40 for 40!

40 Things to do in Ottawa When You’re 40 Weeks Pregnant

You are so done.

You want your baby to be healthy and come in his or her own time but this has been the longest 40 weeks of your life, and you're ready to meet your baby!

So, you could keep testing old wives tales and hoping labour begins, or you could try a few of our forty favourite activities that Ottawa parents can do when they've reached their due date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.     Take a nap! For some, it seems counter intuitive to get more rest when they could be walking and lunging and stimulating labour, but we often find rest is just as useful for getting labour going if your body is ready.

2.     Play board games at the Loft Lounge

3.     Get a prenatal massage.

4.     Test your problem-solving skills at Escape Manor. You are locked in a room and have to solve a series of clues to escape!

5.     Tentatively schedule your newborn photography session.

6.     July through September visit Northern Lights, the Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill . A nightly event, the show documents prominent figures and events throughout Candian history.

7.     Write a letter to your baby.

8.     Buy a baby book so you can document all your baby’s milestones.

9.     Have a sunset picnic at Westboro Beach.  

10. Install your baby’s car seat.

11. Finish up the nursery with a trip to Snuggle Bugz.      

12. Stock up on nutricious snacks to fuel your postpartum recovery.       

13. Fondue Monday’s at Absinthe.

14. Prepare to breastfeed with a private consultation from an Ottawa IBCLC.

15. Beat those hot flashes with gelato at Montovani.          

16. Prepare slow cooker freezer meals for easy to make dinners after you baby comes.

17. Visit the National Gallery of Canada.

18. Go to a movie.

19. Visit your chiropractor to ensure everything is lined up for your baby’s birth.

20. See an acupuncturist. They know a few things about getting labour started.

21. On Wednesdays, head over to Yoga on Parliament Hill. Modify any poses for comfort.

22. Picnic at Andrew Hayden Park and visit the lighthouse for fabulous views.

23. Indulge in a pedicure.

24. Buy yourself flowers at Lansdowne Farmer’s Market.    

25. Spend an afternoon at ByWard Market.

26. Indulge in a sweet treat and amp up your Instagram game at The Cupcake Lounge, or SuzyQ Doughtnuts.  

27. Go window shopping in Westboro Village.

28. Paint some pottery at Mud Oven.

29. Buy a baby carrier.

30. Go for a Capital Country Drive.

31. Feed the animals at Omega Park.

32. Make labor-aide!

33. Play with Pinterest! Create some new boards for your parenting adventures with pins for making baby food, nursery rhymes, baby activities, etc.

34. Visit UC Baby Ottawa for 3D/4D ultrasound. Late pregnancy ultrasounds can be a little tricky when it comes to visibility but it’s a great way to feel connected before your baby’s birth. The heartbeat bears make a great gift for grandparents-to-be!

35. Sign up for a baby registry and make it easy for your baby shower attendees to pick the perfect gift. If you’ve already prepared your baby gift registry, go over it and make sure your needs haven’t changed.

36. Hire a birth doula! It’s never too late, unless your baby has already been born. In that case you should…

37. Hire a postpartum doula.

38. Shop for nursing tops and dresses.

39. Write a postpartum plan! We’d love to help!

40. Get some serious rest and relaxation. Whethers its just a quiet noght in, a long soak in the tub, or an afternoon of Netflix, your body has been working very hard for the past nine months. Put your feet up!

The Best Baby Sleep Gadgets

 

The baby product business is booming! Tired parents are desperate for sleep and always on the lookout for the latest and greatest that will help their family get that elusive 6-8 hours of rest at night. Let's get real, how many of us wouldn't be happy just to have a few solid hours of sleep each night? 

There are an endless array of products that guarantee your baby will sleep better. You may have tried or heard about many of these items. Sleep gadgets can even be expanded to include baby carriers, cribs, playpens, and bassinets. A quick trip through Babies R Us may leave your head swimming with all of the things available to you that just might get your baby to sleep.

Swaddles

In the last few years, a myriad of adorable swaddling blanket sets and special devices have flooded the baby product market. From the cute prints of classic swaddles from aiden + anaise to the easy to use HALO Sleep Sack Swaddler, there's something for everyone. Not sure how to swaddle safely? Our Postpartum Doulas can teach you! We promise it’s not near as complicated as it looks!

Sleep Apps

Like they say “There’s an app for that!” What isn’t there an app for these days?

From soothing sounds apps to apps for tracking and charting your baby's sleep a quick search for "sleep" in the App Store should pull up some excellent options. We love the 10 Best Apps for Better Bedtimes by Parents.com. Many of these sleep apps can be used to help children of all ages improve their sleep, and even adults.

Soothing Devices

This category includes pacifiers, lovies or security objects, and even aromatherapy. Every baby is different and what soothes one may not work for another child.

Pacifiers have been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS but should be used with caution if you are breastfeeding until your feeding relationship is well established.

Many children are soothed by a special to them object or lovey. Most children will choose this item for themselves.

The use of aromatic oils and herbs goes back thousands of years but has become increasingly popular. There are some studies to back claims that essential oils can have an effect on relation and stress hormones. We always recommend you consult a certified aromatherapist before using essential oils with your baby and never use undiluted essential oils on your skin or your child's.

White noise machines, sleep sound apps, and night lights are also in the Soothing Devices category. The Skip Hop Moonlight and Melodies Nightlight Soother is a client favourite that has both lights and sounds to soothe your little one.  

Remember that you are your baby’s favourite soothing device!

The Ultimate Sleep Tool

Have you booked your Postpartum Doula? Whether you choose to co-sleep with your baby, bedshare, or have your baby sleep in a sleep space of their own, a postpartum doula can be there to help you maximise the amount of sleep you're getting.

For parents that are bedsharing, a Postpartum Doula can help with changes, keep you company, or work with older children to ensure they're getting a good nights rest. Often breastfeeding parents choose to have the Postpartum Doula bring the baby in for feeds and then handle diaper changes and soothing so that you can go right back to sleep.

If your baby is sleeping in their own space, you can choose to have the doula care for your baby throughout the night. A Postpartum Doula can handle all of baby;s needs while you enjoy time with your partner and get a full night of sleep. This is especially valuable for parents who are returning to work or feeling overwhelmed by sleep deprivation or a lack of intimacy in their partnership.

During the day, Postpartum Doulas are happy to look after your home, meal prep and children while you catch a nap, with or without your baby.

The beauty of Postpartum Doula care is that is can be customised to match your needs, day by day, night by night. Postpartum Doula care is the ultimate sleep tool!

What is your favourite tool for getting a good nights sleep with a baby in the house?

 

 

Do I Need To Break Up With My Latte?

You love your coffee! A latte a day keeps the… Oh, who are you kidding! One?

Coffee is delicious. It’s also addictive, and we tend to have routines and rituals around coffee at work and in our personal lives. Maybe you have a coffee with your breakfast every day, enjoy a 10:30 run to the coffee shop on work days or just like to relax with your friends over a hot cup of Joe. A quick look at the trending hashtags on Instagram and you can't deny that many people are passionate about their #coffeecoffeecoffee!

As parents, we want to do the best for our children. Most parents make significant changes to their diets when planning for pregnancy or when they become pregnant. Suddenly, sashimi is out, no more rare steak, and you find yourself lying awake at night Googling whether it’s safe to each shrimp when you’re pregnant.

You've probably heard that you shouldn't drink coffee. Maybe you've had a "helpful" person or two feel the need to fill you in on the effects of coffee during pregnancy while waiting in line at Starbucks. Still, you also probably know many people who never missed an Americano and still had a healthy pregnancy.

So what’s the answer? Can pregnant people safely drink coffee?

There are many studies available on how caffeine consumption affects pregnancy. Officially, doctors recommend against excessive caffeine consumption during pregnancy. Studies suggest there may be a higher incidence of growth issues. Increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight can result from excessive caffeine consumption (more than 3 cups of coffee per day) during pregnancy. Caffeine crosses the placental barrier and increases the baby's heart rate. It may also stay in the baby’s bloodstream longer and at higher levels.

Not only can caffeine have adverse effects on your baby's health, but it can also be harmful to you. When you're pregnant, your body breaks down caffeine at a slower rate than normal causing it to build up in your system. Further, caffeine has a diuretic effect which could make you have to pee more often (think night waking to use the bathroom and dehydration). Caffeine inhibits iron absorption, too.

It’s also important to mention that some studies have shown drinking coffee regularly to have no adverse effects during pregnancy. 

Health Canada (http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-gs/know-savoir/caffeine-eng.php) suggests pregnant people cap their caffeine intake at 300mg per day, about 3 cups of regular coffee. Speciality coffees can be a bit trickier. For example, your Venti Flat White has about 195 mg of caffeine in it.

What is a coffee lover to do?

First of all, if you're concerned about eliminating coffee from your life for the duration of your pregnancy, talk to your doctor or midwife. They can help you decide what's best for you. 

If coffee or other caffeinated beverages were a big part of your life before pregnancy, there are a few things you can do to cut back.

1.     Try having smaller cups. Instead of a Venti, order a Tall and grab a bottle of water to keep hydrated.

2.     Switch to decaf. Decaffeinated coffee might do the trick for you.

3.     Cut back slowly. Try cutting out one of your regular cups of coffee at a time to ease the transition.

4.     Enjoy other hot beverages instead. Sip caffeine-free herbal teas or hot apple cider!

And finally, pregnancy should not be a nine-months long exercise in self-denial. You can safely enjoy a latte each day. Let that cranky lady behind you in line “Tsk! Tsk!” to their hearts content while you enjoy your morning cup. And feel free to enjoy that sugary treat, just to really get their blood boiling!

 

 

 

New Parents Need Naps Too

No matter how smooth your pregnancy and birth go, your body had undergone some intense changes. You have been working very hard growing your new little person. In many traditional cultures, new mothers are cared for and given a month or more to recover. North American culture tends to forget new parents need for rest, trading the peaceful "lying in" tradition with numerous visitors, expectations to get your body back, and pressure to take your new baby out and about.

Postpartum expectations, both internal (the expectations you have for yourself and your experience) and external expectations (the expectations that come from society, family and friends) can wreak havoc on your need to recover from pregnancy and birth. You have so many demands put upon you, on top of learning to care for a baby, keep yourself nourished, sneak in an occasional shower and get the sleep you need. Let's face it, "Sleep when the baby sleeps." just isn't very realistic for most new parents.

At the very least, do your best to take it easy when your baby is sleeping. It may take some adjustment mentally to accept that you have a need for more rest that you are used to. Being unable to do it all is okay. Your need for recuperation is far more important than texting, phone calls, tweets, and even housekeeping.

As a new mother, you should feel confident letting others know you need a nap. Take your baby with you, or have someone else care for the baby while you get some quiet time or a nap in, any time you need.

Napping is harder for some people than others. You may not be used to sleeping during the day. If you're having trouble adjusting to short periods of sleep during the day you can try:

Lay down.

Take every opportunity to lay down in the early weeks and months. As a new parent, don't stand if you can sit, don't sit if you can lie down. Caring for a newborn is very draining and just laying down for a little while can go a long ways towards your sleep debt.

Enlist support.

Clear your mind by having someone else help with that mile long to do list. Family and friends who come to visit are happy to help with tasks around the house. If you don't want to ask for favours, you can hire assistance with the care of older children, housekeeping and laundry, and order takeout to save on meal prep time.

Postpartum Doulas are a tired parent's secret weapon. Families who choose doula support get more rest and feel better prepared to care for their growing family. At nap time (your nap time) a Postpartum Doula can care for your baby and older children, tidy up, and tackle on tasks on your to-do list. When you're awake, you can save your energy by actually utilising the unique role of your Doula by having her help with whatever it is you feel like you need. No one knows just how exhausting having a baby is like a Postpartum Doula.

 

You deserve to get proper rest.

 

You cannot genuinely care for others if you're not caring for yourself. You'll be happier and healthier if you make rest and recovery a priority during the postpartum period.

May Fun in Ottawa

Spring is in full swing here in Ottawa, and it's time to start putting away the rain gear and enjoy a little sun. We know you’ve been restless and waiting for warmer weather to get the kids out and about and now is your chance. Ottawa has so many fun activities for your family to do this month! We hope to see you at some of them!

 

Meet The Doulas | May 6, 2017

Come join us at the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre from 10-3. Meet our doulas, check out our packages, and get some great deals while you are there! We can't wait to meet you in person.

Ottawa Children’s Festival | May 10-14, 2017

The list of fun activities to do with your children at Ottawa’s annual Children’s Festival at LeBreton Flats is too long for one little blog post! Facepainting, the Long and McQuade Instrument Petting Zoo where children can explore musical instruments with professional guidance, and the Africa Land Circus are just a few of the activities you can take in with your kids. We’re looking forward to the Puppets Up! Workshop where little ones can make their very own finger puppets!

Canadian Tulip Festival | May 12-22, 2017

You know what they say, April showers bring May flowers. In Ottawa, that means it's time for the Canadian Tulip Festival! What better way is there to welcome spring than painting wooden tulips with the children or eating tulip cookies at the Tulip Julip Tulip Café at Aberdeen Pavillion in Landsdowne Park? With a variety of children's entertainers, millions of tulips, and special events like Yoga in the Tulips, there's something for all ages at the Tulip Festival.

65th Annual Tulipmania Fireworks | May 21, 2017

Celebrate Victoria Day long weekend with a big bang at the Tulipmania Fireworks show!2017 marks the 65th years of the Tulipmania Fireworks in celebration of Queen Victoria. Don’t miss the show at TD Place at Lansdowne (1015 Bank Street, Ottawa, ON). The music and fireworks show promise to be some of the best you'll see! Bring your lawn chair or a blanket and enjoy the pre-fireworks show entertainment CTV’s Sarah Freemark. Admission starts at 7:30 PM.

Ottawa Welcomes the World | Ongoing in 2017

Since March, our city has been celebrating Canada’s diversity with Ottawa Celebrates the World. Embassies and high commissions from around the globe have been marking their country’s national celebrations at Aberdeen Pavilion and the Horticulture Building. Each unique event encourages attendees to enjoy a variety of cultural food, music, art, performances and more! May 2017 brings celebrations from Poland, Mexico, Haiti, Cuba, Guyana, Serbia and Ethiopia. 

We know that checking things out when you are pregnant or have a brand new baby can seem overwhelming. When getting your shoes requires help, heading out for festivals and activities can see as challenging as getting to Mars. But getting out, especially with your new baby, can help you to reconnect with your community, meet other new parents, and even find some playdate friends. And remember, there is no rule that says you can't spend most of the time sipping a latte on a patio!

Doula Myths Busted!

I'm probably not what most people picture when they hear the term doula. No paisley, no Birkenstocks, no sage smudge. In fact, you could confuse me for any professional, because that's what I am, a professional. Don't get me wrong; many doulas do wear paisley and Birks, and smudge their spaces. Those attributes have nothing to do with how professional a person is. I guess what I am trying to say is that the doula profession is like any other, we are diverse individuals with a job to do. Some wear slacks and blazers; others wear flowing skirts, still other wear denim and leather. Stereotypes about the way doulas dress are just the beginning.

Doula work as a profession is a relatively new career path. Anything new has its misconceptions. Let's get right to it and clear up a few of the most common myths about doulas!

“Oh! Like a midwife!”

Yes, and no.

When I tell people that I am a doula, this is the most common response I get. Like midwives, doulas work with pregnant people and new parents. Doulas and midwives both tend to approach birth as a normal physiological process, and have a passion for supporting pregnant people. That’s where the similarities start to fade. Midwives catch babies; doulas do not. You see, a midwife’s job is to focus on the physical health of the parent and baby. Midwives manage all of the medical and clinical aspects of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Doulas fill the gap with emotional support and assistance with comfort measures during childbirth.

Doulas are only for homebirths.

Doulas are for every birth! Doulas work with clients planning homebirths and water births, un-medicated births in hospitals, birth centre births, birth with the use of medical pain relief, including epidural and even planned caesarian birth. Doulas are for people giving birth and people who have recently given birth.

A doula will replace (or displace) my partner.

You or your partner might be concerned about how a doula could interfere with how your partner experiences your baby's birth. A doula can never replace a loving partner, who knows you intimately, loves you, and is going through the birth on a personal level. In fact, a doula can help facilitate bonding between you and your partner during labour. Reassuring your partner, guiding them, and teaching them techniques to comfort you are a big part of what your doula can do. Further, I find partners are relieved to have someone else that can stay should they need to eat, step out for a phone call, or use the bathroom.

Doulas don’t do epidurals.

Totally false. Doulas love epidurals. Many of us have used epidurals as pain relief for our own births. For clients that are planning to have an epidural or decide to have an epidural placed during labour, doulas continue to provide the same level of committed support.

Most of the myths and misconceptions surrounding doulas focus on a preference for "natural", un-medicated birth or being a replacement for a midwife. However, at the core of this work is a belief in supporting choices. I am a doula not because I want people to choose or experience a specific way of birthing but because I want people to have the experience they wish. I am a doula because I believe people need support and reassurance, and to feel safe and educated. It doesn't matter to me if the birth they dream of takes place in a birth pool in their living room or an operating room at the local hospital.