My experience with Lovevery play kits

Being a new mom is extremely challenging. You have to get into a good feeding routine, and sleep training, and then there are those milestones that even though everyone tells you not to worry about them too much, you still worry way too much. Because of this I did a lot of reading and research into toys that could help my baby’s development and hopefully help him reach those milestones – although again I try to tell myself daily that every baby is different and will develop in their own time.

In my endless google searches I came across Lovevery. On the website it states that the play products are designed by child development experts to help children get what they need at every stage of development. If you read further, the website has more information on exactly who those experts are. Different doctors that specialize in neuroscience, experts in Montessori learning, and psychologists to name a few. And so I ended up connecting with Lovevery after Max was born to see if I could give their products a try.

The first kit that we got was the 3-4 month play kit. When the kit arrived it came with instructions on how to use each toy that was included and at what stage to introduce them into playtime. In the box we found contrast cards, a soft book, a mirror card, a rubber teether, crinckle bag, silicone teether, wooden rattle, framed mirror, rolling bell, and hand to hand disk. I was surprised at just how much came in the kit.

The instruction book came with talking points for 3 and then 4 months. Different things to expect from your baby and things your baby may like at this point in their lives and then went into detail about each play thing. Why it is useful at this given age and how to use it. It really took the guess work out of how to help my baby develop with these items and as a new mom made the hours and hours of play time each day (which don’t get me wrong I love but sometimes don’t know what to do) make more sense.

And as soon as Max hit three months he  started to thrive with these toys. He loved looking at the mirror for tummy time, grabbing the soft book, and rolling the bell. It was amazing to see the wonder and enjoyment in his eyes but also see developmental leaps start to happen. Grabbing with both hands at just three months, rolling onto his side around that time too. I was impressed to see his progress in such little time.

Takeaways from working with Lovevery:

  • It takes the guesswork out of play time 

I never had to take time to do my own research when it came to toys. They sent them straight to my door each month with a guide on how to play with them and when.

  • There is a variety of toys 

You don’t just get one or two toys each month, you get a handful that all have different uses which I really loved. We had rattles to work on our hearing senses, teethers for touch, and mutli-coloured toys for sight.

  • They are child safe and sustainable 

If you watch my work on the Weather Network you know how important sustainable products are to me. I love that these toys are built to last and made with sustainably harvested wood and nontoxic paint.

I am a big fan of Lovevery and cannot wait to watch max continue to grow with these toys.

Happy play time mommas,

xo

Mia

 

The truth about birth plans

I remember going into my first prenatal doctors appointment. I was 12 weeks and I asked my GP, ‘when should I start working on my birth plan’. You could tell she was holding back a smirk and responded, not anytime soon.

As my appointments went on the birth plan was always in the back of my mind. We started to get into weekly visits and she still hadn’t told me to start working on my plan and so I decided to be proactive and google how to create a birth plan.

I went through the steps and check marks and filled out the papers. I then sat my husband down and asked if I could discuss it with him so that he could manage it if I was in too much pain. As we went through the list I soon realized that every answer was the same, ‘I would prefer not to have a c-section but if the doctor says it’s the best option then we will do that’. ‘I don’t want an episiotomy but if the doctor says its the best option then I am ok with that.’ Every answer was if the doctor says that is best for baby and me then that is what we will do.

So at the end of the day we left the birth plan at home and just went to the hospital with an open mind. Having said that, I did find there were some positive takeaways from going through the steps of creating a birth plan that I want to share with you.

Ways having a birth plan helped prepare me for labour 

1. It made me do the research 

Before creating a birth plan I had no idea what an episiotomy was. As I went through the checklist I did some research so that I had as much information as possible and knew what could happen during labour. The birth plan gave me the gift of knowledge, which actually gave me confidence going into labour.

2. It taught me some new things

While doing research into a birth plan I learned the acronym B.R.A.I.N. This stands for Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, Intuition, Nothing. While I knew if given a choice I wanted to do whatever the medical professional thought was best for baby and me – It was good to know that I had choices and gave me the information I needed to ask the right questions if I needed to.

3. Creating the plan helped me find ways to stay calm during labour 

While filling out my birth plan they asked questions like do I want music playing or any candles burning – this helped me think of things I could do in the labour room that could help keep me calm during delivery.

4. It helped me ask my doctor the right questions 

Filling out my birth plan online asked some questions I never even thought of or highlighted concerns that I had never heard of and so it gave me the right tools to be able to ask my doctor questions ahead of labour so thatI had all the answers and tools.

Like I have said in some of my other posts everyone’s pregnancy journey and birth are different and so having a birth plan ready to go might be right for you – for me the actual birth plan wasn’t necessary but it did help in other ways prepare me for birth.

But at the end of the day just remember you got this mommas

xo

Mia

 

How to know if you’re doing a good job as a parent

Last night we spent 4 hours in the ER because Max had a spider bite that wasn’t looking great. It turns out it got infected and he had cellulitis. I cried the whole way home saying I was a bad mother for letting this happen to him – full well knowing there was nothing I could of done to prevent it.

Becoming a parent is one of the most significant decisions you will ever make in your life. So far these two months have been the hardest yet most rewarding of my life, and since there is no handbook on it – it can be hard to  know if you are doing a good job or not, trust me most times you are even if it doesn’t feel like it. So I wanted to share some tips I have picked up in the short few months I have been a mom that I believe show you are doing a great job! 

1) You Are Loving And Supportive

One of the most important things a parent can do is provide love and support to their child. If you are always there for them, both emotionally and physically, then you are doing a great job! Children need both emotional and physical support to thrive. If you can provide that for your child, they will be very grateful!

 

2) You Are A Good Role Model

Children learn by watching their parents. If you want your child to grow up to be a good person, it is essential to set a good example for yourself. Be kind, patient, and understanding with your child, and they will likely follow suit. It is also essential to teach them right from wrong; this will help them make good decisions when they are older.

 

3) You Are Looking After Their Health

It is essential to look after your child’s health, both physical and mental. This means ensuring they are eating healthy foods, getting enough exercise, and getting enough sleep. It is also vital that their vaccinations are up to date and that they visit the doctor regularly. If you can do all of these things and take them to clinics, like CBD medical, then you are doing a great job as a parent!

 

4) You Respect Your Child’s Privacy

It is essential to respect your child’s privacy, even if they are still young. This means that you should not invade their space or read their diary without permission. It is also essential to allow them to have some independence and make their own decisions, as long as they are not putting themselves in danger. Respecting your child’s privacy will show them that you trust and care about them.

 

5) You Are Involved In Their Life

Another sign of a great parent is being involved in their child’s life. This means attending school functions, knowing what they are interested in, and being there for them when they need you. It is also essential to provide guidance and support and allow your child to make their own mistakes. If you can do all of these things, then you are doing a good job!

 

6) You Are A Good Listener

A good parent is a good listener. If you are always there for your child and will listen to them without judgment, then you are definitely doing a great job! It is essential to be patient and understanding when your child is talking to you. This will help them feel comfortable coming to you with anything they need to talk about.

These are just a few things that have helped me so far – this and trying to have patience and forgiveness for myself as well as I learn and navigate this new chapter in my life. Parenting can be difficult, but it is also enriching. Be patient, and never give up on your child! They will appreciate everything you do for them.

What you actually need to pack in your hospital bag

Once you hit your third trimester you may start thinking about what you need to bring in your hospital bag. If you are like me, you might be working on this in your second trimester. Let me start off by saying this blog was definitely a learning experience – and I hope I can help some soon-to-be-mommas learn from my mistakes.

I read all the blogs and packed everything that anyone said I might need. I packed, and unpacked, and repacked my hospital bag a dozen times and then when my mat leave started a week before my due date, I packed and unpacked some more. I was driving myself crazy and by the end of it all I had a full bag, as well as my husband, and baby and did we use half of the stuff we took to the hospital? Absolutely not.

So I wanted to break it down for you all into items we actually needed while we were there and some nice to haves as well as items that the hospital was able to provide so you don’t need to bring your own.

Must haves 

 1. A water bottle with a straw: I found this extremely helpful to keep me hydrated. Since contractions can be very intense my husband was able to help me drink in-between each one.

2. Toiletries: I went to shoppers and got the mini travel items so that it would fit easily in my bag. Make sure you have a toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash wipes (easier than face wash), deodorant. I also packed dry shampoo in case we would be there fore a few days and hair ties to keep my hair back during labour and nipple cream to help after labour as we were attempting breastfeeding.

3. Long phone charger: My labour was 13 hours and so I definitely needed to charge my phone but there is likely not going to be an outlet close to the bed so make sure to pack a long phone charger

4. Snacks for you and your partner: The hospital won’t provide food for your partner so it is good to have some snacks on hand. I was also desperate for some fuel as my labour went on because going 13 hours without any food is difficult. Try get easy to digest snacks that will give you a lot of energy like nuts or dried fruit. I also found gatorade extremely helpful .

5. Lip Balm: It is extremely dry in the hospital and so having lip balm nearby was key. I used it as much as I used the button to up my epidural.

6. Comfy coming home clothes: Your body is going to go through a lot over the next few days, you don’t want to try and throw on jeans and leave the hospital. Pack some loose fitting clothes.

7. Slippers or warm socks: After labour it is likely your feet will get swollen as your body starts to release liquids, on top of that you want to be as cozy as possible and you are likely going to be encouraged to move around a little bit to avoid blood clots so slippers will be a huge help.

8. Wallet and health card: This is pretty obvious but when those contractions hit you won’t really be able to think about too much so make sure you remember to bring your health card info.

9. Nursing clothes or comfortable robe: If you plan to breastfeed you will likely be attempting to do that right after giving birth and so it is nice to have some comfortable clothes that have easy access for breastfeeding.

10. Coming home outfit in baby in different sizes: We knew we were having a large baby and so I brought outfits for him in both newborn and 0-3. I also brought a ton of swaddles that didn’t get used because the hospital provide us with some while we were there. We also gave birth in the winter so we made sure we had a hat and gloves as well.

11. Car seat: This will literally be the only test before leaving the hospital. Make sure you know how to put your baby safely in a car seat.

Nice to Haves

1. Your own pillow: Yes the hospital will have pillows but you could have a long labour ahead of you and a few nights in a hospital bed so I appreciated having my own pillow

2. A sleeping bag/blanket for your partner: Hospitals can get quite cold and who knows what the sleeping arrangements will look like. We didn’t end up needing the one we brought because the hospital had quite a comfy chair for him but it was nice to have it in case.

3. Your own towel: We didn’t stay long enough to need a shower, but depending on what kind of birth you have you may be in the hospital a few nights and having your own towel can be comforting.

4. Portable speaker: Depending on what kind of birth plan you have it might be nice to have some way to listen to music while you are in labour. We forgot our speaker and ended up sleeping most of the labour anyway (thankful for that epidural) but I have heard it has been a useful tool for many families.

5. Laptop or tablet for your partner: Again my labour was fairly long, 13 hours and so my husband downloaded a few shows ahead of time that he could watch on the laptop.

6. Essential oils: There is a lot going on when you are in labour – especially the pushing stage (and a lot coming out of you aside from a baby – just managing expectations here). And so I really loved having the essential oils on hand to keep a calm feeling in the room and also to have some nice distracting smells.

7. Wipes: Hospitals will provide you with some but the hospital we were at in particular didn’t have wet wipes and so it was handy to have our own.

Don’t need/hospital will provide

1. A portable fan: We definitely packed one and it took up a ton of space, but the hospital provided us with one. You may want to ask ahead of time if one will be available because this was a nice to have for sure especially when you are getting hot flashes during labour – and pushing is hard work.

2. Diapers for you and your baby: I spent hours on youtube searching the best postpartum underwear only to be given diapers of my own after labour. They had plenty for my baby too and even gave me some of each to take home with me. Oh and they will also have padsicles on hand for postpartum pain.

3. Sitz bath: Sitz baths are lifesavers postpartum so I bought one for myself, but the hospital actually provided me with one.

4. Nightgown: I got a cute one because I read on a blog that you would be more comfortable in you own nighty during birth – but here is the thing, there is so much going on I didn’t even notice if it was more comfortable than a hospital gown, and with all the chaos you will be ripping it off at some point to have skin to skin with your baby once they arrive.

Now every labour is going to be different. We were lucky in the sense ours was pretty straight forward and we only had to stay one night at the hospital. You may need more or less depending on how long you will have to stay, but if it doesn’t all fit in one bag – you have likely overpacked my friends.

Good luck mommas you got this!

xo

Mia

 

Why gestational diabetes was a blessing in disguise

I remember hearing from friends how awful the diabetes test was. You would have to drink this disgusting sugary drink and then have your blood taken to see if you had developed gestational diabetes during your pregnancy. I didn’t know much about gestational diabetes, and honestly didn’t think much of it because I didn’t have any of the predispositions. I am extremely active and a normal weight, there is no diabetes in my family, I was under 35 and this was my first child. I thought I would go into the test and be told everything was normal. I was wrong. Soon after my first test I got the call from my doctor saying the first test was inconclusive and I would have to go back for a longer and more intense test.

Then I got the phone call I really didn’t want to hear, I tested positive for gestational diabetes. I was in a store and I just broke down in tears. Fear came over me, what did this mean for the pregnancy? What did this mean for the baby?

My doctor told me the next steps would be meeting with a dietitian to come up with a game plan. I would also have to start monitoring my blood sugar levels.

On the call, there were several other women who were also in the same boat as me. The dietician went over how we wold monitor our sugar levels and gave us some tips on how to eat properly, as well as some GD friendly snacks we could try.

The next week was brutal. I had to test me levels six times a day, poking my finger before and after every meal. Writing down everything that I ate, and making sure I was going on at least a 15 minute walk after every meal. Despite my best efforts, sometimes my sugars would spike and I would feel extremely discouraged. I felt pity, guilt, and overall sadness that what should be one of the happiest times in my life was becoming a time of constant monitoring, worrying, and fear.

As the week went on though I was able to start to make sense of what worked for my body and what didn’t. I was surprised at how small changes made a huge difference: substituting white bread for whole wheat and tropical fruits for local berries. I was luckily able to control my sugar levels through diet.

On top of eating healthier – protein and veggies at every meal with some complex carbs – I was also forcing myself to move daily. On days that I was super tired it would be something as easy as a walk after my meals. But as I started to eat healthier (and I even lost some weight) I had more energy. I continued doing spin and pregnancy safe HITT classes – and to be honest the aches and pains I thought I would have during my pregnancy never came, nor did the third trimester fatigue.

On top of feeling healthy and energized during my pregnancy I also felt like my birth and recovery was a lot easier thanks to all the exercise I was doing ahead of time. When it came to pushing during labour I felt strong and in control. Post birth my body felt really good. I wasn’t in pain and was able to get back to walking and exercise fairly quickly. I was also back to my pre-pregnancy weight pretty quickly because of how active I was ahead of time.

Yes, being diagnosed with gestational diabetes was scary and yes it was hard to cut out sweets when I was dealing with endless pregnancy cravings, and yes it was hard to keep moving when I couldn’t even put socks on due to my giant belly, but overall I actually think there were some positive takeaways. So mommas if you get diagnosed with GD, keep your head high, you got this! And here are some tips that I found really helped me navigate GD.

Ways to cope with gestational diabetes 

1. Find alternatives for your favourite food items

I love toast, so it was easy to substitute white bread for whole wheat. Same goes for pasta. I was also enjoying eating yogurt, granola and bananas. So I started buying greek yogurt instead of vanilla and would add berries instead of bananas. Even switching milk for dark chocolate can make a big difference. Oh and I satisfied my ice cream cravings with halo ice cream (a low sugar option but still lots of different and delicious flavours to chose from.)

2. Find some exciting low sugar recipes

Sure it took a little more effort to come up with dinner ideas, but trust me there are some delicious options out there. I am a big fan of the cooking blog pinchofyum and the great thing is they have a whole section dedicated to low sugar meals and snacks. It made dinner time fun.

3. Stay active while also listening to your body

I am a very active person, but when you have been growing a human for 9 months there are days where you don’t even want to get out of bed. So I would try and find activities that fit my energy level for that day, but I would always make time for me to move. 9 months pregnant I would be doing anything from an intense spin class to just a 15 minute walk around the block. To be honest though on the days I didn’t want to do anything, just getting out for some fresh air made me feel more energized.

4. Don’t forget the snacks

Like I said I am quite active and so there were days that I would go out for hour long hikes and my sugar levels would actually drop too low  and so it was really important for me to find some easy GD friendly snacks that I could bring on hikes. Nuts was a great option and hard boiled eggs was another go to.

5. Eat a well balanced meal

When you have gestational diabetes is it is important to still eat carbs, but just make sure they are complex carbs. During your pregnancy it is also important to eat lots of protein (with GD lean protein should be your go to) and iron levels can suffer so you want to make sure you also have some greens.

6. Drink lots of water

I was so surprised one day when I had a high sugar level before a meal and so I went for a walk first and drank some water. The walk was only 10 minutes but the combination of walking and water made my levels go way down. Water helps dilute sugar and bring down your levels. I would mix it up by adding lemon or a glass of sparkling water, but just avoid adding anything too sugary for taste.

7. Treat yourself every once in a while

This is supposed to be the most exciting time in your life – but pregnancy is also hard and you are working very hard to make this little human, so if you are craving a cupcake every once in a while go for it. Safe splurges kept me sane during my pregnancy (like a little piece of cake at my baby shower).

8. Remember you are not alone

Meghan Trainor, Selma Hayek, and even Angelina Jolie are all human and all had gestational diabetes so try not to get too down on yourself (or feel guilty like I sure did). I found that reaching out to other mommas who were diagnosed with GD made me feel a bit better and sharing tips and tricks with them was always helpful. It was also great to share a glass of wine and a sugary treat once our babies arrived.

Good luck mommas you got this!

xo

Mia