Tag: Advice

Combatting Postpartum Hair Loss

Self-care routine is a cherished novelty for all new moms. So, when you finally get to indulge in your hair-care routine and find clumps of hair tangled in large bunches in your hairbrush, it can be quite an alarming discovery.

We are here to assure you that the shedding of hair post newborn delivery is quite a normal process. Postpartum hair loss is a general occurrence for most women in the six months that follow giving birth.

Causes of Postpartum Hair Loss

During pregnancy, every woman experiences tremendously high levels of progesterone and estrogen. Due to this, the women experience continuous hair growth throughout their pregnancy and will surely notice lustrous and thicker strands. 

Once you are through with the delivery, your hormones then begin to level out in the following six months. Your hair remains in the resting stage for approximately the first three months and then begins to fall out. Soon after, you will notice the re-growth taking place, which is generally in the shape of baby bangs along your hairline.

How long does it take for Postpartum Hair Loss to Stop?

The alarming rate at which your hair falls in postpartum might be scary to say the least, but the good news is that it is usually only temporary. Many women experience postpartum hair loss for merely four months, while others may experience it for a bit longer.

Normally, your hair growth pattern should return to normal six months post your postpartum period. However, there is also a possibility that you may be one of those women who suffer postpartum hair loss for around a year after you childbirth.

In case of severe symptoms or excessive hair loss for more than a year, you must consult your doctor.

Tips to Combat Postpartum Hair Loss

You can effectively manage your postpartum hair loss in several ways. However, one thing you must take note of is that postpartum hair loss is a normal occurrence due to your changing hormones. Therefore, you cannot expect it to stop immediately. 

The following tips are going to help you minimize the impact of your postpartum hair loss and will be helpful in gradually promoting healthy re-growth of your hair.

 

1.Nutritional Supplements

 

It is natural for new moms to feel overly worried about their postpartum hair loss. If you are an anxious mommy too, perhaps you should consult your doctor regarding mineral supplements or vitamin intake. These are helpful agents of hair re-growth and stopping or minimizing hair fall.

The American Pregnancy Association approves of the following for postpartum hair loss

  • Vitamin E
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin C
  • Biotin (B7) or Vitamin B complex.
2. Laser Hair Clips

 

 

Laser caps are one of the most advanced and effective treatments for hair re-growth. You may consider this as a convenient remedy to tackle your postpartum hair loss issues. Laser hair caps have several benefits, including:

  • It will revitalize your frail and damaged hair
  • It can also reverse the postpartum hair loss
  • You will experience thicker and healthier hair follicles
  • Laser caps treat balding and thinning hair
  • There are no side effects, and the device is FDA-cleared
  • It is an effective and safe hair loss treatment for women ages 18 and older

 

 

3. Healthy and Balanced Diet

There is no doubt about the fact that a balanced and healthy diet is optimal for every person’s wellbeing and good health. For postpartum mothers, in particular, one cannot overstate the importance of a healthy diet, since it plays an integral part in restoring and halting the postpartum hair fall from progressing. 

One major way of combating your hair fall is to maintain the required balance of nutrients and vitamins. You must include fresh fruits, whole grains, and vegetables as these are the biggest sources of nutrients. In addition, it is equally important to remember that a sufficient intake of water is also compulsory for thorough hydration. 

 

4. Hairstyle Change

 

We are all well aware of the postpartum mom hairstyle, aren’t we? Well, a shorter hairstyle is not only practical and easy to manage for new moms; it also effectively reduces the appearance of the postpartum process.

You may be very fond of your hair length but think of it from an alternative perspective. An adjustment in your styling will reduce the level of stress on your fragile hair and enable it to re-grow faster with less burden. 

You must also try not to brush your hair too vigorously when in postpartum. This could split or tear your delicate hair, nor should you force it into brutal styles like cornrow braids, ponytails, and weaves. 

You are bound to feel overwhelmed following the months after your childbirth, but you must not ignore the issue at any cost.

5. Improve Your Hair Care Routine

An alteration in your hair care routine may also prove beneficial in reducing your hair loss. You might try a shampoo for postpartum hair fall, one that contains silica and biotin along with a deeply moisturizing conditioner.

Conclusion

Postpartum hair loss is a very natural process that most women experience post-delivery. There are certain ways in which you can reduce the amount of hair fall. However, you must also remember that postpartum often corrects itself once your hormones start normalizing and return to the balanced level.

Tips To Help With A Newborn Baby

A newborn baby is something that can be quite challenging and likely be the most challenging thing you do in your life. As well as it being difficult, though, it presents a new chapter in your life where you are likely to have never experienced love quite like what you feel for your own child. During this time, it can be helpful to have some advice, so here are some tips to help with a newborn baby.

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Always Keep Your Hands Clean

Your baby is a lot different to a child and extremely different to an adult when it comes to their ability to fight out germs and illnesses. With a low immune system it means that they’re more susceptible to being ill, and therefore, it’s essential you’re always keeping your hands clean when handling a newborn. In the same respect, it’s essential you keep away anyone that might be ill because that can be easily passed on when it’s something like the common cold or flu. Family and friends will certainly understand, and most will also be aware that coming into contact with a newborn when you’re ill is always advised against anyway. As a parent, it’s good to make sure you keep your hands clean at all times whenever you’re handling your baby, whether it’s changing a nappy or feeding them.

Support The Baby’s Neck & Head

As a baby’s body is still growing, it’s important to support them in the right way in their early years. This means you want to provide them with as much support on the neck and head as you can. If you’ve ever held a baby before, you’ll always get told to support the head and neck. It’s important to do this because without that support, it could be harming the baby’s body in a number of ways. It can be nerve-racking as a new parent when holding your baby, but it’s definitely something you’ll become quickly used to when it comes to handling your own baby. It might seem terrifying at first, but you’ll learn how to hold it better when you’re with them 24/7!

Spend Plenty Of Time Bonding

These early times in a baby’s life are important because they’ve spent the better part of nine months or less in your body, and now they’re outside of it. Therefore, all their crying is likely due to being in this new environment where the temperature is different, and they’re not being fed as consistently as usual. Take this time to really bond with your child and get in all that skin to skin contact that they’ll be after.

You can take a look online to answer any questions that you might have on caring for your baby when they’re sick, like tips to help your congested baby breathe, and there’s also lots of information on best practices for bonding with your child.

Stock Up On Diapers & Essentials

With a newborn baby, it usually is the case that you’ll need to change their nappy on average ten times a day. And although that might seem impossible, it’s definitely accurate. Therefore, it’s a good idea to really stock up on diapers and essentials before you have your baby. Over that pregnancy period, try and get as many diapers as possible for those stages where they’ll go from newborn to toddler and until they learn to go pee themselves. Essentials like bibs are good to have because you’re going to likely go through a lot of them with all the mess they’ll make. Whether that’s through burping, feeding, or being sick. It’s better for it to go on a bib than on your clothes!

Always Place Babies On Their Back For Sleeping

One of the dangers that comes with babies is when they go to sleep. It’s essential that whenever you lay your baby down to sleep, you put them on their back. This is because it helps reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) that can occur in newborns. You also want to make sure that you avoid putting blankets on your baby until after a twelve month period. This is only because it’s more likely to cause suffocation if the blanket ends up on their face. This is the same for pillows so take caution.

 

Hopefully, these tips will help you with dealing with a newborn for the first time. Take your time, and don’t panic. It’s a new experience and one you’ll learn more about as you go.

 

*Disclosure: The link below is an affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

 

How to be Social While Social Distancing

“Social distancing or physical distancing is a set of infection control actions intended to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease. The objective of social distancing is to reduce the probability of contact between persons carrying an infection and others who are not infected, so as to minimize disease transmission, morbidity and ultimately, mortality.” – Wikipedia

With the current pandemic that the world is currently facing, we have been instructed to practice social distancing and with great reason. As we see numbers rise in positive cases all over the world, we can’t help but fear for the safety of our loved ones and of ourselves. We have been doing social distancing for over a week now and we will continue to do so until we are told it is safe to interact once again.

Social Distancing

Social distancing isn’t too hard for me to do personally as I don’t mind being in the comfort of my own home but as a parent of a social five-year-old, I know the difficult time will arrive depending on how long we need to stay indoors. This got me thinking on how people interact socially. Prior to this pandemic, I would notice people constantly using their technology devices and not interact with people right in front of them. Now here we are in a state of emergency and people are craving the need to interact in person. Irony at its finest if you ask me.

It also got me thinking why not use this technology that we seem to not be able to live without while we are with people and use it to interact while keeping our distances. Seems simple, doesn’t it?! We implemented a few things in our home to keep social in hopes it will inspire others to do the same while we all observe “social distancing.”

Social Media

The good old social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on. These mediums are working well so far and it’s a great way to stay connected with all your family and friends. We have been sharing light stories and posts as a way to bring a smile to people’s faces during these difficult and uncertain times.

Another way to use social media is to use private messaging on Facebook to create group chats. I am part of one right now where we share pictures within our group of our kids, food or just anything positive. It is a great way to remember that there is a world of people out there loving you even if they are not in the same room as you. I have also been private messaging some close friends who are really down with everything going around as I want to make sure they know they are not alone and that they are very loved. You would be surprised on the positive impact that this can have on someone with anxiety and depression. Every little bit of compassion we can reflect onto others does help as I know it has helped one of my good friends.

Phone Calls/Text Messaging

We have been finding ourselves calling and text messaging more to check in with our loved ones. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t call my parents to see how they are doing. When I first got married my husband would ask, “Why do you call your parents every day?” My answer was always the same and it still applies to this day more than ever. “My parents are aging with each passing day and their health status can change from one moment to the next. I always want to make sure that I make that phone call so I can rest easy knowing that they are ok.”

I think it is important to check-in at least once a week or every few days just to make sure that the most vulnerable are doing well. It doesn’t cost us to check-in and it’s the kindness that we all need to be surrounded with. If you don’t like calling people then you can always send a text message especially if the recipient knows how to use text messaging. 😉

Video Talk

There are many apps that allow you to talk over video which is our favorite thing to do. Nikki loves to see people over video as it gives her that social interaction that she has been missing. We are not with them physically but we can see them which is so comforting for everyone. I have encouraged these videos with our close family members who have been calling us. When I see Nikki talking to her cousins or a friend through Facebook Messenger, her face lights up with so much happiness and I am truly thankful for all this technology that is at our fingertips.

We are able to interact with all our loved ones in ways that couldn’t be done many years ago and we should be thankful that we can. My sister even mentioned that we could have a girls night at home by video calling each other in a quiet room in the house. I thought this was a great idea and now it is just a matter of time of actually doing it. This is a great alternative from going out.

That is what we are doing to stay social in a social distancing time. You can stay social and connected by using technology. We don’t need to physically be together to know that we care about one another. Remember that we are doing this to protect ourselves from this pandemic. It may seem like an inconvenience and yes this will impact the economy but it will save lives. So let us stay calm, show compassion, be kind and we will get through this together.

To protect yourself from the Corvid-19 virus, there are steps that you can do and if we all do them we will be on the right path.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

How To Keep Your Mind Sharp After Having A Baby

Image by Thanasis Papazacharias from Pixabay 

Did you know that baby brain is a real thing? Don’t feel stupid because you’re not as sharp as you were before, don’t think that it’s your fault because you’re so tired, because it’s not. It has been scientifically proven that pregnancy reduces grey matter in specific parts of a woman’s brain, in order to help you bond with your baby and prepare for the demands of motherhood.

According to research, scans of 25 first-time mums showed that these structural brain changes lasted for at least two years after giving birth, so while there’s not much you can do to prevent this, if you do want to keep your mind active and try and help yourself then these are the best things you can do to keep you sharp.

Brain Train

Use apps to train your brain like Fit Brains or Lumosity, which aim to improve your mental performance. They train you like you would train your body in that the games get harder as you improve, and the app keeps track of your progress and makes recommendations on how to challenge yourself and alter your training routine. If you find these a little taxing to start, then just try crossword puzzles or playing things like scrabble to get you using your brain and enjoying yourself too. If you find that a little tough at first, then luckily there is a cheeky little tool called unscramble which can help you.

Read, Read and Read Some More

Reading is one of the best and most relaxing ways to keep your brain active. Research shows that the more we read, the more our vocabulary, cognitive abilities, and our base of general knowledge increase. Make a shortlist of books you’ve been meaning to read but haven’t had the chance. There will be plenty of time while you nurse or feed a newborn! If you don’t love to read or find yourself too tired, then listen to audiobooks.

Stay In The Know

Many people get wrapped up in a little bubble of this new world of you and your baby, which is easy to do and also lovely too. But if you want to keep your mind active, then try staying connected with the rest of the outside world, make sure you read the news, listen to the radio or just have it on the TV in the background.

Hang Out With Adults

Make sure that you are talking with adults too instead of spending all your time with your baby – which again is very easy to do. While there will be plenty of new mums to hang around with too, often the conversation will be about the babies, this is great but also try to mix it up a bit and see other people so you can just be yourself. Date nights with your partner are essential too.

Economize Your Brain Use

Don’t waste brain energy on things you don’t need to; for example, remembering where you’ve put your keys needn’t be an issue. Do things like keeping your keys in the same place every day so that you don’t have to waste your time thinking about them and can save your brain energy for more important things.

One and Done: Our Family is Complete

A family is defined as a set of parents living with their children. The definition of family is the group of people who share common ancestors. Those are the definitions you can see in the dictionary but family is really up to personal interpretation.

To me a family is people who love each other unconditionally. It does not matter who makes up your family or how many are in it. At the end of the day, the love that is shared is what should matter most.

Our Family Beginning

Every story has a “Once Upon A Time” and our family story is no different. It all started when a young lady fell in love with a handsome and sweet young man. They dated for seven years before getting married and it was a rollercoaster of a journey but they did it together. To them an ideal family would be to have two children as it only seemed fitting since everyone in the family were only having two children.

Our wedding day.

Unfortunately, not all families are made quickly or as planned. This is just how life goes. Thinking the struggle was over when they found out they were expecting; however, it was short lived when a miscarriage had occurred. There hopes and dreams of having a family seemed just that…a dream.

A few years after, a pleasant surprise had happen with another positive pregnancy test. But this time, nine months later through a difficult pregnancy, our family grew by one with the energetic little one that we call Nikki.

Family Life

The adjustment into parenthood is never easy and it took (still is) a lot of tinkering along the way. As we grew with our daughter we started to see that one was plenty for us and our family felt complete. It didn’t always feel that way as we were always questioned as to why not add one more child. At one point we took that to heart and felt maybe we should consider adding one more. We seemed to have allowed that pressure to consume us once again and it was affecting my health. However, I quickly realized that it wasn’t worth all the extra stress and anxiety I was feeling. Of course with any life changing decisions we discuss it as a team as it takes a village to raise a child.

Our family of three.

Only Child Syndrome

“Only child syndrome is the myth that only children are lonely, selfish, spoiled, impatient and maladjusted.”

We have heard that and more when raising our daughter. This was a big part of our discussions as we reviewed what would be best for our family. When looking at the definition and seeing my daughter, I couldn’t see it. We don’t see any of those characteristics in Nikki.

Lonely

Luckily, Nikki isn’t locked in a tower like poor Rapunzel was for many years of her life. 😉 We expose Nikki to everything that life and people have to offer. We set up play dates and have her interact with people all throughout her life. She has many great friendships that she has built already in her five years of life and we nourish her to continue to build these friendships and build new ones. She is also surrounded by so many loving family members that we as adults help her maintain.

On the other side, we also personally know many people who have siblings who don’t even communicate or connect with. Therefore, having a sibling does not mean you have someone with you for life as they may not want to be part of your life. A sibling does not mean a life-long friend.

Nikki with her cousin Connor as they embrace each other’s company.
Selfish

When you ask anyone that knows Nikki really well, knows that she is not selfish. Of course there can be moments that she may not want to share a favorite toy and that is absolutely normal as she is only five! However, she is very generous and shares with others.

Spoiled

This word in itself stings when I hear, read, or see it! I recall a couple of years back, a family member mentioning to someone I know that Nikki was a spoiled little girl. Of course as a momma bear I was going to call out on that person. But I stepped back and looked at their own family dynamics and knew they were just forecasting their own parenting style onto me. Nikki is very loved and we provide for her the best that we can. We feed her, cloth her and provide her shelter. There are many things that she asks for and she does not get as we can not afford to give her everything that she wants. With age she has learned that we need to be grateful for what we do have and know that we can’t get everything we want. She is our only child so it is natural that it would be easier for us to provide for her a few extras. In the process, we make sure she knows how lucky she is that this can be done. Throughout the year, we do donations to others in order to teach her how important it is to give back. Many times she goes through some of her really good toys and gives it to others who don’t have any. We even give away clothes that no longer fit to a family who is in need. Therefore, please don’t call a child spoiled as it is so hurtful to all.

Impatient

I am not sure what child is patient with a sibling or not? Nikki can be patient and impatient as it all depends what she is excited for. I know many adults who are impatient as well and they have tons of siblings. Therefore, we knew not to worry and with age Nikki is getting much better in waiting. 😉

Maladjusted

Nikki thrives in social settings and is sociable with all. Not to mention her amazing empathy towards others. It is something that even her teachers have noted in her report cards and we couldn’t be prouder. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another and it is one that can be hard for children to exhibit. I have been often asked if Nikki has any older siblings as she is so loving and caring towards others. Everyone is always shocked to hear that Nikki is an only child. I am never shocked as that is how we raised her.

Nikki with her best friend Madison. One of the many friendships she has built.

Momma Braga Closing Thoughts

We support the decisions that families make for themselves. Everyone does and chooses what is best for them. My request to everyone as we end the year, is to be more accepting and loving to one another. Let us respect others and just give a listening ear when needed. Remember that whether someone decides to have no children or ten children, we shouldn’t judge or condemn them. The definition of “family” truly depends on how you see your family looking and not what others think it should look like.

After discussing it all and seeing how life is at this point for us…I turned to my husband and said “I am one and done.” He of course agreed and we couldn’t be happier with our family of three.

Thank you to all my amazing readers for all your love and support. This year we have had 30,000 readers and we are truly thankful!!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

A Bundle Of Duties Before The Bundle Of Joy: Preparing Your Home For A Baby

Pexels – CC0 Licence

As if you don’t have enough to do already! Of all the work that comes along in preparing yourself for the impending birth of your child, you’ve also got to look at the environment that your baby is going to inhabit. Put simply, your home is the most important environment, not just to nurture and raise your child, but also to ensure that you have everything in place so after you come home from the hospital, you can hit the ground running. But as with every parent that goes on the journey of having a child, they seldom feel prepared. So, let’s give you a couple of hints to ensure that the home is prepared in every single way.

Give Your Home A Safety Exam

As much of a shock to the system as having a baby is, we have to remember that when our child gets going and learns how to crawl, opens cabinets, and gets into all manner of mayhem, that will be a bigger shock to the system! It’s important to give your home a safety exam, not just so the baby is safe but also you need to fix those little house duties that you’ve not been able to get round to because of numerous trips to the hospital. That way you will ensure that the home is safe for the baby, but also, an appliance won’t give up on you when you need it the most! There is nothing worse than in the middle of the night when you are trying to sterilize a bottle with some boiling water, but the electricity has gone off everywhere, and not only do you not have light, but the kettle doesn’t work, and there’s a screaming baby to boot!

Have a look at your property and take yourself out of the equation for a second. Perhaps you lived in this property for a while, so while you think it’s safe, what is it like for a baby where a dangling switch or open plughole seems like a really exciting prospect? There are things that you need to do, such as locking medication and cleaning products away into secure cabinets, but also when you are looking at the property, and attempt to ascertain its safety, you shouldn’t underestimate the potential for disaster. When you live in a property that is, at best, temperamental, that one little watermark on the wall may harbor a bigger problem. If this is the case, it’s important to get in contact with a plumber, like on mrrooter.ca/mississauga to deal with the issue as soon as possible. Making sure that your home is safe will be easier to achieve before the baby comes along. You may think you’ve got plenty of time, but babies become mobile overnight, almost literally! You don’t want to be full of regrets.

Rearrange Your Space

Another thing you need to do right now because you have the time and the luxury is to arrange the space, not just so the baby paraphernalia has a place to live, but you may also want to turn the space into something more practical. The kitchen is a great example. Look at the counter, and see what can be stored. If you are someone that doesn’t like a lot of mess, finding a cabinet for all the baby stuff is a good idea. This means you’re going to have to rearrange the space and perhaps look at where older things might go. This may be part of the nesting phase, where you are compelled to clean the property and rearrange everything in preparation for your baby’s arrival. But it’s common sense to make everything easily accessible. You’ve got to prepare for the fact that you won’t be sleeping much, which makes the littlest of tasks an almighty chore. You don’t want to be rooting around for things in the fridge when there are so many expired jars in the way! Everything has to be accessible.

Planning For Late Nights, Early Mornings, And No Sleep

When you hear so much about the lack of sleep, this may very well be your biggest fear. As you start to get closer to the due date, your sleep may actually tail off, and when people tell you that you need to get as much rest as possible, this may seem more than impossible. And this means that when you are making the home ready for you and the baby, you have got to think about making life easier overall. When you lack sleep, your decision-making can prove troublesome. But this means you’ve got to learn the cliche of “sleeping when the baby sleeps.” But, when you can’t sleep because you’re concerned about the baby (which is very normal), you need a lot of home comforts around. If you decide to breastfeed, you need quick access to all the home comforts. This means you may very well be relying on Netflix in the middle of the night, but also, you will learn the art of making coffee with one hand! One of the greatest tools you can use is an insulated mug. Drinking a simple cup of coffee may take in excess of 45 minutes on certain days so having a nice mug of coffee is one of life’s little home comforts. It is those little things that will keep you going, especially during stressful times.

Keeping On Top Of House Duties

They say that during the first couple of weeks of a baby’s life that all cleaning goes out of the window! And while you may have plenty of visitors, and you want to make the home as presentable as possible it may very well be impossible to even put the vacuum around! But keeping on top of house duties is something that can be done, just as long as you plan better. You may find that doing the dishes is impossible, and while there’s no shame in leaving the sink to pile up, there is also no shame in asking visitors to help out because you haven’t had the chance! When you are are are sleep deprived, and you would like to tidy the house, you’ve got to work smart instead of hard. A handheld vacuum will work wonders because it’s a quick method of lifting up bits of lint and dirt. That way, you can keep the house vaguely presentable. But remember, even if you are house proud, people will understand that you have a baby to look after, so things can fall by the wayside. But there are little hacks you can take advantage of. The biggest one is getting a bouncy seat or a carrier, and doing a little bit of housework with them strapped in. All the motion could put the baby to sleep, so it’s win-win!

And also, while you might not think that you’re able to prepare for keeping the house clean, you can certainly minimize the overall duties by looking at your household tasks and see what you can do in the run-up to the baby being born! A great example is the cooking! Because eating a meal is a 30-minute task, and one you have to do standing up, you’ve got to think how difficult it would be to even cook a meal in the run-up to dinner time! Batch cooking is a lifesaver. A couple of months before the baby is born, start to compile meals that can be cooked, portioned up, and put in the freezer. There are some recipes on purewow.com/food to give you some inspiration. It’s also worth stocking the cupboards with perishables, so even if you have a spare 50 minutes to rustle up something, at the very least, you can have a tin of soup, or something quick. Eating quick is the name of the game, but you also need to eat healthily. Batch cooking is the best way to prepare meals that have a wider variety of vitamins and minerals. It will be crucial when the baby comes along, and you need that little bit of extra goodness in your diet. Because, after all, we can very easily rely on takeout and other unhealthy foodstuffs to see us through a tough time. This is an incredibly bad habit to get into because it may take a long time to get out.

You may wonder how you even have time to do all of this! But you will soon realize the benefit of hindsight if you don’t get underway. Preparing your home for the baby isn’t just about a nurturing environment (and padlocking everything), but it’s about making sure that you are able to thrive. You want the place to be a loving home, and you will start to get things underway, and you may even realize that you aren’t as prepared as you think. This is why now is the perfect opportunity to get the home up to speed. A baby is a wonderful thing, and it will change your life, as well as how you view yourself, but you also want to enjoy those precious few weeks. If you end up stressing about things around the house, rather than enjoying time with your little one, it will feel like a waste.

‘Tis Always The Swim Season

Swimming is more than splashing with your friends on a hot summer day. Children can reap many rewards from taking swimming lessons year-round.

But don’t just take just our word on it. We went to the experts themselves at Aqua-Tots to see the overall benefits of swimming all year-round.

So, let’s jump in!

Many of us know the importance of swimming year-round; however, there are also many who do not. Give us your insight on:
The Development Benefits

Swimming involves a lot of visible physical components, but in addition to that it also involves a great deal of cognitive focus. For example, when swimming freestyle, you must coordinate your arms and legs to move simultaneously. When our students enter Level 10, we start to teach them breath control and “side breathing” which is an incremental area of focus layered onto the movement of limbs. Its multitasking at its finest!

The Physical Benefits

Swimming is great exercise for all ages. In fact, it uses multiple muscles in the body at the same time. It also helps to build strong muscles and endurance; skills which are transferable to other sports. Unlike other sports though, learning to swim year-round is a life skill that will help children stay safe in and around water over a lifetime!

Overall Benefits

In addition to moving your muscles, swimming, also gives your brain a workout with all of the multitasking you do with your body which in turn serves as a total mood booster. Achieving new skills, overcoming anxieties, and becoming independent in the water are all major confidence boosters! It also helps children stay active year-round, and supports key social developments for kiddos like listening, taking turns, verbal communication…all taking place in an environment where positive friendships can grow!

Swimming is a life skill that should be practiced all year long. It is one of the best skills to equip your child with this summer.

What tips can you give parents who may feel overwhelmed in adding an extracurricular activity during the school year?

Swimming is an individual sport, which allows children to progress at their own pace and provides a stress-free environment. Here at Aqua-Tots, there is no pressure to commit to specific days, as you might with other team sports. If outside commitments arise, Aqua-Tots has a flexible make-up policy to accommodate busy schedules, vacation time, and other extracurricular events.

Unlike other sports, swimming is a lifelong safety skill and therefore, it is critical for all individuals to feel confident and independent in the water. You never know when you might find yourself in or around water – even throughout winter (e.g. public pools, ice and open water during vacations). Finding a way to incorporate swimming into your schedule will not only help your child with the developmental and physical benefits of swimming, it will also give you piece of mind knowing your child will be that much safer when exposed to water.

Is there a specific time that works best for families when they have children in school? From your experience is there a time of the day that works best such as right after school or later in the day?

We know life with kids get busy, which is why being open weekdays and weekends allows families to have the flexibility to take swim lessons the day(s) that best suit individual family needs. Weekday morning lessons are ideal for new Moms with babies or toddlers because the serene and warm environment lends itself sets (remove sets) to bonding with little ones as well as connecting with other Moms.

Some caregivers find it’s a great activity for school age-children to do during the weekday evenings so they can go home and have a nice, restful sleep! Other families are just too busy during the weekdays and prefer to come in for lessons on either Saturday or Sunday. Regardless of your child’s age or swimming ability, our schedule is designed to offer all eight levels many times throughout the week, to ensure we are able to run classes for a four-month-old and a 12-year-old on the same day.

Aside from the swimming benefits aspect, can you tell us a bit about the community benefits? Tell us about the importance of creating a supportive community through your school.

We are all about family and community at Aqua-Tots. We pride ourselves in greeting your family every time you walk in the door. We also love getting involved in different community groups. You’ll always see us at different festivals and events in the Greater Toronto Area, such as Children’s Festivals and the annual Santa Claus Parade.

We also have several special events which we host free of charge for all members to celebrate milestones throughout the year. The Easter Bunny and Santa make an annual guest appearance at our schools…and the smiles on the kids faces are a priceless reward!

Lastly, registering your children in swimming lessons fosters positive, supportive relationships. We love seeing friendships form within our classes. A lot of parents become friends through their children’s lessons which is so fun to see. Stop on by, and be prepared to make some awesome new friends.

Anything else you would like to add to our amazing readers?

If you love your experience at Aqua-Tots you can always benefit from spreading the word! Refer a friend to our weekday morning classes and receive a $25 referral credit when your friends or family members sign up!

 

There you have it! ‘Tis always the swim season! Children can benefit greatly from year-round swim lessons from a safety and development standpoint. Incorporating swim lessons into your routine is an invaluable asset to your child’s mental and physical well-being.

Build, refine and stay sharp all year-round with Aqua-Tots. Make sure to check them out at the Mississauga or Burlington locations to get started.

Until next time…Just keep swimming! 😉

-Momma Braga

 

This article is a paid partnership with Aqua-Tots Swim Schools. Views and opinions expressed here belong to Momma Braga.

 

What Do You Do If Your Baby Just Won’t Sleep?!

Pixabay – CC0 Licence

 

It’s one of the most painful parts of parenting, when your baby won’t sleep. Sometimes the issue is straightforward, such as if they’re teething, in which case, we can prepare ourselves for a rough night on occasion. But what happens when your baby just won’t sleep, and you think you’ve tried everything?

Have they been unwell recently?

It’s easy to say that once they’ve got over a cold that they are fine, but as you well know, it can take a long time to get over something. They may be fine in themselves but by the time bedtime rolls around, they need a little bit of extra comfort, and it’s definitely worth checking their temperature just before bedtime. If that’s the case where you can get some paracetamol for kids to lower their temperature. We can be unwell for quite a while, and when you think about your children being surrounded by other kids with other bugs, feeling under the weather can be par for the course for a while.

Are they going through a change?

Stress isn’t something that’s for parents; when toddlers and babies undergo various milestones, they can regress. Look at your child; has something happened recently that has caused major upheaval in their world? It doesn’t have to be a major thing, but when you think about those big changes, such as going to school, or a new sibling, you have to expect that they will regress in some way because it is their way of coping with the problem. If this is the case, and they need a little bit of extra care and attention, give it to them. Because otherwise, if you don’t feel supported, they will express themselves in ways that aren’t particularly nice, such as an aggressive manner.

Have they ever been to sleep by themselves?

It’s a comfort thing, especially at the very outset, and you want your child to go to sleep, you naturally cuddle them until they do drop off, but if they wake up in the night and you aren’t there, they’ll get upset, and so the cycle begins all over again. If you can find a way to help your child fall asleep by themselves, they will become self-soothing. We have to teach them how to fall asleep by themselves, and it can take a long time to get right. You can begin by sitting a little bit further away from the bed, and gradually, over time, move a  little bit further towards the bedroom door. As well as this, think about other ways to help them drift off, such as certain cues like giving them a bath before bed, reading a story, and building night-time routines that can help them go to sleep self sufficiently.

There are so many reasons why they won’t go to sleep by themselves, and a lot of parents feel that they just need to let their children cry it out, but this, as has been shown numerous times, isn’t a very good approach. As much as we need to give them comfort, if they don’t sleep, it’s definitely worth thinking about if they have been unwell recently, or are anxious for whatever reason.

 

3 Ways to Save on Family Spends

We all know that having children can be expensive! The thing is, these kids, they just keep on growing so they need new clothes, they switch their interests, they move onto different toys and books and they like to get out and about. This is without even factoring in the roof over their heads and food in their tummies. This being the case, we are often looking at ways to reduce costs, so we thought that today we would share 3 ways to save on family spends.

Reduce the entertainment budget

There are so many things that you can do with your children that don’t cost the earth. You might take them out exploring in the great outdoors, taking a picnic with you and embarking on a nature hunt. Or perhaps you will make it even more exciting and get out there at night time, under the stars with a campfire and a little star gazing. Adventures outside are often either free or inexpensive and they will probably form the very best childhood memories.

If the weather isn’t being kind to you, then you could go to the library, build a den with sheets and cushions, have friends over to play, snuggle down with a movie afternoon (complete with popcorn, of course) or get a crafting and junk modelling session on the go.

Image Pixabay

Reduce the clothes budget

Whether you are looking to buy girls swimwear, active wear or casual winter clothes, try to buy out of season.

Plan ahead with your children’s wardrobes and always buy the clothes sizes that they will move into the following year, this year. By doing it this way, you will buy their summer wear at the end of the summer when it is all reduced, ready for next year, and the same with winter.

You can also arrange to pass clothes on between friends, which is the perfect arrangement as you won’t ever feel like any of the clothes are going to waste when your children have grown out of them.

Reduce the gifts budget

Your children are likely to get invited to children’s parties, seemingly all of the time when they first start going to school. Which means that you will find yourself trying to buy cards and gifts practically every other week. In this case, when you see a brilliant toy sale on, grab a few appropriate gifts. Aim to buy things that you feel will make lovely presents, but will have cost you a fraction of the normal price. Set them aside, ready for that party invite to come through.

It can be trickier to do this with your own children’s gifts as they often change their minds over the specific items that they want over the course of a few months, sometimes over the course of a day! The best way to tackle this is to buy them their smaller items as and when you see great deals on, and then save a portion of your budget for that main gift or two that they will have their hearts set on.

 

The Mama Coach: Making Motherhood Easier

Motherhood is no walk in the park and any new mom past or present can agree to that. There is so much to learn and do that sometimes you feel that your village may not even be enough.

Well, we have just discovered an amazing place that offers that support that many new moms may need and that is The Mama Coach in Toronto.

The Mama Coach is a team of Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners who are committed to making motherhood easier. Their programs are based on science, empathy, and support. It is that extra village that every new mom should have by her side.

We got to interview Yvonne who leads the Mama Coach in Toronto to get more info on this prestigious organization.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Yvonne Chan and I am the owner of The Mama Coach in Toronto. I am a prenatal educator, sleep consultant, lactation counselor, HSF certified CPR instructor, a Registered Nurse and a mom of two happy little ones!

I love staying active by playing in various sports, traveling the world with my family, and raising my kids to be kind and happy people.

Tell me a little about the Mama Coach. Why did you start it?

I love teaching, helping others, and have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Becoming a Mama Coach gives me a unique opportunity that allows me to do something I am really passionate about: helping new moms be the best they can be while leveraging my nursing degree and experience as a mom. Additionally, being a business owner allows me the flexibility to optimize my work and family life.

There are so many reasons I wanted to bring The Mama Coach to Toronto. The thing that excites me the most about being a Mama Coach is being part of a group that is the best of the best in the field. I found my values and way of thinking aligned very accurately with the philosophy of the Founder of The Mama Coach, Carrie Bruno. The Mama Coach is a nationwide group of Registered Nurses who work independently with families to provide support through education. Our mission is to make motherhood easier!

Could you provide a quick breakdown of some of the services you offer?

We offer sleep consultation packages, lactation support packages, prenatal classes, and CPR workshops and certification classes. All services are done in the privacy of your home! We come to you!

More than sleep packages include:

  • 1.5 hours of in-home visit by a Registered Nurse with a complete head to toe assessment on baby to make sure there is no underlying medical issue that is affecting sleep or feeds. All visits also include feeding assessment (breast feeding, bottle feeling, or solid foods feeding).
  • Customized sleep plan.
  • Unlimited support from a Registered Nurse for two weeks from the day the sleep plan is implemented. You will have an RN available daily to answer any questions and to provide guidance via email and 4 scheduled phone calls throughout the two weeks.
  • The Mama Coach eBook for sleep.
  • Add on services: Bedtime support (3 hours in person support at bedtime), a half-night support (in person support from bedtime to midnight), full night support (bedtime to 7 am).

Lactation and feeding support packages include:

  • 1 in home visit and 1 week of unlimited email support.
  • The Mama Coach eBook on feeding

Infant and Child CPR and Choking workshops include:

  • 60 to 80 minutes in-home CPR and Choking workshop.
  • The Mama Coach eBook on Infant and Child CPR and safety.

Prenatal classes include:

  • 3 hours in-home session.
  • Email support until birth.
  • The Mama Coach prenatal guide.
  • Add-on: Total Support Package (1 postpartum in-home visit and 1 in-home visit at 5 weeks, 8 phone calls and 8 weeks of email support after birth).

Everyone says that some babies are just bad sleepers. Is that a myth? How can a parent really know that there might be a sleeping problem?

I believe that is a myth because sleep is a learned skill. We can’t just lay our babies down and expect them to know what to do. Parents can “teach” babies how to sleep with our gentle programs and guide them in learning a healthy life skill.

We believe that a baby’s sleep patterns are not a problem unless it’s a problem for you. We have a no judgement zone at The Mama Coach.

We love how your services are tailored to each specific child as we all know each child is different. Are there any general tips you can offer to parents who are struggling to get their child to sleep through the night?

The Mama Coach 5 Sleep Tips eBook has some general tips to parents who are struggling to get their child to sleep.

  • Sleep environment: Melatonin plays a key role in keeping our babies asleep and a dark sleep environment leads to more production of this amazing hormone.
  • Awake times:
    1. Birth to 10 weeks (45 – 60 mins)
    2. 11 weeks to 3.5 months (2 – 2.5 hrs) – 4 to 5 naps
    3. 5 to 5 months (2 – 2.5 hrs) – 4 naps
    4. 5 to 7 months (2.5 – 3 hrs) – 3 naps
    5. 8 to 13 months (3 – 4 hrs) – 2 naps
    6. 14 months to 3 years (4 – 5 hrs) – 1 nap
  • The golden ticket always lies with bedtime. Night sleep and day sleep are governed by different parts of your babies’ brain. Create a consistent bedtime routine.
  • Eliminating sleep props for night wake-ups: infants and children rouse on average four to six times per night, with brief awakenings at the end of each sleep cycle. Teaching babies to fall back to sleep on their own without a sleep prop they will be able to fall right into their next stage of sleep.
  • Milestones and regressions: Developmental milestones can interfere with sleep. We recommend lots of skill practice during non-sleep times.

Send me an email at yvonne@themamamcoach.ca to get your FREE copy of The Mama Coach 5 sleep tips eBook!

Since you have started The Mama Coach what has been your most memorable success story?

I find everyone of my client’s success story to be unique and memorable. The story that stands out the most to me is with a second time mom who contacted me for help with her five-month old baby. This mom has a three-year-old and a five-month old. Mom used one of the many sleep plans that were available on the internet with her first baby and that baby slept and fed beautifully. She tried to implement the same strategies with her second baby to get this baby to feed and sleep but this baby just wasn’t having it. Baby had reflux (feeds would take 40+ minutes plus 20 minutes keeping baby upright). Baby was waking up frequently at night for feeds, and was hard to settle during the day. Mom was feeling anxious and a bit deflated that her strategy for the 1st wasn’t working for the 2nd.

I built a customized plan for this family, gave the baby a head to toe nursing assessment, assessed a feed, showed and educated mom on improving the latch and positioning of the baby during feeds to improve reflux during my in-home visit. Once we improved feeds, we worked on sleep and by the 3rd night of starting the plan, baby was feeding and sleeping well. We made some tweaks along the way but by the end of our two weeks together, this baby was taking three solid naps, dropped the night feeds on her own and everybody got the sleep they so well deserved. By the end of our time together – mom felt confident, rested, and happy!

This success story demonstrates that every baby is different. We look at the whole picture to come up with an individualized plan that works for you and your baby! The start and finish line (goal) are set but the journey will be different for everyone. I know where we are starting, I know where we are going to finish but I don’t know what is going to happen in-between. We don’t use a cookie cutter method. We are nurses and use our assessment skills throughout the process.

What we tell parents is not a secret. Anyone can read books, find plans on the internet, etc. What I give parents is support all the way through and I give Moms in-person feeding support which they won’t be able to get from a book.

I am so thankful for all the opportunities to be part of so many families success story.

Where would you like to see The Mama Coach in the next five years?

I would like to see The Mama Coach be the go-to-choice for making motherhood easier and baby sleep throughout Toronto and the GTA!

If someone is interested in utilizing your services, how can they go about accessing them?

They can book their initial free phone call online.

Additionally, all our services are available virtually on a video HIPAA-compliant Telehealth platform.

Thank you for taking the time to provide us with some great insight on The Mama Coach. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thank you, Momma Braga, for this opportunity to share information about The Mama Coach. Finding sleep for our babies can be so challenging. I believe in finding a solution that works for the entire family. If you are ready to make change for better sleep, let’s set up a time to chat! Please go to this link to book a time that works for you. The sooner we get started, the sooner we can get your sweet baby sleeping and feeding great!

Thinking back to five years ago when I had my daughter, Nikki, I could have truly benefited from these services. Unfortunately, I did not know about them and this is why it is important that I share these amazing resources with my wonderful readers.

When I had the opportunity to interview The Mama Coach, I knew I had to jump on it! A place that offers sleep tips is a superb place to me as a happy baby is definitely a happy mommy!

We hope we will feature more on The Mama Coach and if you have any questions, feel free to comment below or send us an email at mommabraga@gmail.com as we would love to hear from you. You can stay anonymous too! 😊

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga