August 24, 2018

A Tale of the Curious Toddler: Normalizing Breastfeeding

“Why is baby eating mama’s booby?”, my 2 1/2 year old toddler innocently asked, staring at me from across the room as I sat hooked up for what felt like the 479,836th time that day.

She has seen me topless before, it’s called the “toddler no privacy” rule, but it never really dawned on me that breastfeeding would be something totally new. I had considered all of the changes that Morley would experience as we welcomed baby #2 - less attention, baby crying, possible regression, etc. - but breastfeeding was not one of them. As Morley would say, “Silly mama”.

But before I get further into the story, let’s back the train up a bit. For those that didn’t see it plastered all over my social media, we welcomed little sister Berkley on August 14. Settling in as a family of four (and more importantly, as a new big sister) has been well, um, interesting… 

Teaching Children About Breastfeeding

My breastfeeding journey has not been an easy one to this point. When Morley was a baby, I really struggled. I felt that I was inadequate because I couldn’t produce enough milk. I felt shamed by the hospital nurses when I went for a lactation consultation because it just wasn’t taking the way they wanted it to. I went into hiding when it was time to feed, afraid I’d be judged if I did it at a restaurant, at the park or anywhere in public. I lacked confidence in my ability to naturally feed my daughter. Because of that, I didn’t make it past six months before I switched to formula. And while I fully believe that "fed is best", I didn’t want that to happen again. 

Now, with baby #2, I’m going in knowing what to expect. I’m going in with more confidence. I’m going in knowing that it will be hard at first and that it will be painful at first, but that I just need to power through. No one said being a mom was easy - especially being the mom of a toddler AND a newborn.

More confidence for mom, means more exposure for Morley.

Teaching Children About Breastfeeding

And so, back to her innocent observation...

“This is how baby eats,” I try to explain. With my biology background, I could spew facts at her for days, but realize my audience and that I need to keep it simple. “She can’t eat big girl food like you and I, she drinks mom’s milk. Just like you did when you were her size.” “I want to see the milk come out,” she asks. Why the hell not, I think.

Breastfeeding is such a normal and very natural process. I want her to be involved as much as possible. From grabbing me the nursing pillow, to handing me my glass of water, hell, to even seeing “the milk come out”. I refuse to shy away from what breastfeeding really is. I want her to be comfortable when she sees me feeding, and more importantly nurturing, her little sister. 

I want our family to be able to have an open dialogue when it comes to the body. I want Morley to be able to ask me questions about feeding baby in hopes that when she gets older, she will be able to come to me with questions about her own body. (And thanks to Ontario’s government reinstating the 1998 sex ed curriculum in schools - yes 1998, aka what her dad and I learned when we were in elementary school 20 years ago - the majority of teaching is going to come down to us anyways.)

Teaching Children About Breastfeeding

We may only be two weeks into this journey as a family of four, but Morley is quickly learning what breastfeeding means and that it is natural. She has learned that when Berkley cries, she is hungry. And that when Berkley is “eating mama’s booby”, mama is actually giving little sister her breakfast, lunch or dinner, just in a different way than her and I would eat.

She has also begun to take notice out in public. She'll casually point out when she notices a mom feeding her baby before getting distracted and moving on. And, she's also learned that it's not just humans that feed their babies this way. Other animals do it too. On our recent end of summer trip to the CNE, we paid a visit to the Farm Building. It’s Morley’s favourite, she loves seeing the animals. She also loves seeing the baby animals. This visit, she happened to see the baby piglets feeding from their mom. And thanks to our talks about mommy feeding baby, she knew exactly what was going on and wasn’t shy to say it. That's my girl.

So, she gets it. Or, she is at least starting to get why mommy is always sitting in the chair with baby latched to her boob.

Now if only she’d understand why I can’t do five other things at the same time…

How did you explain breastfeeding to your children? Did you take a more conservation approach, or were you completely transparent? I’d love to hear your stories!


August 7, 2018

Road Trippin' We Will Go: Family Travel Safety

I have partnered with YMC and OnStar and have received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own. 

I grew up in a family where travel was very important. From an early age, my younger brother and sister and I were very fortunate to experience many different destinations - from the beaches of the Caribbean to the happiest place on Earth, and a road trip here or there in between. From that young age, my parents gave us the “travel bug” and instilled in us the importance of family-time and creating lasting memories.

As I grew older, the urge and importance to travel stuck with me. Whether it be a road trip from Alaska to Toronto, an all-inclusive beach vacation or a simple weekend getaway, the urge to “get out of town” is always calling.

Now that we have a family of our own, the experience of travel is something we want to pass on to our children. Even with two little ones in tow, travelling as a family can’t stop and won’t stop. But, it most certainly has, and most certainly will, continue to change. 

The type of travel we do nowadays is a little bit different. Nowadays, we tend to spend less time in the air or relaxing on the beach with a frozen drink in hand, and more time in the car, road tripping from place to place. Our travelling adventures now also consist of more family time - weekend trips to Gramma and Poppa’s house, visits to the family cottage and even a camping weekend fill our travel itinerary. And we wouldn’t change it for the world. 

From the hours we’ve spent in the car the past two and a half years, we’ve learned many things about traveling with kids. The biggest, by far, is safety. And, unfortunately, our lesson in safety came from a less than positive road trip experience.

When our daughter was just seven months old, we were driving home from a long weekend away at Gramma and Poppa’s house. With our destination in sight, we were talking about what we planned to do later that afternoon. What that discussion didn’t include was totalling our car. But, that’s exactly what happened. 

Long story short, a student from the local high school decided to play “chicken” with the car in front of us as we were both driving through the intersection. Before we knew it, bam - we had smashed into the other car and almost flipped ours. Despite totalling our vehicle, the good news was was that mom, dad and baby were all safe (aside from some expected aches and pains).

Safety is often an afterthought – most people think “it won’t happen to me”. Reality is, life throws you curves. And on that fall day, life threw us one we weren’t expecting. Whether you’re driving in the city or on a family trip to the beach, an emergency can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. 

OnStar  helps  provide  families with  peace of mind while on the road. With over 20 years of experience, this in-vehicle safety and security technology can connect you with real-life, medically-trained and certified emergency advisors in a time of need. They are there to assist in any situation, even when you aren’t in a position to call for help yourself.  This service is available on Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles, and includes automatic crash response, stolen vehicle assistance, roadside assistance  and emergency services .  

We don’t want to let the fear of getting into a vehicle stop us from creating lasting memories with our family. Luckily, there are tools to help give us the confidence and peace of mind along our travels. I foresee many more family road trips in our future.

How do you ensure the safety of your family when you travel? I’d love to hear!


Family Road Trip Safety


August 2, 2018

What I’m Packing in My Hospital Bag for Baby #2

I am an over-packer. Always have been, and let’s be serious, probably always will be. 

When we travel, I always push the limits of my luggage, barely leaving enough room for souvenirs. Try as I might, I am no minimalist. A girl's gotta have options.

Sadly, the overpacking doesn't just stop with travel. When Morley was born, this overpacking also applied to her hospital bag. I packed way too much, and definitely learned a thing or two about what was a necessity and what could stay at home.
What I'm Packing in My Hospital Bag for Baby #2

Now that number two is on the way (like any day now), I will be taking a lesson from my own play book and planning accordingly for what I bring with us to the hospital. 

Here’s what I’ve got this go around. (Also scroll to the bottom for a list of items I plan to leave at home, ask what I packed, but didn't use, for baby #1.)

For Mom During Labour

  • Small toiletry bag: Lip balm, face wipes, deodorant, contact solution with case, extra hair ties and bobby pins
  • Sports bra: To wear during labour, because hospital gowns are hella uncomfortable
  • Socks: Because mama needs a fresh pedi, and oddly your feet get cold during labour
  • Reusable water bottle: Big enough for ice cubes - they will be your friend (also because you can't eat after you get an epidural)
  • iPhone plus charger: For all those photos you'll want to take, games of Candy Crush you'll want to dominate while waiting and music you'll want to listen to to distract yourself

For Mom Post-Partum

  • Nursing bra: I'm loving these comfy ones from Thyme Maternity
  • Additional toiletry items: Shampoo, conditioner, brush, toothpaste, toothbrush
  • Makeup: I literally could not have cared less what I looked like for Morley’s birth, and wore no makeup for my stay at the hospital - the same will apply to this babe, but I’d rather have it than not
  • Towel: Trust me, you will want to take a shower
  • Depends: Yes, as in those disposable underwear you think are only for old ladies 
  • Maxipads: Google "padsicles", you'll thank me later
  • Nursing pads: To prevent the leakage from ruining your nursing bras and shirts
  • Underwear: Granny panties will become your best friend post partum
  • Clothing: Loose fitting pants/leggings, cardigan, tank tops, extra socks, slippers and/or flip flops
  • Going home outfit: Maxi dresses will be comfortable during the summer heat
  • Snacks: Hospital food just doesn't cut it
  • Pillow and blanket: For some comfort from home
  • Medical info: ID, health card, etc. - just in case

For Baby

  • Hat: Even in the summer, babes will need to wear a hat
  • Mitts: Believe it or not, this is for your safety and theirs as they come out with long nails
  • Newborn socks: Fresh babes get cold easily
  • Size N or 1 diapers: Depending on the size of babe, you'll need to bring your own
  • Wipes: We're loving the new Pampers Pure Collection!
  • Breastfeeding pillow: Can double as a pillow when not in use by baby
  • Swaddle blanket(s): Aden + anais are my favourite!
  • Newborn to 3 month sleepers and onesies: Since we don't know the gender, we're loving the gender neutral selection at Carter's (they must also have animals on them)
  • Going home outfit: For those cute photos of course
  • Baby and big sister gifts: Aka a peace offering

And last, but definitely not least, we can't forget about dad...

For Dad

  • Change of clothes
  • iPhone and charger
  • Toiletries (tooth brush, tooth paste, deodorant, etc.)
  • Sweater
  • Pillow and blanket

Here are the items that I brought with us for baby #1, but that didn't even leave the bag. Safe to say, they will be staying at home this time.

Items I'm Leaving at Home

  • Camera and charger: Unless you are a professional, your phone will do just fine
  • Robe: I found a long cardigan/sweater worked just as well when I needed to walk the halls
  • Birth plan: Let's be honest, you can plan all your want for how you want your labour to go but there's a good chance that plan will go right out the window once it begins

What did you pack in your hospital bag? What am I forgetting? Please share!

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