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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

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**

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
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

 

Health + Wellness

What to Expect during a Chiropractic Treatment

New to chiropractic?  Ever wonder what to expect during chiropractic treatment and initial consultation?

You’re in luck!

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Tina (@mombossof3) – she’s a busy mama of 3, daily vlogger and youtube sensation!  She’s also a typical mama with typical mom posture – or “Mom – sture” (copyright pending lol).

She came into the Toronto  Yoga Mamas studio and wellness centre for her first EVER chiropractic treatment and she graciously agreed to having us film it!  Thank you, Tina!

So in case you ever thought – “gee, I wonder what happens during a chiropractic consult and treatment?” I’ve got you covered!

Check out our video below.  (it’s also got a few out-takes as well…for your viewing pleasure) 

PS Don’t forget to “like” and “subscribe” for more videos!   (pretty please!)

Hope you enjoyed this video!

Visit Tina’s channel at @mombossof3 for her hilarious daily VLOGs.

xo

Dr Aliya

Health + Wellness

3 Easy Stretches for Moms

Feeling a bit stiff and tight as a new mom?

One of the most common complaints new mamas have is pain and stiffness in the shoulder, neck and upper back areas and it’s not surprising.  Moms spend most of their day carrying, rocking, bending, lifting, feeding, nursing and rocking again.  These movements lead to some really tight muscles, stiff joints and inevitably some postural changes….think “hunchback”!   New mom posture is so common that I’ve coined the term “Momsture” (get it, get it…).  (It’s being copyrighted as we speak!)

Don’t worry mama, your posture or momsture is not a lost cause!

I have three easy peasy stretches to help loosen up those muscles leaving you feeling awesome…and only a tad sleep deprived! (I’m sorry but these stretches won’t have your baby sleeping through the night…if only, eh?)  Watch my video below to see what these look like and try them today!

You’ll be feeling better soon!

 

Here’s a recap of the stretches in this video:

  1. Chest opener against the wall
  2. Towel stretch
  3. Neck stretch with arms behind back

xo

Dr Aliya

Babies + Kids

Your infant sleep questions…ANSWERED!

As a new mom, I remember spending endless early morning hours searching the internet in the hopes of finding the miracle that would help my little girl sleep through the night! Or even sleep a 6 hour stretch!  I know I’m not alone!  On every new parents mind is – SLEEP! When will my baby sleep through the night? What do I do to help?  Countless articles and books have been written around the subject of Infant Sleep.

Last year, when I was awake at 4 am researching the matter on the internet I came across Catherine Wright – sleep consultant extraordinaire and owner of Motherhand, offering supportive sleep coaching. Her approach and philosophy surrounding sleep is integrative and intuitive allowing parents the space to use a variety of sleep solutions and embracing all parenting styles.

We asked Catherine some of our frequently asked sleep questions – here’s what she had to say.

Q: When is a good time to start sleep training?

A: There is a wonderful book called Bedtiming, by Marc Lewis and Isabela Granic, which gives parents an overview of optimum ‘windows’ for making modifications around an infant or child’s sleep, based on where they are at developmentally.

The 5.5 – 7.5 month window is considered a good time for sleep coaching. At this age, babies are naturally starting to consolidate overnight sleep (and so we’re simply finding ways to nudge the process along). Developmentally, they tend to be focused on tactility, and more interested in exploring the edges of a sleep sack, or grasping for comfort buddy, than tracking parents’ whereabouts.

Because separation anxiety and social referencing tends to peak around the 9-month mark, this is not an ideal time to make big changes around a baby’s sleep.

The 5.5-7.5 month window is considered a good time for sleep coaching

Q: When is it too early to sleep train?

A: Of course, there are differing opinions on this.

Internal, biological forces like melatonin production (a sleepy hormone) and the development of the circadian rhythm start kicking-in around the 4-month mark, totally transforming the sleep landscape for a baby. It’s helpful to wait until these processes are underway, before helping a baby learn to fall asleep and resettle more independently (introducing new sleep associations and moving away from bouncing, holding or feeding a baby to sleep).

Some pediatricians and sleep experts feel babies as young as 2-3 months are ready to ‘sleep train’. In my experience, this is not always the case. I prefer to wait until a baby is 5 months before starting sleep coaching – parents can see marked changes very quickly, and changes tend to ‘stick’ at this age, when parents are consistent.

Sleep foundations should be solidly rooted before parents start with any sleep coaching method. Without foundations in place, parents often get frustrated or stressed because they aren’t seeing results, tears are not easing off as they’d hoped, or, if they have initial success, it starts to unravel within a few weeks.

Q: What is sleep shaping?

A: I think of sleep shaping as the gentle steps parents can take, starting on day one, to set their baby up for long term, healthy sleep. Sleep shaping is mindful of a baby’s developmental age and stage, and how the sleep ‘puzzle’ comes together over time.   Sleep shaping is essentially laying down the ‘sleep foundations’:

  • Ensuring baby’s health, nutrition and emotional wellbeing is in check
  • Creating a healthy sleep environment for baby
  • Cultivating simple routines around baby’s naps and bedtime
  • Ensuring baby is getting enough daytime and nighttime sleep for his age (being mindful of not overstretching wakeful periods during the day)
  • Establishing (fairly) non-variable wake-up and bed times

Once foundations are in place and baby is old enough, parents can start to teach their baby how to fall asleep with less intervention by giving them new associations around sleep which support self-settling.

Sleep shaping are the gentle steps parents can take, starting on day one, to set their baby up for long term, healthy sleep

Q: Will my baby ever sleep through the night?

A: Yes! When sleep foundations are in place this often unfolds organically, when baby is ready. There is also a huge range within ‘normal’ when it comes to overnight waking patterns in the first year of life, but most healthy babies are quite capable of this by 6 months (many earlier).

Don’t forget that all babies and toddlers wake frequently at night! The difference between a baby who is ‘sleeping through’ and a baby who is still waking at night is that the baby who is ‘sleeping through’ has learned some sleep skills which allow him to resettle on his own when he wakes and doesn’t have an immediate need.

For parents who want to be more proactive around nudging their baby in this direction, they’d first want to ensure sleep foundations are in place, and then find a sleep coaching method that fits with their parenting style, household set up, and their baby’s temperament and age.

It possible to embark on sleep coaching while respecting that a baby still may need to feed overnight.

sleeping baby 1

Q: How about bedtime routines?

A: Sleep routines are possibly the most important sleep foundation for babies, toddlers and adults.

Wind-down routines offer babies a transition between ‘awake time’ and falling asleep – it is the predictability around routines that sets sleep in motion. Instilling routines early on makes it easier to help a baby learn to settle more independently, down the road.

Here are a few key ingredients for a bedtime wind-down routine:

  • Doing relatively the same low-key activities in the same order each evening before your child’s intended bedtime (bath, PJs, cuddles and books, lullaby, bed).
  • Turning off all screens in the home and dimming lights
  • Darkening baby’s sleep space (as dark as you can get it!)
  • Using a bedtime lullaby or ‘sleepy mantra’ around settling baby into sleep
  • Ending the routine ends in baby’s sleep space

Parents can start with a short, simple routine and build upon it as their baby gets older. Using continuous ‘white noise’ around wind-down routines and overnight can be incredibly helpful in the first year of baby’s life.

Wind-down routines offer babies a transition between ‘awake time’ and falling asleep

Q: What else can parents do to help with the sleep training process?

A: It’s essential to consider a baby’s health, nutrition and emotional wellbeing before starting on a sleep coaching plan. If a baby’s birth experience was traumatic in any way, if baby has had a history of reflux, colic, or difficulty latching or feeding – chiropractic care is tremendously beneficial and will support the changes parents are making towards improving their child’s sleep.

By optimizing baby’s nervous system (neural communication) and assisting any restrictions in his body, chiropractic treatments often make the sleep learning journey a much smoother process.

chiropractic treatments often make the sleep learning journey a much smoother process

Q: How would you know if your baby or toddler is a good candidate for sleep coaching?

A:

  • You have a 6-month baby (or older) who is waking frequently at night and having trouble resettling.
  • Bedtime is routinely a drawn out process, or fraught with tears or lots of protesting.
  • Your baby is 6 months or older and has very unpredictable routines around sleep.
  • You feel your baby or child is chronically not getting enough restorative sleep during the day or at night.
  • You’ve made sacrifices to accommodate your baby or child’s sleep but are now so exhausted your day-to-day life is affected and you’re not sure about the best way forward.
  • You have multiple children and are struggling to find peaceful routines around helping them to sleep in a way that works for your family.
  • Your baby is no longer a newborn but you are all sleeping like he is.
  • You simply want support around creating new routines for the way your family sleeps.

If you have any other questions or would like to speak with Catherine, visit her website at www.motherhand.com.  You won’t be sorry you did!

Babies + Kids, Health + Wellness

Top 5 ways to be a healthier, happier mom!

Motherhood. It can have its ups and downs. I know, from experience, that your new role as a mom can be overwhelming and taking care of yourself is not a top priority. But it should be!

Follow these easy steps to a happier, healthier mama.

  1. Take time to recover from labour and delivery

Many new mamas are super eager to get back “at it” following the birth of baby. (Trust me, I was one of those moms). But it’s important to give your body time to heal even before you tackle tasks like laundry or dishes. Even things like standing for long periods or going up/down stairs can affect your recovery. Not overdoing it will actually help you heal more quickly. You will be back in the swing of things faster than if you try to sneak in a quick workout before you are ready. Take some time to let yourself adjust emotionally as well. This is a new role and you’ll need some transition time.

  1. Breastfeed

Yes, breastfeeding provides amazing benefits to your wee one including improved immunity and higher IQ but it’s also great for you too! Moms who nurse their babes have a reduced risk of suffering from postpartum depression. In addition, prolactin, the milk-making hormone, also has a calming effect on mothers. Although I know it can be difficult in the beginning, once you’ve got the hang of it nursing can be efficient. No bottles, no sterilizing and no formula!

  1. Stick with healthy eating habits

If you are a new mom, you may be like me – RAVENOUS! I couldn’t get food into me fast enough. If you’re breastfeeding, it’s especially important to stay fueled up to support your milk supply. But even if you aren’t breastfeeding, eating healthy is important for your well-being as a new mama! Busy days with a new baby aren’t ideal for meal planning and preparing, but try your best to plan ahead and keep your pantry stocked with healthy snacks! Here are a few ideas: nuts & seeds, veggies (baby carrots), fruits (berries, apples, bananas), yogurt, smoothies.

  1. Breathe in the fresh air

I remember going crazy inside the house in early March just after my daughter was born. In Toronto it was still snowy and chilly and I was feeling mental from being with a baby all day long. My husband forced me to walk in the garden for a few minutes one sunny, snowy afternoon. What a difference! Stepping outside and breathing in the fresh air I felt instantly uplifted. Soaking in the sun is the easiest way to get your dose of Vitamin D. Strolling through the neighbourhood with your babe a few times per week will definitely give you a good dose of happiness!

  1. Keep it in perspective

We can all relate – some days are better than others. But remember, bad days don’t last forever. And when your baby is celebrating his first year birthday – you’ll wonder where the time went. Enjoy this time, soak up her sweet smile and listen to her soft coos. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you’re not on your game. You don’t have to be a supermom….you’re baby loves you for you!

Pregnancy

Your baby bump – a new way of sleeping?

“Sleep now, because you won’t have a chance when the baby comes!”

Ever heard that line from a friend or relative? I know many soon to be mamas want those restful 8 or more hours of zzz’s but can’t seem to get comfortable! Who knew that your tiny baby could cause such big sleeping problems?

The general advice found on many pregnancy blogs and websites suggests that lying on your stomach or back is not recommended and that lying on your left side is an ideal sleep position. Armed with this information and the fear of harming baby, many women restrict their sleeping to their left side only. No wonder they are uncomfortable and struggle to find restful sleep!

After researching both the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – neither suggest any pattern or position for sleep. The general recommendation of many obstetricians is that sleep position in your first trimester has no impact on your health or your baby’s.

Later in pregnancy (2nd and 3rd trimesters), the cause for concern stems from the weight of the uterus and the size of the growing baby. This growth in the size and weight of the uterus can place pressure on the inferior vena cava (a large vein that returns blood from your lower body to your heart) when lying on your back for an extended period of time. The pressure on the inferior vena cava could interfere with the flow of blood and nutrients going to the placenta and thus to the baby. Lying on your left side may optimize blood flow.

Start off lying on your left side going to sleep, but if you wake up and catch yourself on your back or your right side, don’t worry. You can and should switch positions from time to time for your own comfort! Your body has a way of telling you when things aren’t quite right and when it’s time to change position. If you are feeling faint or light headed sleeping on your back during pregnancy, consult with your family doctor, midwife or ob/gyn.

Of course, there may be other reasons why the sleep you crave is constantly out of reach. Things like frequent trips to the bathroom, weird vivid dreams or discomforts like heartburn.

Here are a few tips I give mama’s that may help:

  • Cut back on caffeine
  • Nap during the day if you have a moment
  • Avoid heavy meals and limit liquids before bed
  • Do something relaxing before lights out (warm baths, a good book)
  • Enjoy some light exercise (walk around the block, yoga, quiet meditation)
  • Use pillows (between your knees and/or under your belly)

If you are still not able to get comfortable, get up and do a quiet activity for awhile and try again. Almost there Mama!

References
Farine, D, Seaward G. When it comes to Pregnant Women Sleeping, Is Left Right?. JOGC October 2007.