Thursday, May 31, 2007

Everything I Needed to Know About Raising Babies I Learned From My Mom-Friends

The tittle is one from a great article written by award-winning journalist and author Ann Douglas. If you are new to the parenting world you may not have come across her yet, but believe me, you will. She has written the best selling 'The Mother of All' books, with her newest book being 'Meal Time Solutions for your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler'.

This article caught my attention because I recently met up with a new friend who is expecting her first baby in a month. At our meeting we started talking about things that you are not really told but should be. As Ann Douglas says...

You can wear out your mouse-pad surfing all the top ranked baby websites, fill your shopping cart to overflowing with the must-read baby magazines, manuals, and momoirs, but, in the end, it’s your mom-friends who tell you what you really need to know. Here are six all-important lessons about motherhood that I learned from other moms.

1. Only supermodels shed their baby weight by the six-week checkup. (Okay supermodel mommies and their biological equivalents. You’ll meet the odd non-supermodel who manages to get skinny fast, but she’s the exception rather than the rule. The rest of us take months (or longer) to lose our baby bellies.) So don’t measure yourself against the super-crazy supermodel mommy weight loss standards unless you want to start speed-dialing the therapists of the rich and famous.

2. Your partner is not “the enemy”. It just feels that way at 3 am. It’s easy to start staring daggers at your sleeping partner, particularly if you’re convinced he’s ignoring your baby’s middle-of-the-night cries, just so he can snatch a few more minutes of uninterrupted sleep. Before you pack your bags and hop the next train to Splitsville, take it from other moms who’ve been there: He’s not a selfish swine: he’s just a sound sleeper. Scientists have discovered that dads simply don’t hear babies’ cries as well as moms do in the night. Of course, you can help him to hear better by giving him a gentle poke or prod if you need some middle-of-the-night support. There’s no scientific research to show that Dads can’t be roused to provide hands-on help to moms.)

3. Germs have been getting a bad rap. Studies have shown that taking things to extremes on the housecleaning front can increase children’s likelihood of developing allergies. In other words, a few germs can be a good things as far as kids are concerned. So relax a little and consider giving your inner Martha Stewart the day off every now and again.

4. Every mom needs time off for good behavior. Whether you take your time off across town, around the corner, or in your bathtub with the door locked is up to you. (Not every new mom wants to venture too far away from her baby, after all.) But taking some sort of break from baby will give you the chance to recharge your maternal batteries and get reacquainted with your pre-baby self. (Remember her?)

5. Time doesn’t move at a predictable speed once you’ve become a mother. Some days—the not-so-great days—tick by painfully slowly. Then entire months flip by in roughly the same amount of time in takes to flip a page on your calendar. S-l-o-w d-o-w-n, speedup, s-l-o-w d-o-w-n, speedup: it reminds you of the way your Slinky used to flip-flop down the stairs when you were a child, gathering up speed and taking on a life of its own.

Ann Douglas is the author of numerous books about pregnancy and parenting, including—most recently—Sleep Solutions for Your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler and Mealtime Solutions for Your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler. Visit her on the web at

All five things that Ann Douglas mentions I learned through the mom group which I joined when my daughter was a few months old. The group was one of my support structures, we would share our troubles, our struggles but most importantly our accomplishments and joys. To this day we are still there for each other to offer support and advice and to share in our children's milestones.

If you are interested in joining a mom group, take a look at the many already created at Baby If you don't find one that fits your needs, create one, because you never know who else is also looking to join a group with the same preferences.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Fitness Does a Body Good

When I was pregnant with my daughter Isabel, the only real regular exercise that I did was walking. I believe that I probably walked more during those nine months than I did my entire life.

Research and experts encourage pregnant women to exercise in order to help them have a better labour and to recover faster and with less complications after delivery. Certainly besides walking there are many other activities that are safe for pregnant woment to do such as aqua fitness, yoga, and even pilates. The key is to make sure you go to a fitness club that has certified pre-natal instructors and more importantly that you speak with your healthcare provider before signing up to make sure that the activity that you are interested in is safe for you.

If your doctor gives you the green light, then there are a number of places where you can sign up for a class. Places like Fitmom have locations all over Southern Ontario, as well as Halifax and Calgary. They have three great classes for expecting women; their Fitmom 2 Be, Yoga 4 birth and a Yoga + couples intimacy class. Another great centre that offers many programs besides fitness classes is the Ella Centre, not only do they offer yoga and fitness classes, but also massage therapy, childbirth education and support services like doulas and lactation support.

Without a doubt whatever form of exercise that you do, be it just walking like I did, yoga or aqua fitness you will be doing yourself and the baby a great deal of good. I believe that the key is to find something that you enjoy doing it, because if you don't you will not keep going. Another great thing about joining a class is that you get to meet other pregnant women with whom you can connect with, share information and support.

For a list of other places to sign up for pre-natal exercise classes take a look at the Baby Thoughts' resources section under Fitness and Nutrition.

Monday, May 7, 2007

What's in a Gift

I have had a number of friends ask me lately what toy I would recommend to give as a gift to a newborn. Now, though receiving blankets, bottles, clothing and other newborn gifts are very useful, a beautiful toy that can stimulate baby and help her develop but it can also go a long way. Personally I find that any of the Whoozit Baby toys make great gifts, though they are not the newest toy on the block they are timeless and baby-approved.

Whether you give the classic Whoozit, the Baby Whoozit, or the the Starz Lights and Sounds Whoozit there is no doubt that the child will play with it for a very long time. My daughter Isabel received a Whoozit as a gift and has played with it since she was just a few weeks old. It is very interesting how she is always discovering new ways to play with it.

Other toys that are beautifully crafted and make great gifts, are the grasping toys made by both Haba and Melissa and Doug. Both these brands make such quality toys that they will be enjoyed by future generations. The Clutching Toy Bonita by Haba is a stunning toy, it has four flowers and each flower has something interesting and special, from a mirror, to a bell, to a shiny jewel.

All the grasping toys by Melissa and Doug are fun and vibrant, be it the Monkey Face, Froggie Face, Wiggling Worm or the Friendly Fish. The primary colours found in each of these toys will certainly attract any little one's interest.

Another great tip that I give my friends is that newborns will not be newborns for long, for this reason it is also a good idea to look at the toys that are for older babies, such as the stacking toys, or the pull and push toys. Parents will really appreciate this because they now have something to take out when their little one is 6 months or older.

Whatever toy you choose, there is no doubt that the child will love it.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Playing, Singing, Toys and More

I want to share with you one of the great places that I was introduced to after I had my daughter. In the province of Ontario there is a government service called the Ontario Early Years Centres. Each centre offers parents and their children up to age 6 a place were they can take part in some fun activities, obtain information on child development, and meet other parents and children from the neighborhood.

All centres offer different programs but they are all developmental and a great deal of fun. Some programs include, Get Fit with Baby, Sensory Exploration, Mother Goose and the Connecting with Families Drop-in. They even have a toy library were you can take out a toy and bring it back when your little one no longer wants to play with it.

All programs are free but many of them require registration, if you are interested in taking part in one it is best to register as soon as possible.

Links to the Ontario Early Years Centres and other places where parents can look for programs to take part in with their children can be found in the Resources section of