Top stroller friendly walks in the Sea to Sky

There is nothing I love more than getting outside and enjoying nature with my dog and new baby, but here is the thing, that new baby happens to be in the 96th percentile. At 4 months, he already weighs 17 pounds and so walks have become a bit more challenging. Thankfully we purchased a Thule Urban Glide stroller, which is great for trails – and so I made it a mission to find some stroller friendly trails along the Sea to Sky that you can enjoy.

Whistler Train Wreck

It’s a short 2.3km in and out walk to a really cool train wreck that happened back 1956. The trail to the train wreck is quite mellow and wide enough for a stroller. You pass by the beautiful Cheakamus river before arriving at the graffiti painted train cars. The trail is also dog friendly. The only downside is the mosquitos can get quite bad, so bring a cover for the baby

 Shannon Falls Lookout

This is a 1km loop trail that is fairly easy and will only take you about 20 minutes to complete. In the winter the snow can make it a little tough to access, but in the summer the mostly gravel path is perfect for a stroller – and the reward of the beautiful view of Shannon Falls is worth the walk. Also a dog friendly trail.

 Mamquam River Trails

One of my favourite walks in Squamish is through the river trails, particularly through the forest that then loops back to the Squamish Golf Course. I just love being in the trees and I recently discovered that this trail is wide enough and easy to navigate with a stroller. Also if you go all the way to the golf course it is quite a nice walk, about 10km total.

 Mamquam Dyke Trail

It is about 4km in length (but you can keep going all the way to the once was Spit). The trail is gravel and easy to navigate with a stroller. You have beautiful mountain and river views for the entire walk.

Stawamus Dyke Trail

Another dyke trail that is perfect for the whole family including a stroller is the Stawamus Trail. It’s a 3km walk alongside the river with gorgeous views of the Stawamus Chief.

Lost Lake Loop

This is a very popular hike in the Whistler area and the main path is a wide gravel path through the forest and opens up to some amazing mountain views.

Loggers Creek Trail

I am spoiled because this one is right outside my house. You can walk with the stroller either on a paved bike and walk lane or through the forest which has been smoothed out by a group of volunteers to make it more accessible for all.

Happy hiking my friends,

xo

Mia

 

 

Tips on picking the right stroller for you

There is no beating around the bush, babies – despite their small stature – cost big bucks. I mean you will spend over $500 in diapers alone in the first year. One of the biggest purchase though is your stroller. Once you include add ons and extras, strollers can cost thousands of dollars, and with how many different strollers are on the market it can be an overwhelming experience. Thankfully I did a lot of research so you don’t have to!

Here are some of the top things to consider when purchasing a stroller

What kind of stroller do you want

Did you know that there are six different kinds of strollers. Yes, you heard that right SIX.

  • Full-sized stroller: This is the stroller that will last from infant to toddler – durable and sturdy but on the bulky side
  • Lightweight or umbrella stroller: Doesn’t have all the bells and whistles but is lightweight and great for on the go
  • Jogging stroller: Great for people who are on the go and taking the stroller on different terrain. The wheels are usually large and the suspension is better
  • Double stroller: Twins? Planning to grow your family soon? This stroller basically speaks for itself
  • Car seat carrier: Wheels and a frame so you can just add the car seat to create a stroller
  • Travel system: Easy to connect travel system where the carseat can click into the stroller. But many strollers will offer an adapter so that you can use it with a car seat.

So the first step to narrowing down what stroller to purchase is figuring out what kind you want. In order to figure that out you need to consider which one fits your lifestyle best, you need to ask some questions- which brings me to the next point.

Where will you use the stroller

Some strollers can be really big and bulky, not idea for narrow streets. Others can have smaller tires, not great for off road trails. Both of these were important for me to consider since I live in Squamish and I knew I wanted a stroller that would be idea for trails.

How easy is it to use

I knew I wanted to stay active with a baby. I had all these visions of us running on trails together – but realized that would’t be doable if the stroller wasn’t easy to push or hard to navigate. I needed to make sure the stroller was smooth. After doing some research and narrowing down my choices, I decided to go to the local baby shop to try out the different makes and models to make sure the ones I liked were easy to maneuver and handled turns with ease.

How easy is it to fold and unfold

I knew a lot of the time I would be on my own with the baby and so I wanted to make sure even with my hands full I knew how to fold and unfold the stroller so I wasn’t ever stuck. In doing my research many strollers boasted about one hand folds, but back to the stroller being easy to use, it is important to test out the folding capabilities, because what might be advertised as “one hand fold” might not actually be the case for us normal folk.

How long do you plan to use it

While you might pay more upfront costs for certain models, they could prove to be more affordable in the long run if they can grow with your child. Certain models can adapt with infant carseats and then carry your child in their toddler years as well.

How important is weight to you

Strollers can be heavy and when you are carrying a baby in a car seat as well – especially if you have a baby in the 97th percentile like mine, well it adds up. But here is the thing some of the more durable jogging strollers are heavier in weight – you just have to decide what is more important to you in the long run.

 

Helpful features to look at when purchasing a stroller

  • Safety features: There are certain safety features that all strollers need to abide by, but for us this was a top priority when narrowing down our options – we didn’t want just the basic safety feature
  • Quality wheels: Living in Squamish we wanted to make sure that the wheels were durable. The stroller was going to have to survive trails and gravel roads so we wanted something that was built to last
  • Storage: A lot of strollers have some great add on options for drink and snack holders, but something that was important to us was how much storage the stroller had so it would make our lives easier when we were on the go.
  • Sun/weather canopy: Some strollers require you to purchase canopies separately, others come with some of these already attached to the stroller.

    What it boils down to

     

    At the end of the day, you really have to decide what are your pros and cons because unfortunately there is no holy grail of strollers that will meet all of your wants and needs. Some points to really consider are cost, what budget are you comfortable with? Lifestyle, what kind of stroller do you need for what you want to do? And longevity – can this stroller grow with my family? Some of even these key points might require some sacrifice, for example we wanted a jogging stroller for our outdoorsy lifestyle, but we also love to travel – quite the predicament. We narrowed it down to three options, the Thule, Nuna, and Uppababy. At the end of the day the ability to be active on trails with our baby won out and we went with the Thule Urban Glide 2 all terrain stroller and the Nuna car seat with an adapter.

    It took hour and hours of research, multiple trips to baby stores, and test driving our neighbours gear but I am so happy with our decision because I get to go jogging and hiking with my baby daily and being out in nature with him is the best feeling in the world.

I know trying to find the right stroller can be overwhelming but I hope that these tips will help make your choice for this big investment a little easier.

Good luck mommas,

xo

Mia

 

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