Tag: Baby

Knowing When Not To “Ovary” Step Your Boundaries

To empower change, you need to be a driver of change.

I started my blog almost three years ago and the driving factor was to inspire others’ through experiences that I share from my own life and from other amazing people. I always felt that we can learn so much from one another and it helps us empathize with the paths that people walk through.

Not one person lives the same life or has the same experiences as another. That is why it is important to create a community of understanding and support.

But it wasn’t until I got into the parenting world that I have seen another side of “human interest.”

We all have been asked a million in one questions about our lives by curious people. But when do the questions become too personal?

Now I am an open book ever since becoming a parent. What you see is what you get in layers (I have to be honest). I tolerate a lot of questions as I want to be respectful and nice but I really don’t think that anyone should endure it. Even if it is perceived as “normal” questions to ask.

Recently, I have been asked if I was expecting as a few people noticed that I was interested in attending a Baby Show (Thanks Facebook for sharing events that I am interested in. This is an issue that I don’t even want to touch on…yet). Now I am not sure how that conclusion came about since I do write a blog on parenting and am the Assignments Editor at The Baby Spot. But that is beside the point. Of course I shared my thoughts online as it can be therapeutic to vent online for all to see. Then it had me really thinking, “Why do people ask and why do they care?”

I read an article awhile back that spoke volumes about wanting or getting pregnant was no one’s business. And it is very true! Now I know many people who don’t see the harm in asking so let me bring in my experience as that is the only way I know how.

Back in 2014, I gave birth to a healthy little baby girl. We were all thrilled as my husband and I were married for already seven years so people were starting to really question if babies were in our future (didn’t know there was a timeline of having children after marriage but to some there is). I thought this could be the end of the baby questions but unfortunately it was not and I wasn’t too surprised. As we have been programmed to ask these “normal” questions.

We were even asked why it took us so long to get pregnant and if there was something wrong with us. Once I had the courage to respond, I replied with tears in my eyes, “There wasn’t a problem. We were just grieving the loss of our baby that we miscarried before we had our healthy baby girl.” This was the first time that we were disclosing this information to people and while many empathized, others continued with questions. So I slowly developed a thick skin to brush the insensitive questions and played it off that the people who were asking “didn’t know any better.”

But I think it is time to bring this to light as this momma and many others have had enough.

Unless a woman has come to you to talk about her pregnancy goals or life, don’t ask!

Reasons Why Not To Ask

We don’t know what one is going through and some women could be going through any one of these reasons as this is why you should not ask:

  • Grieving a miscarriage
  • Difficulty in getting pregnant
  • Financial strain (News flash! Kids are expensive)
  • Suffering from other health issues
  • In an abusive relationship or just a rocky relationship
  • Does not want children (There is nothing wrong with that)

The list could go on and on. The bottom line is that they are not your ovaries to care so much about. Did it ever occur to people that those constant questions could actually cause the person stress? Imagine the health issues that stress brings onto a person!

I am sure that the questions come with no malice attach to them but it doesn’t mean it should be acceptable either. Let’s break the “normal” and start asking less questions about others and start listening more. You would be surprised at how much someone can disclose without being asked.

Now onto the question on many minds…Is Momma Braga pregnant?

The answer is very simple and that is NO. Do I want another? Only time will tell. But if I do and I do become pregnant then I will announce it with great pride. In the meantime, I am enjoying being a mom to one energetic daughter who has taught me that being a mother is the hardest job that I will ever have.

Please let’s respect one another and let’s break old traditions. Be the change by leading by example. Change can only happen if you do something or in this case not ask the questions.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

–          Momma Braga

Eggspiring Easter Hunt For Newborns

Easter egg hunts are fun to do and one that we enjoy doing in our home. With my daughter being three, her understanding of the Easter Egg hunt is impeccable especially if it involves finding chocolate. This makes the preparation for the Easter Egg Hunt easier but with a new addition to the family I had to think of a way to involve her as I would hate for anyone to feel left out (my newborn niece won’t notice but I will). 😉

My sister is the much more creative one and she has always come up with ways to make holidays and occasions fun for my daughter so this time I wanted to do something special for her daughter this Easter season.

I thought long and hard about how I can incorporate a newborn friendly Easter Egg Hunt and after a trip to my local dollar store…I came up with a simple way and it was going to include the parents!

I am calling this activity, “Eggspiring Easter Hunt.” So how does it work? Let me give you my simple instructions for some Easter fun for all.

Eggspiring Easter Hunt

This Easter Egg Hunt will involve the parents to do the hunt on behalf of their newborn but of course they can carry their baby with them as they search. There will be decorated eggs hidden in the areas that you have picked for the hunt. As each egg is found, there will be an inspirational quote attached to each one. These messages can be kept to inspire the baby as they grow. These can be used as good wishes for the baby.

Instructions

  1. Purchase Easter eggs that are either already decorated or that you need to decorate yourself. We purchased our ready decorated Easter eggs from our local dollar store.
  2. Come up with some inspirational quotes to add to each egg. We used some classic Disney inspiring quotes as they mean a lot to our family.
  3. We added the quotes to a bunny shape template. Once the quote is added you can cut out the bunny and if you have an older child, they can color it for the baby. If you would like a printable template, click here.
  4. Attach the bunny with the inspirational quote to each egg. We used a pipe cleaner that we attached to the string already on our eggs.
  5. Then on Easter, hide them when the parents are not looking. 😉
  6. Then start the Easter Hunt magic. Watch as each message is read out loud and see the parents enjoy the inspiring wishes for their newborn.

With these steps above, you will have included one of the youngest members of your family and even though they may not know exactly what is happening. They will appreciate the thought as they grow with the inspiring messages around them. But this too will make the parents of the newborn glow with love. I know this is how my sister will feel.

We can’t wait to try this activity out this Easter and spend some great family time together. That is the one thing that I love the best about the different occasions we celebrate as we get to spend time with those that we love and care for.

If you are celebrating Easter, I would love to hear from you on how you are celebrating in the comments below.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga


 

 

 

My Two Pregnancy Plans

By: Grace Cross
Twitter

When a person finds out that they are pregnant, ideally you get very excited and start to plan life with your little one. You get to plan a nursery, get excited about having a new baby in the family and so much more. But for a parent who has lost a child and gets pregnant again, the joy of being pregnant can also come with a lot of fears. When I lost my baby to an ectopic pregnancy, I knew my thoughts on having another baby would be much more cautious and careful and have their own fears. That is why, unlike other Mothers, I have two pregnancy plans.

Having a miscarriage or an ecoptic pregnancy is not your fault. It is said that in an ectopic pregnancy case that you’re at a higher risk if you drink, do drugs or have lived a lifestyle that can be deemed unhealthy. I never did any of these things, but like millions of women around the world, I had lost my baby at eight weeks and had to have my right fallopian tube removed along with my baby. We were all going to die and there was no other choice. My heart bled as the doctor let me know my baby was dead and I would die if they did not preform this life saving surgery. Coupled with me internally bleeding, they had to act fast. And in a moment, I was no longer a Mom to two.

Most women who have a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy do get pregnant again. These babies are usually called “rainbow babies” or the babies that you have after you have lost a baby previously. If I do get pregnant again, to protect my baby and my heart, I have to have two pregnancy plans.

My pregnancy plan may not look like  other pregnancy plans. A woman may decide that she is going to have a certain exercise regime, she may in some countries decide whether to have a c-section or a vaginal birth. She may have a doula or a midwife. She may decide to give birth in a hospital or at home. My plan is a lot different but many women have similar plans. My first pregnancy plan is if my baby survives. My chances of having a second ectopic pregnancy are increased, so my pregnancy plan is to make it past 6 weeks of pregnancy. As soon as I have a confirmed pregnancy, my doctor immediately refers me to an ”emergency ultra sound”. Once the baby is confirmed to be safe, I can breathe a sigh of relief and continue cautiously throughout my pregnancy. This is plan one.

My second pregnancy plan begins if a doctor says that something is wrong. If I have another ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage or if my baby is in any type of distress. My plan looks a little something like this:

  1. Take all measures to help baby survive/thrive
  2. If the baby has passed away, prepare myself for surgery.
  3. Prepare family for my physical rehabilitation (it takes a month or two to physically become strong again).
  4. Make sure that my partner and child have a good support system around them as they will be hurting as well.
  5. To make sure that I ask for help. From family that I can depend on. I asked a lot of family members for help the first time who were not going to be there like I needed. I know now who I can ask to help me with needs that they can provide. I know I can count on my dear friends. One of them actually owns this blog
  6. To seek help.
  7. To know that I don’t have to get over this, but I can get through this.
  8. To send love to my baby.

I know that many families have been through still birth, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and other forms of loss. It can be early on or very late. I know that I belong to a group of people who never wanted to be in this group, but show so much love and support for one another. I know that there are so many strong women and men and children who show love and support in these dark times.

I would love to be that carefree mom as I was in my first pregnancy, which went without problem, but if I go through another pregnancy, it will be more cautious, it will be more careful. I will worry, though everyone will assure me not to, I love them for loving me but I am human and I will. I hope for that result that I get to the birth stage, go through the pain of labour and I can breathe a sigh of relief that my next little one is safely in my arms. I in that moment, rejoice that I have become a Mother to my rainbow baby.

Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga Is Like Family: Introducing Alannah

Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga is a great school to help teach your children the important skill of swimming. This is why this year (2018) we have partnered up with Aqua-Tots to bring informative pieces about what they offer to the amazing readers of Momma Braga.

This month we decided to get to know them a little better and this is why we interviewed Alannah, the General Manager of Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga.

1. Tel me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Alannah and I am the General Manager at Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga. I was a competitive swimmer for 13 years and became a swim coach and lifeguard for more than 10 years back in Montreal where I am from. Teaching swimming is a huge passion of mine and I love being in and around the water.

2. How long have you been with Aqua-Tots Swim School?

Aqua-Tots Mississauga has been open for over a year, and I was here from the very beginning…before there was water in the pool! I started as the Aquatic Manager for the first year where I ran the Aquatic Program and helped train all of our Water Safety Instructors and Deck Supervisors. As of January 1st, 2018, my role has changed, and I am now the General Manager! I love learning about this side of the business, and meeting all the new and recurring families on the other side of the pool glass.

3. What inspired you to get a position with Aqua-Tots Swim School?

Swimming is a huge passion of mine, and with a degree in Recreation Management, it seemed like the perfect mix of my two passions. Also, after meeting the owner of Aqua-Tots, Lisa Morlock, I fell in love with the whole idea, the curriculum and her vision of what she wanted to share with the community to improve the whole swimming lesson experience.

4. What do you love the best about your job?

There are several people and moments that really make me love what I do. The culmination of all these things truly make it feel like so much more than just a “job.” Sometimes it really feels like home. I love getting to teach children how to swim and see their smiles and pride when they achieve something that they thought they could not do. I love working with such a kind and professional team that makes everyone happy every day. I also really enjoy that I am always learning, whether it be about the business or new and exciting challenges and opportunities that arise to always keep me on my toes. I look forward to every day!

5. What has been your most memorable moment working at Aqua-Tots?

My memorable moments are always the same. No matter the child and no matter how long they have been swimming with us, my favourite part about teaching swimming is when a child gets released in the water and starts kicking and swimming on their own with so much confidence! This moment coincides with the parent’s reaction to this skill and the excitement surrounding their son or daughter being able to swim on their own whether it be two feet to one metre! Those moments will never get old.

6. What do you like best about the programs at Aqua-Tots?

Having taught lessons for other organizations, I can truly say that the curriculum at Aqua-Tots is very well put together and executed. We specialize in teaching young children who are just beginning to adjust to an aquatic environment, right up to age 12. Seeing the curriculum really click with children and watching their advancement in skill and confidence is greatly rewarding. Routine is important in the lives of children and we try our best to add this type of your weekly activities. The consistency of the instructors also helps as they get to know the kids and can really push them to what their abilities can be. I also love that in each level children can be in three different phases; Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. This helps guide the instructors into pushing the children to their mastered skills for each level and keeps everyone progressing.

7. Why is teaching swimming to children important to you?

I grew up swimming and it just became a natural skill that I thought everyone knew. It only hit me when I went to a friend’s birthday pool party and realized that not everyone knew how to swim. I was so young at the time, but I remember it so vividly. I continued swimming competitively and eventually became a lifeguard. Throughout my lifeguarding years I never would have thought I would have to jump in so often for children and adult non-swimmers. Swimming is a life skill and is so important for many different reasons; mental health, physical health, social and personal goals, but it is mainly important to me from a safety perspective. Aqua-Tots Swim Schools is a great tool for children of all ages to get to their best swimming selves.

8. Anything else you would like to add?

Come check us out! Everyone who works here is helpful and smiling. We are always raising the bar to make it a great experience for our families.

Special thank you to Alannah for her time and allowing us to interview her for this special piece. Our daughter Nikki had the opportunity to have Alannah for one of her classes and Nikki really enjoyed learning from her. Therefore, we know how great she truly is and it is no surprise that she is now the General Manager of such an amazing swim school.

Alannah is a perfect example of how amazing and caring the staff are at Aqua-Tots Swim Schools. They truly care about teaching your child such an important skill and they treat everyone who visits their school as their family.

If you would like to learn more about Aqua-Tots Swim Schools feel free to contact them at (905) 848-2782.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

This article is brought to you in partnership with Aqua-Tots Swim School, Mississauga.

 

 

4 Tips on How To Turn Tears Into Cheers In Swimming

One of my fears when my daughter was enrolled in swimming was the tears that may come with her learning. Luckily, we did not have any tears from her but from me instead.

Besides my inability to let go when I should, I have seen many children cry before their swim class and even during it. So I went to the experts at Aqua-Tots Swim School to see if they can offer tips to help parents in this type of situation.

I want to first state that crying when learning how to swim is very common and normal. So don’t feel like there is something wrong. When you have a great school like Aqua-Tots Swim School to help you along the way, in the end you both will feel much better.

There are some common reasons as to why children cry. Here are the four most common ones:

  1. It’s New – Swimming lessons are a new experience. There are new sights, sounds, textures, smells, faces, and interactions in the pool environment.
  2. Age – With time, your child will gain control over their emotions and learn to enjoy the water.
  3. Fear or Anger – Some children are genuinely fearful of the water and it takes time to help them overcome their fear. Other children can become angry and use tears to control the situation.
  4. Separation Anxiety – Your child may experience separation anxiety and feel anxious when away from familiar people and places.

Hearing your child cry is always hard (I know it is for me) and there are ways to help them when it comes to swimming lessons. Here are four tips to help.

  1. Be Positive and Keep Your Eyes on The Goal – As a parent, you can encourage your child with compliments and praise on what they do well in each lesson.
  2. Keep Cool – Being calm helps your child settle down faster.
  3. Practice At Home – Make it fun! Use the tub, shower, and pool to practice swimming skills (i.e. holding breath, water submersions, etc.)
  4. Be Consistent – Skipping or discounting swim lessons inhibits swimming progressions and will extend the time it takes to learn how to swim safely.

The layout at Aqua-Tots is great to help the child gain trust of the instructor as the parents can view the lesson through the viewing gallery which allows them to interact with their child. This way your child is aware that you are near and rooting for them. This space allows the instructor and the child build trust and a bond will form.

This is one of the many reasons why Aqua-Tots is amazing as they are there for you every step of the way. Their instructors care about your child and they are trained to:

  1. Identify the reason your child is crying so they can best alleviate the tears.
  2. Build trusting relationships with your child.
  3. Offer consistent routines and terminology in every lesson.
  4. Help your child build trust in the water.

Water is an adaptive environment and it takes time to adjust. The more frequently your child comes to lessons, the faster the crying will subside. The general rule of thumb is:

  • 3+ lessons per week – crying subsides after 3-4 lessons
  • 2 lessons per week – crying subsides after 5-6 lessons
  • 1 lesson per week – crying subsides after 7-8 lessons

With these tips and with the guidance of the swimming school, you will be at tears to cheers in no time. Just remember that at Aqua-Tots Swim School they never leave your side to ensure that everyone is happy.

If you are interested in swim lessons, give Aqua-Tots Swim School a call at 905-848-2782. Also make sure to follow them on Facebook to see what’s new.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

–          Momma Braga

 

This article is brought to you in partnership with Aqua-Tots Swim School, Mississauga.

Momma Braga’s 7 Bests of 2017

For the last two and a half years, I have had the opportunity to work with companies and brands through my blog which I am truly grateful for. I have met some amazing people who I can call friends and have seen some really neat products.

Therefore, for the very first time I have compiled a list of “Momma Braga’s 7 Bests” and you may find that some of these products can be great gift ideas too!

Each company listed below is fairly different from one another but one thing that they have in common is the love of families in everything that they do. They all have superb customer service and they have all been previously added to the Momma Braga Recommended List. I am just finally writing an official one out. 😉

*Please note that this is list is in no particular order and this is not a sponsored or paid article by anyone listed.

Mimos Pillow Canada

Mimos Pillow offers parents a safe pillow option for baby which also helps prevent and correct flat head syndrome. Now a Class 1 Medical Device in Canada, their mission at Mimos Pillow Canada is to lower the astounding 47% of babies that develop cranial deformities (flat-head syndrome). The Mimos Pillow has undergone clinical trials for effectiveness and is international laboratory tested for breathability (TUV).

The Mimos baby flat head Pillow both prevents and corrects positional skull deformities. This is why we love this product! It is doing an amazing thing for babies all over the world and helping parents sleep with peace at mind knowing their baby has a safe pillow to use.

Remember that you can use promo code: MOMMABRAGA at checkout to get $10 OFF your purchase of a Mimos Pillow. Babies will thank you and their parents too! 🙂

EZPZ

The original all-in-one placement + plate. EZPZ provides a stress free meal time experience with their mats. The mats suctions directly to the table, making it nearly impossible for tiny hands to tip over. It is designed for infants and toddlers (9+ months) with a variety of different colors and styles available. We also can not forget the Care Bears collection that was recently launched (possibly my favorite of them all!). EZPZ also has the play collection where arts and crafts can be super fun with them.

The happy mat promotes self-feeding and it helps children develop their fine motor skills. It also helps children with special needs such as autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and low vision. Their products are tested by feeding specialists and therapists which makes it comforting to know that it works with families in mind.

EZPZ also has launched ONO which is a pet line which is super cute! Hoping to feature this on Momma Braga soon. Now your furry family members will have a bowl that involves less mess!

I have always been a fan of EZPZ since day one and will continue to be one as their products are amazing and they have an amazing company philosophy in helping families.

These products would make great gift ideas and you can purchase them directly online on EZPZ’s website and if you live in Canada, you can purchase them from the Canadian distributor, Hip Mommies.

I See Me!

I See Me! provides the highest quality, most personalized children’s books. Their mission is to increase self esteem in children through personalized books that celebrate the uniqueness of each child. The goal is to show each child how absolutely unique and special he or she is, to teach the child how to spell his or her name, and to build vocabulary skills. However, I See Me! does a lot more than that and I am not sure if they even know it…they give family moments and memories to share together!

Being able to read a personalized story about your child to your child is a wonderful experience. The face your child makes to hear that they are the star of the story is priceless. With each page turn is a memory you are making with your child and it can be enjoyed again and again. There is something special about a book and it becomes magical when every detail in the book in around your child. It becomes a keepsake for a lifetime.

This would make a unique gift for a child that they will treasure forever. We can’t get enough of their beautiful stories and we have become fans of all that they do. I have already started looking to see which books I will be getting for my soon-to-arrive niece.

If you would like to see what they have available and how you can order a copy for a special child or even adult, feel free to check their website.

The Nice Bench Co

The Nice Bench Co. is a kids’ furniture + accessories brand dedicated to supporting non-profit organizations who help lead the fight against pediatric cancer – a cause very close to heart and home.

The founder of the Nice Bench Co is Kidpreneur, Owen who is only nine years old. He definitely has impressed Momma Braga with his amazing skills and heart. We recently ordered a growth chart from him and it was superb. There should be no surprise that they made it onto the list as their story inspires hope, strength, and love.

This would make an excellent gift idea and not only would you be supporting a kidpreneur follow his dream but you would also be helping families in need.

We just love all that they do and I am sure this is only the start to Owen’s successful business venture. To purchase a great product from The Nice Bench Co, make sure to visit their website.

A Little Leafy

A Little Leafy is a small local shop who is doing big things in the world and that is smiles. With a creative passion, business owner, Stef, turns her art into “punny” designs. These designs can be on mugs, pillows, shirts, cards, etc. You can’t help but smile when you see what she has created.

What stands out with A Little Leafy is something that you can’t really buy and that is passion. When you meet Stef or when you deal with her company, you can’t help but notice the heart she puts behind everything she creates. She honestly LOVES (I think more than I do of my blog – didn’t think that was possible) what she does and it is reflected in her creations and in her interactions with her customers. That in itself is what makes A Little Leafy part of Momma Braga’s Bests and it should be on everyone’s wish list.

To see what “punnies” are available to purchase, please visit the Etsy shop online and you won’t be disappointed.

Ever After Entertainment

Ever After Entertainment is the premier choice for character entertainment in the Greater Toronto Area. Their characters bring the same magic and authenticity to your front door that you would find in theme parks around the world. They believe in making dreams come true by inspiring the imagination of children, both young and young at heart.

They truly are amazing as we have used them this year for my daughter’s third birthday. The service was superb from start to finish. Ever After Entertainment offered so much more than a character to celebrate a special occasion. They offered an opportunity for the adults to feel like a kid again and to the children, that dreams can come true if you believe.

If you are looking for entertainment for your child’s party or even for special event like a bridal shower, look no further as Ever After Entertainment is the top choice. They offer different types of parties that you will need to check out such as the Princess PartyFairytale Party, Superhero Party, and Star Warrior Party. There are so many options and no matter which one you pick, it will not disappoint! Make sure to book in advance and you can check out their pricing here. It truly is a magical experience!

Aqua-Tots Swim Schools

The school was originally founded in Arizona in 1991 and has grown considerably over the years to have a strong North American and international presence thanks to its carefully crafted swimming program for children. Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga is the first Aqua-Tots location in Canada and has had its doors open to the Toronto West and Mississauga communities since January 2017.

With a focus on safety, a heated pool, a facility designed for families, and on-going progress reports across eight swim levels, Aqua-Tots Swim Schools introduces babies and children of all ages to safe swimming and water practices. Open six days a week, with flexible morning and afternoon lesson times, the swim schools offers a range of classes.

Here is why we love them:

  • Great programs that are tailored to toddlers and children to help them gain the skills needed to swim.
  • Flexible schedules available for families which is so great for working families.
  • Clean and safe environment. They are extremely clean and have safety in mind. As a parent, it is important to learn about your swim schools safety procedure.
  • Caring instructors and staff members who make you feel like part of the family.
  • It’s fun! Your child learns and has fun at the same time.

You can give the gift of swimming lessons to a child this holiday season and Aqua-Tots Swim Schools would be the perfect place to get them. To learn more about how to purchase a certificate, feel free to contact the Mississauga location at 905-848-2782.

There you have it! Momma Braga’s seven bests of 2017 and they all hold a very special place in our hearts. It was a hard list to compile but they all reach the Momma Braga standard with superb service and family at heart.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to extend a big thank you to all the companies that have worked with Momma Braga this year as it was a true honor to work with all of you and promote your brands to my amazing readers from all over the world. I am hoping that next year, I can bring a lot more to everyone and hoping to compile a even bigger list of bests! 😉

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga


 

Aqua-Tots Morning Weekday Classes Make It Extraordinary

Recently I shared an article about our experience with swim lessons and Aqua-Tots Swim Schools. After a great interest from many of my loyal readers, we have decided to bring more information on this great swimming school and more information on swimming in general.

Today’s piece is an introduction to their weekday morning classes which run Mondays through Thursdays every week from 9am to 12:30 pm (with the exception of Fridays). These weekday morning swim lessons are great for maternity leave moms and dads, and other caregivers who take care of babies through the mornings as well as busy preschoolers.

Here are some highlights of the morning swim lessons available at Aqua-Tots which make mornings extraordinary.

Level 1 and Level 2

  • Stage appropriate swim lessons starting at 4 months of age.
  • Baby swim lessons are divided into 2 parent and tot classes: Level 1 Tadpoles (4 months to 12 months) and Level 2 Minnows (13 months to 30 months).
  • Level 1 focuses on water adjustment and level 2 on creating boundaries in and around water for tots – both classes have an emphasis on water safety skills and build comfort in the water for babies but also help in instilling confidence in the caregivers and their ability to practice proper holds and other techniques that build a sense of security.
  • These classes are a great opportunity to bond with your baby.
  • It’s also a wonderful chance to meet and chat with other caregivers: there is complimentary coffee and a play area which can turn a swim lesson into a full morning experience.
  • We also have change tables and encourage moms to come with strollers and car seats and “park” their items where ever is most convenient for them inside the facility.
  • We understand that nap times and schedules change frequently in those early years, that’s why switching to a different morning class time is easy, and hassle free.

Level 3

  • In addition to the Level 1 and Level 2 classes that mainly take place throughout the weekday mornings, we also offer Level 3 – Leapfrogs classes on weekday mornings (2.5 and up) – This beginner class provides the foundation that helps children achieve comfort with basic swim skills.
  • It’s ideal for moms, dads and caregivers taking care of preschoolers looking for a weekday morning activities that promotes mental and physical stimulation.
  • This Level is the first time where young children go in the water independently with no caregiver, and have a chance to establish a trusting bond with a water safety instructor while a caregiver watches from the viewing gallery. This way you avoid the heat of the pool area but still get to watch your child’s progress during swim lessons.
  • For families with multiples, our flexibility weekday morning schedule allows for second -time parents to go in the water with their babies into a Level 1 or Level 2 class while their eldest preschooler goes in the water for a Level 3 class simultaneously. It’s a great way for the whole family to stay active and learn new skills.
  • We also have everything a parent or guardian of a young child would need for a morning swim lesson – swim diapers, cloth diapers, swim suits, goggles, and swim caps and a variety of snacks on sale for after swim class.

“We believe it’s more than just a swim lesson, it’s a morning experience.”

If you are interested in these swim lessons, give Aqua-Tots Swim Schools a call at 905-848-2782. Also make sure to follow them on Facebook to see what’s new.

Stay tuned for the next piece which is on turning tears into cheers!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

–          Momma Braga

A Mother’s Perspective: Plagiocephaly (Flat Head Syndrome)

A little while ago we introduced you to Mimos Pillow Canada and how it helps prevent and correct Plagiocephaly (Flat Head Syndrome). I need to first thank everyone for your amazing support on that piece as it was read by thousands – thank you!

I feel it is so important to bring awareness and information to light on a few parenting topics that sometimes gets missed under the radar. This is why I was honored to have the opportunity to interview a mom and the Canadian distributor of Mimos Pillows, Jessica.

In this interview we discuss her personal experience with her son who had Plagiocephaly and some helpful advice to other parents. We also take a deep look into her business, Mimos Pillows Canada.

Tell me a little bit about your family.

“My husband and I have two adorable sons. Ethan is now 4 ½ years old and just started Junior Kindergarten and loves it and Oliver is 15 months old and chases Ethan around wherever he goes. We also have a golden doodle named Jackson.

What signs or symptoms did you see in your son that alerted you to something not being right?

“When my first son Ethan was eight weeks old, my sister and her family had come to visit and meet him. We brought them up to our cottage for a few days and I remember the exact moment I looks at Ethan’s head, looked at my sister and said, “do you notice that one side of his head is flat?” It made me instantly panic as I remember when he was born my midwives said to me, “wow, he has a perfectly round head.” When I noticed his flat spot I had never heard of this happening to babies before so I was paranoid and instantly hit up google finding that it was actually quite common and that I needed to do something about it sooner than later.”

What were the steps that you and your family do to help your son’s Plagiocephaly (flat head)?

“The first thing I did was make an appointment with our paediatrician and she recommended that I find a Health Professional (either a physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath) that specialized in paediatric cranial sacral therapy and treating torticollis and would provide me with some stretches to do with him. I made an appointment and started taking Ethan in 3 times per week. Torticollis is when a baby has tight neck muscles on one side, making the baby always position their head the same way. This can be caused by them being used to that same position in the womb.

After noticing Ethan’s plagiocephaly I continued looking on the internet to see if there was anything else I could do beside the cranial sacral therapy and physiotherapy to help his chances of rounding his head out and avoiding helmet therapy. I came across Mommy forums in the UK discussing this “miracle pillow” called Mimos. I was lucky to find someone in Oakville selling one second hand that she had ordered from Europe so I bought it right away and began to use it WHENEVER my son was on his back such as the crib, swing, stroller, play mat, etc.

It totally worked!

After having my second son Oliver, his little head was also perfectly round and I was determined to not go through the stress of having to correct plagiocephaly again. Instead began using the Mimos Pillow from day 1 and was so amazed when his round little head stayed round. What a relief!

When Oliver was about eight months old and still had a round head. On a whim, I emailed the head office of Mimos in Barcelona, asking if they had a Canadian Distributor and they replied that they didn’t. So after explaining my experience with Mimos and my background, I was told by the company that in the 25 countries that they sell from around the world were distributors who were parents who also fell in love with the product. From there the contract was signed and I become the Canadian National distributor.”

If you could tell a younger self some parenting advice, what would it be?

“Parenting requires an immense amount of patience, and just when you think you have gotten yourself out of one difficult phase, another begins. Yoga and deep breathing has personally helped me with this. Also my mom’s favourite saying about parenting runs frequently through my head, “this too shall pass.”

I would also say that parenting is also the most amazing thing and watching a child discover themselves, the world and love is truly magical. There is also nothing else quite like two sons laughing with each other. ☺”

What would you like other parents to know about flat head syndrome and about Mimos pillows?

“A lot of parents don’t know that Mimos can be used preventatively which is key. Starting from day one in the newborn phase is the best way to avoid flat head syndrome altogether and avoid the associated stress. Mimos should be on every expecting mom’s baby registry.

Infants’ skulls are softest the younger they are so using Mimos especially between 0 to 4 months is so important. As the fontanels (soft spots) in the head close, the skull is less malleable.

Some babies are born with cranial asymmetries due to birth trauma or their position in the womb so finding a health professional that specializes in this immediately combined with Mimos is the best course of treatment for that.

When using Mimos for corrective purposes, we always recommend pairing the use of Mimos with treatment from a health professional. Mimos is part of the treatment plan and obviously cannot cure any underlying issue such as torticollis.

I have talked to so many moms who did not know of flat head syndrome and who did not know of Mimos and went through the stress as I did. I hope to share my personal story with expecting moms all over Canada to avoid them the stress of having a child with plagiocephaly.”

Anything else you would like to add for our readers.

“Mimos is now a Class 1 Medical Device in Canada and is the ONLY infant pillow on the market that is medical grade. Mimos has been studied in clinical trials to prove its effectiveness. Mimos has been rigorously tested in international laboratories for breathability, anti-suffocation and the risk of CO2 rebreathing.

Mimos is made in Spain and was invented by a man and his wife after undergoing helmet therapy with their son which was a horrible experience. Helmet therapy is when a baby has to wear a helmet for 23 hours a day for around three months.

My goal is to spread awareness about baby flat head syndrome and lower the statistics of babies who have it. A Canadian study in 2013 concluded that 46.6% of babies now develop this. This is mainly due to infants always being on their back to sleep (as recommended for SIDS prevention) and spending a lot of time on their backs in infant swings, playmats, etc. Premature babies who spend time in NICU’s also really benefit from using Mimos as they are constantly lying on their backs.

People often ask me about sizes, will their babies need more that 1 size, etc. Usually if your little one starts from day 1, size small may be the only size they need. Size medium is for older babies (4-5 months old) with a larger head circumference that are using Mimos correctively.

I had many parents come up to our booth at the Toronto Baby Show and say, “Oh! I got one of these at Toys’R’Us.” Mimos pillows are only available online (and safety superstore in Oakville)  and they are not available anywhere else thus far.

Awareness is key so thank you for writing this to help spread awareness.”

A heartfelt thank you to Jessica from Mimos Pillows for opening up and for allowing us into her family story. We hope the information provided here will bring more awareness and prevent babies from getting Plagiocephaly.

Please remember that the Mimos Pillows are only available online and the ones at other retailers are not the same. This is why for Momma Braga readers, there is a special promotion available to you. Enter code MommaBraga under ‘discount’ for $10 OFF on your purchase (click here). You definitely don’t want to miss out on this chance to buy a Mimos Pillow for your little one.

In the meantime, check out Mimos Pillow Canada on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

A Little Leafy Is “Punny” And Amazing!

Laughter is said to be the best type of medicine and who doesn’t like a good laugh?! I know that I love laughing and definitely like to make the people around me laugh.

This is why when I met Stef from A Little Leafy at the Baby Show in Toronto this year, I fell in love with her business! So what happens when Momma Braga likes a company, we write about it of course!

We had the sincere pleasure to interview the creator and business owner, Stef who gives us the inside scoop on everything, A Little Leafy.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

“My name is Stef and growing up I was the kid who spent her days drawing and wanting to make everyone laugh. That creative passion is what drove me to be accepted into an arts program which lead to graduating as a Graphic Designer. My motto is “a little can do a lot,” not only because I am quite little in size, but also because I believe a little chuckle can go a long way in brightening someone’s day – and that is why I do what I do!”

Tell me a little bit about, A Little Leafy and the products you sell.

“A Little Leafy is where you can find “punnies” that have come to life. The majority of my illustrations include a pun or cheesy joke, accompanied by a smirking comical character! My illustrations are available on a wide range of ever expanding products! Some fan favourites are Mugs, Cards, Prints and my all new Stickers!”

What inspired you to create your business?

“Two years ago, right before I opened my shop, I was severely injured, I slipped a disc in my back and had to leave my job. I was instructed to stay laying down in my room as my back recovered, and this led to my illustrating some punny comics to cheer myself up and release my creativity. I’ve combined my love for a good laugh with my art and so began A Little Leafy!”

What do you hope your customers get from purchasing your products?

“My biggest goal is to spread smiles, and I love that I am able to make someone laugh through one of my punny creations. It really is the littlest things sometimes that can make a bad day into a good one (nudging back to my shop motto), and whether I get a smile, chuckle or slapping your knees laughter – I’m honoured to be part of that reason!”

Where would you like to see your business in five years?

“I hope that my punnies will spread laughter from home to home, and grow to reach new people! I absolutely love being a small business owner and being able to use my art to make others smile, so if I can continue to do so and extend the amount of people my company can reach – I would be ecstatic! I love doing this, and my shop is not just what I do, it is me!”

If someone is interested in purchasing products from you, where should they go? Do you do custom orders?

“I currently have an online shop linked on my website where you can purchase my products! For my local friends I also have a shop nook inside Arts Market on 846 College Street in Toronto – and in addition to that I am always popping up at a local market and love meeting my customers! Custom orders are always welcome, I love personalizing my designs to fit my customer’s needs!”

You are a young and inspiring woman, what advice can you give to a young person who may want to pursue their own business?

“My advice would be to go for it, no matter what. I have had to deal with many people, and I still do to this day, that will want to give you their opinion. In most cases unfortunately it’s negative, because the truth is most people don’t like taking risks. If you never try, you’ll never know and worse than that – you’ll regret never trying. Just keep powering through, keep being positive and keep doing you, because those same people will come to you at the end and instead of saying you can’t, they’ll be asking how!”

What would you say has been the biggest help in you pursuing your dreams?

“The biggest help for me is definitely my family. They not only encourage me, my family also stays up late keeping my inventory organized. I bounce my ideas off of them and not only do they help me physically putting up and taking down show set-ups – but they are also by my side helping me sell! A Little Leafy would not be where it is today without my little sister, Tori. She helps me literally almost every single day, with anything I need. She’s been my biggest supporter from the beginning and I’m truly grateful to have been blessed with an amazing sister. In all fairness I DID ask Santa for her when I was 3…”

Lastly, is there anything you would like to add for our readers?

“I would love to say thank you! Thank you so much for taking the time to learn more about me, thank you for smiling at my punnies and thank you for supporting my dream! It truly means the world to me!”

Thank you Stef for giving us the opportunity to interview you and your amazing business!

It is hard not to giggle or smile when you see a creation by A Little Leafy! I loved it so much that I had purchased a mug and a bib from them with some really punny creations on it. I have also included them in my gift giving this year.

What stands out with A Little Leafy is something that you can’t really buy and that is passion. When you meet Stef or when you deal with her company, you can’t help but notice the heart she puts behind everything she creates. She honestly LOVES (I think more than I do of my blog – didn’t think that was possible) what she does and it is reflected in her creations and in her interactions with her customers. That in itself is what makes A Little Leafy part of Momma Braga’s Recommended List.

If you are looking to see the products available you can check out her Etsy shop, or her location at 846 College Street in Toronto. But A Little Leafy also shows up at local events and some that she will be at this November are the following:

Saturday November 4 from 9am to 1:30 pm at The Vaughan Market Place, 1 Villa Royale Ave., Woodbridge, ON.

November 17, 18 and 10 at the Seasons Christmas Show at the International Convention Centre.

Make sure to pass by and say that you read about her on Momma Braga! 😉 Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Can’t wait to get my products for my loved ones for Christmas!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga


Mimos Pillows Changing The Baby World

Many parents have not heard of Plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) which is a surprise but one that I would like to bring to light.

According to The Baby Centre, Plagiocephaly is a condition that causes a baby’s head to have a flat spot (flat head syndrome) or be misshapen. The most common form is positional plagiocephaly. It occurs when a baby’s head develops a flat spot due to pressure on that area. Babies are vulnerable as their skulls are soft and pliable when they’re born.

Positional plagiocephaly typically develops after birth when babies spend time in a position that puts pressure on one part of the skull. As babies spend so much time lying on their back, for example, they may develop a flat spot where their head presses against the mattress.

What many parents also don’t know is that there is a way to prevent Plagiocephaly which comes in a form of a pillow. I am delighted to introduce you to Mimos Pillows Canada.

About the Mimos Pillow

In 2007 Electronic Engineer David Verde and his wife, Molecular Biologist Yin Chen Law of Spain, noticed their three month old baby had an abnormal head shape. When their son was 5 months old their baby’s flat head worsened. They eventually went through the agonizing and very expensive process of getting their son an orthopedic helmet. The initial casting of the helmet was very upsetting for their son and after two months of treatment their son had dermatitis, redness and broken skin. There had to be a better way. It was at that moment that the idea for the Mimos Pillow was born!

Now a Class 1 Medical Device in Canada, their mission at Mimos Pillow Canada is to lower the astounding 47% of babies that develop cranial deformities (flat-head syndrome). The Mimos Pillow is the only medical baby pillow recommended by health professionals around the world and thoroughly tested for safety by international laboratories (breathability, anti-suffocation and the risk of CO2 rebreathing).

What Does Mimos Pillows Do?

The Mimos Pillow both prevents and corrects positional skull deformities. It is recommended for all babies from the newborn stage onwards to help avoid flat spots altogether by pediatricians and neurosurgeons and is available in 25 countries around the world.

Here is a great video on how Mimos Pillows work.

#MelandNikkiReview on Mimos Pillows

We had an opportunity to review this product in person and we are thrilled that we did! The pillow is perfect for a baby’s developing head and the material is breathable, comfortable and soft. It is easy to care for as it can be cleaned and it dries quickly. It is a compact size which can make it easy to transport with. The Mimos Pillow allows the head to grow normally and round out to its natural shape. The best part of this pillow is that it prevents and also corrects flat head. In my books that is amazing just in itself. We give Mimos Pillow 5+++ ZZZZZ’s out of 5 and they have just been added to our recommended list.

This would make a great gift to an expecting parent or if you are expecting we do recommend this product. For Momma Braga readers, there is a special promotion available to you. Enter code MommaBraga under ‘discount’ for $10 OFF on your purchase (click here). You definitely don’t want to miss out on this chance to buy a Mimos Pillow for your little one.

This isn’t the last that you hear about Mimos Pillow Canada as we got an exclusive interview with the people behind the Canadian business of it. You won’t want to miss this article coming soon!

In the meantime, check out Mimos Pillow Canada on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga