Pregnancy this time around has been a different ball game. Being a busy working mom and chasing a busy toddler around makes life well...busy! Combine busy with a touch of self-induced pressure, stress and anxiety - and I've got a combination for depletion. Consciously reminding myself that I am growing a little babe helps, but "showing up" in my life - for my partner, my daughter, my friends, my career - is So important to me that I tend to lose sight of this. And really, does it all matter if I'm too depleted, and not truly there or Present in those moments? It was this thought process that recently led me to realize that I also need to "show up" for me...in order to truly show up for others. Enter Self Care.
One thing that I've been doing to take care of myself (especially with these long, cold and dark months) is supporting my immune system.
Immune support has been harder than ever. I truly think that we cannot get every nutrient we need from our diet alone. Our depleted soils aren't as nutritionally dense as they once were, and beyond that we live busier lives than ever - leading to more convenience food intake, and higher stress levels. Stress alone can make a massive impact on our immune system. So with these two beliefs in mind - I want to talk about Jamieson vitamins as well as stress management.
Jamieson - Canada's Most Trusted Brand of Vitamins
For as long as I can remember, I've been using Jamieson Vitamins. They offer an impressive variety of natural health products such as vitamins and minerals , health supplements including omega-3s , digestive health products and natural sleep aids, multivitamins and vitamins for growing children, herbal extracts and botanical solutions as well as natural beauty and skin care products.
Additionally, they have been consistently named Canada's most trusted brand of vitamins - and for good reason! In a rapidly growing marketplace, they set themselves apart with their industry-leading commitment to providing consumers with the purest, safest and most effective natural health solutions available.
That pure, safe and reliable promise - goes a long way for me personally, especially in this market which has become increasingly cloudy to navigate.
So what am I doing for Immune support?
I start my day with Jamieson Vitamin C which supports a healthy immune system and provides an antioxidant source for the maintenance of good health. This has been so important for me, especially when working in a school full of germs, and coming home to a toddler who has been at a day care ...full of germs! So that IMMUNE SUPPORT THAT VITAMIN C PROVIDES IS A BIG DEAL!
Jamieson Vitamin C checks that box for daily maintenance of immune support, and I love that the deliciously flavoured chewables have no artificial colours or flavours - a promise that demonstrates their commitment to Purity. Jamieson Vitamin C also includes a quality botanical blend that further supports our bodies - Bonus!
Taking that time to connect with myself, and to do the things that bring my body and mind to a relaxed state is just as important for my overall wellness as supplementation. I recently read an article on the Jamieson Wellness Blog which was called "The Unexpected Habits That Are Making You Sick" that really reinforced my beliefs.
Fact: how you feel on the inside often shows up on the outside. This couldn’t be truer of stress and anxiety. Not only do these cause personal distress, but they have the ability to pierce straight through your psyche and right onto your physical being. This suppresses your immune system, affects your sleep hygiene, and ultimately makes you more vulnerable to illnesses looming ahead.
So, especially during times where I know that I am run down, or feeling depleted, doing something as simple as getting in touch with my breathing helps dramatically. Or I will try to incorporate an activity that refuels me, depending on where I feel the most depleted. Some activities I turn to are writing or reading, visiting a friend, napping, yoga, barre, cycling, meditating etc. I often need to do something outside as well- nature therapy stimulates our immune system in fascinating ways. A long walk always gets my blood pumping and clears my mind. And when I can't get outside, I try to take care of the plants in our house, or pick up some fresh flowers - because that connection to nature always fills me up in amazing ways. A beautiful compliment to the natural ingredients in Jamieson Vitamins.
As always, thank you for reading along and for joining in as I chat about something that makes a difference in my family's life. If you would like to learn more about Jamieson Vitamin's you can head to their website by clicking here
Before I became a mom, Christmas seemed to be something that was losing meaning for me. It was a frenzy of buying for family, too much food and event after event! The scenario may not be that far off to this day, however this year I experienced Christmas in an entirely new light.
When asked how our Christmas was, I can't help but say - with watery eyes - the Most Magical Christmas ever. Okay, this is totally a sappy post, but let me rewind a bit and explain how incredible this experience truly was for our family.
Growing up, I didn't have a whole lot - I knew from a very young age that Christmas was a struggle for my mom, especially in my younger years. I vividly remember visiting Santa's workshop at the Salvation army - an Incredible program put together for low income families. I was able to choose a few toys, and although this always meant a lot to me, it mostly showed me how much my mom cared about giving me the best Christmas ever, no matter what our circumstances were. I always had an immense amount of appreciation for her, and how hard she worked. As I got older, I remembered this time in my life and felt committed to Christmas being all about the love. I have memories of my family having our big family dinners in the shop/garage, heated by a wood stove - some cinnamon and apple roasting on top...a long pop up table, relaxed, laughing listening to country music and spending time with one another. These experiences also shaped my foundation, and my vision for raising our daughter.
Last year was our first Christmas with our girl. She was only 6 months, but it was so special nonetheless. However, I felt that the holidays got away from me. I had a lot of campaigns on the go with companies, I was writing a lot, shooting pictures..sharing, and on top of that, we attended a number of family events and didn't slow down until the New Year. Christmas day was a race against the clock, trying to squeeze in visits with family members to see the baby - and so it goes...we were left feeling like the whole Christmas spirit was a blur.
So that brings us to this year. Perhaps you noticed that I took a 4 week hiatus from social media - or perhaps you did not, but it happened. I needed the space to make room for my job, and the few projects I had with companies leading up to the Holidays, as well as down time with my family. It was also important to me that I leave December clear of new projects, and I was also very mindful of pulling out my camera. It's been a month of soaking in time...slowing down, and immersing ourselves in the season. We took one video of Christmas morning which we will keep for years, but otherwise phones and cameras were away. As someone with a blog, and social networks...this is definitely hard, but we just needed the space to soak in the magic of Christmas.
Before going to bed, we sat on our couch looking at the Christmas tree, stockings and wrapped gifts, and just appreciated how special the next morning will be for our little family, how blessed we are, and how thankful I am personally to be able to provide Piper with a Christmas free of fear, struggle and worry - words cannot explain how my life has shaped me to be so utterly grateful for that moment, my mom, my husband who works so hard, our home, our security - it's something I don't think about enough.
Watching Piper walk out into our living room the next morning, was Magic. The morning was filled with tears and full belly laughs, as P said "WOWW" and "WowEE!!", throughout the entire morning. we received lots of hugs and kisses from her and so many priceless moments that will live on only in our memories.
So, perhaps the reason for this post is just to share a bit about my life...the reason for my long break, a little about the things that have been on my mind, and most of all - it's an invitation to consider the values of your upbringing and how they have shaped your traditions. It's such a Special time of the year, and I love to connect and hear about you, so as always please reach out! Tell me how your Christmas was! You being here, reading what I have to say means so much to me. Thank you for following along and Happy Holidays to you all!!
When we are thinking about what toys we are going to bring into our home, we think of a few different factors. The first question we ask is, what purpose will this serve? Is it a toy that will be enjoyed for a few minutes and then tossed aside? Or will it be something that Piper enjoys time and time again? The second question we ask is, does this toy provide any sort of Play Value - is it building skills, Fostering Imagination and developing her mind? The third question is...how is it built? Is it made to last years to come and grow with our Family?
The reason we consider these questions is to avoid the accumulation of "things" we don't need - simply put! Quality over Quantity. With this in mind, today I want to talk about two toys that check off all the boxes And meet the title of Quality - in my eyes! I am talking about Fisher Price's Little People Big Helper's Home and 3 in 1 Smart Car!
The Little People Big Helpers Home
Fisher Price's Little People Big Helper's home is such an amazing one stop discover and explore a toy. All of the rooms play a song that encourages teamwork, helping others and kindness.
The Home also teaches little ones about how they can help in each of the rooms through sounds and phrases. For instance, in the kitchen we hear a phrases like "I'll get the cereal" and "I'll set the table", and in the bathroom we hear "I am getting better at going to the potty all by myself", and "I can wash my hands".
I love the songs that each room plays, and the noises of flushing the toilet, and washing the dishes.
It's a little functioning home with all of our daily noises - so the familiarity of it all really sparks Piper's imagination! Piper LOVES the little people and doggy that come along with it. So much so that we bring it with us to the park when we have a picnic, or if we are heading to her grandparents for a visit. The travel handle makes it so easy to carry from place to place, and the Home closes up so that you can place the little figures and furniture safely inside.
Fisher Price's 3-in-1 Smart Car
I think every single person can say that they grew up with a little car! Both my husband and I have memories of scooting around on our Fisher Price cars, and it's amazing to watch Piper grow with hers! When we first got her 3-in-1 Car she was just learning how to walk, so she used the supportive handle on the back to move around! As she got older she would crawl onto the seat, which has a bounce up and down feature, and use the strength of her legs to bounce! I saw how this action helped to develop her gross motor skills like balance and coordination.
Now, Piper pushes herself around on the car! She loves to wheel around and play with the interactive dashboard which plays songs, sounds and phrases with an academic focus. It feels good seeing her fly by using her muscles. I also know she's expanding her mind while listening to the alphabet, opposites, counting and more!
We have been watching her scoot around the house for so long, that we decided to take her little car with us to the park so that she could play on the path. She pushed her car around and hopped on and off while pressing her buttons and laughing!
I thought about the questions I mentioned at the beginning of the post and felt good knowing that this is a toy that she uses time and time again, that she learns from, develops from and grows with! I can even see this being a toy that can be shared with a sibling in the future, since there is both a sitting and pushing feature!
Looking at these pictures, I can see that her 3-in-1 car nurtures something beyond her physical development - I see Security and Happiness! I see Self Confidence, and a sense of Independence! I also see how Proud she is of herself when she is playing with her car, and that my friends makes it all worth while! I feel confident saying that this is a special item, and I know this car will be in our family for years to come!
Both of these toys offer opportunities to grow, learn and develop in their own unique ways - but one thing that they both have in common is that they make my daughter Happy! Piper turns to these toys every day in her playroom, and I can honestly say that they have never sat idle and have never been tossed aside. We get hours of engaging play out of these toys - and we have lots of Fun! They will definitely be around for years to come, and we can't wait to make more memories with Fisher Price's Little People Big Helpers Home and 3-in-1 Car!
The summer is filled with green fields, water parks, play grounds, wagon rides and outdoor adventures - just to name a few! It's been so much fun enjoying the warm weather to it's fullest! But what about those rainy days? We have definitely had our share of gloomy and wet days...so what do you do when you're stuck indoors on a rainy day with a busy toddler?
Not only am I thinking about the rain filled days that we have left this summer, but fall is just around the corner! Yup...we have more and more days ahead where the weather will dampen our dreams for outdoor fun. I hate to be negative or to rain on anyone's parade...but seriously, having a little one is busy as it is, and I am already thinking about preparing for longer periods of time spent in the house!
So I have partnered with Fisher Price to compile my top 3 favourite activities to keep your little ones Active on Rainy Days! I have hyperlinked direct links to the retailers who carry each item - so our faves are just a click away!
1. Kick & Play Piano Gym
Besides the amazing potential for keeping our little's active (which I will get to), I want to start by pointing out that the Kick & Play Piano Gym by Fisher Price is Fantastic for ages Birth onwards...Onwards! Meaning that this is one of those Grow with Me toys that your babe can utilize for years! I Love that!!
All the way from tummy time, to lay and play, to sitting up and finally to walking - the Kick & Play Piano Gym encourages both physical activity and mental development.
Currently Piper is using her Kick & Play in the sitting up position so that she can sit and play the piano. When I watch her press the piano keys in various orders I can see that her Curiosity and Wonder is sparking. I also appreciate the Sensory component of the bright colours, various textures, buttons and hanging toy arch!
In terms of the Physical Activity your little one experiences while playing with the Piano Gym, there is all sorts of potential for gross motor and fine motor development. For the earlier stages, I can see that all the kicking, reaching and pushing up they will be doing is getting their little muscles ready for the next stages of growth!
Piper is so funny with her Piano. She will sit down and play the keyboard with her feet, she detaches and tries to reattach the toys along the arch. Sometimes Piper will detach the Piano and carry it around to different surfaces to play. My favourite way to get active with the Kick & Play Piano Gym however, is switching the key board settings to play various songs.
We will dance around to the music (which equates to Piper bouncing up and down, running in circles, shaking her hips and going into a downward dog position -as seen here!) and occasionally P will run over and press a few keys and then get back to dancing. We have so much fun, and really - what an all encompassing opportunity for fun, movement and stimulation.
The Kick & Play Piano Gym is available at Walmart, Babies"R"Us and Amazon
2. Sit to Stand Activity Centre
We have been in the process of putting the toys that are developmentally too young for Piper at this point into storage. One of our favourite items however is the Sit to Stand Activity Centre by Fisher Price, because Piper could use it for tummy time, and then as she grew stronger, the centre grew to! Once she could hold herself upright we transitioned the Centre into the Sit and Spin option. I can see this being great exercise for little ones who are just developing their core strength, and learning the skill of twisting and turning to move around.
Once our littles are standing and walking about, it's quite disappointing to have to store away the items best meant for a stationary or sedentary position. The Sit to Stand Activity Centre (as the name suggests), comes apart and transforms into an entirely different opportunity for growth and learning. Piper now stands and walks around the Centre, utilizing all of the different fun options it provides.
One of the features that Piper really loves are the little critters that roll down the ramp, as well the teeter totter animals and musical features. On a rainy day, I trust that we can play around her Standing Activity Centre and get the stimulation and gross motor engagement that Piper needs. From sitting on the carpet playing with the little bugs, Piper will roll them down the ramp, and walk around pressing buttons, flipping the teeter totter, and so forth - she laughs and thinks that the animals are so funny!
Needless to stay, we stay busy around our Sit to Stand Activity Centre! You can find this fun grow-with-me staple at Walmart, Babies"R"Us, Amazon, BuyBuy Baby and Indigo
3. Fisher Price Zebra Walker
The Fisher Price Zebra walker was on of our favourite Christmas present items that Piper got. Although at the time P was only around 6 months at the time, she was already very curious about standing. At first Piper sat at her Zebra Walker and played around with the spin, flip, roll, click and twist options on the front. She loved to turn the book page and watch the lights flash and play songs. Once she learned to clap she would sit there clapping and bouncing to the sing a long songs it recited!
After weeks of sitting and exploring her Zebra Friend, at 7 months Piper was standing at her walker, with the most determined look in her eyes! I laugh thinking about how eager she was to conquer her Zebra Walker! I remember looking at the functionality of the walker at the time, and I was confident that the easy grip handle, and sturdy 4 wheel base helped steady her wobbly first steps!
Fast forward to today, at 14 months - Piper is walking on her own and doesn't need her walker to balance anymore but I am saying this with all honesty (because I thought that she would forget about it once she was walking), she still uses it every single day.
Perhaps she has continued to push around her Zebra Walker because she has loved it so much from the beginning? Regardless of the reason - it's a fun, and different way to engage her muscles while getting around now!
So whether your little one is sitting, working on mastering the skill of standing, or walking already, the Zebra Walker is just such a staple in my opinion. Piper literally FLIES around our house with her walker, lifting it and it turning around, or making hard turns around corners. On any day no matter what the weather is like, Piper's friend Zebra provides tons of exercise and muscle development!
You can find our friend the Zebra Walker by clicking any of these links to retailers: Walmart, Babies"R"Us, Amazon and Indigo
Whether Piper is making music with her Kick and Play Piano Gym, Bouncing around her Sit to Stand Activity Centre, or flying around the house with her Zebra Walker, our girl stays Active thanks to these Favourite Fisher Price items of ours. In addition to doing Art activities, building, reading and dancing to the Wiggles - we rely on our 3 Rainy Day staples by Fisher Price to keep moving! Don't forget to click the links which will bring your directly to those items at your favourite retailers.
What if I told you there is a place deliberately left hidden-secret-in the shadow of more well-known attractions...
The menu at Good Earth is one of the first "farm to table" in Niagara, and they build each plate with Fresh and local ingredients. We are always inclined to try something completely new because their menu offers such a unique variety of dishes! To start we chose the Chef's Sharing Board filled with artisan cured meats, cheeses, preserves, pickled items and mustards. For dinner I had the catch of the day, and Andrew enjoyed a delicious shrimp dish. We also shared a bottle of the Rose (which we liked so much that we bought one to take home)!
In between courses we took the time to listen to the live band and explore the orchard and vineyards. We just couldn't get enough of the unparalleled scenery at Good Earth. On both occasions that we visited, we left feeling like we had experienced something special. In fact, we are planning another visit with a group of friends very soon! A huge thank you to Nicolette and the warm and welcoming staff at Good Earth! We always feel at home.
Between sets, we had the opportunity to mingle on the Creekside Deck. Although it was dark, and we couldn't quite soak in the beautiful landscape surrounding us, we agreed that we have to return to see the panoramic view of the vineyard in day light- and we Did! All daylight photos were taken on a return visit!
We finished our evening in the tasting room where we met friends, and laughed with the Creekside staff. It was such a jovial and inspiring end to such a Rich experience overall!
To check out everything the region has to offer and to plan your next trip, click the link below!!
Twenty Valley Tourism Link: bit.ly/TwentyValleyAmber
Our entire planet is influenced by cycles. Think about the cyclical nature of our seasons, the cycles of life, time, and within our own bodies as women - our monthly friend! So how do we honour these cycles in our life? As women, we have a long history through tradition, mythology, folk lore and religion which connects our bodies with the moon. Honouring the cycles within our own bodies as we menstruate each month has been long forgotten. Instead of seeing this time as a time of natural purification, release and introspection, as well as a time for rest, modern culture places a sense of shame and inconvenience around our bodies natural process.
This is an example of how we have detached from the cycles of our lives. When did we lose our connection with the natural rhythms of our existence?...the earth, moon, our bodies. This got me thinking about releasing and letting go of my disconnection during this Full Moon, and deepening my awareness and connection during the next New Moon. So I wanted to share a simple practice that can be used tonight during the Full Moon, because it's a big one - a Total Eclipse (not visible from North America), which Media is calling the "Blood Moon" (due to the colour) but is technically called the "Full Buck Moon".
Typically during such a powerful Full Moon (the longest lasting Total Eclipse of the century) our emotions are fragile. With emotions high in our homes, it's a good time for us to do a release with a Moon Ritual. Moon Rituals have been practiced for centuries, and I find that they are particularly helpful for Setting Intentions, Manifesting and Releasing. Although a Moon Ritual can be performed by Anyone, today I want to talk about my own Lunar Practice for Mothers.
In relation to the Moon Cycles, we hear "it must be a full moon" when our little ones are out of sorts. I think that a big part of their behaviour has to do with the changing energies during the various phases- not only in the atmosphere, but within our minds and bodies. So, as their Mothers we can help our child(ren) And ourselves by cleansing during the Full Moon. By performing this release, we reduce the chaotic energy they are absorbing and bring a sense of comfort to their surroundings.
Full Moon Release for Mothers
- Set up a Sacred Space by lighting candles or burning incense. I also like to include Selenite and Amythst crystals (not Necessary, but compliments the practice beautifully). Selenite is very cleansing/clears a space and purifies. Amythst is very protective and enhances our connection with our higher mind
- Take 5-10 minutes (or more if your little on is napping) to strengthen and awaken your 2nd Chakra (this is the Womb Chakra which is most connected with our Babies). The 2nd Chakra is home to creativity and passion. Think about what Inspires you in a creative way: Paint, Draw, Listen to Music and Dance, Journal, Yoga, Make a Collage or Colour...Anything that will bring Energy to the 2nd Chakra through Inspiration and Creativity. Quiet the mind during this time, and reflect upon the thoughts that pour in as you create...what emotions surface during the Full Moon? Are you thinking about projects? To dos? People in your life?
- Make a list of some of those elements/situations/people/behaviours/habits that you wish to let go of (think: What no longer serves me?)
- With a willingness to release repeat this Invocation : "I release all that which is no longer in alignment with my highest self for the greatest good".
- Now Burn the List you made and drop it into a Bowl of Water
- Finish with a salt bath and visualize new Intentions and Actions you are going to take.
Not only are you taking time for yourself, but you're strengthening your Womb Chakra, and releasing chaotic energy. This allows us to approach our child with clarity and as centred, grounded Mothers. Give it a try tonight, and please let me know how it goes!
Well, when Organic Yum Yums reached out to me a couple of months ago, I was excited to give their service a try! They offer parents fresh, organic, made-to-order food for your little ones, delivered right to your door. I really love how their goal is not only to save parents time and energy, but also (and most importantly) to Establish Health Eating Habits from Day One!
Organic Yum Yums works with their in house Nutritionist and creator of The Healthy Garage website, to formulate meals for your babe. The menu they created together works in stages based on your baby's natural development, and they aim to offer your baby opportunities to try a variety of textures and flavour combos. The goal behind the variety they offer is to develop and practice self-feeding and chewing, all while still enjoying fresh, quality, homemade food.
At the time, Piper was transition from purees to more chunky blends so we opted for a combination of Stage 2 and 3 meals. Here is a list of the meals that we tried:
- Tiny Tot Pudding
- Lil Heart Beet Mini Bowl
- Lil Cub Breakfast
- Sweet Pea Soup
- Lil Bone Builder Soup
- Lil Might Pea Stew
- Lil Chippers Organic Crackers (Available Soon)
- The story behind the company! I'm going to make you head to their website to read their Mission statement...Click here to read...It is So inspiring! A Mother who is so passionate about the well being of her son Noah.
- Quality! Fresh, Organic, Nutritious and packed with flavour
- Backed by Professionals! Culinary and Registered Holistic Nutritionist
- Free of Salts, Preservatives and Sugars!
- Convenience- I spend a lot of time prepping and storing food for Piper, and this was such a nice addition to our meal planning!
Overall, we would highly recommend Organic Yum Yums! Head to their site which was linked up above to check out their full menu and ordering process! You can also click here to view their instagram page that has lots of pictures, information and events! If you give it a try, please let me know how your experience was!! Enjoy!
Little Miss Picasso loves ..LOVES frozen blueberries so much that not only does she eat them, but she also likes to smear, throw and squish them! However, thanks to Tidy Tot All-in-one bib and tray kit, that purple splatter that reaches the outer most corners of her tray, STAYS there. I mean, it's not all over her clothes and floor! It has been a Savior, so I wanted to share a review about this neat product that has made our meal time a little less chaotic.
Tidy Tot has won all sorts of prestigious and reputable awards in the categories of Best Baby and Toddler Gear 2015-2017, Made for Mums, and Mother & Baby. With a promise of fitting any highchair or booster seat, and a slogan of "Mealtimes without the Mess", I can see why this company is making waves. We have worked with this same company in the past when we ordered their Mimos Pillow for flat spot correction!!
We decided to try out the Bib and Tray kit in the Dove Grey colour, and when we received our package we were delighted at the size of the package. The tray itself is quite large, however it collapses down to a small transportable disk that is easy to wipe down and store away.
Here are a few things that we love about the Tidy Tot Tray and Bib:
- No Gaps! - The bib attaches securely to the tray so that there are no gaps between baby and the tray! I can't tell you how many onesies have been ruined because of blueberries laanding all over Piper's lap.
- Food is Contained on Tray- I really love that the tray also has a lip on the outer rim, because as you can see in the photo the blueberry juice has leaked all the way to the edges, and there it stays!
- Easy Clean + Machine Washable- the entire tray is So easy to wipe down. I usually just take a clean sponge and paper towel to give it a good wipe and dry. Then, I fold it down and tuck it into her meal time drawer! The Bib is also super easy to wipe down or rinse off, and it's also machine washable so I will toss it in to get a good clean a couple of times a week.
- Less Laundry and Clutter- Now that we use our tray and bib duo, I don't have a million bibs laying around sopping in various foods. I found that I was going through at least 4 bibs a day, and this just added to the laundry pile. So if it reduces the amount of clutter and laundry, I am super happy about that!
- Great for Messy Play to!- I love that I can also set up a little painting activity or any type of sensory or creative messy play right on her mat. The bib serves as an Artist's smock! I give everything a good wipe after and I don't have to worry about my dining room table getting ruined by creative play.
This is the face of a girl who is wondering..."you mean I don't get to muck your kitchen up anymore?" Ha! Well...there's one thing that we can't control and that is the blueberry beard and paws! I guess it's not totally mess free-but that's childhood right? Let them be little!
I hope that you enjoyed learning more about Tidy Tot! It has been such a big help in our home. If you would like to order a Tidy Tot of your own (I promise you wont regret it!) you can follow the link below...ENJOY!
So when it came to food introduction, I was honestly a bit intimidated for a few reasons. First of all, Piper has had a “finicky” tummy since day 1. She has a tendency to get gassy, and at times she was full on Colicky. We also had a run with Silent Reflux and some scary symptoms surrounding that. It took a lot of tweaking and paying attention to my own diet while nursing to help alleviate her stomach pain and diaper rashes. Eventually we narrowed it down to some common culprits: Dairy, gassy vegetables, black beans (beans in general), and certain grains. We then had a whole adventure with Formulas when I started to supplement a bottle a day- trying out the most popular formulas, lactose free formulas, organic formulas...all of them upset her stomach. So we just gave up on Formula altogether until about 9 months when I started to ween using Holle Organic Goat Formula- which was the winner!!
So, as we approached the 6 month milestone, we were a little intimidated by food introduction. I asked friends, I read books, and also met with our Naturopath and Family Doctor to create a plan. All of the advice we received was so helpful, however it made things so much more confusing because as soon as we thought we had a plan- another opinion would make us question everything: start with grains? Or not? Purees or Baby led weening? Etc etc.
I went with an intuitive approach where we started with the safest “P” foods for digestion: Pear, Peas..and then from there, we introduced foods that didn’t bother her tummy while nursing. Pureeing her food seemed like a natural option for her stomach for smooth, easy digestion, and we decided to hold off on cereals. In terms of the cereals, I follow the school of thought that believes that infants can get their Iron and other vitamins and minerals from the food they are eating-rather than giving them food that is Fortified with Iron for example. So we introduced Meat and fruit and vegetables that are naturally high in Iron as an alternative to the most common route of starting baby out on Iron Fortified cereals. I am not going to say that I judge people who do...or that I made THE RIGHT decision and therefore any other decision is THE WRONG decision. I just knew that this was the route for us (bringing me back to- Every Baby Is Different). I was also hesitant to start on grains in general until she developed the proper enzymes needed to break them down closer to 8-10 months. Anyways-we got creative and made all sorts of fun purees with every vegetable and lots of fruits, eggs, meat and fish.
All of our decisions surrounding food were (I will fully admit it) Painfully and Straight up Crazily thought out. Why so Crazy? I think it all stems from my personal digestion problems, and a long battle with stomach issues in general!
So, IF you are interested in learning more about Infant Diet and Nutrition, and you wish someone would just answer all the questions out there...I hope this helps!
I am going to share with you a Q and A with a well respected Naturopathic Doctor named Lisa Maddalena who has guided my personal journey with Piper's food and nutrition. You will see that she does not suggest ONE single approach...a be all or end all or a black and white solution. Rather, this Q and A will reveal a refreshing perspective on the biggest questions out there. At the end of this post I will leave Contact information for Lisa, should you want to contact her for further guidance or an appointment!
1. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions! Before we begin, can you tell us a little about yourself and how you decided to become an ND?
My name is Lisa Maddalena, and I have been practicing as a Naturopathic Doctor for 4 years now. I studied Biomedical Sciences, with a minor in Nutrition in University. From there I decided to do my Masters in Nutrition and Neutraceutical Sciences. It was my supervisor, when I was studying my Masters, who introduced me to Naturopathic Medicine. It was a perfect marriage between my traditional medical science background and my interest in Nutrition and disease prevention.
2. In regards to Infant Diet and Nutrition, how would you describe your general approach?
I believe that children should be offered real, whole foods from day one. I don’t believe in “kids foods.” It is important that children are fed many types of flavours, and that the focus of each “meal” or “introduction” is nutrient density. I also believe that children should be given set meals so that they are hungry for their meals and that they know the difference between meal time and activity time. Children don’t start out as graisers, they become that way when they are fed snacks all day long, especially if they like the “snack foods” better. Also, I never recommend using food as a reward, distraction or comfort.
3. What are your thoughts about purees vs. baby-led weaning?
Each child is different. What works for one child may not work for another and therefore there is no right or wrong. If baby-led weaning works for your child then I really like this approach because it helps children learn more than just eating. By letting children feed themselves they improve their fine motor skills. In addition, it is an important step for babies in learning self regulation: learning to stop eating when they feel full.
If your child does not take to baby led weaning, than purees are fine; I just recommend that you make your own. It doesn’t have to be difficult. You can just cook things more than you would regularly and mash it up.
4. Do you have any staples or principles for optimal infant nutrition that you follow?
Once again, every child is different. Each child will show interest in food at different times. If your child prefers breast milk, for instance, they are getting a great amount of iron, fat and protein from that and therefore you can really take your time, starting with fruits and vegetables slowly. If your child doesn’t seem to be growing as quickly as they should, or seems to be more interested in solid foods early on then you will want to start with fat, protein and iron rich foods early on. I actually recommend starting with eggs. The yolk is the best to start with and some would argue that the white should be left out until later on due to high allergic potential. However, there has been new research indicating that avoiding foods with high allergic potential does not prevent allergy or atopic illness (like eczema or asthma). Many, including myself are now recommending that babies be introduced to whole egg right away. I also recommend early introduction of meat, especially due to high iron levels and bioavailability. A 2011 study stated that meat consumption between 6 and 24 months was associated with more favourable iron status in late infancy and improved psychomotor development.
Also, babies need fat! It is so important for their developing brains. Therefore eggs, avocados, and fish (or a fish oil supplement) are really great introductions early on.
Please note: Many mom blogs will recommend feeding children liver, or making formula using liver. Though small amounts of liver can be very nutritious, liver contains high amounts of vitamin A which can be toxic. Therefore, I do not recommend making this a staple in a young child’s diet.
I don’t feel the need to introduce 1 food at a time. Doing things that way takes a long time giving children the opportunity to become picky since, by the age of 2, children naturally become less apt to try new things. Feed them from your own nutritious meals.
I am not a supporter of snacks. Introduction of snacks allows for a child to become picky at meals because they know that they can have a snack later. A child should be getting more than enough with 4 meals, or 3 meals with 1 snack.
5. What is your stance with the “cereal debate”, are you for or against? Why?
I feel that cereal is unnecessary and often used as a tool to placate children as opposed to the important source of nutrients that some dietitians and doctors make it out to be. Other than iron, which cereal is fortified with, cereals are not nutrient dense foods. Also, infants innately crave carbs and sweets. This is because, in nature, sweet equals safe. So, if we are providing our children with a diet that is carb and sweet heavy, they will quickly start avoiding other more nutritious options. The more that you can stick to whole foods and avoid grains until after age 1, and even closer to age 2, the easier it is to keep your child eating foods that are the most nutrient dense.
6. For parents who are supplementing with Formula, do you have a Company that you recommend to your patients? Why?
As far as formulas go, I don’t really make special recommendations unless the child is having an intolerance. When it comes to formula, I would always start a child on a cow's milk formula with an added probiotic and DHA. This is because commercial formulas have specific guidelines that they have to meet to ensure appropriate nutrient balance for your infant, so you can be sure that your child is getting what he or she needs. The added probiotic and DHA is usually more expensive, but worth the money since DHA is important for brain and eye development and probiotics are important for gut and immune health.
If a child is having issues with their formula, then I recommend a goats formula like Holle or an easily digestible cow’s milk formula like Similac Alimentum. I never recommend a soy or other plant based formula unless there are serious issues with all other options.
7. When planning our babies diet, it is often hard to navigate their needs in terms of food vs. formula or breastmilk. Should we be prioritizing increasing whole/solid foods and decreasing formula and breastmilk? What are your thoughts about this!
Breastmilk or formula should be primary source of nutrients in the first year. From 6 months to 1 year, depending on your child’s readiness, solid food should be incorporated slowly. If breastfeeding, it is ideal to continue to include this up to year 2. If using formula, then it is ok to switch to whole milk or full fat goats milk (out of a cup or sippy cup) after 1 year, as long as the child is eating a variety of solid foods at this point.
Note: long term bottle use is not recommended because it is bad for a child’s teeth.
8. Do you believe that infants should be getting their nutrients-minerals/vitamins and probiotics from the food they are eating? Or do you recommend additional supplements such as a probiotic, or “D-drops”?
All babies should be taking 400IU of Vitamin D each day.
A daily probiotic and fish oil is also recommended.
Everything else should be obtained from food, especially if they are still breast or bottle feeding.
9. Many parents opt for rice husks or cookies for quick snacks. What are your thoughts about these? Can you recommend alternatives?
As I indicated before I am not a fan of these convenience foods. They really encourage grazing and picky eaters. If your child is getting what they need from their meals, snacks really aren’t necessary. If you MUST do a snack then making a healthy muffin with almond meal, or a brown rice cake with nut butter or hummus. Something that has protein and fat included or fiber. The best “convenience” snack is an unsweetened squeeze applesauce.
10. Finally, for the parents out there that are trying to figure out a balanced diet for their littles-what are your top favourite meals for infants that support their growing needs?
This is really difficult because every child is different, in terms of what they can tolerate or what they want. I am a huge proponent of making a healthy meal for the family and feeding your infant from that meal. Something easy could be chicken or salmon with sweet potato and avocado. Soups are great because you can pack in lots of vegetables that are soft, but a little more challenging for them to eat. Or scrambled eggs with sauteed spinach. Even smoothies work because you can put tons of fruits and vegetables.
Like all parents, I am not perfect. I know that things can be challenging at times, and that you will sometimes give them things that are less than ideal. There will also come a time when they will ask for things and you cannot keep them in a bubble. But you can set a good example by showing them what it is like to eat well.
If you would like to contact Lisa, you can reach her via her website - lisamaddalenand.com
I hope this was helpful! My hope is that- out of all of the questions I asked Lisa-perhaps 1 or 2 of her answers applied to your individual path that you are taking for your baby!!...and that you were able to take away Something that will make life easier xoxo
So the first item I wanted to find to keep Piper warm, was a durable, weather resistance jacket extension:
1. Kokoala- For both Pregnancy and Portering
When we head out for a walk around the block we generally bring Piper in her stroller. However, if we are going on a hike-it usually means that the trail is not paved, and the elevation will vary. In the case of a hike, I prefer to wear P close to my body in a carrier for many reasons: warmth and protection would be the top priority, but I also don't love dragging a stroller through a bumpy, uneven, climbing trail!
I came across Kokoala's page on instagram originally, and after reading more about their mission-which focuses on enjoying time with your child outdoors in any season- I knew I had found my perfect accessory. I also love that they custom create the extension piece to fit your current coat-so it's a fraction of the cost of purchasing a babywearing coat. Plus- They're Canadian! So they understand COLD winters, and I love supporting companies that were dreamed up in our beautiful country.
All you have to do is zip the extension onto one side of your coat. Get your babe into your carrier, and then put the coat on-while wrapping the loose end of the extension around to meet the other zipper. Zip up and you're done! The extension is waterproof and cosy as is-but I chose to add on two extra accessories:
The Cap for Babies:
Extra Polar Detachable Lining:
2. Wee Woollies Pure Merino Base Layer
How Does It Work?
One of the questions I kept asking myself when I was getting P dressed to go outside was, "How do I layer her clothing so that she is warm enough but not too warm?". I worried about too many layers overheating her, and vice versa. So I was so excited when Monica shared her Winter Layering Guide which you can check out here: Maman on the Trail Layering Guide
I really loved this visual that she put together. I saved it in my phone and used it as a quick reference based on the temperature outside!
So as you can see, this base layer can be used throughout all seasons all the way from -25 degrees C to +15 degrees C!
We absolutely love this base layer! It is the softest item of clothing we own hands down, and the ultra fine merino fibers have the amazing ability to regulate body temperature. The wool also has a natural wick for moisture -so our babe stays dry and protected from the cold damp air.
The base layer can also be used as a sleeper, so it's great for transferring your babe from outside into his or her crib seamlessly for a nap!
3. Three Season Cozy Stroller Insert
- -Waterproof -Fits Most Strollers
- -Wind Resistant -Option to remove the thicker layer
- -Fleece Lined -Machine Washable
Skip Hop Stroll & Go Three-Season Baby Stroller Footmuff
Last but not least, a Quality Hat is So important. I would highly suggest natural wool which will wick and also hold in warmth. Wee Woollies makes beautiful Merino Hats, which you can find here:
Merino Wool Beanie
I also really love a company called Pacific Knot, which I will talk about below!
4. Pacific Knot-Hand Knit Wool Toques
I also adore the idea of mommy and me or daddy and me matching hats (I know I’m super lame)..but seriously, so cute. Check out Pacific Knot, and get to know the amazing maker Nikolina by clicking Here
I hope this was helpful guys! I’m a firm believer in getting outside as much as possible-and sometimes all that is holding us back is proper layering! Let me know what you think about the items if you try them out!! I always love to hear your feedback :)
Enjoy your time Outside with the Fam xoxo
Hi! My name is Amber, I am a wife and mother to Piper June. Welcome to my blog. You will find my path towards natural health and wellness as well as my honest discoveries as a new mother. In all aspects of life, I strive to cultivate Balance through a mindful existence. I share my experiences as a mother, helpful product reviews and companies that I am passionate about for our family. I am so grateful for your visit xo