I’ve watched from before I had Rosie.  Tracy’s down-to-earth, laid back style and her easy sense of humour instantly had me watching the show  on a daily basis.  She juggles motherhood (she’s a mom of 2), her career, a new clothing line she’s designed, various community volunteer roles and she also kicks butt in the gym!  Damn. I also love the fact that she started out as a CTV intern, then videographer eventually working her way up to the top!  Truly inspiring.
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May 24 Lianne and Emma, @MamasandCo
They say it takes a village to raise a child.  But know what?  It also takes a village to grow and run your business.  The many, many mamas that comprise the @MamasandCo community are my #MomADayForMay shoutout.  Mamas & Co is my tribe of entrepreneurial moms who support and inspire one another by sharing knowledge, resources and experiences.  The group’s leaders, Lianne and Emma organize various networking meet ups and business workshops to help women grow and succeed in business.  It’s women helping women and that kind of girl love is EVERYTHING!
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May 25 Peta Stinson, @saplingchild
She’s a mama of 3, holds a PhD (smarty pants!) and designs some pretty cute, eco-friendly clothes for tiny humans. Peta Stinson, founder of @saplingchild is my #MomADayForMay today!  Peta’s designs are fun and whimsical and her clothes are made from 100% organic cotton so they are super soft on baby’s skin. I absolutely love that her company is sustainable and ethical and in fact, each purchase from Sapling helps families and children in India through the company’s Giving Back program.  Love it!  She’s also one of the loveliest Aussie’s you’ll ever meet and we’re lucky that she’s found her home away from home in Toronto.
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May 26 Kelly Bourne, @kellybourne
This woman is my Parenting Guru and so she makes my #MomADayForMay list!  When Rosie is throwing down, and I mean really “throwing down!” I often  (maybe, not always) hear @KellyBourne’s voice in my head telling me to “check myself.”  To wait until the storm has passed before using reason and logic with my toddler.  Kelly’s website has a ton of resources and her tips are so easy to follow and remember during epic meltdowns.  The best part, she’s also a mom so she’s in the trenches right there with you!  Thanks for keeping me somewhat sane Kelly!
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May 27 Carol Belmonte, @carolbelmonte
Ok, so today’s #MomADayForMay shoutout is to a woman who is an “honorary” mama.  @CarolBelmonte is a godmother (to little Will), a new auntie, a sister, a wonderful friend and a baby whisperer (honest truth).  She’s also the owner of the wildly successful Belmonte Raw, which provides healthy whole foods, cleanses and juices to Torontonians for years.  Her juices are fresh, rejuvenating and basically make me feel like a new mama!
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May 28 Dara, @bellybootcamp
Dara is a mom of 3, a personal trainer and founder of @bellybootcamp – a team of personal trainers that specialize in pre and post natal fitness.  She’s been getting mamas strong for years and her experience, first-hand, helps to motivate busy moms and moms-to-be.  Not to mention, her classes are often set outdoors and are a great way for new moms to connect with one another.  Plus, you can bring your babe along for some added weight!
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May 29 Joanna, @nestingstory
Guys!  Only three more days until the end of our #MomADayForMay series!  So many amazing moms – and today’s mama is no exception!  Joanna of @nesting story is mom of four kids.  Yep, four – including twins.  She’s also an interior designer, blogger and content creator.  If anyone knows what its like to be a busy mom, it’s definitely her.  She shares her tales of motherhood, marriage and mayhem (4 kids!?) on her blog and youtube channel.  Her posts are an honest portrayal of life after four kids from date nights to DIY – she’s the real deal.
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May 30 Rebecca and Erin, @welldotca
Today’s #MomADayForMay shoutout is the dynamic duo behind the popular, easy-to-shop, mama go-to online wellness retailer @welldotca.  Rebecca (the CEO) and Erin (the CMO) are smart, savvy and busy moms (like us!) who have made shopping for detergent and baby wipes to strollers and beauty products super easy and affordable.  I love that they also support local, Canadian businesses and have an amazing selection of green and natural products.  Midnight online shopping got a whole lot easier!
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May 31 My Grandmother, Mariam
My last #MomADayForMay shoutout is to a woman who has been the pillar of strength for me and my family.  She’s been the glue that has kept our family close through all of the ups and downs of life.  She’s at the centre of every birthday, barbecue, wedding, birth and always shows up with a hug, a laugh and tons (and tons) of Indian food.  She is my “Mama” (grandmother) and she inspires me everyday with her generosity, her warmth and her unconditional love.  I love you, Mama.
I truly hope you’ve enjoyed this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together!  If you have any comments, send me an email (hello@draliya.ca)!  I’d love to hear from you!
xo
Dr Aliya
Health + Wellness

The Do’s and Don’ts of Foam Rolling

You’ve just finished your workout and as you make your way over to the stretching area you notice a woman moving her entire body over cylindrical piece of foam. She’s writhing over it, using several expletives and you wonder what the heck is she doing?! And more importantly, why?!?

Welcome to foam rolling my friend.

Foam rolling became trendy years ago when athletes used to roll out tight muscles and fascia (more on fascia here). It’s a form of myofasical release (like a massage), you do to yourself – call it self-massage.   Basically by using the foam roller and your own bodyweight you are releasing tight muscles via trigger points and increasing circulation and blood to that particular area of your body.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts that will have you foam rolling like a pro in no time!

DO pick a foam roller that’s right for you! Foam rollers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, some with knobs for added torture….I mean, relief.   To be honest, I always suggest a longer foam roller so it’s easier to use to roll out your glutes, ITB and back. Of course, if you are traveling, you may want to get a shorter one as well for ease of packing!

DON’T roll directly on a joint or bone.  Ouchy!

DO roll slowly and with even pressure, spending a few seconds on each area of the body.  Enjoy each and every sensation!

DON’T overdo it!  It is not an exercise in pain tolerance. Placing too much sustained pressure on one body part can result in damage.

DO expect a little bit of discomfort.  It should be a “good” hurt, but never unbearable. If an area is too sore or tender, try rolling on surrounding muscles first to help loosen things up.

DON’T try to foam roll your neck. It’s awkward for a reason. The neck is a very sensitive part of the body and a difficult area to position your foam roller. If you are suffering from neck pain, seek the help of a health professional (like your chiropractor, wink wink).

DO it often. Being consistent with rolling is key. It’s not enough to just roll when you are in acute pain. Try rolling every other day! You will notice a difference!

What is your favourite body part to foam roll?  Let me know!

Happy Rolling everyone!

xo

Dr Aliya

 

 

 

Babies + Kids

Babywearing 101: The benefits of carrying your baby!

Recently I attended the Canadian Babywearing School (CBS) Educators course in Milton, Ontario. As a pediatric chiropractor, I am often asked about how to correctly wear a baby in a carrier or wrap, as well as addressing any concerns from parents about positioning and comfort.

Personally, I wore both Rosie and William when they were teeny tiny! William still loves to be worn and often drifts into a pleasant slumber when we are out and about as he nestles into his wrap.

Here are a few FAQ’s I often receive about carrying your baby!

Q. What exactly does it mean to baby wear?

The term “baby wearing” has been used to describe the ancient and recently revived custom of carrying infants in cloth carriers on a parent’s body. Although it has been gaining popularity in western society, many cultures around the world have been using this method of baby transport for centuries.

PS It should actually be called baby carrying instead of the commonly used term baby wearing (we try not to think of babies as accessories lol!)

Q. What are some of the benefits of babywearing or baby carrying?

There are numerous benefits both parent and infant:

  • It’s been shown that infants who are carried are generally calmer because all of their primal/survival needs are met. Their caregiver can be seen, heard, smelled, touched and provide feeding if needed.
  • “Skin to skin” contact is maintained and a strong bond between baby and parent is established.
  • Constant motion and rhythm has a balancing and soothing effect on infants resulting in less crying and fussing overall.
  • Carrying baby offers parents practicality and freedom to multi-task while attending to their little one – a more “hands-free” approach. Many moms master the art of babywearng and breastfeeding at the same time!
  • From a chiropractic perspective, it is also a safer, back saving alternative to lugging around a heavy, bulky car seat.

Q. How do I safely wear my baby?

There are correct and incorrect ways to wear your baby and certain safety precautions must be considered.

Each carrier, wrap or sling should have an instruction booklet – read these carefully before using with baby.

Here are a few more guidelines and safety basics:

  • Check your sling, carrier or wrap for wear and tear before every use. Look for ripped seams, torn straps and damaged hardware.
  • Keep baby’s face in view and baby’s head close enough for you to kiss. Remember – “Visable and Kissable”
  • Always keep slings and carriers snug
  • Keep baby’s chin off of their chest to maintain a clear airway
  • Make sure baby’s legs aren’t bunched up against their stomach
  • Support baby’s back and keep their tummy and chest against yours
  • Do not wear baby while cooking or working with sharp or hot objects
  • Do not ride a bicycle while wearing baby

Remember to keep your baby visible and kissable at all times.

Q. What should I consider when buying a sling, carrier or wrap?

For parents who choose to baby wear, there are many factors to consider when deciding what type of carrier to use. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Choose a model that has detailed, easy-to-understand instructions. Keep them for future use.
  • It’s always great to try a product before buying. There are some great shops that specialize in baby wearing and offer one on one help – see below for recommendations.
  • Check with the retailer or manufacturer to make sure the carrier or sling meets all safety requirements and standards.

Here are a few more resources:

  1. Carry Me Close Babywearers is a Toronto-based non-profit organization committed to offering advice on babywearing. They have a meetings once a month in Toronto. Find them here.
  2. Health Canada has a babywearing resource page offering safe guidelines.
  3. Little Zen One is a great little shop in Toronto’s East End that offers 1-on-1 consultations to help you find the right carrier.

Remember like any skill, baby wearing can take a bit of practice but the benefits for baby and caregiver are amazing!

Questions about baby wearing or infant development? Feel free to contact me!

xo

Dr Aliya