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?

 

 

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!

Doulas Are For Scheduled Caesareans

She had waited until the last few weeks of her pregnancy to decide that she would hire a doula. She had scheduled a consultation with the perfect doulas. Then at her doctor’s appointment, she found out that her baby was still breech and she was trying to decide if she would prefer to schedule a caesarean. She and her doctor discussed the risks and benefits of trying for a vaginal birth versus a scheduled caesarean birth.

She went home that afternoon, her head swimming. She wasn't sure what she should decide. Her husband wasn't sure either; he wanted her to do what she felt was best. And what about the doulas? Should she just cancel her consultation?

The next morning she called the doula agency office. She explained her predicament and was surprised to learn that doulas support planned caesarean births. She kept her appointment, and when she hired the doulas she met with, they helped her go over the risks and benefits of her options. They talked about what her gut feeling was about her baby's birth, and she ultimately decided to have a scheduled caesarean delivery.

The night before her caesarean was scheduled, the doula on call phoned her, and they went over the items in her hospital bag. She talked about her fears and about how excited she was to meet her baby! The doula was able to go over what the process would look like from start to finish.

On the big day, her doula met her in the hospital parking lot. The doula helped her partner carry up the bags and kept the mood light and happy. The doula helped her get settled while she was being admitted. While they waited, the doula gave her the most amazing hand and foot massages ever! The three of them talked a lot about hopes and dreams for life as parents!

They had already been informed that it would not be possible for the doula to join them in the operating room so when it was time to go they hugged, and the doula wished them well. She promised to be waiting in the recovery room.

The nurses and doctor were excellent during the birth. The doctor explained what was happening every step of they way and soon a nurse was holding her beautiful baby boy close to her so she could see and kiss him.

In the recovery room, her doula was waiting. She couldn't help but grin with pride when her doula congratulated her. It was so reassuring to both her and her husband to see a familiar and comfortable face.

Together, she and her doula got her new baby latched, and he had a few good swallows. The doula helped them get back into their postpartum room. With help, she was able to get settled in for some rest while her husband enjoyed some baby snuggles. They said their goodbyes.

The doula visited the first day that they were home from the hospital and was so knowledgeable about how to care for the incision. She also knew lots of tricks for staying comfortable. They sipped tea and talked about the birth and what was to come.

It was an incredible roller coaster of an experience from the beginning! In the end, she felt empowered and supported. She knew she had made the right decision to trust her body and her baby. And while she could have done it without the doula, she couldn’t imagine her birth experience any other way!

Is It Colic?

It is normal and healthy for your baby to cry. Crying is a way your baby communicates with you telling you that he is hungry, needs a diaper change, wants to be held, is uncomfortable or is tired. It’s a very effective way of communicating that there is an immediate need.

When babies cry for more than 3 hours at a time, 3+ days a week, it is sometimes said the baby is "colicky." Colic used to be considered a condition that some babies either had or didn't have. Now, these crying bouts are thought to be part of an infant's healthy development.

All babies go through a time when they cry more, usually between three and eight weeks. This stage often starts at about two weeks of age and intensifies by week four. The crying may be intense and seem impossible to soothe.

On the bright side, the crying bouts can come to an end as quickly as they start. You may notice a steady decrease or sudden ending to this stage, usually around three to four months of age.

Some Babies Cry More Than Others

 

Doctors and scientists have suggested that babies who cry more, the ones people call colicky, have sensitive temperaments. These babies have increased difficulty self-soothing. They take longer than others to settle into their natural rhythm. Totally normal.

This crying, formerly known as colic, was thought to be caused by gas, bowel pain, allergies, and other upsets but these have not been shown to correlate to these normal, intense crying bouts. On the contrary, the excessive crying can cause babies to swallow air and then cause tummy pain and gas. (This is not to say that all excessive crying doesn't have an underlying cause that can be remedied. You should discuss crying that's hard to soothe with your family doctor or pediatrician, just to make sure!)

How You Can Help Your “Colicky” Baby

 

Every baby is different, and what works for your baby today may not work tomorrow. We have a few suggestions about how you can soothe your baby, or at least feel like you are doing all that you can.

  • Cover all the bases: change baby’s diaper, feed baby, check that baby is not too warm or too cold, does baby have a fever?
  • Swaddle your baby.
  • Hold your baby.
  • Reduce stimulation: keep the lights low, use a white noise app, try to be in a calm space like the nursery
  • As suggested above, use white noise.
  • Soothe your baby with motion. You can try rocking, putting baby is a swing or going for a car ride.
  • Try a warm bath.
  • Use a pacifier or your clean finger and allow baby to be soothed by sucking.
  • Remember that your baby’s crying is not your fault.
  • Never shake your baby.

If you feel particularly stressed out and unable to remain calm (which is normal when your baby has been crying a lot), put your baby down in a safe place such as their crib or let someone else care for your baby. Medications and remedies for colic should be discussed with your family doctor or pediatrician before use.

It’s Normal to Need Help     

Caring for a baby is hard! Pregnancy and birth drained you not too long ago, you're probably not getting the sleep you need, and your baby has needs around the clock.

Ask for and accept help whenever you can. Whether you have family or friends assist you, or you choose to hire a postpartum doula, real help can make a big difference. A postpartum doula can assist you with your baby, care for older children and help around the house, and even offers overnight care so that you can get the rest you need.

When your baby cries for long periods of time, and you are unable to help them settle, it is extremely stressful. This time will pass but until them, remember to make time to care for yourself.