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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

Mother’s Wrist: A common “new mama” pain!

You’re a new mom to a gorgeous little babe!  Yay!

But you’ve started to notice your body is slowly deteriorating….oh no….  You thought the hard part was over (eg. giving birth)?  And despite all of your “war wounds” – tearing, abdominal separation, weakened pelvic floor muscles, cracked/sore nipples….you’ve now noticed an intense pain in your wrists, hands and thumbs!  Things get super sore when you pick up your beautiful beaming babe…ouchy!  Feels like your body is broken!  Sound familiar?

If so, don’t panic yet!

The wrist/hand/thumb pain you are describing sounds like a condition called De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis or as its commonly called, “mother’s wrist” or “mommy thumb”. De Quervain’s results from irritation and inflammation of the tendons that run from the base of the thumb to the wrist and forearm. As the tendons become more inflamed they rub against the “tunnel” that encloses them causing pain along the thumb side of the wrist.

Although anyone can develop De Quervain’s, it is most common in new moms (and a few new dads too). The repetition of lifting a baby numerous times during the day adds undue stress to a fatigued wrist.

In 2009, a study from the University of Colorado found that women were four times more likely to develop De Quervain’s than men.  In addition, some women experience symptoms during pregnancy as a result of fluid retention and hormonal changes causing the tissues around the tendons to swell and become inflamed.

Research has suggested that between 25-50% of new moms develop de Quervain’s during their baby’s first few months. Early recognition and treatment is key. If you are experiencing wrist or thumb pain, see your chiropractor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment options.

Unfortunately, mommy thumb seldom resolves on its own, however there are a few things you can do to get a grip on the pain.

01 / Use a different lifting technique – “the scoop”. One of the most important things you can do to prevent further injury is to modify your lifting technique. Instead of picking up your baby under his arms using primarily the thumb and index finger (in an “L” shape), try “the scoop” technique. Keep the palm of your hand up and try scooping him up by lifting under his bottom with one hand (keeping your thumb and index finger glued together) and supporting the back of his head with the other hand.

02/ Check breastfeeding position. Many women report that breastfeeding can irritate an already painful wrist, particularly during breast compressions (to help milk flow). Supporting or cradling baby’s head puts a strain on the wrist. Use a pillow to support the weight of the baby’s head so it isn’t resting in your hand.

03/ Rest & Ice. Ok so maybe resting your wrist is out of the question if you have a new baby. However, when your partner or a friend/relative is at home with you, hand over the baby and rest your wrist. This will allow some healing to occur. Icing frequently to decrease inflammation is also helpful.

04/ Try using a splint. A splint or brace that prevents the thumb and wrist from moving will help decrease swelling and discomfort. Wearing the brace consistently is important and many moms see an improvement in just a couple of weeks.

05/ Rehabilitative Exercises/Stretches.  Stretching your wrist muscles and gently massaging the area may help.  In addition, your chiropractor can help provide some key strengthening exercises that can help increase the strength in your muscles.  See my video below for some quick easy stretches and exercises that can help!

06/ Avoid texting.  Put your smartphone down and slowly back away.  Texting is a sure fire way to re-aggravate an already sore wrist and thumb.

07/ Consult with a health practitioner. A chiropractor can definitely help guide your treatment and recovery. Acupuncture has been shown to help!  Often this condition takes some time to get better, so be patient with yourself and your body.

A few easy stretches and exercises that will help!

Hang in there mama!  As your baby becomes a bit more mobile, your wrist pain will likely decrease.  This may bring a whole host of other issues – but that’s for another day!

xo

Dr Aliya

Pregnancy

Things I wish I had known before my first baby!

Yup – that’s me! 2 years and 8 months ago. Almost 40 weeks pregnant with my first baby and not quite sure what to expect after the baby was born.

I did what most pregnant women do. I listened intently to the advice and stories of all the other moms around me – my mom, my mother-in-law, my grandmas, aunts, friends and even random women in the grocery store. Everyone had a story or some tidbit of advice they wanted to share.

I also tried to read every book and article related to pregnancy in a last ditch effort to prepare myself for what was to come.

Looking back now, it was super overwhelming and just a bit over the top. Ha! That sounds like me.

Inevitably, by the time my 2nd pregnancy rolled around, the “overachiever” in me was too exhausted by my crazy toddler to even pick up a book. And honestly, I felt I didn’t have to. I had mentally compiled a list of all the things I wish I had known the first time I was pregnant and ready to give birth to a tiny human.

I call it my list of “Wish I Had Known’s”.

Here are a few things “I wish I had known” before having our first baby:

  1. Expect the Unexpected…for life

“My pregnancy, labour and delivery went exactly the way I had planned” said no mom EVER. Be prepared to just “go with the flow”. Sounds cliché I know, but it has become my mantra. Letting go of plans was the absolute hardest thing I had to do from labour and delivery to my baby’s sleep and feed schedules to handling my toddler’s meltdowns.

  1. The first 12 weeks are going to be HARD

This is one of the single most important things every mom should know. The first 12 weeks or fourth trimester (as it’s often called) is super duper tough. It calls for survival mode. Recruit help as often as you need and just keep your head down to get through it. It gets better, promise.

  1. You will not sleep (soundly)…again

Even if your baby is a “sleeper”, you still will not sleep soundly every again. You will worry constantly. Is your baby still breathing? Is your baby too hot? Is your baby too cold? Do they have enough blankets? Did they wet the bed? Are they home from that party? Etc.

  1. Your Post Pregnancy Body WILL be different than your Pre-Pregnancy Body

And that’s more than okay. It’s amazing! It will forever be your reminder of the truly remarkable, life-changing thing that you did.   You will have a few more stretch marks, there may be some weakness or a scar, but look at what you’ve created! Be easy and kind to yourself and to your body. It’s recovering and healing and it will feel different and may not be what you had expected (see number 1 above). But it’s still yours to love.

  1. Motherhood may make you feel more vulnerable than ever before, but you are NOT alone

Many, many women feel isolated after childbirth. You question your identity, your ability as a mother, your body. Your sense of confidence is shaken by the challenges that come with a new baby and it may leave you feeling raw, emotional, and vulnerable. You are not alone. At some point, almost every single mother goes through this and please know that the transition to becoming a parent isn’t an easy one for anyone, no matter what instagram portrays! Talking to someone will help. I promise.

  1. Girl, trust yourself!

We all have natural maternal instincts. Trust your gut! It may take a bit of fine tuning and honing but they’re there and they will help you figure out what’s right for your baby.

 

Honestly, I wish I had known half of these things before my first baby was born. But that’s how life unfolds. You learn those key life lessons from experience not from Chapter 4 of a pregnancy book. You’ll get there mama!!

 

xo

Dr Aliya

 

Babies + Kids

My Fave Baby Essentials

Before our first baby, Rose was born my husband and I had a little baby shower. Ok, it was a massive baby shower complete with loads and loads of baby gifts. We felt so much gratitude for our friends and family who were so thoughtful, but we were completely overwhelmed with baby stuff. Drowning in soothers and washcloths to swings and playmats and wipe warmers?! Babies needed their wipes warmed? Ah babies. We had no idea what we needed and didn’t need or could survive without.

Fast forward 2.5 years.

Our 2nd baby, Will is born and I’ve now learned to pair down to a few essential baby items. Of course, every mom is different and every baby is different, but I’ve listed a few things that have made it to my “love it list”.

*Baby Essentials….Need & Love (starting from top left, clockwise)

01/ Having a diaper bag that is functional but also cute and stylish is key. This backpack/messenger bag is from Fawn Design and my friend Emily convinced me to get one. I’m so glad I did! It has tons of pockets inside and out for storage, the straps are durable and best of all, its made of faux leather (yay!) and easily cleaned (yay! yay!)

02/ I have a couple of different wraps and slings that I use because I’m constantly on the go and have my hands full with a busy toddler. Plus, babywearing is super important for baby development, both physically and emotionally (more on this later!). My go to wrap is the Solly Baby. This wrap is just really easy to put on, lightweight and breathable and so so soft. I had William in the wrap the minute we arrived home from the hospital!

03/ To use a pacifier or to not use a pacifier – the old debate. Rosie didn’t take to the pacifier, but Will did and it often helps settle him down. My favourite is the WubbaNub.   Our penguin WubbaNub is attached to a Soothie pacifier that is BPA, PVC and Phthalate free and is really durable. The plush toy is key because I find it stays in Williams mouth for a longer time, plus its easy to find when it does fall out!

04/ The Dockatot gets my award for most innovative baby product. Essentially, the Dockatot provides a snug cozy space for your baby to sleep or lounge. The sides and bottom of the Dockatot are made from a breathable fabric allowing loads of air flow and its hypoallergenic. It’s not just for sleeping either! William loves hanging out on his tummy in his Dockatot!

william tummy time

05/ Aside from good ol’ coconut oil, finding a good natural “all over” baby moisturizer and balm is tough. There are so many products on the market. I love Joy McCarthy’s Smooth Like Butta Body Butter for little Will’s skin. The butter is so smooth and lightweight going on and has a yummy scent! Plus, it has no chemical additives!

06/ Surviving these Canadian winters with a baby is a challenge.   I’m never quite sure how to dress the wee ones so they are comfy and cozy! But one of my favourite 100% Canadian made products that I love for baby is the Padraig Slipper. Crocheted by hand from raw wool and hand cut sheepskin, these slippers are a staple in my family and I often give them as gifts. They definitely keep baby’s footsies warm and toasty but are also breathable. Bonus – they are hand-dyed in small lots, ensuring each pair is one of a kind!

Those are some of my fave baby essentials! Hope this list helps those of you preparing for baby’s first few months.

Mamas – are there any other items you loved for your baby? Send me a note!

I’ll definitely be adding to this list as William gets older as well. Stay tuned!

xo

Dr Aliya

* Please note: These opinions are my own and I am not receiving any monetization from any products for my recommendations.

 

 

Health + Wellness

DR ALIYA….2.0 ??

OK, maybe 2.0 is a  stretch – let’s call it Dr Aliya 1.0 to start.  This is the relaunch or more like restart of this blog – my blog –draliya.ca.

I’ve been MIA for the last 4 months and I apologize.  I’d like to think there are a few people out there that follow this blog – maybe if it is just a handful of close friends – missed my weekly blog posts.

The truth is, I’ve been avoiding writing.  Not just writing articles/posts or pieces of content, but  “real” writing.  Writing my thoughts and opinions.  To be quite honest,  it hurt too much to come up with any type of original thought and put it out there in cyberspace to be read.

Here’s the reason.

In late May of this year, my dad was admitted to the hospital with what seemed like your regular run of the mill pneumonia.  We thought he’d be discharged in a few days.  But a few of days turned into a week and a week turned into a couple of weeks and there was no sign of him coming home.  He had an underlying condition called Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM), which is a type of muscular dystrophy that causes progressive weakness of muscles in the legs and arms.  The IBM made his condition worse and the pneumonia took hold of his lungs making it difficult for him to breathe on his own.

After a couple of weeks in the hospital, the prognosis of recovery was grim.  He wasn’t coming home.  He was palliative and there was nothing the doctors or specialists could do.  My family was shocked.  Shock is and was an understatement.  We were beyond belief, in denial, that my dad, although he had his share medical issues, was near the end of his life and all we could do was just wait and watch.

What came next was the hardest, most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do.  I watched my dad die.  It was a peaceful dying and one by one my family took turns having our final moments with him.  He shared some age-old wisdom with me, told me how proud he was of me and my life successes, warned me (yet again) to find a balance between my work and my family life, touched my pregnant belly and said a prayer for the baby within and finally told me to allow myself to be happy and that he loved me and will always be with me.   It was a perfect goodbye and yet I wanted and needed to say more.

On Saturday June 25th, my father passed away peacefully, surrounded by all of us.

The last few months have tested many of my relationships as I process through all of the emotions and stages of grieving.  I’ve been reclusive of social engagements and gatherings.  I’ve managed to get through most social meetings and events with a somewhat happy demeanor but most days I feel a deep sense of loss and hurt.  I’ve struggled with letting myself get swept up in emotion and have tried to be brave and strong for my family and for my work.

 

Walking down the aisle at my wedding in 2010.

Walking down the aisle at my wedding in 2010.

This brings me to my writing, particularly my blog.  I’ve avoided it at all costs.  Sure I’ve been casually posting on instagram and facebook but when it comes to writing posts – I’ve put up a wall.  I have felt closed off.

Until now.

What I’ve realized is that my posts and articles came from a place of expertise and imparted my knowledge based on experience, what I’ve seen in my clinical practice mostly.  I had forgotten the real me.  I had avoided anything too personal, too intimate in an effort to remain professional.  Well, screw that.

I’ve been through too much this summer to remain professional.  I’m raw and emotional….and well, pregnant.  And I’ve decided that I need to put it all out there – because that is part of my healing.   So here’s my authentic voice coming out.  Sure I treat pregnant mamas and love being a prenatal chiropractor….but here’s the truth – this pregnancy sucks (more on this later).  And yes, I am pediatric chiropractor who loves my little patients, but this summer, my 2 year old tested my patience and pushed ALL of my buttons and I’ve had days where I’ve felt like a pretty crummy mommy.  And finally, my last truth –   I love yoga and being active and staying fit and healthy….but the very thought of doing a workout or taking yoga class has me reaching for a large caffeinated beverage.

So there it is – all on the table.

Welcome back friends.  I hope you enjoy the relaunch, restart, re-something of my new, maybe not so improved, but honest to goodness blog.

I promise to keep it real.  Always.

xo

Aliya

Babies + Kids

Things I Never Leave Home Without

Going from a designer bag to a diaper bag was not an easy transition for me – I’m sure a lot of mamas can relate. Trading cute style for multiple storage compartments and an easy to pack diaper pad was not my idea of staying on trend.

As Rosie got older and became a toddler, the big cumbersome diaper bag filled with baby essentials like extra sleepers, bottles and a supply of diapers was replaced by a cute leather tote with a handful of key items for both of us.

Here’s a list of the things I never leave home without (from left to right):

1. My BKR bottle

A BPA-free glass reusable water bottle that often feels like a cute accessory more than a necessity. The stylish design of this bottle allows it to fit neatly into my tote making it easy to stay hydrated all day long. (find it here shopbeautifully.com)

2. Rosie’s Kleen Kanteen Bottle

I love this super light-weight sippy water bottle for Rose – and it’s drop-proof!   It’s aluminum and BPA free and small enough for her little hands.

3. Love Child Organics Fruit Pouches

By far the best tasting fruit pouches out there – it literally tastes homemade. So easy to pop into my purse and have on hand when Rose gets super hangry. PS the company is Canadian! Love!

4. Robert Munsch’s Mud Puddle

Um who doesn’t love a good Robert Munsch book?! Rosie loves this story and it’s super mini so it goes everywhere!

5. Raisins and Almonds

For mama and baby on the go. A little snack during errands and some play time keeps us going all day long.

6. Burts Bees Beeswax Lip Balm

So nourishing and hydrating for my lips and I love the little zing from the peppermint oil.

7. Aleva Baby Wipes

I never, ever, ever leave home without these wipes. Not just for bums, but for sticky messy fingers and runny noses – they are the best. Super sensitive and not overly fragrant. They are awesome for delicate skin.

8. A Diaper

We are now starting to potty train Rose so I pack at least one diaper when we are on the go!

9. Thomas the Train

Obviously.

10. Dimpleskins Naturals Bum Bum Balm

For those unexpected diaper rashes. It’s zinc-free and made with calendula oil which provides natural healing for rashes. (find it here well.ca)

11. Substance Natural Sun Block Stick

As the weather gets warmer, I always have some sunblock handy for Rosie especially. It goes on super easy and doesn’t leave a filmy residue like most other sunblocks. Plus it’s super natural and safe for babies.

12. Honest Company’s Face + Body Lotion

Travel size lotion for dry skin and not greasy at all.

13. Minions Band Aids

Because sometimes you get a boo-boo and you need a minion band-aid to make it all better (and a mommy kiss of course).

14. KIND Granola Bar

No one likes a hangry mommy.

 

OK, so that seems like a lot – but they are my essentials for a day on the go with a toddler.

I’m curious to know… what are some of your diaper bag essentials?

Babies + Kids

4 Fun & Easy Ways to Re-connect with your Partner – Post BABY!

I had a mama-to-be come in to see me last week and she asked me if I had any advice for the first few months after baby is born.

“Just try to survive the first 3 months”, I told her honestly.

Remembering the first three months after Rose was born was difficult. It was a complete blur!

My husband and I found ourselves managing on a day-to-day basis and our relationship took a toll, to say the least.

That is until about 4 months post-birth when I found myself missing him and trying to come up with different, unconventional ways to re-connect. Our new responsibilities were crowding out everything that seemed important before baby.

One day we found ourselves on the living room floor playing cards (our internet was down and our Netflix was out of commission), enjoying each other’s company in a way we hadn’t since becoming parents.

Trust me, I get it.

It’s easy to fall into a routine, the hum-drum of life takes over and we forget to nurture the relationship we have with our partners especially when kids enter our world.

For this very reason, I’ve thought up some easy and fun ways to re-connect with your partner.

  1. Learn something new together

To keep things interesting, try learning a new skill or hobby or playing a new sport with your honey. Things like taking a wine-tasting course, or a cooking-class, learning a new language or even trying out a new sport such as tennis or squash or my favourite thing to do – going for an easy casual bike ride around our ‘hood!

  1. Day dates

Perhaps an evening date may not be in the cards for you two, but meeting for quick coffee or lunch during the day can easily fit into your schedules. Take a longer lunch break and meet your partner downtown for bite or even schedule an afternoon off to hang out and get a couples massage.

  1. Games night

Board or card games aren’t just for your kids. Challenge your sweetie to a game of cards, Monopoly, Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit to lighten the mood and reconnect.

  1. Get in love!

Remember how it felt when your partner gave you flowers for no reason? Or that time you were wearing something sexy and the look on their face? Every relationship needs a kick start of romance post-baby. Try things like writing a sweet note, or buying a nice bottle of wine.

Rekindling a connection to your partner is crucial to any couple’s relationship and can easily fall by the wayside after baby is born.

Start with small gestures and easy, fun things to do with one another and your relationship will be back on track in no time!

 

 

Babies + Kids, Health + Wellness

Life Lessons Learned from my Little

 

No one ever said motherhood would be easy.   Actually, I’m pretty sure we’ve all had our butts kicked by our kids at some point or another. For me, it’s a constant reminder that she really is “The Boss”.   And the boss is a little crazy.

But I will say one thing….my little boss is constantly teaching me things.

Today I took a second to stop and think about all the little nuggets she’s shown me or taught me over the last 2 years.   Some pretty awesome life lessons.

Here are a few:

1. Take pleasure in the little things.

Blow bubbles. Splash puddles. Let snowflakes land on your tongue. Try on mommy’s jewelry.   Eat raisins one at a time. Lick the jam off the toast before you take a bite.

She loves taking her time, investigating and savouring the little details.  Life moves so fast – it’s easy to get caught up in it and forget the little things that make you feel joy!

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault

photo rose 1

 

2. Dance to the rhythm of your own drum.

Sing off tune. Dance they way you want. Wear mismatched socks. As adults we’re constantly fearful and mindful of what others will think or say. Her life is limitless. She’s not scared or fearful of failure or judgment.

As we get older, we fear the unknown, stay safely in our comfort zone and perpetually match our socks. I’d like to think the sense of unknown exhilarates our senses and keeps our spirit awake.

3.  Baths aren’t just to get clean.

Baths are to practice swimming or to pretend you are an octopus. The crib isn’t just where we sleep – it’s a giant castle for all of your stuffies or a boat that’s sailing through the sea.

A child’s imagination is wild. I can’t believe all of the things she dreams up and how creative her mind becomes. She sees an elaborate fairytale story everywhere!

“Logic will get you from A to Z. Imagination will get your everywhere” ~Albert Einstein

photo rose 2

4. Every day is a new day

She pushes a reset button every night.   Every morning is a fresh start and all of the worries from the day before have flown away. Her adaptability constantly surprises me – she kinda just goes with the flow (clearly she doesn’t get that from me!).

There’s no baggage from day to day.   How I wish I could as easily let go of the past with its often tenuous situations and just chuck my baggage out the window!

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” – L.M. Montgomery.

5. A hug and kiss fix EVERYTHING.

I’m serious. It’s like a magic potion. It works for skinned knees, major meltdowns and a lost stuffed bunny.   It still amazes me how powerful a loving hug is when she’s in the throes of her emotions – whether it’s anger, sadness or frustration.

It’s such a tremendous feeling to know that I have the best antidote to all of the crappy things life hands her… she still needs her mama to make things better!

“The Best Medicine in the World is a Mother’s hug”

Babies + Kids

The Ins & Outs Of Swimming With Baby

Yes, it’s -10°C outside. And yes, maybe the last thing you are thinking about is a dip in the pool.   However, Toronto’s indoor pools are pretty busy this season with parents finding indoor swimming and lessons a great way to keep their children busy as outside temps fall below freezing.

Swimming at all ages is awesome and it’s particularly amazing for infants for a whole host of reasons.

When can you take your little one for a dip?

Although a specific swimming age appropriate guideline doesn’t formally exist, most pediatricians and health practitioners advise parents to wait until their baby is about 5-6 months old before enrolling in swim classes. By this age your baby should have pretty good head and torso control. Plus, at that age your baby will be able to splash, kick and enjoy the water.

After spending nine months suspended in fluid in the womb, it’s not surprising that most babies have a natural affinity for water.  Babies have primitive reflexes that actually help them in the water.

Specifically, the laryngeal reflex (or gag reflex) allows them to hold their breath and avoid inhaling water in response to the sensation of water on their face, nose or throat.

 

The Benefits of Swimming in Infants

The American Academy of Pediatrics states that younger children may benefit greatly from swimming classes.

New data shows that early swim training may actually lower drowning rates in children under the age of 4.  Swimming also helps to develop a child’s confidence, as well as improve motor skills and co-ordination.

Swimming helps develop a child’s confidence and improve motor skills and co-ordination

Here are a few tips to turn your tot into a water baby:

  • Visit pools that have warmer water temps for baby’s comfort
  • Use bath time as an opportunity to get your baby used to the water.  Sing a song, use a cloth or sponge to dribble some water over baby’s face, splash, and blow bubbles.
  • Take your time and be patient.  Give her plenty of time to get acclimated to the water.
  • Start with slow, gentle motions like bouncing up and down together or swaying from side to side.  Once she’s more comfortable with her surroundings, explain and demonstrate some fun, basic skills like blowing bubbles or splashing.
  • Hold off on introducing floats or other floatation devices until baby is comfortable in the water.
  • Enjoy yourself.  If you are relaxed, smiling and having fun, your baby is more likely to be at ease!