June 11, 2012
by Elodie
2 Comments

Flying with your baby or your toddler: an expat mom’s top ten tips and tricks

I’m the third generation of expat mom in my family. Both my grandma and my mom had to travel with young kids, often on their own, now it’s my turn! With family scattered around the globe, family reunions mean many hours spent on planes, trains and other means of transportation… Here are my top ten tips and tricks for flying with babies or toddlers.

 

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June 7, 2012
by Laure
7 Comments

Five really bad reasons to breastfeed

In Canada, there is a lot of pressure for new moms to breastfeed. Makes sense, considering all the benefits of breastfeeding. And that breastfeeding is really well supported with one year of (somewhat) paid maternity leave, and great resources such as MSP covered lactation consultants.

But there is also a crap load of bullshit being told about breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding

With all the good, valid reasons to breastfeed, I have no idea why people and associations feel the need to invent additional ones. Well, actually I get it… “101 reasons to breastfeed” sounds a lot catchier than “96”, right?

While I absolutely support breastfeeding and would recommend seeing a lactation consultant if you experience difficulty rather than throwing the towel, I just don’t like the perfect image that people try to give to breastfeeding. Maybe it does come naturally to some women. But not to all of them. And that contributes to the mother feeling unreasonably guilty when for some reason she wasn’t able to breastfeed.

Here are just a few examples of shameless lies that you’ll read when you search for the benefits of breastfeeding. Continue Reading →

May 29, 2012
by Laure
0 comments

Crawlers and critters need some love, too

I want to teach my kids to respect every living creature. Don’t you?

In my opinion that includes the smallest creatures. Yes, the ones that are often classified in the “disgusting” section of nature.

Holding a snail

I remember, one day, screaming “Nooooo” in anguish when I realized that Big Kiddo had picked up a worm from our yard. A friend of ours came to my rescue “don’t worry, that worm isn’t going to harm your child”. My husband, who knows me well, replied “it’s not for Big Kiddo that Laure is worried, it’s for the worm”.

What sort of lesson are we teaching our kids when we run away in terror at the sight of a spider web? Or when we crush an ant that lost its way and ended up in our house? Probably that nature is scary, dirty or disgusting. And some creatures not worth existing.

Of course some insects have unfortunate irritation-related effects. Or can even cause allergies. It’s understandable that parents get nervous when their kids come a little bit too close to those creatures.

Yet the answer is so simple.

Teach your kids to respectfully observe from a distance. Don’t pick up, or at least not without asking mom first.

That post gave me an idea that I want to try this summer:

  1. Conduct a photo-safari to capture images of insects
  2. Involve Big Kiddo in making some sort of craft with these pictures
  3. Post it!

I’m sure this will be loads of fun.

Anyone game?

May 22, 2012
by Laure
2 Comments

Maternity leave in the winter – how I kept my sanity

My first maternity leave was a breeze. We were living in downtown Vancouver, and it started in summer. I didn’t have to think about what to do with baby. I just had to take the stroller, buy an ice cream (or two) and enjoy the seawall.

Gotta love your muddy buddy

Now, my second maternity leave took some more getting used to. We had moved to the suburb, and it was winter. No seawall. Rain all day long. A baby testing his lungs’ capacity on a regular basis. And a “borderline post partum depression“. Finding activities to do became critical for my sanity. I had two requirements:

  1. Somewhere with a roof on it;
  2. With other moms to talk to.

Here is how I came up with a great routine.

Mommy meetups

I went to meetup.com and searched for mommy groups in my area. Most groups will charge a small fee for the year but you can try them before you pay and make sure that they offer meetups that fit your schedule and your child’s age.

Baby and mom activities

Community centers in the greater Vancouver area offer baby and mom activities for a very reasonable fee. My personal favorite is baby and me yoga. Contrary to what the name suggests, it’s really mommy yoga. Where you’re more than welcome to show up late, manage a melt down during the session, feed baby and change a diaper. Oh yeah, and get some yoga in. Or not.

I warmly recommend checking out Lori Lucas’ schedule, she’s awesome!

Storytime

I also loved the storytime programs offered by the Vancouver Public Library. During my first maternity leave, I had found one in French, but I haven’t been able to find it the second time around – maybe someone knows what happened to it?

There are a couple of other programs that sound fun and I’d like to check out in the future:

And maybe you have other suggestions too? I have a few more weeks left of maternity leave!

May 8, 2012
by Elodie
6 Comments

Preparing for baby: hiring a doula

When I had my first baby, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Although I come from a medical family (both my mom and grandma are nurses and there are quite a few doctors amongst my relatives…), and I had taken prenatal classes, I still felt I was going to need some support during my birth and after birth.

I knew about doulas from a good friend of mine, back in France, who actually practices as a birth support professional. After watching several documentaries like the Business of Being Born or Orgasmic Birth, I was convinced. A doula would probably make the whole process easier for us.

Doulas are trained labour support attendants. They do not perform medical procedures like midwives and doctors but provide continuous emotional and physical support to parents during the birth and often come to your home after birth to help with breastfeeding and newborn care.

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May 8, 2012
by Laure
0 comments

Keeping in touch with the family

Big Kiddo was born in Canada. My entire family lives in France. I was concerned that my parents and in-laws would not bond with Big Kiddo the same way that they have bonded with their other grand-children. I was wrong. I’ve actually been quite surprised at the affection and love that grand-parents have for their grand-children, no matter how far they live, and how often (or rarely) they get to see them.

Being thousands of kilometers (or miles all the same) away from them doesn’t mean that your family doesn’t get to see your kids grow. And the technology we have access to is a great help for keeping in touch. Here are some examples on how the Internet keeps us connected with our loved ones.

Goold Old Fashioned Land Mail

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